Lauding the Vatican’s Synod on the Family as “huge” change, a producer from Canada’s Catholic TV network Salt and Light, headed by CEO Fr. Thomas Rosica, has criticized outspoken champion of orthodoxy Cardinal Raymond Burke, suggesting that he is in an “ivory tower” and “sticking to the ideal” instead of ministering to people — such as homosexuals and the divorced — caught up in the “messiness of life.”
“There’s finally a realization that maybe the way we’ve been approaching things doesn’t help, or it’s not taking into account that that’s an ideal and real life is messy and we have to be able to deal with the mess, not the black and white,” said Alicia Ambrosio, producer and host of Vatican Connections on Salt and Light Television, to the host of TV Ontario’s The Agenda program last Friday evening, Oct. 17. (Click here to watch the video)
In responding to questions about the highly criticized synod midterm report, Ambrosio gave no indication that it was deemed totally unacceptable to the majority of the synod bishops. In fact, she talked about it as though the document was still credible and its points worthy of consideration. The interview was video-recorded Friday at 3 p.m. and therefore Ambrosio had to be well aware of the furor over the midterm report which began Oct. 13.
Ambrosio said that while there will be no doctrinal change in the Church’s teaching regarding homosexuality and divorce, there already is what she called a “change in tone.”
“A change in — you know what — maybe we don’t have to tell people they’re wrong. Maybe we can work with them and find a way to welcome them into our community, even though they might not be perfect in our eyes. So, that’s going to be huge.”
When asked by the host to comment on Pope Francis, Ambrosio called him “realistic” because “he’s the only — not the only — but one of the few popes we’ve had in recent times who has actually worked in the trenches, so to speak.”
Ambrosio said it is cardinals like Burke who have set themselves against the “direction” the pope is trying to move the Church.
“It’s kind of like what you see in politics as well, with left and right. No matter what the other side says, this side is going to freak out. Cardinal Burke comes from a stream that doesn’t believe we should be even having this conversation. [His position can be summed as] ‘this is the truth, this is what should be happening, if you’re not meeting up to the truth, if you’re not living up to this ideal, you’re wrong. And there should be no conversation about how to bend to welcome people in, because then you’re bending on the truth.’”
“So, it’s a mindset. Discussions I’ve had with other journalists and other Catholics – we’re really wondering what’s going to happen to Cardinal Burke and others of his ilk after the Synod, because if this conversation goes down a road that they can’t accept, then what?” she said.
Ambrosio criticized Burke for being “unrealistic.”
“It’s really living with the belief that, ‘this is what we teach, this is the truth. Stick with it, otherwise you’re out. And we shouldn’t be discussing what that truth is because then we’re changing what we are completely.’”
“Just like I could say that Pope Francis is realistic as opposed to progressive, I think statements like Cardinal Burke’s are coming from a place of more of being in an ivory tower, you know, living with the ideal,” she said.
The phrase “ivory tower” is typically used pejoratively to indicate intellectuals caught up in rather useless lofty pursuits that makes them disconnected from the practical concerns of everyday life.
Ambrosio also disparaged the previous papacies of Benedict XVI and Saint John Paul II, suggesting that they were out of touch with the faithful.
“The lay people finally feel like their voice is being heard. Their lives are being reflected in what this pope is saying. And that’s huge. So, we’re getting that change from the top down, and from the bottom up. Because now, to be credible to the lay people — to be credible to the faithful — it’s not just about being really holy, and being really prayerful, and giving a good sermon, it’s about walking the walk.”
When asked about what the Synod means for homosexuals being accepted as homosexuals in Catholic parishes, Ambrosio replied: “It means that on the ground level, in the parish, it’s suddenly not going to be acceptable to other faithful, it’s not going to be acceptable to exclude someone who has a sincere thirst for God and who has a sincere desire to practice their faith, but is either in a same-sex relationship or is divorced and remarried. It’s not going to be acceptable to exclude that person anymore. And that’s huge.”
Ambrosio agreed with the host near the end of the show that “acceptance” was the first step towards full inclusion of homosexuality within the Catholic Church, but immediately backpedalled, saying that while Church teaching cannot change on divorce or homosexuality, nevertheless, “we are going to see the parish doors open and these people will find a place to live their faith.”
LifeSiteNews asked Ambrosio if it should be sinners who need to change — rather than the Church changing her tone — so that they can live according to God's ideals as revealed through the Church, but did not receive a response by press time.