Cardinal Burke Speaks on the “Formal Correction”

Last night at Saint Raymond of Peñafort parish in Springfield, Virginia, Cardinal Raymond Burke gave a talk in which he addressed questions about the long-awaited “formal correction” promised by the Four Cardinals in the event that Pope Francis does not respond to the dubia submitted to him last September and made public in November.

Before the video (courtesy of Andrew Guernsey) begins, the pastor of the parish, Fr. John De Celles, asked about the dubia:

Fr. De Celles: There are a lot of rumors circulating about the dubia, which you and four other esteemed cardinals sent to the Holy Father about divorce, marriage, and communion and the likeDo you know if there will be a response to the dubia from our Holy Father or from the CDF?

Cardinal Burke: I sincerely hope that there will be because these are fundamental questions that are honestly raised by the text of the apostolic…the post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia. And until these questions are answered, there continues to spread a very harmful confusion in the Church and one of the fundamental questions is in regards to the truth that there are some kinds that are always and everywhere wrong – what we call intrinsically evil acts – and so, we cardinals are, will continue to insist that we hear a response to these honest questions.

After rejecting the idea that the dubia are disrespectful or arrogant, and asserting that this is the traditional method of seeking clarification from the pope on the Church’s constant teaching, Burke addressed why, when there was no response after the initial submission of the dubia – and after the cardinals were told by the CDF that there would be no response – they made the dubia public.

The video below begins part way into the answer to the question, so we are providing the transcript of the full audio of that section before the video, which begins at “we have these questions”:

Cardinal Burke: We judged it necessary to make public the question[s] [of the dubia] because so many of the faithful were approaching us, saying, having these questions and saying well, what’s the wrong, we have these questions and it seems like, that none of the cardinals who have a great responsibility to assist the holy father has these questions and  so…we published them, and that also was done with great respect.

Fr. De Celles: If there is no response, will, what will your response be, the Four Cardinals?

Cardinal Burke: Then we simply will have to correct the situation, again, in a respectful way, that simply can say that, to draw the response to the questions from the constant teachings of the Church and to make that known for the good of souls.

You can see a video of the full talk on the LifeSiteNews Facebook page here.

Several days ago, one of our readers, Marie Pruden, posted a comment in which she recounted her own experience with Cardinal Burke when he visited California earlier this month:

Cardinal Burke was in Oakland, California last Sunday, March 19, where he celebrated a Pontifical Mass in the Extraordinary Form at St. Margaret Mary’s Church early in the afternoon, after which he blessed a newly-opened clinic of the Knights of Malta.

Later he held a public reception at Oakland’s Cathedral of Christ the Light before celebrating a solemn Benediction. It was at the reception line that I got to speak with the Cardinal briefly. Here’s how it went:

I genuflected as he blessed me and I kissed his ring. Standing up, I held on to his hand and asked, “Eminence, are you pushing through with the formal public correction on the errors of Amoris Laetitia?”

Before I could even finish my question came his answer, “Don’t worry about it. We’re looking into it. We’re working on it.”

I had wanted to ask a follow-up question but there’s a line behind me and it was time to go down to the church for Benediction.

From the little answer he gave, it feels like his group of four Cardinals hasn’t really given up on the Dubia. [emphasis added]

She expounded, in a later comment:

I went to the reception purposely to ask Cardinal Burke the question.


I’m Filipino and am very conscious of my accent and my verb tense and prepositions, so I had to make my question as short and as clearly stated as possible. That was probably why the Cardinal didn’t wait for me to finish my sentence. He was anticipating it. Perhaps other people ahead of me had asked the same question.

With the addition of the video, her eyewitness account adds further credibility to the notion that the formal correction is most certainly not off the table, and may in fact be anticipated at some point in the future.

With this latest video of Cardinal Burke saying that the formal correction may yet come — but with no deadline attached — it would seem that most likely nothing has transpired yet. Amoris Laetitia was a year old as of March 19, 2017 (the official date of its signing) but will not have its first anniversary as a public document until April 8. This means that a year after the release of this document that has caused, in Cardinal Burke’s own words, “a very harmful confusion in the Church”, we are still waiting for an official defense of the Church’s traditional teaching on marriage, family, Catholic sexual ethics, and sacramental discipline.

And while it is reasonable to conclude that such an action, insofar as it is almost unprecedented, would take careful study and caution in its execution, the pace, in relation to current events, is practically glacial. Further, we are forced to wonder what, if any, effect such a correction would have. Would it change anything, or would it simply be an objection, on the record, to what appears to be a blatant and unrepentant miscarriage of Church teaching on the part of the pope and a growing number of bishops and cardinals? Would, in other words, such a correction actually have any teeth?

Further, we are left to wonder what is being done to address the many other troubling and possibly heretical statements from Pope Francis, some of which we cataloged in our article on the occasion of the fourth anniversary of his election?

While it is a Maxim of Catholic thought that the Church moves slowly, even timelessly, because she deals in eternal truths, it is nonetheless undeniable that the damage that is being done by Pope Francis and his allies exceeds by an exponential factor the efforts to reign in and correct that damage through official ecclesiastical channels.

Souls are at stake. We do not have the luxury of time, and admonitions that these things must simply be ignored as we put our faith in Christ’s promises ring painfully hollow when every day the faithful watch people they know and love being led astray, or discouraged to the brink of despair.

In Luke 18:8, Our Blessed Lord famously asked if, when He returned, he would find faith on the earth. At the present moment, one is forced to wonder if that question applies equally to the end of this pontificate.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email