LaVerità Interview With Cardinal Burke
January 11, 2017
Original available at La Verità website (Paywall)
Translation by Andrew Guernsey
“There is no ultimatum to the Pope, but we must press forward: the faith is in danger!”
It is the leader of the cardinals who wants to correct Bergoglio: “The confusion in the Church is evident. Clarity is needed.”
The discussion over the dubia, doubts submitted to the Pope by the four cardinals on how to interpret the exhortation Amoris laetitia continues to draw attention. Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the watchdog of orthodoxy, in an interview with Tgcom24 said that the questions should not have been made public (the letter to the Pope was in September and the disclosure to La Verita was in November), there is no need to correct the pope because “there is no danger to the faith.”
“The confusion in the Church over the interpretation of certain passages of Amoris laetitia is evident,” Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke , the most outspoken of the four cardinals, says instead to La Verita: “that is why I do not see how anyone could be able to say that there is no danger to the faith. Moreover, we have communicated in a very respectful way five dubia to the Pope, and when they were not given a response, we decided, for the good of souls, to make public that there are dubia and that all the faithful are called to pay attention.”
Burke, a signer with Walter Brandmuller, Carlo Caffara and Joachim Meisner, then raised the issue of a possible “formal correction” of the Pope. And according to reports from several Italian media outlets drawing from an interview published it the United States [with LifeSiteNews], Burke gave an ultimatum for this “formal correction” that expired after the feast of Christmas. In reality, there is “absolutely no ultimatum,” confirms Cardinal Burke.”Many media outlets have misunderstood. In that interview in the United States they had asked me what would be the next steps with respect to the dubia presented to the Holy Father, and I simply said that nothing could happen at that moment seeing that we were about to enter into the liturgical season of Christmas and of Epiphany. Only afterwards could one possibly think of how to proceed, but it certainly was not an ultimatum for a confrontation with the Pope.” The dubia revolve around access to Eucharist for the divorced and remarried who live more uxorio [as husband and wife], access that, in certain cases, Amoris laetitia permits. And which instead, the previous magisterium had ruled out on several occasions, except in the case of a commitment to live as brother and sister for those divorced and remarried persons who cannot be separated for valid reasons. Brandmuller has said that the possible “formal correction” of the pope would be able to take place “in camera caritatis” [in the room of charity] ” “In fact,” Burke specifies , “I have never said that a public confrontation ought to occur. I agree with Cardinal Brandmüller, the first step would be to ask for a private meeting with the Holy Father to point out to him the unacceptable statements in Amoris laetitia, showing how, in one way or another, they are not adequate to express what the Church He has always taught.
There are those who claim that an institution of “formal correction” of the Holy Father does not exist in the discipline of the Church. Have you invented it?
“Of course not. St. Thomas Aquinas in his theological writings proposes the problem of the possible formal correction of the pope and it is also in the discipline of the Church. It has been rarely used, there are some examples, and certainly we can envisage the case of a Pope who in some way might be able to fall into error. In this case, a correction must be made.”
To claim that, in certain cases, the divorced and remarried who live together “more uxorio” [as husband and wife] can approach the Eucharist means to commit an error?
“We could say that the statement is materially erroneous, because it is not possible to receive the sacraments for a person who is living more uxorio [as husband and wife] with someone who is not his or her spouse. To claim instead that this is possible constitutes a formal error that goes against what Jesus himself taught and has always been the teaching of the Church “.
Therefore, to claim this is a heresy?
“No, it seems to me that it can qualify as an error, but we are dealing with a complex situation. Heresy is the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt, on the part of the baptized, of a truth that one must believe by divine and Catholic faith. One heresy could be that of one who sustains that there do not exist intrinsically evil acts; to affirm this would be to say something contrary to the doctrine of the Church and would clearly be a heresy. The affirmation about access to the sacraments of which we were speaking a while ago, on the other hand, refers to a practice that contradicts two doctrines: that of indissolubility of matrimony and that of the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. At first glance we can say that certainly it’s an error.”
Let’s return to the dubia. There were those who insinuated that the four cardinals are divided among themselves. Is it true?
“This is totally false, we are united and that’s why I do not want to make any speculation about possible next steps to be taken for the initiative that we have undertaken. If we do it, we will do it after having confronted him. ”
But do you still think the Pope will respond to your dubia?
“We are always waiting for a response from the Pope as our supreme pastor. To not expect a response would be disrespectful of his office. ”
For many, the answer has already been given: the four cardinals are merely “doctors of law”, severe and insensitive.
“It seems to me that the moral law is not something that imprisons a person, it is exactly the opposite: the moral law frees the person and directs him to do good. In fact, when there is no respect for the moral law, chaotic situations are produced, and morally there is a sort of imprisonment. For the person of faith, we must say that the Divine law liberates, and it is not a negative thing. And then to teach the moral law is a great act of love of neighbor because it points the way to authentic freedom and happiness. It is impossible to claim that a person can find some form of happiness while sinning.”
The Pope has spoken of encountering “malevolent” resistance that “presents itself when the devil inspires wicked intentions.” Did you all feel addressed specifically here?
“I do not know to whom the pope was referring, personally I certainly did not feel guilty, because it is not the description of my position.”
With your public initiative, does it seem to you to be contributing to dividing the Church rather than uniting it?
“What divides is falsehood and ambiguity, the truth always unites. It is absurd to say that four cardinals who ask five reasonable questions, and of fundamental importance for all Christians, are acting in a way to divide the Church. We are serving the Petrine office, giving the Pope the opportunity to confirm us in the teaching of the Church, faced with a situation that is proving ambiguous in practice.”
Do other cardinals and prelates endorse the merit of the questions you have asked?
“We are not only four. I personally know other cardinals who fully endorse the dubia “.
Why so much noise for a problem that many have a hard time understanding?
“We are dealing here with a question that concerns the Church in a profound way: matrimony and family, which is its fruit, and they constitute the foundation of the very life of the Church. Our task is not to lose ourselves in difficult or vague questions; we are simply giving our contribution to the growth of the Church in the most elementary cell of life. “
Ultimately, the only crime that remains is that of being intransigent traditionalists?
“Well, all these labels are very convenient for not addressing the core of our concern, which is the life of the Church. The dubia, like it or not, are directed to this.”