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Fr Antonio Spadaro (right) at the Vatican in 2014 (CNS)

The controversies about screenshots and anonymous accounts have obscured Fr Spadaro’s startling remarks about Communion

Pope Francis greets cardinals in 2014 (CNS)

Robert Spaemann, a friend of Benedict XVI, said the cardinals had chosen the right course and wishes more would join them

Pope Francis with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople (CNS)

‘First and foremost the apostolic exhortation recalls the mercy and compassion of God,’ the patriarch wrote

Cardinal George Pell at his office in the Vatican in 2014 (PA)

The cardinal said that conscience must refer to revealed truth and the moral law

Pope Francis (AP)

The Pope visited the offices of the Roman Rota, a marriage tribunal, to speak to the bishops

Pope Francis during his weekly general audience at St. Peter's Square on Wednesday (PA)

The Pope spoke out after a letter from four cardinals asked for clarification of Amoris Laetitia

Bishop Kevin Farrell (CNS)

Cardinal-designate Kevin Farrell says pastoral guidelines for implementing Pope Francis’s exhortation should have been discussed at the US bishops’ autumn conference

Pope Francis arrives in St. Peter's Square for a general audience (AP)

The cardinals have asked Pope Francis for a yes-or-no answer on Communion. His silence is unsurprising

Cardinal Raymond Burke, left, stands by Pope Francis saluting bishops, at the end of a general audience in St. Peter's Square (AP)

The cardinal said there was a tradition of issuing a formal correction if a Pope is in error

Amoris Laetitia (AP)

The full text of the four cardinals’ letter, preceded and followed by their explanatory notes, is below: