Tuesday 12th December 2017

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Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

September 21, 2017 blogger No Comments
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By DON FIER

(Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics for which he provided his illuminating insights are the Message of Our Lady of Fatima, an appraisal of the situation in which the Church finds herself in contemporary times, and the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy.
(This interview appeared in three parts in The Wanderer in August 2017.)

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Part 1

Q. We are in the midst of celebrating the centenary year of Our Lady’s apparitions to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal from May to October of 1917. The eldest of the seers, Sr. Lucia dos Santos, in a letter to Carlo Cardinal Caffarra penned in 1983 or 1984, indicated that “the decisive battle between the kingdom of Christ and Satan will be over marriage and the family.” With all the attacks on marriage and the family that have occurred in recent years and which continue to escalate, do you think we have entered into that period of history when the “decisive battle” is taking place? If so, how is the laity to respond?
A. Yes, I firmly believe that we have entered into that period of history. In civil society, we are seeing attacks on the integrity of the family through the ubiquitous “gender theory” and the so-called marriage of people of the same sex which, of course, cannot be true marriage. This is a sign that a truly apocalyptic situation is present in society.
Moreover, these ideas have even come into the Church as witnessed in the Synod of Bishops on Marriage and the Family held in 2014 and 2015. These types of ideas were being pushed in the Synod in terms of the so-called “change” necessitated by the “signs of the times.”
This change, as it is claimed, has not occurred in doctrine, but rather in practice. The idea promoted was that the Church’s teaching on marriage is an ideal, and that the Synod was focusing on pastoral practice as adapted to the troubles of our time, while leaving the ideal intact.
However, you cannot have a pastoral practice that does not respect underlying doctrine. The doctrine is not an ideal, but an expression of the reality, the reality of the grace of being man and woman, the grace of being called to the marital union, the grace which the couple confers on each other in the Sacrament of Matrimony, which is truly what husband and wife do when they enter into marriage.
During the 2014 session, I recall a cardinal stating that this teaching on marriage is fine as an ideal. However, since it is so difficult to follow in practice, we do not expect people to be so heroic as to live up to its demands. My response was, “We certainly do expect that of them, that everyone is called to live a heroic Christian life and to struggle against the tendency to sin.” Thus, I really do believe that we are in this decisive battle. It is one of the reasons why — in my own little way — I am doing whatever I can to defend the truth about marriage and the family.
At the Rome Life Forum just this past May, Cardinal Caffarra told a story regarding the beginning of his service after being named by Pope St. John Paul II as the first president of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. He related that there were numerous difficulties to be overcome in starting the Institute. He decided to write to Sr. Lucia at her Carmelite monastery in Coimbra, Portugal, to ask for her prayers. It was in writing back that Sister stated that the decisive battle will be over marriage and the family.
It is critically important for the laity to know the teaching on marriage and the family, teaching which is set forth so clearly in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. In discussions with other lay people, whether in situations at work or in business dealings or in the universities, they must be prepared to refute false notions being widely spread about. They must be prepared to say, “No, that is not true! That is not what the Church teaches.” Even those who lack eloquence and/or do not have a theological background have a sense of faith. Such people can respond to questionable notions by saying, “No, what you say I do not believe. That is not the teaching of Christ.”
Q. In Our Lady of Fatima’s apparition on July 13, 1917, the shepherd children were shown a vision of Hell. Sr. Lucia reported that multitudes of sinners were falling into Hell (like snowflakes) because there was no one to pray and make sacrifices for them. Yet in modern-day society, the existence of Hell is denied by many, and many who believe in its existence surmise that very few souls are condemned (only the most notorious mass-murderers). Even among high-ranking prelates of the Church, the universalist position is promoted (which holds that everyone is saved in the end and Hell is empty).
This view seems to contradict not only the private revelation of Sr. Lucia, but also numerous passages in Sacred Scripture. What is the teaching of the Church on the existence of Hell and the number of souls who will be condemned?
A. The Church clearly teaches that there is a place of eternal punishment for those who reject the grace of God, for those who knowingly and willingly sin grievously against God and against His grace. That place we call Hell — it is a place of eternal punishment. We know for certain that the fallen angels (the devils) are in Hell, so to say that Hell is empty doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. We also know that these fallen angels (Satan and his cohorts), as we say in the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, “prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.” Sacred Scripture attests to this in the First Letter of St. Peter: “Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8).
Besides the fallen angels, we know that unrepentant sinners are in Hell. But to my knowledge, the Church has never determined who they are or how many there are. However, in Holy Scripture, Our Lord seems to indicate there may, in fact, be many souls in Hell. For example, He says, “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matt. 22:14) and “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many” (Matt. 7:13).
So the teaching is firm that there is a Hell and that there are souls in Hell. How many, we do not know, but it is certainly a cause for us to reflect on our own lives and not to fall into that error of what the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer called “cheap grace” by which one thinks that God simply forgives everything — that we can carry on however we want and yet will ultimately be saved. No! If we do not cooperate actively and try to respond to God’s grace, we run the risk of eternal damnation.
Q. According to Documents on Fátima (from the Fatima Family Apostolate), Sr. Lucia wrote on August 29, 1989 that Pope St. John Paul II’s consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 25, 1984 fulfilled Our Lady’s request. At the Rome Life Forum about three months ago, you urged the Catholic faithful to “work for the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” What does the consecration you are calling for entail; is it more than the Pope simply naming Russia explicitly?
A. It is exactly that; it is as simple as that, namely, to fulfill Our Lady’s request exactly as she asked for it. There is no question that Pope St. John Paul II was keenly aware of the seriousness of the situation, of the need to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He intended precisely to do that on March 25, 1984. For my part, I believe he would have done it explicitly except at that time it was argued that in order to promote a friendlier relationship with the Eastern Bloc countries, the name of Russia should not be mentioned in particular.
I believe it was the Holy Father’s intention — that he did, in fact, consecrate Russia. However, it is also my belief that, given the situation in which we find ourselves today, the consecration of Russia must be done explicitly, exactly as Our Lady requested (while in no way denying John Paul’s intention to include Russia when he consecrated the world to her Immaculate Heart). My intent is not to level accusations against anyone, but rather in response to the present time which is so grave to urge the need to carry out what Our Lady asked exactly as she asked it.
To repeat, the consecration I called for is in no way to call into question what Sr. Lucia said about St. John Paul II fulfilling what Our Lady asked for. It is simply to respond to that request one more time and consecrate Russia in an explicit way. At the same time, it is the right and duty of the faithful to ask Pope Francis to do this consecration.
In actuality, I believe that for Russia it is a sign of a particular respect and affection for the country that the Church would consecrate it explicitly to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Certainly, at the time of the apparitions, Our Blessed Mother had in mind the spread of atheistic Communism. It is connected with a spread of materialism and relativism which people now do not call atheistic Communism but which is so virulent in our society. That Russia be consecrated now expresses also the respect for their nation which could now lead to a repudiation of Godless thinking. In this way, Russia could return to her noble past in which it was one of the most God-fearing nations in the world and where there was a tremendous devotion to Our Blessed Mother, especially as a means of expressing faith in God.

