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Cardinal Raymond Burke confects the eucharist in Croatia, Oct. 23, 2016. John-Henry Westen/ LifeSiteNews.com

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ROME, March 15, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke called for recent directions from Pope Francis’ Secretariat of State that bans private Masses in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome to be “rescinded since they are “contrary to” and in “direct violation of” universal Church law.

“For the sake of the Catholic faith and for the good order of the Sacred Liturgy, the highest and most perfect expression of the Church’s life in Christ, the document in question should be rescinded immediately, that is, before its supposed effective date of March 22nd next,” wrote Burke in a March 13 statement published on his website.

The Vatican’s Secretariat of State circulated a note on March 12 with details of new dispositions restricting all “individual” Masses in Saint Peter’s, with special, even more restrictive measures for the traditional rite.

The note, which was unsigned, stated among other things that “individual celebrations are suppressed.”

According to the new rules, all priests and faithful who come to daily Mass in the Basilica will be required to join “concelebrated” Masses at fixed times between 7 and 9 a.m. in only two locations: the Chapel of the Choir (“Cappella del Coro”) that is situated halfway down the left-hand nave, opposite the Chapel of the Most Holy Sacrament, and usually closed by a wrought-iron grille, and the Altar of the Chair of Saint Peter, behind the main altar in the apse of the Basilica. Priests who prefer celebrating Mass according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite will be confined to four time slots between 7 and 9 a.m. at only one altar: the Clementine Chapel of the Crypt.

Cardinal Burke said the new rules cause the faithful, and above all, priests, the “deepest concerns.”

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PETITION: Ask Pope Francis to clarify and rectify scandalous remarks on homosexual civil unions
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Remarks attributed to Pope Francis (and, not denied by the Vatican) in support of homosexual civil unions have caused grave scandal to the faithful.

Please SIGN this urgent petition which asks Pope Francis to clarify and rectify these heterodox and scandalous remarks on homosexual civil unions, and which will be delivered both to the Vatican and to the Papal Nuncio of the United States (the Pope's official representative in the U.S.).

As the last guarantor of the Faith, the Pope should clarify and rectify these remarks, which go against the perennial teaching of the Church, even including the teaching of his living predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

"What we have to create is a law of civil coexistence [meaning civil union law, for homosexuals]...," Pope Francis is reported to have remarked, in what is arguably his clearest statement of public support for a practice morally prohibited by official Catholic Church teaching.

In fact, the Church has been crystal clear in Her opposition to homosexual unions.

Just in 2003, Pope Saint John Paul II approved a document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, titled 'Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons' and written by Cardinal Ratzinger (now, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI), which concludes with the following:

"The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions. The common good requires that laws recognize, promote and protect marriage as the basis of the family, the primary unit of society. Legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would mean not only the approval of deviant behaviour, with the consequence of making it a model in present-day society, but would also obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity. The Church cannot fail to defend these values, for the good of men and women and for the good of society itself."

It could not be more clear: the Church is calling people to repentance, not to be left to indulge in grave sin.

Since becoming public, several senior prelates as well as other notable Catholic figures have voiced their opposition to these remarks attributed to the Pontiff.

Cardinal Raymond Burke stated: "It is a source of deepest sadness and pressing pastoral concern that the private opinions reported with so much emphasis by the press and attributed to Pope Francis do not correspond to the constant teaching of the Church, as it is expressed in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition."

Cardinal Gerhard Müller commented: "Where there is tension between the plain and obvious Word of God and the infallible interpretation on the one hand, and private expressions of opinion even by the highest church authorities on the other, the principle always applies: in dubio pro DEO [When in doubt, be in favor of God]."

And, Catholic theologian and apologist Scott Hahn, without directly quoting Pope Francis, shared on Facebook the 'Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons,' published by the CDF in 1986, with the statement: "Holy Father, respectfully and humbly, I beg to differ... if that is indeed what you said. In any case, please clarify and rectify your statement, especially in view of the official teaching of our Lord through the magisterium of His Church."

But, the silence from the Vatican has been deafening, with no clarification forthcoming.

