Oct. 15, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – On Thursday morning, LifeSiteNews had an opportunity to sit down with Cardinal Raymond Burke in Rome, after a press conference he attended hosted by Voice of the Family. LifeSiteNews spoke with the Cardinal about the ongoing Synod on the Family, and in particular a controversial proposal, promoted by a participant in a recent Vatican press conference, to allow local bishops make decisions on how to deal with issues like homosexuality and divorce.
Cardinal Burke also critiqued the so-called “Kasper Proposal,” saying that it is based upon the false idea “that somehow doctrine and pastoral practice are in conflict with one another.”
The following is a transcript of this interview:
LSN: What do you make of the idea of “regional diversity” in the Church? Should local bishops have the authority on a pastoral level to deal with questions pertaining to the “social acceptance of homosexuality” and with “divorced and remarried persons?”
Burke: This is simply contrary to Catholic Faith and life. The Church follows the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ as it has first of all been taught to us by God in the creation — what we call the natural law, what every human heart understands because it has been created by God — but it’s also then been explained and illuminated by the teaching of Christ and in the tradition of the Church.
And this Church is one all over the world. There is no change in these truths, from one place to another or from one time to another. Certainly the teaching of these truths takes into account the particular needs in each area. But it doesn’t change the teaching. The teaching sometimes has to be even stronger in places where it is more compromised.
So, this is unacceptable. I don’t know where this idea comes from. What it actually means is that the Church is no longer Catholic [universal]. It means that it’s no longer one in its teaching throughout the whole world. We have one faith. We have one [collection of] sacraments. We have one governance throughout the whole world. That’s what it means to be ‘Catholic.’
I’d also like to comment on this idea of what is “pastoral.”
In much of the discussion which has taken place, beginning with the infamous presentation of Cardinal Walter Kasper in the Extraordinary Consistory on February 20 and 21 of 2014, centered around this idea that somehow doctrine and pastoral practice are in conflict with one another.
This is absurd. The pastoral practice exists to help us to live the truths of the faith, to live the doctrine of the faith in our daily lives. You can’t have a conflict [between these]. You can’t have the Church teaching, for instance, that marriage is indissoluble and then someone claiming at the same time for ‘pastoral’ reasons that a person who is living in an irregular union is able to receive the sacraments, which would mean that marriage isn’t indissoluble. These are just false distinctions — false contrasts — that we really need to clear up because it’s causing an immense confusion among the faithful and, of course, ultimately can lead people into serious error with great harm to their spiritual life and their eternal salvation.
LSN: What are the faithful to think and to do when they see Synod Fathers suggesting heterodox positions regarding homosexuality and divorce?
Burke: We follow our Lord Jesus Christ. He is our Master. And we are all held to be obedient to him and to his word, beginning with the Holy Father and with the Bishops. If a bishop, or a priest, or anyone, should announce something or declare something that is contrary to the truth of Our Lord Jesus Christ, as it’s communicated to us in the teaching of the Church, we follow Christ.
I say to people who are very anxious, because it seems in this time that there is simply a lot of confusion and statements that are really quite stunning about the faith, that we should remain serene. Because, in the Catholic Church, we have teaching authority, which is expressed, for instance, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and we simply need to study those things more deeply, adhere to them more ardently, and not be led astray by false teaching, from whatever source it comes.
LSN: Some suggest that there is very little disagreement in the Synod and that the media is guilty of manufacturing conflict where non exists. Your thoughts?
Burke: First of all, I have to qualify my observation by saying I’m not part of the Synod. I have no involvement at all within the Synod. I’ve been reading, not only what has been said in the media, but also official reports from the Vatican. And, I’ve had conversations with one or another Synod Father. To the contrary, I understand that there are very strong disagreements within the Synod. Given the discussion which has preceded the Synod — and also, given the Instrumentum Laboris [Synod working document] with the very serious difficulties with that document — I would find it difficult to believe that there wouldn’t be strong disagreement. Otherwise, we’re not going to get to the truth of matters. We’re not going to safeguard and promote the Catholic faith as we need to.
Just my impression is that indeed there is disagreement.