Wednesday 17th August 2022

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . (Part 2) Insights On The State Of The Church In The Aftermath Of The Ordinary Synod On The Family

January 11, 2016 Frontpage No Comments

By DON FIER

Part 2

(Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, recently traveled from Rome to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., a magnificent place of worship which he founded and dedicated.
(His Eminence graciously granted an extensive interview to The Wanderer during which he shared his insights on a variety of topics, including the recently concluded Ordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family and his recommendations for how we should contend with the uncertainty and confusion that is currently prevalent among the clerical and lay faithful.)

+ + +

Q. It appears that proposals are under consideration for decentralization in the hierarchical structure of the Church’s governance. In other words, Conferences of Bishops and diocesan ordinaries would be given more authority to deal locally with pastoral practices on some of the hot-button topics addressed by the Synod. Please offer your comments as to the possibility of this happening. Are fractures in unity or even schisms (as some media outlets suggest) on the horizon?
A. I think it is a real danger. “Decentralization” is a word taken from the secular world and is really not appropriate to conversations about the Church. What is required is to return to the Gospels and to the Church as Christ constituted her. From the very beginning of His public ministry, He called the Twelve, He set them apart, and He prepared them to exercise His pastoral governance of the Church in every time and every place.
To fulfill this responsibility, Christ established Peter as the head of the apostolic college, as the principle of unity among all the bishops and among all the faithful. It is very clear in His words at Caesarea Philippi to Simon Peter: “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:13).
This is the Divine Gift given; this is what is of Divine Law in the Church: It is the apostolic office of the Roman Pontiff and of the bishops in communion with him. They have the responsibility for governance.
The Conference of Bishops is a man-made construct to help coordinate pastoral activity and to promote fellowship among bishops. Our Lord did not ever teach anything about it, nor is there anything in the Church’s tradition that would give Conferences of Bishops the authority to make decisions about pastoral practices which would involve a change in Church teaching. Let us recall that every pastoral practice is tied to a doctrinal truth.
[Jesuit] Fr. [Antonio] Spadaro says in his article that a pastoral practice in Germany might be radically different than a pastoral practice in Guinea. How can that be if one is referring to the same doctrine and the same truth of Christ? I find this whole notion very troubling.
The diocesan bishops are the teachers of the Faith in their dioceses. However, the bishops — and even more so the Roman Pontiff — are held to the highest level of obedience to Christ and to the living tradition by which Christ comes to us in His Church. We cannot make up the Church in every era or according to local ideas.
From my own experience with regard to Conferences of Bishops, they can be very helpful but can also have a very damaging effect in the sense that the individual bishop no longer takes as seriously as he should his own responsibility to teach the Faith and to govern in accordance with that teaching. The idea can develop that the teaching and governance of the Bishop is supposedly going to be determined by the Conference of Bishops.
When you talk about a Conference of Bishops like the one in the United States (which has so many bishops), it is clear that it is not an effective instrument to deal with pastoral questions which touch upon the truths of the Faith. If such a thing were to happen where, for instance, the pastoral practice for those who were in irregular matrimonial unions was said to be at the discretion of the Conference of Bishops or of the individual diocesan bishop, we would end up with another Protestant denomination.
We are one Church throughout the whole world: one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. These four marks need to be greatly emphasized in the times in which we live.
Q. The recently released documents (issued motu proprio) by Pope Francis on the declaration of nullity process have led many to believe that the Church is relaxing her teaching on the indissolubility of marriage and that it will soon be easier to obtain a declaration of nullity. Please expound on what the changes will actually mean at the pastoral level.
A. I find it practically impossible to see how the changes which were mandated by the motu proprio pronouncements can be implemented by December 8. They are radical, and they touch upon the very heart of the matrimonial nullity process as the way to arrive at the judgment of truth regarding a claim of nullity. For instance, the idea that there are many cases that can be easily judged, so that a party could come to the bishop and receive a judgment within 45 days, simply goes against the realistic situation of matrimonial nullity.
Most claims of matrimonial nullity are very complex — the breakdown of a marriage is normally a very complex situation. There are a few cases when someone deceived another person about the fact that he or she was bound by a prior matrimonial union. The innocent party thought it was a valid marriage, but it could not be because the other party was already bound by another union. That is easily demonstrated by documents.
For the most part, and I have a long experience, these cases are very complex and require a careful examination by those who are prepared to do this work. A number of bishops, very honestly and through no fault of their own, have told me:
“I am not prepared to judge marriage nullity cases. Other than basic studies in canon law, I have not studied this. That is why I send priests away for a number of years to be prepared to be able to do this.”
My response to these bishops is: “The law can never oblige you to do something of which you are not capable; in other words, something that you cannot honestly do.” Therefore, the response to be given to the faithful is: “I am not prepared to give this judgment, and therefore I am remanding your case to the matrimonial tribunal which is prepared to give a just judgment.”
I think this whole matter of the reform of the matrimonial nullity process is in need of a very serious review, especially with regard to some of the most critical issues. For instance, it is now no longer necessary to have a second conforming affirmative decision in order to execute a declaration of marriage nullity.
The argument is often used that this was only introduced in the 18th century by Pope Benedict XIV, and indeed it was. But he introduced it for a very serious reason: There were abuses, even at that time, in the granting of declarations of marriage nullity.
But, even at that time, before he introduced the requirement of a double-conforming sentence, the marriage nullity cases were judged by a college of judges. Three to five judges (and even more) studied the cases and gave a judgment regarding the claim of nullity. In order that a declaration of nullity be granted, a majority of the judges had to be in favor of the nullity. Now, in many dioceses, the marriage nullity cases are judged by a single judge.
So we have a situation in which a claim of marriage nullity can be judged affirmatively by one man only without any mandatory check on his judgment. This is not right; it is not a serious process for judging a matter touching on the very foundation of the life of society and of the Church!
Not only does it not treat the case in a serious manner, but also places a burden on the judge which is unjust. For my part, if I were a judge, I would not accept responsibility for judging these cases. I do not believe that a single judge’s decision gives a sufficient guarantee of the defense of the sanctity of marriage; my judgment alone is not sufficient in such a serious matter.
If someone has ever worked in a tribunal, he will understand. There is this idea which is very naive and sentimentalist. It centers just on the person who has come forward and said, “My marriage was null, and I ask the Church to give a judgment so I can enter into marriage.” That person should be treated with great compassion, but his or her marriage is a public state of life in the Church which, therefore, involves a partner and a whole series of relationships within the family, usually including children.
To center our attention simply on trying to find a quick fix for that individual, so that he or she can either enter into a marriage (or have a marriage blessed which has already been attempted) creates tremendous harm to a whole series of people who are involved with that marriage, and not incidentally or in some kind of pharisaical manner. It is a real involvement and affects many people: parents, children, siblings, friends, and so forth. It has to do with that which we hold most sacred in our lives.

