VATICAN CITY — A letter delivered to Pope Francis, reportedly signed by 13 Roman Catholic cardinals, questions whether the pontiff has organized the ongoing Synod on the Family in such a way that ensures "predetermined results on important controversial issues," Italian weekly magazine L'Espresso has reported.
The magazine's longtime Vatican correspondent Sandro Magister reported the exclusive story on the L'Espresso website late Monday, adding intrigue to the high-stakes meeting currently taking place and raising the specter of a mini-rebellion among some of the senior clerics who elected Francis two years ago.
The letter alludes to a "series of concerns" about procedural questions but may signal deeper worries about the Pope's eagerness to open debates on long-shut issues such as gay marriage and communion for divorced and remarried Catholics.
But several of the cardinals L'Espresso cited have either denied signing the letter or said the content is different than what has been reported. Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi did not deny the existence of the letter.