In a four-part series of articles titled He cites the appeal, specifically, as among the criticisms that he objects to. In this article and in a follow-up to come, I respond to Fastiggi’s arguments. I apologize for the length, but Fastiggi’s series is itself quite long and addresses a variety of complex issues. In this first part, I address what Fastiggi has to say about the obligations of theologians and Catholics in general vis-à-vis the teaching of the Magisterium. In the follow-up, I will address what he says about scripture and the teaching of previous popes. at the website Where Peter Is, theologian Robert Fastiggi criticizes those who have criticized the revision.
I want to say at the outset that while I think Fastiggi makes serious errors of judgment, I have nothing but respect for him as a scholar, a gentleman, and a loyal Catholic. In my experience, too many defenders of the revision refuse to address or even to bother reading what I and other critics have written on the topic, but prefer to attack straw men and attribute bad motives. Fastiggi is not guilty of that. Too many defenders of the revision are also woefully ignorant of the history of the Church’s teaching on capital punishment and of the relevant theological literature. Fastiggi, by contrast, knows it well, even if I disagree with his interpretations of the relevant evidence. I also admire Fastiggi’s loyalty to the pope, even though I think it blinds him to grave deficiencies in some of Pope Francis’s words and actions. For I think this loyalty is clearly motivated by love of the Church and the papacy. I do not see in it any of the self-righteousness and lack of charity and basic fairness that is evident in the work of too many of Pope Francis’s other defenders. Finally, Fastiggi is a good sport. He and I have tangled over this issue many times, and occasionally our exchanges have been somewhat heated. But he has always shown an admirable even temper.
On to Fastiggi’s series, then. In , he writes: “Who has the authority to resolve the dispute? The answer, of course, is the Magisterium, which consists of the Catholic bishops in communion with the successor of Peter.” And again: “Who has the authority to determine the context, meaning, and ongoing applicability of Scripture? It is the Magisterium of the Church not a group of scholars and clerics.”
So far so good. I know of no participant in the debate over the change to the Catechism who denies any of this. Furthermore, I know of no participant who denies that “religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra,” in the words of .
The reason it is nevertheless legitimate for Catholics to debate the revision to the Catechism is that the Church herself acknowledges a qualification on the duty to assent to non-infallible magisterial statements, and it is a qualification that clearly applies in this case. The qualification is recognized in the instruction issued during the pontificate of Pope St. John Paul II, and it has also been affirmed repeatedly in the tradition of the Church, including in the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas. Indeed, Pope Francis himself has acknowledged the legitimacy of certain kinds of critical discussion of magisterial statements. I have discussed Aquinas’s teaching on this matter at length , and the teaching of Donum Veritatis and the rest of the tradition . I have discussed Pope Francis’s statements .
The teaching of St. Thomas
I can’t repeat here everything said in those earlier articles, but a few key points will suffice for present purposes. Let’s begin with Aquinas’s teaching on the matter, the most important sources for which are the Summa Theologiae and his Commentary on Saint Paul’s Letter to the Galatians. In Summa Theologiae , Aquinas says:
It must be observed… that if the faith were endangered, a subject ought to rebuke his prelate even publicly. Hence Paul, who was Peter's subject, rebuked him in public, on account of the imminent danger of scandal concerning faith, and, as the gloss of Augustine says on Galatians 2:11, “Peter gave an example to superiors, that if at any time they should happen to stray from the straight path, they should not disdain to be reproved by their subjects.”
Commenting on this passage, Fastiggi says:
This passage of Aquinas is widely used by papal critics to justify any resistance to the Pope, his teachings, and decisions. They forget that Paul’s correction of Peter had to do with Peter’s behavior not his teaching. In addition… this particular question of the Summa concerns fraternal correction in general. It is not focused on the correction of popes.
However, it is not difficult to show that these assertions are mistaken. First of all, Aquinas clearly takes Paul’s rebuke of Peter to involve precisely his teaching, and not merely his behavior. He characterizes the episode of Paul’s rebuke of Peter as a case where “the faith [was] endangered,” and says that Peter brought “danger of scandal concerning faith.” In of the Galatians commentary, he says that what Peter had done posed “danger to the Gospel teaching,” and that Peter and those who followed his example “walked not uprightly unto the truth of the Gospel, because its truth was being undone” (emphasis added). Peter failed to do his duty insofar as “the truth must be preached openly and the opposite never condoned through fear of scandalizing others” (emphasis added). Clearly, then, in Aquinas’s view the problem was not merely that Peter acted badly, but that he seemed to condone doctrinal error and risked leading others to do the same.