Collegiality

Q. In his recent letter to the Holy Father on behalf of you and your fellow cardinals who respectfully authored the five dubia concerning confusing statements in Amoris Laetitia, Cardinal Caffarra wrote that you “are moved solely by the awareness of the grave responsibility arising from the munus of cardinals.”
As a preface to questions that will follow, can you expound on the weighty responsibility that falls upon you in your office as a Cardinal of the Church? Also, how important is the collegiality of fellow cardinals (and bishops) throughout the world? Is it time for those who have been silent to come forward?
A. The College of Cardinals is often referred to as the Senate of the Roman Pontiff. They are to be the principal counselors of the Holy Father in the governance of the universal Church. Each cardinal has a very grave responsibility to express what, in his conscience, he believes to be for the good of the Church. In the present crisis in which we find ourselves, as Cardinal Caffarra expressed in his own name as well as in the name of the other three cardinals (Cardinals Brandmüller, Meisner, and Burke), the Church is undergoing a frightening and alarming time of confusion and division.
As Cardinal Caffarra states in his letter, “What is sin in Poland is good in Germany, that what is prohibited in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is permitted in Malta.” Likewise, what is said in some dioceses in the United States about the reception of Holy Communion and Penance is contradicted by bishops in other dioceses. This has resulted in a situation in the Catholic Church which is nearly impossible — it is as if we have become simply a denomination of the Protestant community in which we pick and choose which of the constant teachings of the Church we are going to follow. The cardinals, therefore, indeed have a very weighty responsibility.
With regard to collegiality of the cardinals, we are in fact a college and there should be unity among ourselves. What is the principle of that unity? It is not a political principle where cardinals who are more politically adept convince the College of Cardinals to agree with their view on various questions. The principle that is to unify us is the constant teaching and practice of the Church; that is the only principle that leads to unity.
As I mentioned in my recent presentation at “The Church Teaches Forum,” it is scandalous that one cardinal accuses another cardinal of taking a certain position because he is embittered at not becoming a power figure in the Church. This is all political language and has no place in the Church. I believe the cardinals and the bishops of the world need to turn their attention to what is central: Our Lord Himself, alive in His Church, and His unchanging teaching and discipline — the law that He teaches us.
Up until now, a number of cardinals and bishops have communicated with me privately and expressed their support. Many have not wanted to speak publicly and have openly told me that the reason is because they do not want to endure the attacks of the mass media and the attacks from within the Church.
We are now in a situation in which if one defends what the Church has always taught and practiced, he is accused of being “an enemy of the Pope.” This is a terrible accusation to make against a brother cardinal or bishop.
I believe it is critical for those who have remained silent — for whatever reason — to realize the time has come to speak. Otherwise, we will see a situation similar to that faced by St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More at the time of King Henry VIII.
On one hand, they were defending the authority of the Roman Pontiff who refused to allow Henry to divorce his wife and to marry another. At the same moment, they were defending marriage because what Henry VIII wanted to do was, in fact, to live with another woman when he was truly married to his wife. Practically speaking, Saints John Fisher and Thomas More were alone at that moment.
During the trial of St. Thomas More, he was reminded that the greater part of the bishops and abbots of monasteries, and many others supported the king. St. Thomas’ response was that he had Sacred Scripture, the teaching of the Ecumenical Councils, and of all the great saints as his witnesses — and that he chose to stay with them. For my part, it is the example of these two great saints that I try to follow.

