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LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (LifeSiteNews) –– Cardinal Raymond Burke has warned against bishops who wish the Church “to change her doctrine, her Sacred Worship, and her discipline, in order to accommodate the culture,” admonishing instead that the answer to the current crisis in the Church is for Catholics to take seriously the life of holiness. 

The cardinal’s comments came in a sermon on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, given at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wisconsin, founded by Burke when he was Bishop of La Crosse. 

Recounting the challenging times the Church in Mexico faced when first evangelizing the native pagans, which included the Aztec practice of human sacrifice, Burke said: 

At the time of the apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the missionary Church in what is today Mexico was suffering seemingly impossible challenges: the violent conflict between the Native Americans and the Spanish explorers and settlers, and the diabolical practice of massive human sacrifice on the part of the pagans.  

Our Lord sent Our Lady to show the way to order and peace in our personal lives and in society, namely, Christ. Through her apparitions and her abiding presence on the miraculous tilma of Saint Juan Diego, Our Lady of Guadalupe showed the Bishop and the whole Church that the way to overcome evil and to spread goodness is teaching the truth, praying at all times and offering all our love to God in Sacred Worship, and practicing the truth in love. 

The cardinal then addressed the turbulent times the Church is seeing now with abortion, attacks on marriage, the rejection of the commandments, and rebellion among the members of the Church and her hierarchy.  

READ: Cardinal Burke responds to dubia criticism, warns Synod aims to change Church’s structure 

He denounced those among the Church’s bishops who would change what is most essential to her divine constitution — “her doctrine, her Sacred Worship, and her discipline.” The accommodation to the world and the rejection of God has manifested itself in calls for the Church to change change, Burke condemned this as nothing less than abandonment of Christ and apostasy from the faith.

The illusory inclusiveness called for by such bishops, he said, fits ill with Christ’s insistence in the Gospel that the unworthy will be cast out from His wedding banquet. The cardinal declared:

The Church in our time faces similar seemingly impossible challenges. Human life itself, marriage and the family, and the practice of the faith are all under constant attack from a culture which refuses to recognize God and to submit in obedience to His commandments. Many today violently rebel against God Who reveals Himself to us through reason and, most fully and perfectly, through the Catholic faith. The rebellion has beguiled even members of Christ’s Mystical Body, leading them to abandon Christ and His Way, leading them to apostasy. What are we to do? What is the Church to do? 

Some, even among Bishops, would tell us that the Church has to change her doctrine, her Sacred Worship, and her discipline, in order to accommodate the culture. They talk about a necessary paradigm shift or an ill-defined synodal way which declares that all are welcome in the Church without making clear the conversion to Christ which is necessary to be a member of His Mystical Body.  

They forget that the king in the Parable of the Wedding Feast, who had welcomed all, ‘the good and the bad,’ to the marriage feast for his son, when he saw ‘a man who had no wedding garment,’ had the man cast out from the banquet. Our Lord concludes the Parable of the Wedding Feast with the admonition: ‘Many are called, but few are chosen.’ Yes, Our Lord wants all of us to share in the banquet of divine grace, but we cannot do so unless our hearts, one with the Immaculate Heart of Mary, rest in His Most Sacred Heart, unless we allow ourselves to be clothed with Him in our daily life. 

READ: Cardinal Burke warns Synod is part of ‘revolution’ to ‘radically’ change the Catholic Church  

Drawing on John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte, Burke insisted that the real answer to the problems the Church is facing is the acceptance of the Deposit of Faith in all its richness, the living out of the faith in “a good and holy daily life,” and the knowledge, love, and imitation of Jesus Christ. He said:

The way of the Church in today’s crisis is the same as it has always been. The teaching of the Deposit of Faith and of all the riches of the Catholic Faith, daily prayer and worship of God ‘in spirit and in truth,’ and a good and holy daily life. Before the great challenge of our time, Pope Saint John Paul II cautioned us that we will not save ourselves and our world by discovering ‘some magic formula’ or by ‘inventing a new program.’ In unmistakable terms, he declared: ‘No, we shall not be saved by a formula but by a Person, and the assurance which he gives us: I am with you.’

He reminded us that the program by which we are to address effectively the great spiritual challenges of our time is, in the end, Jesus Christ alive for us in the Church. He explained:

‘The programme already exists: it is the plan found in the Gospel and in the living Tradition, it is the same as ever. Ultimately, it has its center in Christ himself, who is to be known, loved and imitated, so that in him we may live the life of the Trinity, and with him transform history until its fulfillment in the heavenly Jerusalem. This is a program which does not change with shifts of times and cultures, even though it takes account of time and culture for the sake of true dialogue and effective communication’

In short, the program leading to freedom and happiness is, for each of us, holiness of life, in accord with our state in life and the particular gifts with which God has endowed us. Pope Saint John Paul II, in fact, saw the entire pastoral plan for the Church in the holiness of life in Christ. 

It is to holiness of life in Christ that Our Lady of Guadalupe draws us. Leaving the ordinariness of our daily living to come on pilgrimage to her holy place, she manifests to us the extraordinariness of our daily living in Christ.


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