A Vatican department allegedly intercepted over a hundred copies of a new book written by five cardinals to prevent it being read by the majority of participants of a synod last October called by Pope Francis.
“Remaining in the Truth of Christ,” a commercially successful book reaffirming Catholic teaching on marriage and the family, was mailed to all the synod fathers in the Paul VI Hall, where the meeting was taking place.
Reliable and high level sources allege the head of secretariat of the synod of bishops, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, ordered they be intercepted because they would “interfere with the synod.”
A source told me that Baldisseri was “furious” the book had been mailed to the participants and ordered staff at the Vatican post office to ensure they did not reach the Paul VI Hall. Reports of the book’s interception have also appeared on German news sites in recent days.
Those responsible for mailing the books meticulously tried to avoid interception, ensuring the copies were sent through the proper channels within the Italian and Vatican postal systems. The synod secretariat nevertheless claims they were mailed “irregularly,” without going through the Vatican post office, and so had a right to intercept them.
The book’s mailers strongly refute this, saying they were legitimately mailed. Some copies were successfully delivered.
The book, whose contributors included Cardinal Raymond Burke, then-head of the Vatican’s highest court, the Vatican’s doctrinal chief Cardinal Gerhard Müller, and church historian Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, aimed to counter arguments put forward by German Cardinal Walter Kasper who had proposed a way to admit holy Communion to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics.
Kasper had opened the deliberations for the meeting the preceding February, during which he presented possibilities for reforming the church’s pastoral approach in this area. Pope Francis is known to be sympathetic to the proposal, but has never publicly endorsed it.
Opponents say the Kasper thesis would seriously undermine the church’s 2,000-year-old teachings on marriage — if it were ever approved. Some supporters of the Kasper proposal saw the book as a conspiracy against the Pope, despite Francis calling for a free and open discussion.
The divorce and remarriage issue, together with arguments put forward for welcoming homosexual and cohabiting couples, caused much heated discussion during the Synod on the Family which took place in October. The issues are expected to be revisited at a second synod on the family, to take place in October this year.
Sources say it’s not clear where the intercepted copies of the book ended up, but believe they may have been destroyed. Asked in December about the claims, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said he “knew nothing” about the allegations and said the sources did not seem to him to be “serious and objective."
Since then the allegations have become more widely known and have been corroborated at the highest levels of the church.
Edward Pentin began reporting on the Vatican as a correspondent with Vatican Radio in 2002. He has covered the Pope and the Holy See for a number of publications, including Newsweek and The Sunday Times. Read more reports from Edward Pentin — Click Here Now.
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