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Part 2

Q. When I last interviewed you for The Wanderer about a year and a half ago, you noted that “many good priests, even bishops talk to you about the difficulty of dealing with confusion when they present the Church’s teaching.”
And that was before Amoris Laetitia was promulgated. The confusion has heightened as is clearly evidenced by the quote in Cardinal Caffarra’s letter to the Holy Father that you referred to earlier: “What is sin in Poland is good in Germany, that what is prohibited in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is permitted in Malta.”
In fact, it seems as if some interpretations are in direct opposition to what is taught in paragraph 1650 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. In light of the current situation, do you have any advice today for faithful bishops, priests, religious, and lay people who yearn for clarity?
A. My advice is simple. We know what the Church teaches and practices. It is contained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church; it is contained in the constant Magisterial teaching of the Church. This is what we hold to be true. Since the publication of Amoris Laetitia, I find that the situation has only worsened. I travel a good deal and wherever I go, I invariably find large groups of the lay faithful (as well as priests and even bishops) who confide in me about this situation — they are practically in desperation.
I often say that priests are the ones who suffer the most; they are the ones who have direct contact with the lay faithful who approach them and ask them to do things they simply cannot do. When faithful priests explain to the people why they are unable to fulfill their requests, they are accused of going against the Pope, of going against this so-called new direction in the Church.
This is why I admire what you are doing in writing a comprehensive commentary on the Catechism that appears weekly in The Wanderer. We need to return to the Catechism and study it carefully, paragraph-by-paragraph, making sure that we understand the depth of the Church’s teaching on marriage and all it demands of us.
Q. This leads to another topic we spoke of in December of 2015. When I asked you a question about possible decentralization of the Church’s hierarchical structure of governance, you emphasized that there is nothing in “the Church’s tradition that would give Conferences of Bishops [or diocesan ordinaries] the authority to make decisions about pastoral practices which would involve a change in Church teaching.”
Yet, as so clearly evident in the previous question, that is exactly what appears to be taking place. With regard to marriage, are we reaching the point of having a Church where Catholics can literally shop around for a location that suits their desires? Is the Church in danger of schism unless universal doctrinal discipline is restored?
A. This, in fact, is exactly what is going on. Bishops tell me that when they insist on authentic Church teaching with regard to irregular matrimonial unions, people are simply rejecting their teachings. They say that another bishop teaches differently and they choose to follow him.
The response of the Archbishop of Malta was shocking, who, when criticized about the troublesome document the Bishops of Malta published on Amoris Laetitia, said they follow the teaching of Pope Francis and not of other Popes. How can that be? The Popes are all to proclaim and be obedient to the one true Catholic Faith. If not, they have been deposed, as in the case of Pope Honorius. So then, this is simply not possible.
People talk about a de facto schism. I am absolutely in opposition to any kind of formal schism — a schism can never be correct. People can, however, be living in a schismatic situation if the teaching of Christ has been abandoned. The more appropriate word would be the one Our Lady used in her Message of Fatima: apostasy. There can be apostasy within the Church and this, in fact, is what is going on. In connection with the apostasy, Our Lady also referred to the failure of pastors to bring the Church to unity.
Q. Setting aside the question of timing, please explain how the process for the execution of a “formal correction” would proceed should a response to the five dubia not be forthcoming? How is a formal correction officially submitted, how is it addressed within the Church’s hierarchal structure, etc.?
A. The process has not been frequently invoked in the Church, and not now for several centuries. There has been the correction of past Holy Fathers on significant points, but not in a doctrinal way. It seems to me that the essence of the correction is quite simple. On the one hand, one sets forth the clear teaching of the Church; on the other hand, what is actually being taught by the Roman Pontiff is stated. If there is a contradiction, the Roman Pontiff is called to conform his own teaching in obedience to Christ and the Magisterium of the Church.
The question is asked, “How would this be done?” It is done very simply by a formal declaration to which the Holy Father would be obliged to respond. Cardinals Brandmüller, Caffarra, Meisner, and I used an ancient institution in the Church of proposing dubia to the Pope.
This was done in a very respectful way and not in any way to be aggressive, in order to give him the occasion to set forth the Church’s unchanging teaching. Pope Francis has chosen not to respond to the five dubia, so it is now necessary simply to state what the Church teaches about marriage, the family, acts that are intrinsically evil, and so forth. These are the points that are not clear in the current teachings of the Roman Pontiff; therefore, this situation must be corrected. The correction would then direct itself principally to those doctrinal points.
There have been cases, as I mentioned, of the correction of past Roman Pontiffs on non-doctrinal points where cardinals have gone to the Holy Father on one thing or the other such as, for example, matters dealing with administration of the Church.
Another question can also be raised. The Pope is the principle of unity of the bishops and all the faithful. However, the Church is being torn asunder right now by confusion and division. The Holy Father must be called on to exercise his office to put an end to this.
