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Cardinal Raymond BurkeAlpha News / YouTube screenshot

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(LifeSiteNews) — In an interview with German Catholic news outlet Die Tagespost, Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke encouraged faithful Catholics to remain in the Church in fidelity to Christ, and to work from within the Church for a much-needed ecclesiastical reform, even should it require openly correcting bishops when they betray the faith.

“Catholics must bear witness to the truth of the faith,” Burke said. Addressing the distress of orthodox Catholics at the agenda of pro-synodal bishops, such as those of Germany and Ireland, who are aggressively pushing for “another church and another faith,” Burke tried to bolster the laity in their witness to Christ, saying, “In the tradition of the Church, a synod is a way to find out how to defend and promote the Catholic faith, not to create another Church and another faith. I think these good Catholics, as painful as it is, must remain in their communities and fight for the truth of the faith.”

“If everyone leaves,” he continued, “the Church would otherwise fall into the hands of those who destroy the Catholic faith and its practice. It is important that the faithful do not leave the Church, because Christ promised us to always remain with us in the Church. We thus remain with Christ, even if we have to speak very openly with our own bishops when they propose something that does not correspond to the Catholic faith. We must return to the sacred tradition.”

Emphasizing the need to be faithful to the Church’s Apostolic Tradition, the cardinal declared, “To call fidelity to Catholic doctrine rigidity is simply wrong.” Burke reminded the lay faithful that they have the right and duty to express their concerns about the Church to their pastors. He also recalled to bishops their duty to uphold the faith, which they undertook by oath at their episcopal consecration.

“The dynamism of the Catholic faith comes from its continuity,” Burke said. “Faith is God’s work and comes to us through the tradition of the apostles. This is not rigidity, but fidelity to tradition, and bishops are obliged to do so by the oath they took when they were ordained bishops. To call fidelity to Catholic doctrine rigidity is simply wrong. The faithful have the right and the duty to express their concerns about the Church. Believers should openly exercise this right – it is in canon law.

The cardinal doubled down on the need for good Catholics to correct their bishops when they have spoken or acted against the faith, saying, “In cases where the faith is betrayed even within the Church itself, it is even more important for her to insist on Catholic doctrine and practice. They must understand that they are not free to do so, but that they are obliged to defend the Catholic faith in these times. Obedience can never command us to do anything that is against faith and good morals.”

Asked what practical means the faithful might use in defense of the faith, the prelate pointed to the effectiveness of the means of communication as well as the publication of the great Catholic classics: the writings of the saints, Fathers, and Doctors of the Church.

“First of all,” Burke said, the faithful need “to use the means of communication to spread the message and, for example, to publish the classical expositions of the Catholic faith – from the Fathers of the Church, the great theologians and the reliable authors of the present. Insist on talking to the pastor about these issues.”

Cardinal Burke remains a strong voice for faithful Catholics, who appreciate his outspoken defense of the Church’s authentic doctrine and practice.

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