(LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Raymond Burke has affirmed his criticism of Germany’s Synodal Way by writing to “faithful priests” in Germany and encouraging them in the face of the anti-Catholic stance taken by “the great majority of the Bishops.”
In a letter issued Palm Sunday, April 2, Cardinal Burke dealt with the issue of Germany’s Synodal Way once again, this time writing to the Catholic clergy in Germany who have not joined the majority of prelates in supporting decisions that violate Church teaching.
Addressed to the “faithful priests of the Church in Germany,” Burke highlighted the Synodal Way’s recent meeting at which the attendants voted to approve same-sex “blessings.”
“I have been praying for you most especially, so that you remain faithful to the Apostolic Tradition, to the truths regarding faith and morals handed down to us by Christ in the Church, which we, as priests, are ordained to safeguard and promote,” began the American cardinal.
In light of the German bishops’ approval of same-sex “blessings,” Burke wrote that “the faithful have never needed more than today priests who announce to them the truth, who bring them Christ, above all, in the Sacraments, and who guide and govern them in the way of Christ.”
He spoke of the priests’ likely “profound sadness at the positions taken by the Assembly, including the great majority of the Bishops, which are directly opposed to what the Church has always and everywhere taught and practiced.” The German bishops’ vote was indeed a majority, with the same-sex “blessing” document passing by 38 to 9, with 11 bishops abstaining.
“I share your sadness,” said Burke, “and experience the temptation to discouragement, which you, no doubt, also experience.”
At times such as these, which priests have experienced at other times in the history of the Church, we must recall the promise which Our Lord, who never lies and is always faithful to His promises, has made to us, when, at His Ascension, He placed into our hands the Apostolic mission: “… and behold, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28, 20). Taking to heart, once again, the mission and Our Lord’s promise, we must soldier on, we must be His faithful “fellow workers in the truth” (3 Jn 8).
Burke described the current times as ones in which “Bishops betray the Apostolic Tradition,” resulting in suffering for the faithful members of the Church: “faithful Bishops, priests, consecrated persons, and lay faithful will necessarily suffer greatly precisely because of their fidelity.”
Citing Scripture (Mt 16:24), the former Prefect of the Apostolic Signature called on the faithful German clergy to renew a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in light of the widespread “apostasy” found among Catholics.
During Holy Week and the Easter Season, let us lift up to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, especially through the Eucharistic Sacrifice, the sufferings of His Mystical Body, the Church, which is passing through a time of pervasive confusion and error, with their fruits which are division, apostasy, and schism.
In characteristic phraseology, Cardinal Burke also pointed the recipients of his letter to devotion not only to the Sacred Heart, but also to Our Lady, who “is, in a special way, the Mother of Priests who, in her Divine Son, bring countless graces to many souls.”
He urged the priests to “be close to Our Lord Who has chosen us to be His brothers in the Holy Priesthood and to be close to one another in pure and selfless love of the Church, His Mystical Body, and in the suffering offered for the sake of love of Him and of our brothers and sisters for whom we have been ordained as true shepherds.”
Burke’s Palm Sunday message on the German Synodal Way is not the first intervention he has made since the March 11 vote. While his recent letter was addressed to the “faithful priests,” he has already issued public condemnations of the German episcopate in recent weeks.
Joining Cardinal Gerhard Müller in speaking with EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo last month, Burke warned against the push for same-sex “blessings.”
“Whether it’s a departure, heretical teaching and denial of one of the doctrines of the faith—or apostasy in the sense of simply walking away from Christ and from His teaching in the Church to embrace some other form of religion—these are crimes,” said Burke. “These are sins against Christ Himself.”
“These are human inventions, human ideologies that are being pushed and the Church is being used,” he added. “And what it does is it renders the Church then into some kind of a human agency, almost like a government agency that’s being manipulated to foster certain programs and certain agenda. And so we need to wake up to what is happening.”
So far, the Vatican has yet to take a firm stance against the open break with the Catholic faith made by the German episcopate. Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin briefly told reporters at an event that the Synodal Way’s decisions “do not correspond exactly to the current doctrine of the Church.”
Meanwhile, Cardinal Arthur Roche – the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (CDW) – has reportedly informed the German bishops of his desire to “dialogue” with them. However, Roche did not object to the proposal for liturgical “blessings” of same-sex “unions,” but instead objected to the secondary proposals of the Synodal Way for lay people to deliver homilies and to provide baptisms regularly.