Statement by Cardinal Pell: synod fathers are concerned about conduct of the synod – post updated

Earlier today journalist Sandro Magister published a letter that he reported had been signed by thirteen cardinals. The letter raised serious concerns about the Instrumentum Laboris of the Ordinary Synod and about the procedures by which the synod is being conducted. Shortly after Magister’s article was published four of the cardinals named denied that they had signed the letter.

The existence of a letter was confirmed by one of the named signatories, Wilfrid Fox Cardinal Napier, but he said that the text that Magister had published was not the text of the letter that he had signed. Cardinal Napier told Crux that he shared the concern expressed in the letter about “the choice of the people that are writing up the final document” and said that “If we’re going to get a fair expression of what the synod is about, [such as] what the Church in Africa really would like to see happening” then different people would have to be chosen.

George Cardinal Pell has issued a statement, also confirming that a letter exists, but stating that neither the text, nor the list of signatories published by Magister was accurate.

Cardinal Pell also asserts that the synod fathers are indeed concerned about the composition of the commission that will draw up the final report and about the synodal procedures.

We reproduce his statement in full:

Statement from Spokesperson for Cardinal George Pell

Monday 12 October 2015

A spokesperson for Cardinal Pell said that there is strong agreement in the Synod on most points but obviously there is some disagreement because minority elements want to change the Church’s teachings on the proper dispositions necessary for the reception of Communion.

Obviously there is no possibility of change on this doctrine.

A private letter should remain private but it seems that there are errors in both the content and the list of signatories.

The Cardinal is aware that concerns remain among many of the Synod Fathers about the composition of the drafting committee of the final relatio and about the process by which it will be presented to the Synod fathers and voted upon.


America is reporting that they have learned from “informed sources” that the thirteen cardinals who signed the letter are:

– Carlo Cardinal Caffarra, Archbishop of Bologna

– Thomas Cardinal Collins, Archbishop of Toronto

– Daniel Cardinal Di Nardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston

– Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York

– Willem Cardinal Eijk, Archbishop of Utrecht

– Gerhard Ludwig Cardinal Müller,  Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith;

– Wilfrid Fox Cardinal Napier, Archbishop of Durban, President Delegate of the Synod

–  John Cardinal Njue, Archbishop of Nairobi

– George Cardinal Pell, Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy;

– Norberto Cardinal Rivera Carrera, Archbishop of Mexico City

– Robert Cardinal Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments;

– Elio Cardinal Sgreccia,  President Emeritus of the Pontifical Academy for Life

– Jorge Cardinal Urosa Savino, Archbishop of Caracas