God’s Mercy

Q. As we enter the Year of Mercy as proclaimed by Pope Francis, it is important to recognize that the Synod Fathers discussed, on an in-depth basis, the need of mercy and love for those who live outside the Church’s precepts. However, must we not guard against a false compassion where the sin — as well as the sinner — is accepted and condoned?
A. Yes, this is exactly the point. God’s mercy is a response to repentance and a firm purpose of amendment. The prodigal son came back to his father after repenting for what he had done. He said to his father that he was no longer worthy to be his son and asked to be accepted back as a slave. He understood what he had done and repented — the father’s mercy was a response to that. He saw that his son had experienced a conversion of heart.
So, too, if people are living in gravely sinful situations and come to the Church, we embrace them with love. We always love the sinner, but we have to see that the person recognizes the sin and is striving to overcome it, that he is repenting and making reparation for the harm the sin has caused. Otherwise, mercy becomes cheapened and meaningless.
I have fear that people are saying “mercy, mercy, mercy” without understanding it. Yes, God is the God of mercy. But mercy is a very substantial concept — it has to do with our intimate relationship with God and our recognition of the infinite goodness of God, of our own sinfulness, and of our need for confession and repentance. We throw ourselves upon God’s mercy, but also beg for the grace to change our lives and to be true to our purpose of amendment.
We see this in the Gospels in Our Lord’s encounters with sinners. He is very compassionate, but He is always very clear with them. He told the woman caught in adultery to go her way and to sin no more (cf. John 8:11). Similarly, when He encountered the Samaritan woman at the well of Jacob, He asked her about her husband. When she replied, “I have no husband,” He said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and he whom you now have is not your husband” (John 4:17-18).
To divorce mercy from truth is to betray mercy and to make it not what it is in essence: an expression of God’s charity.