Second, Aquinas is explicitly not commenting merely on fraternal correction in general. The Summa article is about the correction of prelates, specifically. Not only are popes prelates, but Aquinas uses the example of a pope (Peter) to illustrate the legitimacy in some circumstances of correcting prelates. Aquinas says that the episode of Paul’s correction of Peter “gave an example to superiors… that they should not disdain to be reproved by their subjects.” He is not making a general point about the faithful correcting one another, but a specific point about the correction of superiors by their subjects. In the Galatians commentary, Aquinas says of Paul’s rebuke of Peter:
Therefore from the foregoing we have an example: prelates, indeed, an example of humility, that they not disdain corrections from those who are lower and subject to them; subjects have an example of zeal and freedom, that they fear not to correct their prelates, particularly if their crime is public and verges upon danger to the multitude.
Contrary to what Fastiggi says, then, Aquinas clearly is teaching about the correction of prelates, including popes, rather than fraternal correction in general, and he is talking about correction with respect to their teaching, and not merely with respect to their behavior. (There is a lot more to say about these passages from Aquinas. Again, see the article linked to above for a fuller treatment.)
Now, those who issued the appeal to the cardinals criticized the revision to the Catechism precisely because it is formulated in such a way that it might be read as conflicting with scripture and tradition. In other words, they believe that “the faith [is] endangered,” that there is “imminent danger of scandal concerning faith.” Accordingly, they are simply calling on the pope to reaffirm the teaching of scripture and tradition, just as Paul urged Peter to reaffirm the teaching that had been handed on to him.
Clearly, then, the appeal is perfectly in line with Aquinas’s teaching about the possibility of subjects correcting prelates. Of course, Fastiggi would no doubt disagree with the judgement that the revision poses “imminent danger of scandal concerning faith.” But that is a different question. If he wants to defend the revision, fine, but he should not speak as if the critics have no right to issue such an appeal. Rather, he should acknowledge that they do have such a right, and simply argue that in this case they were mistaken to think the right needed to be exercised.
At least, he should acknowledge this given that Aquinas’s position is correct. But Fastiggi makes another remark that indicates that he thinks it is not correct. He says:
What Aquinas says in this passage is offset by Pope Gregory XI’s 1377 censure of various errors of John Wycliffe. Among these censured errors, number 19 reads: An ecclesiastic, even the Roman Pontiff, can legitimately be corrected, and even accused, by subjects and lay persons. (Denz.-H, 1139).
But there are several problems with the assumption that this undermines Aquinas’s teaching. First, as Aquinas himself emphasizes, “corrected” and related terms are ambiguous. They could be referring to correction of a juridical sort, which involves having the authority to direct another to do something and to punish him for disobedience. As Aquinas acknowledges, no one can “correct” a pope in that sense. But “correction” could mean instead the mere pointing out of an error, which Aquinas says amounts to a kind of fraternal assistance rather than the exercise of authority. For Pope Gregory’s condemnation to conflict with Aquinas’s teaching, he would have to have correction of the second sort in mind, not just the first. But Fastiggi gives us no reason to suppose that he does. Moreover, the other condemned propositions from Wycliffe involve juridical power of some sort or another. Context indicates, then, that Gregory is only condemning the thesis that subjects may juridically correct a pope, not the thesis that they may give fraternal correction of the kind Aquinas defends.
Second, if Gregory were condemning the latter sort of correction, he would not only be at odds with Aquinas. He would be at odds with St. Paul, and indeed with scripture, which teach that Paul was within his rights to correct Peter, despite being his subject.
Third, as Fastiggi is well aware, blanket condemnations of large sets of propositions like the ones from Wycliffe need to be interpreted carefully. The condemnation does not necessarily imply that each proposition in the set is problematic in exactly the same way. In a single condemned set, one proposition may be heretical, another not strictly heretical but proximate to heresy, yet another simply badly formulated or otherwise misleading, and so on. So, the fact that the proposition from Wycliffe referred to by Fastiggi appears in the list condemned by Pope Gregory does not suffice to show that Gregory intended to condemn the position taught by Aquinas. Indeed, to my knowledge, no one before Fastiggi has even suggested that Gregory was condemning the position taken by Aquinas.
