Cardinal Burke explains why he supports priests asking bishops to address crisis in the Church

He also said it's 'ridiculous' to claim Pope Francis can just do whatever he wants.
Fri May 4, 2018 - 5:23 pm EST
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Cardinal Raymond Burke Claire Chretien / LifeSiteNews

May 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) –  Cardinal Raymond Burke explained his support for the 140 priests who have joined in an appeal to bishops around the world asking them to reaffirm Christ’s teachings and to correct errors about the Christian moral life and its relation to Holy Communion, sin, and marriage.

Appearing on EWTN’s The World Over with Raymond Arroyo, Cardinal Burke said, “priests are rightly asking simply that there be a profession of Apostolic faith on the part of the bishops; that faith would fundamentally express the reality of divine grace in our lives and what this means for our daily living, and what it means in terms of our disposition to receive the sacraments.”

Arroyo suggested that the priests’ appeal to their bishops is “an indirect indictment of Pope Francis’ exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, which seems in certain cases to allow Holy Communion for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics.”

Cardinal Burke acknowledged the turmoil the Pope’s exhortation has caused within the Church, especially for priests and pastors.

“The growing confusion and the resulting division in the Church is causing a tremendous suffering, most of all for priests, who are the shepherds of the souls of the faithful. They find so many people coming to them … who are confused.”

Burke said that when priests then “set forth for them the teaching of the church, many times they are accused of not being faithful to the Roman Pontiff.”

Cardinal Burke agrees with the goal of the priests’ appeal, saying that each bishop around the world should simply make “a profession of faith for his people which would then invite them to be one with him in that profession of faith.”  

“Integral to that profession of faith,” continued the dubia cardinal, “would be our belief that our Lord Jesus Christ, seated at the right hand of the Father, is alive and active on our behalf in the Church through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit from his glorious pierced heart into our hearts, so that we live in Christ; that Christ is always present, that he can always assist us if we’re striving to lead a good and upright life, and to do what is correct.”

Cardinal Burke talked about a someone who was living in an irregular union and who had previously been advised by a priest that he could simply begin to receive the sacraments again. After Burke explained to him why he couldn’t, the person responded, saying he knew innately the Cardinal’s counsel was correct.  

“This is what in my conscience I understood; that I’m living publicly in a state of sin, and until I can rectify the situation, I’m not rightly prepared to approach either the sacrament of repentance or to receive our Lord in Holy Communion,” Burke recalled the man saying.

During the course of the interview, Cardinal Burke firmly asserted that he is “not the enemy of the Pope” and that he doesn’t belong to a “political party” within the Church.

“I am simply trying to be a teacher of the faith and a shepherd of souls,” he said. “At the present time,” we all need to be reminded of the “fundamental truths with regard to our life in the Church.”   

He pointed out that some people errantly say the Pope can do whatever he wants.

“That’s ridiculous because the Pope is the first among us who must be obedient to Christ,” said Burke. “It’s Christ who is the head of the Church, the Pope is His vicar on Earth, and by being vicar on Earth he is most of all held to be obedient to Christ and to try in every way to serve Christ as the principal source of unity.”


Cardinal Burke said that sentimentalism has been allowed to enter the Church, and is proving to be a source of division and hurt for many people.   

With regard to those who are not Catholic receiving the Eucharist, he said, “If someone does not have the Catholic faith, and is not in communion with the Catholic faith, it’s simply a contradiction to invite that person to receive the Holy Eucharist, which is the fullness of our life in the Church. The most important day in anyone’s life is his first Holy Communion, in the sense that at that moment he shares fully in the life of the Church and the grace that Christ gives us in the Church.”

“What’s at work here in my judgement is something very closely connected with the politicization, and that is, sentimentalism,” observed the Cardinal, pointing out that people simply want to do “nice things.” However, if this is allowed to happen, “the whole faith in the Holy Eucharist will be diminished, confused, perhaps even lost by some.”

“We’ll end up with what we have in the Christian churches today,” he concluded, “with a large number of ecclesial communities who no longer believe in the Real Presence.”

  cardinal burke, catholic, crisis in the catholic church, priests' appeal to bishops, raymond burke

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