ROME, January 2, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Two Italian archbishops have joined three bishops of Kazakhstan in professing the “immutable truths about sacramental marriage.”
Like the Kazakh Ordinaries, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, former apostolic nuncio to the United States, and His Excellency Luigi Negri, archbishop emeritus of Ferrara-Comacchio, have taken issue with Pope Francis’ official interpretation of Amoris Laetitia to allow some “remarried” divorcees to receive Holy Communion.
Last month Pope Francis decided to formally declare the Buenos Aires bishops’ interpretation of Amoris Laetitia “authentic magisterium.”
In the profession, released Jan. 2, the Ordinaries, all from Kazakhstan and including auxiliary Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Astana, say that the Pope’s official interpretation, along with those of other bishops’ conferences such as Germany and Malta, is causing “rampant confusion,” and will spread a “plague of divorce,” and is “alien” to the entire Catholic Tradition and faith.
In view of the “increasing confusion” spreading among clergy and laity alike, the bishops reassert the Church’s perennial teaching on the indissolubility of marriage, and argue that admitting some “remarried” divorcees (who do not have an annulment and are not living in sexual continence) to the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion, amounts to a “kind of introduction of divorce in the life of the Church.”
The bishops underscore their “grave responsibility” and “duty to the faithful” who expect from them “a public and unequivocal profession of the truth and the immutable discipline of the Church regarding the indissolubility of marriage.”
“For this reason, we are not allowed to be silent,” they add.
Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò was ordained a priest on March 24, 1968. He entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1973 and worked at the papal diplomatic missions in Iraq and Great Britain. He was named Special Envoy and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg in 1989, and Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria by Pope John Paul II in 1992. At the close of his mission to Nigeria, Viganò was assigned as an official of the Secretariat of State. He was named Secretary General of the Governorate of Vatican City State from 2009-2011, until his appointment as Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S. His brother, Lorenzo, is a Jesuit priest.
Archbishop Luigi Negri was ordained to the priesthood on June 28, 1972 and was appointed bishop of San Marino-Montefeltro by Pope John Paul II on March 17, 2005. In December 2012 he was promoted to archbishop of Ferrara-Commacchio, an office which he held until February 3, 2017.
“Archbishop Negri is known as energetic pastor, theologian and philosopher; Bishops Viganò is regarded as a distinguished diplomat and excellent administrator,” the Italian news agency Corrispondenza Romana noted in a statement released earlier this evening in Rome.
Both archbishops participated in a conference marking the upcoming 50th anniversary of Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae. The conference, entitled Humanae Vitae at 50: Setting the Context, was hosted at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome last October and featured talks by German Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, Italian historian Prof. Roberto de Mattei, and Austrian philosopher Prof. Joseph Seifert. It aimed at offering participants an opportunity to study Humanae Vitae in the context of its time, as well as its place in the continuity of the Church’s perennial teaching and in the life of Catholics today.