Fourth, if Gregory were intending to condemn that position, he would be contradicting the teaching of another pope, namely Pope Innocent III, who held that “only on account of a sin committed against the faith can I be judged by the church” (quoted in J. Michael Miller, The Shepherd and the Rock: Origins, Development, and Mission of the Papacy, at p. 292). Since the rest of the Church is subject to the pope, this would be a case of a pope being “corrected… by subjects,” to use the language condemned by Gregory. If we read Pope Gregory as condemning even fraternal correction of a pope, then, we will have a conflict between two popes. That is further reason not to read him that way.
The teaching of Donum Veritatis
A fifth point is that Donum Veritatis acknowledges that respectful criticism of magisterial statements can be legitimate, which it could not have done if Pope Gregory had been condemning all such criticism. So, let’s turn to that document. Here are the relevant passages:
The willingness to submit loyally to the teaching of the Magisterium on matters per se not irreformable must be the rule. It can happen, however, that a theologian may, according to the case, raise questions regarding the timeliness, the form, or even the contents of magisterial interventions…
When it comes to the question of interventions in the prudential order, it could happen that some Magisterial documents might not be free from all deficiencies. Bishops and their advisors have not always taken into immediate consideration every aspect or the entire complexity of a question…
Even when collaboration takes place under the best conditions, the possibility cannot be excluded that tensions may arise between the theologian and the Magisterium… If tensions do not spring from hostile and contrary feelings, they can become a dynamic factor, a stimulus to both the Magisterium and theologians to fulfill their respective roles while practicing dialogue…
The preceding considerations have a particular application to the case of the theologian who might have serious difficulties, for reasons which appear to him wellfounded, in accepting a non-irreformable magisterial teaching…
If, despite a loyal effort on the theologian's part, the difficulties persist, the theologian has the duty to make known to the Magisterial authorities the problems raised by the teaching in itself, in the arguments proposed to justify it, or even in the manner in which it is presented. He should do this in an evangelical spirit and with a profound desire to resolve the difficulties. His objections could then contribute to real progress and provide a stimulus to the Magisterium to propose the teaching of the Church in greater depth and with a clearer presentation of the arguments…
For a loyal spirit, animated by love for the Church, such a situation can certainly prove a difficult trial. It can be a call to suffer for the truth, in silence and prayer, but with the certainty, that if the truth really is at stake, it will ultimately prevail…
[T]hat public opposition to the Magisterium of the Church also called “dissent”… must be distinguished from the situation of personal difficulties treated above.
Note the following crucial points. First, Donum Veritatis acknowledges that while there is a strong presumption of assent even to non-irreformable magisterial statements, nevertheless it can in some cases be legitimate to “raise questions regarding the timeliness, the form, or even the contents” of such statements, since they “might not be free from all deficiencies.” These deficiencies might concern “the teaching in itself, in the arguments proposed to justify it, or even in the manner in which it is presented.” It can be that “the truth really is at stake.” All of this makes it clear that it is not merely the behavior of magisterial authorities or the manner of their teaching that can in some cases legitimately be criticized, but the teaching itself.
Second, Donum Veritatis acknowledges that even in the best circumstances, such legitimate criticism may lead to “tensions” with the Magisterium, but that this is not necessarily a bad thing. The critic even “has the duty” to raise such objections, which “could… contribute to real progress” insofar as they serve as a “stimulus” to the Magisterium to present its teaching in a more adequate way. And it can even be that in such a situation, it is the critic who undergoes “a difficult trial” and thereby “suffer[s] for the truth.” Donum Veritatis thus makes it clear that it can happen that when a critic finds himself in some sort of conflict with magisterial authorities, that does not necessarily mean that he is the one who is in the wrong.
Third, Donum Veritatis explicitly states that what the critic in this sort of situation is engaged in “must be distinguished” from “dissent” from the Magisterium. It is possible, then, respectfully to criticize magisterial acts without thereby meriting the label “dissenter.” How can this be? Wouldn’t anyone who disagrees in some way with a magisterial statement ipso facto be “dissenting” from it and thereby count as a “dissenter”?
