Not that long ago, Vatican documents that miss the mark would have angered me. Now, I see them more as tragic events. Such is the case with Fiducia Supplicansa Declaration recently issued by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of Faith. The document’s supposed aim was to clarify contested issues and heal rifts in the Catholic communion. It failed in both regards. How the laity and clergy have received the document around the world is a bad omen for how we handle divisive issues in the Catholic Church, issues that have broken up other churches.

Theologically, Fiducia Supplicans is not a great piece of work or writing. Doctrinally, it stands on frail foundations; its biblical and traditional reference points are weak. This may be because the ordinary assembly (Feria IV) of the dicastery was apparently not involved in the formulation and approval of the document, which is highly unusual for a document claiming the rank of Declaration. ….

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