So then, the next step would be a formal declaration stating the clear teachings of the Church as set forth in the dubia. Furthermore, it would be stated that these truths of the Faith are not being clearly set forth by the Roman Pontiff. In other words, instead of asking the questions as was done in the dubia, the formal correction would be stating the answers as clearly taught by the Church.
Q. During his tenure as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), Gerhard Cardinal Mueller was a steadfast defender that confusing statements in Amoris Laetitia must be interpreted in line with the Church’s traditional teaching on reception of Holy Communion by civilly divorced and remarried Catholics. Do you foresee any possibility of a reversal in this teaching from the CDF in the aftermath of his non-renewal as Prefect?
A. It is not possible for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith to declare otherwise. If it did, it would be out of communion with the Church. What Cardinal Mueller has set forth is exactly what has always been taught by the Church. In more recent times, paragraph 84 of Pope St. John Paul II’s apostolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio has pronounced the Church’s constant teaching. So then, that type of reversal is simply not possible.
Q. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, in a message read at the funeral Mass of Joachim Cardinal Meisner, expressed his admiration of the Cardinal’s ability “to let go and to live out a deep conviction that the Lord does not abandon His Church, even when the boat has taken on so much water as to be on the verge of capsizing.”
The former Vicar of Christ prefaced his remark by referring to Cardinal Meisner as “a passionate shepherd and pastor [who] found it difficult to leave his post, especially at a time in which the Church stands in particularly pressing need of convincing shepherds who can resist the dictatorship of the spirit of the age and who live and think the faith with determination.”
Your Eminence, as a friend and close collaborator of Cardinal Meisner, how do you understand these touching words of tribute by Benedict? Can you offer any personal reflections on the life and legacy of this great Prince of the Church?
A. There is no question that Cardinal Meisner had a profound sense of the Catholic Faith in its entirety and a deep love for Our Lord and His Church. He was completely dedicated to being a good shepherd. I especially remember an encounter with him in February of 2014 at a consistory when Walter Cardinal Kasper gave his presentation suggesting there was a possibility of changing the Church’s discipline regarding those who live in irregular matrimonial unions receiving the Sacraments of Holy Communion and Confession.
Cardinal Meisner and I were walking out after one of the sessions and he said to me: “This is not possible. This will lead to schism.” And he was very passionate about it.
All along, Cardinal Meisner followed very carefully, and supported and encouraged those who were defending the Church’s constant teaching and practice. He was a wonderful pastor and was never one to say that those who supported the Church’s teaching were legalists and do not care about people, that they were throwing stones at them. He was a very loving pastor who understood that a good shepherd of the flock must teach the truth to the faithful in its entirety.
I saw him on March 4 of 2017 in Cologne when a former canon-law classmate celebrated his 65th birthday. A number of us wrote essays to honor him that were published in a book. I attended the presentation of the book, and Cardinal Meisner was there. It is absolutely true what Pope Benedict XVI wrote of him: He was serene, but also very ardent.
I vividly recall Cardinal Meisner saying to me that we need to continue fighting for the Church and her teaching. He possessed a wonderful combination of those two qualities, of serenity and ardor. I always had the impression that he was someone who was very close to Our Lord in prayer and that he spoke from a conviction that was not based in himself, but on an intimate knowledge of Our Lord.
Q. Multiple unconfirmed reports have surfaced suggesting that a “secret commission” has been formed in Rome to re-examine the teachings on contraception contained in Pope Paul VI’s landmark encyclical Humanae Vitae. Can any credence be given to these reports? Is it not the Church’s infallible and unchangeable teaching that it is intrinsically disordered to separate the unitive and procreative aspects of the marital act?
A. I cannot speak directly about the situation because no one who is a member of such a commission has spoken to me about it. However, I have heard from any number of serious and well-informed people that, in fact, such a commission has already been established and the members of the commission are at work. So I believe credence can be given to these reports.
At the same time, what is stated in your question is exactly the case — it is the infallible teaching of the Church that contraception is intrinsically disordered, that to separate the unitive and procreative aspects of the marital act is always and everywhere wrong. If this teaching is not upheld, not only is there a violation of the conjugal act in its essence, but there would then be an opening for all kinds of immoral activity involving our sexual faculties while people would justify sinful genital acts.
I call them genital acts rather than sexual acts because they do not respect the unitive and procreative aspects of the marital act. This is, for instance, how two people of the same sex justify genital activity between themselves; they justify their immoral behavior by saying they “love each other” and therefore it does not matter that their actions are not procreative.
Then people engage in further gravely immoral activity in an attempt to have children as a product of their so-called love. In the same way, too, this is the justification used for solitary acts involving our sexual organs. This, of course, cannot be right either.