The answer is No, because “dissent” in this context does not connote mere disagreement, but has a narrower, technical meaning. Donum Veritatis goes on to identify several marks of “dissent.” It involves “attitudes of general opposition to Church teaching,” motivated by “the ideology of philosophical liberalism, which permeates the thinking of our age.” For the dissenter, “freedom of thought comes to oppose the authority of tradition.” The dissenter “aims at changing the Church following a model of protest which takes its inspiration from political society.” In defense of his rejection of traditional teaching, he appeals to “the obligation to follow one's own conscience,” the “weight of public opinion,” “models of society promoted by the ‘mass media,’” and the like. These sources of opinion lead the dissenter to conclude, for example, that “the Magisterium… ought to leave matters of conjugal and family morality to individual judgment.” And so on. Obviously, then, “dissent” involves, specifically, rejection of traditional Catholic doctrine, of the kind associated with liberalism and modernism and represented by theologians like Hans Küng and Charles Curran.
Donum Veritatis does not say more about the precise nature of the legitimate sort of criticism that it distinguishes from “dissent.” But it is clear that if “dissent” involves the rejection of traditional teaching, then a critic who upholds traditional teaching, and does so in the respectful manner demanded by Donum Veritatis, cannot justly be accused of “dissent.” In particular, those who have respectfully criticized the revision to the Catechism for giving the appearance of a rupture with tradition cannot justly be accused of “dissent.” That does not entail that Fastiggi cannot justifiably disagree with them. The point is just that, whatever one thinks of their position, it is not comparable to criticism of the Magisterium of the kind associated with the likes of Küng and Curran.
Sometimes it is claimed that Donum Veritatis does not allow the public expression of even legitimate criticism, on the basis of its remark – typically quoted out of context – that “the theologian should avoid turning to the ‘mass media’, but have recourse to the responsible authority.” But Donum Veritatis does not rule out public expression of such criticism, as is clear from several considerations. First, we need to consider the complete sentence from which this remark is quoted:
In cases like these, the theologian should avoid turning to the ‘mass media’, but have recourse to the responsible authority, for it is not by seeking to exert the pressure of public opinion that one contributes to the clarification of doctrinal issues and renders service to the truth. (Emphasis added).
Relevant too is Donum Veritatis’s other reference to mass media, in a passage characterizing the tactics of liberal dissenting theologians:
The weight of public opinion when manipulated and its pressure to conform also have their influence. Often models of society promoted by the "mass media" tend to assume a normative value. The view is particularly promoted that the Church should only express her judgment on those issues which public opinion considers important and then only by way of agreeing with it.
With this context in mind, it is clear that what Donum Veritatis is criticizing is not the mere publication of criticism in journals, magazines, or other mass media as such. Rather, it is criticizing the tactic of using mass media to stir up public opinion against the Magisterium, as a means of trying to force the Church to conform to the values that prevail in such media.
Second, Donum Veritatis also says that the theologian who raises legitimate criticisms is obligated to “examine the objections which his colleagues might offer him.” But the normal way in which such debate is conducted is in theological journals and the like, which entails publicizing one’s criticisms. Donum Veritatis also states that “the theologian will refrain from giving untimely public expression” of his criticisms. So it is only untimely or inappropriate public expression that is ruled out, not all public expression as such.
Third, after Donum Veritatis was issued, Cardinal Ratzinger, as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, explicitly affirmed, when commenting on a hypothetical theologian who raises legitimate criticisms, that “we have not excluded all kinds of publication, nor have we closed him up in suffering” (quoted in Anthony J. Figueiredo, The Magisterium-Theology Relationship, at p. 370).
Now, in He does not accuse the critics of being “dissenters.” Nevertheless, he does claim that those who issued the appeal to the cardinals did not satisfy the norms of Donum Veritatis. In particular, he objects that they “do not simply raise questions… [but] manifest a spirit of opposition to a papal teaching,” that they are “so cock-sure of their position” that they “present as a non-arguable conclusion that their opinion of the Church’s teaching on capital punishment is definitive and infallible,” and so on. of his series, Fastiggi addresses the relevance of Donum Veritatis to the controversy over the revision to the Catechism.