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Vatican and USCCB leave transgender policy texts unpublished

While U.S. bishops have made headlines for releasing policies addressing gender identity and pastoral ministry, guidelines on the subject have been drafted but not published by both the U.S. bishops’ conference and the Vatican’s doctrinal office, leaving diocesan bishops to…Continue Reading

Biden says Pope Francis told him to continue receiving communion, amid scrutiny over pro-abortion policies

President Biden said that Pope Francis, during their meeting Friday in Vatican City, told him that he should continue to receive communion, amid heightened scrutiny of the Catholic president’s pro-abortion policies.  The president, following the approximately 90-minute-long meeting, a key…Continue Reading

Federal judge rules in favor of Gov. DeSantis’ mask mandate ban

MIAMI (LifeSiteNews) – A federal judge this week handed Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis another legal victory on his mask mandate ban for schools. On Wednesday, Judge K. Michael Moore of the Southern District of Florida denied a petition from…Continue Reading

The Eucharist should not be received unworthily, says Nigerian cardinal

Priests have a duty to remind Catholics not to receive the Eucharist in a state of serious sin and to make confession easily available, a Nigerian cardinal said at the International Eucharistic Congress on Thursday. “It is still the doctrine…Continue Reading

Donald Trump takes a swipe at Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him

Donald Trump complained about Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him in 2020. The former president made the comments in a conference call featuring religious leaders. The move could be seen to shore up his religious conservative base…Continue Reading

Y Gov. Kathy Hochul Admits Andrew Cuomo Covered Up COVID Deaths, 12,000 More Died Than Reported

When it comes to protecting people from COVID, Andrew Cuomo is already the worst governor in America. New York has the second highest death rate per capita, in part because he signed an executive order putting COVID patients in nursing…Continue Reading

Prayers For Cardinal Burke . . . U.S. Cardinal Burke says he has tested positive for COVID-19

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke said he has tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. In an Aug. 10 tweet, he wrote: “Praised be Jesus Christ! I wish to inform you that I have recently…Continue Reading

Democrats Block Amendment Banning Late-Term Abortions, Stopping Abortions Up to Birth

Senate Democrats have blocked an amendment that would ban abortions on babies older than 20 weeks. During consideration of the multi-trillion spending package, pro-life Louisiana Senator John Kennedy filed an amendment to ban late-term abortions, but Democrats steadfastly support killing…Continue Reading

Transgender student wins as U.S. Supreme Court rebuffs bathroom appeal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to a transgender former public high school student who waged a six-year legal battle against a Virginia county school board that had barred him from using the bathroom corresponding…Continue Reading

New York priest accused by security guard of assault confirms charges have now been dropped

NEW YORK, June 17, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A New York priest has made his first public statement regarding the dismissal of charges against him.  Today Father George W. Rutler reached out to LifeSiteNews and other media today with the following…Continue Reading

21,000 sign petition protesting US Catholic bishops vote on Biden, abortion

More than 21,000 people have signed a letter calling for U.S. Catholic bishops to cancel a planned vote on whether President Biden should receive communion.  Biden, a Catholic, supports abortion rights and has long come under attack from some Catholics over that…Continue Reading

Bishop Gorman seeks candidates to fill two full time AP level teaching positions for the 2021-2022 school year in the subject areas of Calculus/Statistics and Physics

Bishop Thomas K. Gorman Regional Catholic School is a college preparatory school located in Tyler, Texas. It is an educational ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Tyler led by Bishop Joseph Strickland. The sixth through twelfth grade school provides a…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  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.

Untitled 1

Catechism

This Past Week in The Wanderer . . .

">

Are We Blundering into a Military Conflict with China? The Left Wants to Abolish Everything . . . The House Just Voted to Abolish and Repeal the Defense of Marriage Act!

Today . . .

Toyota Sponsors Lesson on ‘First Steps’ of Drag Artistry for Children

Toyota sponsored an event for “LGBTQ+ Youth” that featured a performance from a drag performer and a workshop on “the first steps of becoming a fabulous drag performer.” The event, called “Models of Pride,” was hosted by the Los Angeles LGBT Center and was intended for those 24 years and younger. No minimum age was listed on the website. The Los Angeles LGBT Center described it as “the world’s largest free conference for LGBTQ+ youth…Continue Reading

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb Signs Abortion Ban to Protect Unborn Babies

The Indiana legislature has become the first in the nation to pass an abortion ban after the Supreme Court overturned Roe. The measure went to Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb, who signed the bill into law almost immediately on Friday night. Earlier today, the Indiana state House approved a bill to ban most abortions and tonight the state Senate voted to confirm the changes to the initial bill 28-19. With Holcomb’s signature, the law will go…Continue Reading

Southern Maryland parish forbidden to offer traditional Latin Mass after investing in quarter million dollar renovation and decoration for the purpose

Nightmare and heartbreak. Parishioners of Saint Francis de Sales in Benedict, Maryland, devoted to the Church’s traditional worship, installed a new pine floor, painted altars and gradines, hung chandeliers and lamps, and painted a monumental mural. And more. After an extensive professional renovation and painting of the church’s entire 100-year-old plaster interior walls and ceiling. 