Love And Truth

Q. Many today seem to understand “mercy” as if it means tolerance of moral evils, and to characterize another’s acts as “sinful” as being intolerably judgmental. Yet we know that mercy can never be divorced from truth. How can we be effective champions of a “discriminating” mercy? Is repentance a prerequisite for mercy?
A. When I was a child I can remember being taught that we love the sinner, but we hate the sin. The failure to follow this truth is the source of the confusion we see today. People incorrectly think that in identifying certain acts as sinful, they are expressing hatred for the people who commit these acts. In reality, they are expressing the greatest possible love for them. In other words, if one truly loves another person and that person is committing acts that endanger his or her eternal salvation, he is obliged to say something to help that person leave the sinful act behind and to reform his or her life.
It is a little bit like the situation of parents trying to raise their children. I can still remember that when my parents corrected me as a child for doing things that were wrong, I did not like it. Now, as an adult, I can see very clearly why I was corrected. When parents correct their children, the children often run out of the room saying, “I hate you.” Later, they are very grateful to their parents because they helped them to become a virtuous person.
Discriminating mercy, which is an excellent way to describe it, distinguishes the sin from the sinner. An expression of love toward the sinner makes it very clear that the sin he or she is committing is absolutely repulsive and must be stopped. Yet, the tendency is to respond with a false sense of mercy.
If we are not conscious of our sin and repenting of it, what does it mean to ask for God’s mercy? Why are we asking for God’s mercy if we have not sinned? So it is as simple as that. Otherwise, mercy is a meaningless term. We must admit the sin we have committed is wrong, that we are deeply sorry for it, and that we are asking for God’s mercy.

