Resolved: Pope Francis is not a heretic, and is not spreading or promulgating heretical ideas.
For two years a debate has been raging about Amoris Laetitia, or more precisely, the correct interpretation of one or more footnotes–e.g. footnote 351:
351 In certain cases, this can include the help of the sacraments. Hence, “I want to remind priests that the confessional must not be a torture chamber, but rather an encounter with the Lord’s mercy” (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium [24 November 2013], 44: AAS 105 , 1038). I would also point out that the Eucharist “is not a prize for the perfect, but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak” (ibid., 47: 1039).
This has not been well received, as I am sure most of our readers are aware. However, things got pushed up a notch. The charge of heresy has been rattling around in the background, but it has now been made explicitly, as a group of 62 priests, theologians and academics have published a fraternal correction of Pope Francis, explicitly accusing him of “the propagation of heresies.”
So the question becomes: is the Pope a heretic, or at least teaching heresy? I do not think so. I am not a papal maximalist (who, at least in stereotype) who would argue that the Pope cannot teach heresy. But in this particular case, I think his opponents are badly over-reacting.