July 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — An Irish prelate criticized Cardinal Raymond Burke this week for his observations on the rapidly expanding influence of Islam in a recent book-length interview.
Burke, an American who is the former Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura and currently serves as the patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, asserted while discussing Hope for the World: To Unite All Things in Christ, that “in reality, there is no place for other religions, even though they may be tolerated, as long as Islam has not succeeded in establishing its sovereignty over the nations and over the world.”
He added, “There’s no question that Islam wants to govern the world.”
Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin believes Burke’s statements — in which he said the Church should fear Islam and its apparent unwillingness to peacefully tolerate other religions — could be construed as inflammatory in the wake of 84-year-old Father Jacques Hamel’s death in France at a daily Mass in Normandy.
“I don’t think that helps at all,” Martin told the National Catholic Reporter from World Youth Day in Poland.
“Does Islam want to rule the world? There may be some people of the Islamic faith who do, but Islam itself has another side within it — a caring and a tolerant side.”
While saying he was stunned by the attack on the elderly priest, Martin offered a more passive response in the midst of the recent spate of attacks in Europe, advocating tolerance and respect for other religions, particularly Islam. “Long-term solutions will come from education,” he said.
In another interview with Irish state broadcaster RTE, Martin asserted that the Church should fight evil “by bringing a similar force of goodness into our society.” Pope Francis had struck a similar tone this week as he made his way to Poland for World Youth Day, saying the world was at war, but that it was not a war between religions.
Since Martin become archbishop in 2004, he has taken a number of eyebrow-raising stances. He has supported gay men being admitted to the priesthood and said one of the Church's biggest problems, particularly with young people, is its disposition toward gay couples and “social revolution” of same-sex “marriage.”
The Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland also took the opportunity to rebuke Cardinal Burke, saying his remarks “will be interpreted as dangerously provocative.” The ACP has been critical in the past of Burke and others in the Roman Curia, which has censured several of its members and silenced its founder, Father Tony Flannery, for repeatedly questioning the validity of the Magisterium of the Church.
Father Brendan Hoban, an Irish priest, columnist and author, also disagreed with Burke’s assessment. He wrote in The Irish Times:
Cardinal Raymond Burke’s recent comments that Islam ‘wants to govern the world’ and that, to avoid that fate, America needs to reassert ‘the Christian origin of our own nation,’ will be interpreted as dangerously provocative, in the light of the gruesome death of 86-year-old Fr Jacques Hamel in Normandy on Tuesday.
Placing the Christian faith and tradition in direct competition with Islam is not just sending all the wrong messages, it’s fueling a version of Islam at odds with the fundamentals of that faith and creating a ‘them’ and ‘us’ divide that places at risk, as is clear from the incident in Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, public representatives of Christian Churches, such as Fr. Hamel.
Meanwhile, Phil Lawler of CatholicCulture.org wrote that the attacks on Burke are pure folly. “Oh, right. Before publishing the book, Cardinal Burke should have placed a phone call to the leaders of the Islamic State, and asked them: ‘Do any of you folks plan to murder an elderly priest during Mass in the near future? Because if you do, I’ll be sure to avoid any suggestion that you’re dangerous.’”
Burke’s warnings in Hope for the World about Islam and taking the stance that all religions essentially equal are direct and seemingly too candid for some members of the Church hierarchy.
He said in Hope for the World, “There is no place for other religions … as long as Islam has not succeeded in establishing its sovereignty over the nations and over the world. It is important for Christians to realize the radical differences between Islam and Christianity in matters concerning their teaching about God, about conscience, etc. If you really understand Islam, you understand that the Church really should be afraid of it.”
“Islam is a religion that, according to its own interpretation, must also become the State.”
Cardinal Robert Sarah, the Prefect for the Congregation of Divine Worship, joined Burke in issuing dire warnings last month about radical Islam, calling it “demonic.”
Sarah sounded an additional warning after the French priest's murder this week. “How many deaths are needed, how many heads decapitated, for the European governments to understand the situation the West finds itself in?”