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Part 3

Q. Recently, Robert Cardinal Sarah again called for a serious implementation of a “reform of the reform” (RoftR) as it relates to the postconciliar Roman Rite. But most pastors (and diocesan worship directors), if they are sympathetic to the Cardinal’s suggestions, are eager to gradually implement these suggestions, recognizing that for many in the pews, a rapid implementation would be too much, and in fact would cause the same type of confusion and frustration many experienced after the Second Vatican Council.
So, which reforms suggested by the Cardinal should we focus on first, acknowledging that each parish and diocese is unique in its needs? Are there elements of the RoftR that are more important than others and should be focused on first?
A. Certainly I think the correction of all the liturgical abuses that were identified in Redemptionis Sacramentum [2004 Instruction issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments] is critical. At the end of his pontificate, Pope St. John Paul II concentrated on trying to correct liturgical abuses. In a positive way, the two suggestions that Cardinal Sarah has made give us a good direction.
First, he encouraged offering the Mass with everyone facing the Lord [ad orientem]. This will help so much to restore the sense of worship and to show that the Mass is not some kind of social event between the priest and parishioners, or the parishioners among themselves. Rather, it is an action of the whole community with the priest at the head acting in the person of Christ [in persona Christi], of “worshipping the Father in spirit and truth” (John 4:23) as our Lord said to the Samaritan woman at the well. I think this would be a very good place to begin.
Cardinal Sarah explains this very well in an article he published in L’Osservatore Romano on June 12th of 2015 and then again in his presentation at the Sacra Liturgia Conference in London on July 5th of 2016.
Cardinal Sarah addressed a second area of reform at the 2017 Sacra Liturgia Conference in Milan when he asked once again for consideration of receiving Holy Communion kneeling and on the tongue. I think those are two areas to address that would be very effective.
Of course, we also have the whole reform that needs to take place with regard to the disposition of the Church. For example, in so many places the tabernacles were removed from the sanctuary of the Church as the result of a false interpretation of the Second Vatican Council. Likewise, other things were done that disturbed the image of worship, such as the sacred music that is employed.
I think the matter of orientation of all towards the Lord with the priest at the head (toward the East if possible, unless it is physically impossible because of the geographical location of the church) and the manner of receiving Holy Communion reverently on one’s knees and on the tongue are important places to start.
Interesting to note is that here at the Shrine it has become the custom to receive Holy Communion on the tongue while kneeling. People have gladly embraced this practice, and I have never once received any hate mail or any criticism in its regard. Also, as Cardinal Sarah requested, we implemented the liturgical practice of ad orientem observance of Mass this past Advent and people have commented on what a greater beauty this has brought to the celebration of the Holy Mass.
Q. Asked recently by The Wanderer if Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s influence on the liturgy continues, Dr. William Mahrt, president of the Church Music Association of America, said: “It’s still with us, absolutely, yes,” and continued on to state: “He had this notion of ars celebrandi, the art of celebrating the liturgy.” Dr. Mahrt added, “His writings on the liturgy are still being read, and we instituted many things upon his inspiration, which will continue.”
Your Eminence, do you concur with Dr. Mahrt’s assessment of Benedict’s ongoing influence on the liturgy? Can you add any personal observations on what you think his enduring legacy on liturgical worship will be?
A. Yes, I know Dr. Mahrt — he is a wonderful man. There is no question in my mind that the most splendid contribution of the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI was in the area of restoring the correct order and beauty to the Sacred Liturgy. The art of celebrating (the ars celebrandi to which Dr. Mahrt refers) not only was exemplified in the manner of Benedict’s offering of Holy Mass, but also that by his teaching he helped so many priests to see that the priest gives over his body to Our Lord. It is the Lord Who offers the sacrifice and thus, the priest’s whole concentration should be on letting Our Lord act through him. In that way we avoid self-referential actions that have nothing to do with the Sacred Liturgy.
I believe that Pope Benedict XVI’s teaching was so profound because he had the courage to issue Summorum Pontificum [apostolic letter issued moto proprio in 2007]. The teaching contained in that document will certainly endure in its effects. Another enduring contribution was his magnificent book entitled Spirit of the Liturgy.
Q. Over the past few months, according the various news reports, you have stated that you do not believe that Muslims and Christians worship the same God. It has been suggested that this is inconsistent with the teachings of Vatican Council II (e.g., Lumen Gentium, n. 16; Nostra Aetate, n. 3) and public statements made by Pope St. John Paul II (e.g., Address to Young Muslims, Morocco, August 19, 1985). Your Eminence, can you provide clarity regarding this apparent contradiction?
A. In the Council documents and in Pope St. John Paul II’s writings, it is stressed that Islam, like Judaism and Christianity, teaches us that there is only one God, the Creator of the universe. So we are united in the belief that there is only one God. However, the God described in the documents of Islam as well as the actions of the very aggressive and violent Muslims do not portray Allah as a God of love. Love is the principal quality of God according to our Christian faith, for as St. John the Evangelist writes, “God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16).
The Muslims of some countries, in fact, have objected to Catholics using the word “Allah” (the Arabic word for God). They protested by saying, “Your God is not our God.” What is needed here is simply a realistic recognition of the teaching on God in Islam. I believe it will indicate that the Islamic understanding of the one God is in contradiction to the Christian teaching on the one God.
Q. It seems as if pro-life and pro-family apostolates are being viewed more favorably by the majority of the populace as a result of scientific advances conclusively proving when life begins, disclosure of the abhorrent practice of selling baby parts from aborted fetuses, and many other factors. It seemed unlikely just a few short years ago that defunding Planned Parenthood would even be discussed. In light of our new administration and the changing opinions of our country’s citizenry, what is your assessment of the progress being made by pro-life and pro-family movements in the United States?
A. I feel strongly that real progress has been made. For example, the annual March for Life and all the efforts on the part of individuals and groups who have the promoted respect for human life by such practices as providing free ultrasounds for women who are expecting a baby, giving witness at abortion clinics, praying the Rosary, giving help to young women by counseling them, and providing assistance to women who are having difficult pregnancies are producing good effects.
At the same time, the horrible evil of destroying an innocent, defenseless human life is becoming even clearer to people.
We now have a president, who, from all indications based on concrete actions he has taken, is pro-life himself. I personally have not studied this, but it is said that in the past this was not always so. The past does not make a difference; what matters is that now he seems to understand. I believe what is important now is that we make even stronger our pro-life and pro-family movements and build on the momentum that has been generated. The worst thing that could happen would be to rest on our laurels; we could then lose all this progress that has been made.
It is a constant battle. Satan hates human life: “He was a murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44). We know that the Evil One is constantly about the work of promoting the lack of respect of human life. So we really need to persevere and be vigilant in our continued promotion of a “culture of life.”
Q. Your continued perseverance and faithfulness to the Gospel message despite the many changes and the ill treatment you have experienced over the past few years have been an inspiration to countless faithful Catholics. It is truly amazing how you are able to maintain your rigorous travel and speaking schedule, which must be very physically taxing. What is the most important lesson you have learned during this time?
A. I believe the most important lesson I have learned is that I must abandon myself totally to defending Christ and His Church out of true love for Him and for His Mystical Body. We can always be confident that God will assist us with the grace we need, even in matters of physical strength and of being able to endure very difficult situations. I have discovered this more and more because there have been times when things that have been said about me are very painful. Just the physical demands of extensive traveling and of preparing, in the best way possible, presentations of the Church’s teaching have made this realization ever more evident to me.
At times, what seemed impossible to me has been accomplished if I remain serene in carrying out this work to the best of my ability. I know the strength comes from Our Lord because I do not have it in myself.
From my childhood, I have been rather sensitive to being criticized by other people — it is not something I enjoy. But I have found that the recent, somewhat harsh criticism does not deter me from doing what Our Lord asks of me and that I am very much at peace.