One problem with such remarks is that they are aimed at a straw man. No critics of the revision to the Catechism hold that “their opinion of the Church’s teaching on capital punishment is definitive and infallible.” Rather, they claim that the consistent teaching of scripture and two millennia of tradition is definitive and infallible. Fastiggi may disagree with his opponents about what scripture and tradition teach, but he should characterize their position accurately. Another problem with Fastiggi’s remarks here is that they rest on a misreading of a further passage from Donum Veritatis. Addressing the manner in which respectful criticism of a magisterial statement should proceed, the passage in question says:
In the dialogue, a two-fold rule should prevail. When there is a question of the communion of faith, the principle of the “unity of truth” (unitas veritatis) applies. When it is a question of differences which do not jeopardize this communion, the “unity of charity” (unitas caritatis) should be safeguarded.
Even if the doctrine of the faith is not in question, the theologian will not present his own opinions or divergent hypotheses as though they were non-arguable conclusions. Respect for the truth as well as for the People of God requires this discretion.
Now, Fastiggi seems to think that the second paragraph here entails that when a theologian raises even a legitimate criticism, everything he says must be presented in a tentative way. But that is not what the passage says. What it says is that even if a theologian is not dissenting from a doctrine of the faith, that doesn’t license him in treating what are really just matters of mere opinion or hypothesis as non-arguable conclusions. But it doesn’t follow that he cannot treat anything as a non-arguable conclusion. For example, the theologian is perfectly within his rights to treat the consistent teaching of scripture and of the ordinary Magisterium over two thousand years as a “non-arguable conclusion,” because the Magisterium itself holds that teaching of that sort is infallible. (I have discussed the conditions under which the ordinary Magisterium is infallible .)
Of course, Fastiggi may disagree with the claim that scripture and the ordinary Magisterium really do teach that capital punishment is not intrinsically evil. The point for the moment, though, is that Fastiggi is mistaken in thinking that a lack of tentativeness is per se problematic.
Moreover, there are several historical cases where popes were legitimately criticized, and their critics rightly presented their criticisms in a non-tentative way. Paul’s criticism of Peter was in no way tentative, but in fact extremely bold, and scripture tells us that Paul was in the right. Pope Honorius’s critics were not tentative in criticizing him for giving aid and comfort to the Monothelite heresy, and Pope John XXII’s critics were not tentative in criticizing him for failing to uphold traditional teaching on the particular judgement.
Now, in of his series, Fastiggi addresses these sorts of examples, and says:
Some critics of the revised teaching of the Church on the death penalty claim that they can oppose the teaching because popes have taught errors in the past, and they usually bring up cases such as Pope Honorius I (r. 625 - 638) and John XXII (r. 1316 - 1334). What these critics don’t understand is that it was the Magisterium itself that resolved the doctrinal issues involved in these cases not the critics. It is certainly permitted for scholars to raise questions about non-definitive papal teachings and to ask for clarifications. It is not permitted, though, for private scholars to assume the authority to correct the popes.
But the historical claims Fastiggi makes here are mistaken or at least misleading. Honorius was condemned by a council (three councils, in fact), and councils are subordinate to popes. It is true that popes then confirmed these councils, but the point is that the first of these councils condemned Honorius before papal approval was given, and was not accused of insubordination or the like for doing so. (I have discussed the case of Honorius in detail and .) John XXII was criticized by the theologians of his day, and while the Magisterium did settle the issue (beginning with John XXII himself, who recanted) it was prodded to do so precisely because these critics pressed the issue.
Fastiggi adds the remark that “if dissent from authoritative magisterial teachings can be justified because of alleged errors of prior popes, then any magisterial teaching can be rejected.” But that does not follow at all. The reason these popes were criticized was only because they failed to affirm traditional teaching, and that is the only reason Pope Francis’s revision to the Catechism has been criticized. The theological principles that justify such criticism would by no means entail that just “any magisterial teaching can be rejected.” Rather, they would only justify criticisms of failures to uphold traditional teaching.
The problem with Fastiggi’s position is that he treats all criticisms of magisterial statements as if they were of a piece, when they clearly are not. He fails to take account of the teleology of the Magisterium, the reason it exists in the first place, which is to preserve the deposit of faith, not to give popes and other churchmen carte blanche to teach whatever they feel like. And this is something that the Church herself has constantly emphasized. For example, the First Vatican Council :
For the Holy Spirit was promised to the successors of Peter not so that they might, by his revelation, make known some new doctrine, but that, by his assistance, they might religiously guard and faithfully expound the revelation or deposit of faith transmitted by the apostles.
