A group of clergy and lay scholars from around the world have taken the very rare step of presenting Pope Francis with a formal filial correction, accusing him of propagating heresies concerning marriage, the moral life, and reception of the sacraments. In 2016, the pope issued a document which made it possible for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to participate in Holy Communion.
A blog that promotes traditionalist Catholicism began tweeting about the existence of the letter about a month ago, leading to speculation that some high-level church officials, perhaps even cardinals who have already publicly questioned the pope about his efforts, including American Cardinal Raymond Burke, may be involved.
The letter therefore "lists the passages of Amoris laetitia in which heretical positions are insinuated or encouraged, and then it lists words, deeds, and omissions of Pope Francis which make it clear beyond reasonable doubt that he wishes Catholics to interpret these passages in a way that is, in fact, heretical", the summary says.
That's a major about-face for the Catholic Church, which traditionally views divorce as impossible.
Entitled Correctio filialis de haeresibus propagatis, meaning 'A Filial Correction Concerning the Propagation of Heresies, ' the 25 page letter was delivered to the Holy Father at his Santa Marta residence on August 11.
Joseph Shaw, a spokesman for the initiative, a signatory of the correction and senior research fellow in moral philosophy at Oxford University, said "There is a role for theologians and philosophers to explain to people the church's teaching, to correct misunderstandings".
He noted that only one bishop has signed on to the letter - and that bishop, Bernard Fellay, was excommunicated from the church in the 1980s and leads the breakaway Society of St. Pius X.
Francis is yet to respond, but the group who issued the "correction" has been labelled a "tiny extreme fringe" Religious studies professor Massimo Faggioli told USA Today the group couldn't find a single cardinal or bishop to sign the document.