Pope Francis appears to have responded indirectly to the four cardinals who publicly challenged him last year over his most recent teachings on family life, as contained in the 2016 apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia.

In a question and answer session with members of the Jesuit order in Colombia earlier this month, the text of which was made public for the first time Sept. 28, the pontiff referenced those who “maintain that there is no Catholic morality underlying Amoris Laetitia, or at least, no sure morality.”

“I want to repeat clearly that the morality of Amoris Laetitia is Thomist, the morality of the great Thomas,” said Francis, referring to the renowned 13th century Dominican theologian St. Thomas Aquinas.

“I want to say this so that you can help those who believe that morality is purely casuistic,” the pope told the Jesuits, according to a text of the encounter published Sept. 28 by La Civiltà Cattolica. “Help them understand that the great Thomas possesses the greatest richness, which is still able to inspire us today.”

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