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Aide pleads for 'reason' after Pope Francis is accused of spreading heresy

The Vatican's secretary of state has called for greater dialogue within the Roman Catholic Church after a small group of traditionalists accused Pope Francis of spreading heresy.

The criticism followed the pontiff's opening to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin said on Thursday that those who do not agree with the pope are free to express themselves.

But he added: "On these things one must reason and find ways to understand one another."

The cardinal's comments marked the Vatican's first response to the formal accusations made public last weekend.

The so-called "filial correction", prepared by a few dozen traditionalist academics and clergy, accuses Francis of propagating seven heretical positions concerning marriage, moral life and the sacraments with his 2016 document The Joy Of Love and subsequent "acts, words and omissions".

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