We must, therefore, ask the Pope for clarification in this serious matter.

Please SIGN and SHARE this petition which asks Pope Francis to clarify and rectify remarks attributed to him in support of homosexual civil unions.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

'Cdl. Burke: Pope’s homosexual civil union remarks ‘contrary’ to Scripture, Tradition' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/cardinal-burke-on-popes-homosexual-civil-union-remarks-contrary-to-the-teaching-of-sacred-scripture-and-sacred-tradition

'Cardinal says Catholics ‘can and should’ disagree with Pope’s ‘opinion’ on gay civil unions' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/cdl.mueller-popes-words-on-gay-civil-unions-purely-private-expression-of-opinion-which-every-catholic-can-and-should-freely-contradict

'Archbishop Vigano, Bishops Tobin and Strickland respond to Pope’s approval of homosexual civil unions' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/archbishop-vigano-and-bishops-tobin-strickland-respond-to-popes-approval-of-homosexual-civil-unions

'Pope’s comments on gay civil unions cause shockwaves around the world' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/deepest-sadness-cardinal-burke-condemns-pope-franciss-remarks-supporting-civil-unions

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Burke first took issue with the fact that the document is unsigned and the fact that the Secretariat of State — where Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra is substitute secretary for general affairs in the Vatican Secretariat of State — is “not competent for the liturgical discipline of the Church and, in particular, for the liturgical discipline at the Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican.”

“While the document appears to be authentic, that is, not forged, it cannot be retained to be a document containing valid legislation for the Sacred Liturgy,” the cardinal wrote.

He then went on to defend priests who celebrate Masses alone, something that the document appears to target.

“The document imposes concelebration upon priests who wish to offer the Holy Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica, which is contrary to universal Church law and which unjustly conditions the primary duty of the individual priest to offer the Holy Mass daily for the salvation of the world (can. 902),” wrote the cardinal.

“In what church more than in the Basilica of Saint Peter would a priest desire to offer the Holy Mass, which is the most perfect and fullest way in which he carries out his priestly mission? If an individual priest wishes to offer the Holy Mass in the Basilica, once the directives in question are in force, he will be constrained to concelebrate, in violation of his freedom to offer the Holy Mass individually,” he added.

Burke said that the whole Church benefits spiritually from every Mass that is said, whether with people attending or without.

“Regarding the individual offering of the Holy Mass, it must be observed that it is not only a question of a right of the priest but also of great spiritual fruit for the whole Church, since the infinite merits of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass are more greatly and widely applied in a manner befitting our finite and temporal nature,” he wrote.

“It is helpful to reflect upon the teaching of the Council of Trent, regarding the situation of a priest who offers the Holy Mass without any member of the faithful receiving Holy Communion. Regarding the participation of the faithful at the Holy Mass, the Council teaches: ‘The holy council would certainly like the faithful present at every Mass to communicate in it not only by spiritual devotion but also by sacramental reception of the Eucharist, so that the fruits of this most holy sacrifice could be theirs more fully.’”

“It goes on to state: ‘But, if this does not always happen, the council does not for that reason condemn as private and illicit Masses (can. 8) in which only the priest communicates. Rather, it approves and commends them, for they too should be considered truly communal Masses, partly because the people communicate spiritually in them and partly because they are celebrated by a public minister of the Church, not for his own good alone, but for all the faithful who belong to the body of Christ’ (Session XXII, Chapter 6). It should be further observed that a priest never offers the Holy Mass alone, even if there is no one else physically present, for the angels and saints assist at every offering of the Holy Mass (can. 903),” he added.

Cardinal Burke also took issue with the document’s banning of private celebrations of Mass in the Basilica according to the Extraordinary Form as a “direct violation of universal Church law.”

The cardinal called on Catholic laity and priests to express their concerns to the Pope.

“Given the gravity of the situation represented by the document in question, it is my hope that many of the Christian faithful for whom the Basilica of Saint Peter is, in a particular sense, their mother church, and, above all, many priests from throughout the world will make known to Pope Francis and to his Secretariat of State their strong objection to the document in question,” he concluded.

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