Similarly, the Second Vatican Council :
[T]he living teaching office of the Church… is not above the word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on, listening to it devoutly, guarding it scrupulously and explaining it faithfully.
And Pope Benedict XVI :
The Pope is not an absolute monarch whose thoughts and desires are law. On the contrary: the Pope's ministry is a guarantee of obedience to Christ and to his Word. He must not proclaim his own ideas, but rather constantly bind himself and the Church to obedience to God's Word, in the face of every attempt to adapt it or water it down, and every form of opportunism.
The development of Catholic doctrine is thus like a ratchet, which only goes one way. The body of teaching found in scripture, solemn conciliar definitions, ex cathedra papal statements, and the ordinary Magisterium when it meets the conditions for infallibility, is locked in place forever. New implications can be drawn out of it (which is what “development” in the proper sense involves), but it cannot be contradicted or reversed (which would not be a true development at all, but rather a corruption of doctrine or failure to preserve the deposit of faith).
Now, it is precisely in order to assist the Magisterium in its function of preserving the deposit of faith that the teaching of Aquinas, of Donum Veritatis, and of the tradition more generally allow that there can be cases in which respectful criticism of magisterial statements is justifiable. Like the Magisterium, such criticism has precisely the function of maintaining fidelity to tradition, not of allowing the critics to say whatever they like. In short, and to oversimply, the teaching of Aquinas and of Donum Veritatis can never be used to justify “progressive” criticism of magisterial statements, but only certain kinds of “traditionalist” criticism. That is not to say that just anything of the latter sort goes. The point is that the principles underlying the teaching of Aquinas and of Donum Veritatis are not neutral between the different sorts of criticism theologians might want to raise. They favor those who want to preserve past teaching, and disfavor those who want to depart from it. Hence, again, Fastiggi is just mistaken to suggest that if you allow any criticism of magisterial statements, then everything is up for grabs.
The teaching of Pope Francis
Let’s turn finally to a statement from Pope Francis that is relevant to the issue at hand. As I’ve noted, he has said that he welcomes respectful criticism. One of his statements is especially important in this context. In the exhortation , the pope writes:
In the Church there legitimately coexist different ways of interpreting many aspects of doctrine and Christian life; in their variety, they “help to express more clearly the immense riches of God’s word”. It is true that “for those who long for a monolithic body of doctrine guarded by all and leaving no room for nuance, this might appear as undesirable and leading to confusion”. Indeed, some currents of gnosticism scorned the concrete simplicity of the Gospel and attempted to replace the trinitarian and incarnate God with a superior Unity, wherein the rich diversity of our history disappeared. In effect, doctrine, or better, our understanding and expression of it, “is not a closed system, devoid of the dynamic capacity to pose questions, doubts, inquiries…”
Now, those who have criticized the revision to the Catechism are doing exactly what Pope Francis here acknowledges to be legitimate. They are raising “questions, doubts, inquiries” about the formulation of the revision, on the grounds that it “leav[es] no room for nuance” and ignores “the rich diversity of our history” and “the immense riches of God’s word.” In particular, the revision focuses only on statements from the tradition that seem unfavorable towards capital punishment while entirely ignoring the mountain of statements from scripture, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and previous popes that are clearly favorable to it. The revision also entirely ignores the empirical considerations favoring the judgment that there are at least some cases where public safety would best be served by keeping the death penalty on the books. The revision thereby gives the impression that capital punishment is intrinsically wrong, and that social scientists are in agreement that it is never needed in order to save lives – neither of which is true.
The critics of the revision to the Catechism thereby respectfully call upon the Magisterium to remedy these deficiencies. And they argue that reading the revision as a deficiently formulated prudential judgment rather than as a change in doctrinal principle ought to be among the “legitimately coexist[ing] different ways of interpreting” it (to use Pope Francis’s words).
If Pope Francis’s words in Gaudete et Exsultate apply to centuries of established Catholic teaching, it is hard to see how they can fail to apply also to a novel revision that is only five years old. Accordingly, those who accuse critics of the revision of “dissent” are not only at odds with the teaching of Aquinas and of Donum Veritatis. They are at odds with the teaching of Pope Francis himself.
In the follow-up to this article, I will address Fastiggi’s remarks about scripture and previous papal teaching on the subject of capital punishment.