Bishop urges Catholic educators to see importance of the Eucharist

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Addressing Catholic educators at an annual national conference, Bishop Thomas A. Daly of Spokane, Washington, urged them to make sure their work was always rooted in the importance of the Eucharist. The bishop, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Catholic Education, said schoolteachers should help their students more deeply appreciate the sacrament amid the current National Eucharistic Revival.

” A Misunderstanding” ?BISHOPS WILL ALLOW LESBIAN TO FOSTER A CHILD

From The Washington Post:  An unmarried lesbian will be allowed to foster a child after the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) let a lawsuit alleging discrimination go unchallenged, suggesting single LGBTQ adults may be able to foster through Catholic organizations while same-sex couples generally continue to be banned.

Bloodlust

By CINDY PASLAWSKI Back when my husband was in boot camp in early 1970, his group of draftees was being trained for combat. Bayonet practice was particularly onerous to him. With every thrust, the guys were told to yell, “To kill! To kill!”The anti-Roe v Wade privacy decision protests swirling continuously around our nation remind…Continue Reading

1 In 10 U.S. Households In 2019 Worth More Than $1.3 Million

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY Ten percent of the households in this country at the end of 2019 — just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit — had a net wealth of more than $1.3 million, according to a report published last month by the Census Bureau.There were also definite patterns among households that had higher wealth…Continue Reading

The FBI Doesn’t Seem To Care Enough To Explain Their Trump Raid

By NEIL PATEL From the moment Donald Trump came down the escalator to formally step onto the political stage, America’s leading establishment figures have misjudged what was happening. Most still refuse to think deeply about what drove such massive popularity for Trump. Some of it was his focus on issues, such as extended wars in…Continue Reading

“The Viruses Among Us”

By BARBARA SIMPSON Have you grown tired of it yet? The news — radio, TV, print, Internet, and whatever else there might be — has been filled lately with information about and warnings against the monkeypox virus.To read what is being reported, you would think that monkeypox is the only virus that humans have to…Continue Reading

Who Won The Taiwan War Games?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defied White House signals that she not stop in Taiwan on her valedictory tour of Asian capitals, she ignited the worst diplomatic U.S.-China row in decades.And how did last week’s collision turn out for the United States?Writes The New York Times:Speaker Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan began…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

You Can’t Take It With You… But You Can Send It On Ahead

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE Part 2 (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Charles Pope posted this essay on July 30 and it is reprinted here with permission. Because of the essay’s length, we are presenting it in two parts. The first part appeared in last week’s issue.) + + The Illusion of Wealth — The parable goes on to say, And [the man]…Continue Reading

Least Of The Least

BY FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-First Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: Isaiah 66:18-21Heb. 12:5-7, 11-13Luke 13:22-30 At the end of the Gospel reading today our Lord says something that is simultaneously hopeful and terrifying. He tells us that some who are first will be last and some who are last will be first. For those of us who more…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. The Vatican II document Sacrosanctum Concilium (n. 36) says that Latin is to be preserved in the Roman Rite, and it goes on to say that the people should be taught to sing or say in Latin the parts of the Mass pertaining to them. So, is there anything wrong with softly saying those parts of the Mass in…Continue Reading

The Freedom To Be Catholic

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK News of my parish’s imminent demise in the wake of the death-dealing Traditionis custodes has spread through the Internet and at least one Catholic video news source of the independent sort. Many of the so-called “official” sources like to pretend we don’t exist.One news outlet used a video of mine about a transgender children’s story…Continue Reading

You Can’t Take It With You… But You Can Send It On Ahead

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE Part 1 (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Charles Pope posted this essay on July 30 and it is reprinted here with permission. Because of the essay’s length, we are presenting it in two parts. The second part will appear in next week’s issue.) + + Five teachings on wealth from the Gospel of the 18th Sunday of the…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Therese Of The Little Flower

By DEB PIROCH “Let us accept all from the hand of our good Father, and He will keep us in peace in the midst of the greatest disasters of this world, which pass away like shadows. In proportion to our abandonment and confidence in God will our lives be holy and tranquil. And where this abandonment is neglected, there can…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Michael, Slayer Of Dragons

By DEB PIROCH Where there is evil, there is the Devil, and where there is good, there is God. It is high time for the world to make this connection in an era when the family unit is rapidly dying, leading to all sorts of destruction. Some children don’t even know their parents, angry teens engage in gang violence, and…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)