Upon the occasion of visiting the relic of St. Thomas More, Cardinal Raymond Burke reflected in comments to the National Catholic Register on the heavy responsibility of those who act as jurists and members of government (presumably, the cardinal intended also to include members of ecclesiastical government) to serve divine law. In his remarks, Burke appeared to signal the direct correlations between the truth for which St. Thomas was martyred and the situation in the Church today.
When asked how important St. Thomas’ witness to marriage and the family is today, Cardinal Burke responded, “It’s exceptionally important. I mean, basically he…he died in the defense of the truth about marriage – that it’s an indissoluble union that binds the married in lifelong fidelity to one another.”
“Sometimes it’s said ‘No, it was a question he…he died defending papal authority.’ But it was papal authority in the sense of the pope’s obligation to defend the truth about marriage.”
Burke continued, “In the Church now, even as then, where people argue about, ‘many people want this, and not many bishops are speaking up to correct this confused idea about the indissolubility of marriage, and that the Church has to change and so forth,’ and St. Thomas More is a sign for us that the truth never changes, and that it doesn’t matter how many people are in favor of a lie, it doesn’t make it the truth.”
“You simply can’t negotiate about something that’s false, or about something that’s a betrayal of the truth and he [St. Thomas More] understood that. When they told him … so many of the king’s counselors and bishops and abbots and so forth are all in favor of this ‘accommodation’ of the truth, he said, ‘Well, you may have these people supporting what you’re doing, but I have the whole Tradition of the Church: all of the ecumenical councils and the constant teaching of the Church to defend me, and I prefer to stay with Our Lord and with His authority as it’s handed down in the Church. There’s something inherently contradictory about a doctrine of the Faith that’s not clear. We’ve always understood that the work of confusion is the work of the Devil. And so we teach the truth with all clarity, with all charity, understanding people’s difficulties in living according to the truth, but never compromising the truth, because that’s the only way that anyone will find happiness in this life and of course eternal happiness in the life to come.”
See his full comments here:
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