Support This Endeavor

Q. An ambitious and praiseworthy project that I know is near and dear to your heart is the effort you initiated in 2016, through the formation of a “Memorare Army of Prayer,” to raise funds for the construction of the “Father John A. Hardon, S.J., Marian Catechist Apostolate Center and Retreat House” at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis. What progress has been made thus far and have any definitive timelines yet been established? What can readers of The Wanderer do to help?
A. Towards the goal of saying the Memorare 500,000 times, a total of 377,023 have been prayed to date. From a financial perspective, we have raised over eleven million dollars towards the goal of thirteen million dollars. We were hoping that we could go well over the thirteen million dollar goal in order to build more of the Father John A. Hardon, S.J., Marian Catechist Apostolate Center and Retreat House.
Moreover, in order to secure the financial situation of the Shrine, seven million dollars of the funds that are raised go immediately into the Endowment Trust, in order to bring its holdings to ten million dollars. The Endowment Trust will then generate significant annual earnings to go towards the ongoing work of the Shrine.
We have not yet gone into the general phase of the capital campaign. Right now, we are simply approaching individual donors to get an initial substantial amount that would then encourage others to be generous. We should be bringing that to a conclusion by the Fall and then will make a general appeal to the public. So it is coming along well, but we hope to do even better.
Readers of The Wanderer are encouraged to support this worthy endeavor which is fundamentally a work of evangelization during this time of confusion in the Church. For more information regarding the capital campaign, please consult the following website: www.AnsweringMarysCall.org.

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Please Pray for Dr. Robert Hickson

Over the past couple of years, Maike Hickson has become a very important part of our work here. She has helped us greatly in our coverage of European stories, particularly in the German-language press. She has built relationships with other…Continue Reading

Archbishop Naumann: “If the Church is silent on the destruction of life, we’re being negligent”

Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas was recently chosen by his brother bishops to lead the U.S. Catholic Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee of Pro-Life Activities. The 68-year-old native of St. Louis, Missouri, was selected on November 14 by…Continue Reading

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CDL. BURKE TO OFFER PONTIFICAL MASS AT WISCONSIN SHRINE

LA CROSSE, Wis. (ChurchMilitant.com) – Cardinal Raymond Burke will offer Pontifical High Mass on Sunday, December 10. The Mass will be at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wisconsin, at 9:30 a.m. The date of the…Continue Reading

