Yesterday, 10 April, the excellent Spanish website, InfoVaticana.com, published the text and video of a lengthy interview with Cardinal Raymond Burke in which the prelate makes many significant and courageous statements. (Our colleague in Germany, Giuseppe Nardi, has already made a report on it in German.)
In the following, we present some of the most important parts of the interview, which has been posted by InfoVaticana also in English.
About the matter of the Four Cardinals’ dubia, Cardinal Burke explains that they have a duty to respond to the confusion caused by the papal document Amoris Laetitia. He says:
There is so much confusion that we, first of all, asked the Holy Father to clarify please these questions, these fundamental questions. […] Because there is a very dangerous confusion, and also, with the confusion come divisions. Priests against priests, and disagreements among fellow Catholics about whether you are able to receive the Sacraments, if you live in an invalid marriage union. We even find disagreements among the Bishops, and this should not be…This is not for the good of the Church.
Cardinal Burke affirms once more that there are more than the four cardinals who are involved with the dubia:
I can tell you there are more than four cardinals who support the dubia, but for various reasons they do not want to say so publicly.
He also affirms that he has the private support of other cardinals. Asked about a possible public formal correction of Pope Francis, Cardinal Burke gives a somewhat hesitant answer:
That it is not clear yet [whether there will be a public correction]. Normally speaking, before taking that step, the cardinals would approach once again the Holy Father personally to say: Holy Father, the matter is so grave that we must correct it, and I trust that the Holy Father will respond at that moment.
In Cardinal Burke’s eyes, however, Cardinal Gerhard Müller himself has already given an answer to the dubia, in form of an interview to the Italian journal Il Timone:
[Question:] But you don’t think that the Cardinal Müller’s interview in Il Timone was an answer to [the] Dubia?
I believe so. It certainly pertains very much to the whole discussion, and it makes very clear what the Church is teaching regarding such matters. I believe, but I do not know, since I have not talked to Cardinal Müller, that the interview is a pastoral effort, on his part, to present the Church’s teaching clearly. [emphasis added]
Out of respect toward those involved, Cardinal Burke declined to give any date of a possible formal correction. The prelate reveals he has not yet spoken with the pope about the dubia.
As to the matter of the Order of Malta, Cardinal Burke has made it clear that Pope Francis has excluded him from any dealing with the Order of Malta:
For the moment, I am completely removed from any involvement with the Order of Malta.
At the same time he remembers how the pope had originally given him the guidance to remove any Freemason from the Order of Malta:
The Pope was very clear with me about that, that a Freemason cannot be a member of the Order of Malta. And so he told me that, if there are Knights who are persisting in being members of the Freemasons, then they must be expelled.
With regard to the Vatican commission that was to investigate the crisis of the Order of Malta, Cardinal Burke confirms that “there is something very strange going on.” Burke comes out clearly stating that he mistrusts the recent large donation given to the Order of Malta by an anonymous donor:
Regarding this large bequest, a part of which at least was left to the Order of Malta, there is no clear knowledge about who the donor is, what is the exact nature of the bequest, how it is being administered, and that is not right. Those things have to be clear.
And then it was very strange that three people who where directly involved in the matter of that bequest given to the Order should be on the so-called “group” who investigated the whole question of the dismissal of the Grand Chancellor and recommended that he should be reinstated. [emphasis added]
The cardinal also explains that it is “strange” that the brother of Albrecht von Boeselager, only a few days after von Boeselager’s dismissal from the Order, was named to the Commission of Control of the Institute for the Works of Religion. Burke importantly says with regard to the whole conflict in the Order “that the reinstatement of the Grand Chancellor was a principal objective.”
With regard to his being sent to Guam as a possible punishment, Cardinal Burke responded with the words: “That is false or fake news.”
As to his relationship with Pope Francis, Cardinal Burke explains that he has not spoken with him
since the meeting with him in November of last year. I greeted him after the meeting for the College of Cardinals and the Roman Curia before Christmas, but I have not spoken to him, and he has not granted me an audience. So, I don’t know what he is thinking. [emphasis added]
When explicitly asked, Cardinal Burke reveals that he has requested an audience with the pope. Therefore, Pope Francis seems to avoid a personal meeting with Cardinal Burke. Burke thus had “no opportunity, no occasion to speak with him about it [the Order of Malta].”
Cardinal Burke also makes a clear public criticism of the recent remarks of the Jesuit Superior General, Father Arturo Sosa, concerning the Words of Our Lord. Sosa said recently that when it comes to Jesus words on the indissolubility of marriage, “There would have to be a lot of reflection on what Jesus really said. At that time, no one had a recorder to take down his words.” Burke responds:
This is completely wrong. In fact, I find it incredible that he could make these kind of statements. They also need to be corrected. It is unreasonable to think that words in the Gospels, which are words that, after centuries of studies, have been understood to be the direct words of Our Lord, are now not the words of Our Lord because they were not tape recorded. I can’t understand it.
[Question:] But it is not a simple mistake…
It is a serious mistake that needs to be corrected.
Cardinal Burke also says that he has hopes for the U.S. under the new presidency of Donald Trump, especially with regard to issues of the protection of the life of the unborn children. He offered specific praise for Vice President Mike Pence:
[Question:] So do you think the new government is really committed in the defense of life?
Absolutely. Vice-President Pence for a very long time has been one of the leaders among politicians in the pro-life movement.
He also says that (despite a strange report by the Washington Post] he does not remember having met White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, and that he clearly has no ties with the Trump government.
Burke also says that he notices a general negative tone in the Vatican’s own newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, with regard to the new Trump presidency — something he himself regrets.
The American cardinal also touches upon the situation of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), and shows his own reserve toward the Society when he says:
Yes. I pray for it [a reconciliation with Rome], and I hope that it will come about. But the reconciliation of course has to be based on a common understanding. We cannot just simply will it. In other words, if there is not a common understanding, what we reconcile will result in all sort of conflicts and difficulties. We have to make sure that there it is a common understanding in regard to all the questions which, in the past, the FSPPX has had about the Church, the Holy See and the direction of the Catholic Church.
This interview is perhaps most significant due to the fact that Cardinal Burke makes several strong and courageous statements that expose him to even more criticism from the circle around Pope Francis. He does not flinch away, for example, from expressing his disagreement with the Vatican for welcoming the Prime Minister of Luxembourg with his homosexual partner. Cardinal Burke says:
I think something has to be done to address the public image that is given by such acts [as hosting this homosexual couple]. In the past, the Holy See simply, in a very discreet and respectful way, refused to permit such a thing. We have to return to that because by openly permitting this, the very strong impression is given that now the Holy See approves such situations. So that has to be made clear. I think too the terms for choosing those who are invited officially to come and to speak to the conferences at the Holy See have to be clear. I don’t understand how people who have openly opposed the Church and her teachings can be invited to this kind of conference.
[Question:] Like Paul Ehrlich…
Exactly, Paul Ehrlich…A prime example. [my emphasis]
Watch the full interview here:
This post has been updated.