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Pope Francis's Stance on LGBTQ+ People Challenged by Group of Five Cardinals

Pope Francis's Stance on LGBTQ+ People Challenged by Group of Five Cardinals

Group of Five Cardinals Challenge Pope Francis with Doctrinal Questions

The group's five doctrinal questions, or dubia, come ahead of a monthly meeting to chart the church’s future course.

A group of cardinals has asked Pope Francis to clarify the Catholic Church’s official position on LGBTQ+ inclusion and other issues ahead of an important meeting, or synod, taking place behind closed doors at the Vatican this month.

The cardinals submitted the five questions or dubiaahead of the Synod of Synodality, the weeks-long meeting to discuss the church’s policies, teachings, and beliefs in a culturally changing world. They seek a yes or no response to questions relating to marriage equality and same-sex unions, women in the priesthood, and who is the ultimate worldly authority of the Catholic Church.

The five cardinals who signed the dubia – German Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, 94, American Cardinal Raymond Burke, 75, Chinese Cardinal Zen Ze-Kiun, 90, and Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, 78 – explained their intent in a “Notification to Christ’s Faithful” released today. The cardinals said they had earlier asked the pope for clarification in light of the agenda for the upcoming synod, but that the responses did not provide definitive answers. The group resubmitted the questions in a yes or no format.

“Given the gravity of the matter of the dubia, especially in view of the imminent session of the Synod of Bishops, we judge it our duty to inform you, the faithful, so that you may not be subject to confusion, error, and discouragement but rather may pray for the universal Church and, in particular, the Roman Pontiff, that the Gospel may be taught ever more clearly and followed ever more faithfully,” the cardinals wrote in the notification.

In its second question or dubium, the dubia specifically asks whether “accepting as a ‘possible good’ objectively sinful situations, such as same-sex unions” betrays the “revealed doctrine” of the church. The fourth dubium asks whether the church’s ban on women priests is still viable. The final question asks to clarify the limits of forgiveness, including for matters such as sex outside marriage and same-sex sex acts. Current doctrine teaches that both are considered grave sins.

Some have noted the cardinals' group is composed of individuals who have lost favor or no longer occupy positions of authority within the church. Burke was removed as head of the Vatican supreme courts by Pope Francis, Brandmueller is a former Vatican historian, and the others have retired from various positions.

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