Newly revealed vision of St. Pope John Paul: Islam will invade Europe

Bienno, Italy, November 23, 2017 (LifeSiteNews): A close friend of Saint John Paul II has affirmed that the late pope, revealed to have been a mystic, told him that Europe would be invaded by Islam. Speaking to a large group…Continue Reading

Cardinal Dolan, alumni ‘baffled’ over Notre Dame decision to offer birth control coverage

SOUTH BEND, Indiana, November 28, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The University of Notre Dame’s recent about-face to provide birth control via its health coverage is baffling, Cardinal Timothy Dolan said. “We rejoiced when Notre Dame united with us in our expression…Continue Reading

Spain’s Catholic Church speaks out against Catalan independence drive

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Pope sends telegramme of condolence following terror attacks in Egypt

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a telegramme of condolence for Friday’s attack on a mosque in Egypt, saying he was “profoundly grieved to learn of the great loss of life caused by the terrorist attacks on Rawda mosque in North…Continue Reading

Can Catholic schools resist the new gender confusion?

Two months ago, parents at Sacred Heart girls’ school in Hammersmith received an unexpected letter. “In recognising Jesus as our teacher through the Gospels,” wrote headteacher Marian Doyle, “the first impulse for us as a Catholic school must be to…Continue Reading

‘Crucified cow’ on display at center of Catholic church, locals outraged Belgium , Catholic , Sacrilege

November 23, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Local Catholics in a Belgian town are outraged as a cruciform cow has been erected as art at the center of a consecrated Catholic church. They are urging the local bishop to have it removed…Continue Reading

Christian father loses appeal to shield kids from LGBT agenda in public school

HAMILTON, November 24, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — A Christian father has lost his appeal in a landmark parental rights case that pitted him against his public school board, the province of Ontario, and the elementary teachers’ union for his attempts to…Continue Reading

Bannon Discusses Growing Up in ‘a Very Observant Catholic Family’ in the South Where the KKK ‘Tarred and Feathered’ Priests

In a freewheeling new interview with author Keith Koffler, Steve Bannon recounted his upbringing in a “very observant Catholic family” in the 1950s and 1960s and how that molded who he is now. Koffler, author of Bannon: Always the Rebel, asked Mr. Bannon—Breitbart…Continue Reading

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  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

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Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

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  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Pope Francis calls for Lord’s Prayer translation to be changed

Pope Francis has called for the Italian translation of the Lord’s Prayer to be changed as it implies God leads people into temptation. The line, which is traditionally translated into English as “And lead us not into temptation”, was recently changed in French to say “do not let us enter into temptation.” Currently, the Italian translation is

Archbishop: Politicians who say they’re pro-abortion and a good Catholic must be admonished

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Denmark aborted all but 4 babies diagnosed with Down syndrome last year

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Pope Francis urges Trump to respect ‘status quo’ in Jerusalem

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It Is More and More Apparent The Pope Has answered The Dubia . . . POPE DECLARES TROUBLING INTERPRETATION OF AL ‘AUTHENTIC MAGISTERIUM’

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Advent With The English Martyrs

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Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic. . . The Supreme Court’s Overturning Of Bad Precedents: Don’t Hold Your Breath

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Lead Us Not Into Temptation

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Our Lady Of Fatima… Apostle Of The Immaculate Heart: The Life Of Lucia Dos Santos

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Tampa Change-Counseling Ban Faces Legal Challenge

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Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World… Is The Pope A Protestant?

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The Sacraments Instituted By Christ…. The Effects Of The Sacrament Of Baptism

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 6 What does Baptism do, anyway? Isn’t it just a ceremony? No, it is not. The first, primordial effect of Baptism is to give sanctifying grace, a participation in the Life of God Himself: the indwelling of the Holy Trinity in the soul of the child or adult being baptized. It is never enough…Continue Reading

Marriage Under The Regime Of Sin

By DON FIER In beginning our consideration of the Sacrament of Marriage last week, it was immediately affirmed that “God Himself is the author of matrimony” (Gaudium et Spes, n. 48 § 1). Our Creator inaugurated this noble institution “from the beginning” (Matt. 19:4) when He formed Eve from Adam’s rib in the Garden of Eden on the sixth day…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: One of the most common arguments in favor of abortion is that it should be permitted in cases of rape. Not so, says Rebecca Kiessling, whose mother was raped. The founder and president of Save the 1, Kiessling, in a speech to an international pro-life conference in Peru in November 2017, offered the following reasons against this exception:…Continue Reading

Rejoice Always

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Catholic Heroes . . . Blessed Miguel Pro

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Catholic Heroes… Pope St. Damasus I

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