Other papal "actions that indicate a rejection of truths of the faith" proposed by the letter consist of a long list of individuals Francis is accused of promoting or associating with. Further supposedly "indicative" proof appears even more tenuous, with the shape of a liturgical staff once used by Francis termed a "satanic stang" by the letter.
If support for the letter's legal premise has been absent, its reception among theologians has largely been one of disappointment.
Though many have noted that some of the issues raised in it are ongoing sources of concern and confusion for Catholics that would certainly benefit from an unambiguous clarification by the pope, by grounding their complaints in the "canonical crime of heresy," the letters authors have been seen by many to work from a deeply flawed premise.
The attempt to yoke together serious issues, like the language of parts of Amoris Laetitia, with trivial complaints, like the shape of a staff in a liturgical procession, has largely been met with skepticism.
Many have observed that the letter's scatter-gun approach to topics as varied as theological language and episcopal appointments lessens the impact of its concerns, even as it attempts to amplify them.
For those with serious, even legitimate concerns about the clarity of teaching in some papal writings, this letter and its invocation of canonical heresy may prove to be an unwelcome distraction.
What is not disputed is that a formal public accusation of heresy against the pope by a group of Catholics, including clerics and academics associated with Catholic universities and institutions, cannot simply be ignored.
Whatever the document's intentions, it does seem to represent a direct and public appeal to the college of bishops against what is explicitly termed a criminal exercise of the papal teaching office.
While canon lawyers often debate the hypothetical possibility and legal repercussions of an heretical pope, the discussion of what may or should be done about the challenge to papal authority by the letter's authors may prove to be anything but theoretical.