UPDATE: Did Card. Burke criticize Pope Francis? (Of course not, but the lexically challenged might not get that.)

Back on 17 October I posted a transcript of the now controversial interview Card. Burke did with BuzzFeed.  HERE  Those who read, can see what the transcript says.

But people don’t always read.

Dignitatis Humanae Institutute now weighs in about what Card. Burke really said and really didn’t say.  HERE  DHI gets into it because Card. Burke is on their board.

Take note.  I add my emphases:

 This is the now-notorious interview in which Cardinal Burke accused Pope Francis of having harmed the Church.  Only the Cardinal never said any such thing.

Here is what Cardinal Burke actually said:

“I can’t speak for the pope and I can’t say what his position is on this, but the lack of clarity about the matter has certainly done a lot of harm.” 

What BuzzFeed reported:

“According to my understanding of the church’s teaching and discipline, no, it wouldn’t be correct,” Burke said, saying the pope had “done a lot of harm” by not stating “openly what his position is.”

(Emphasis added in both cases).

Cardinal Burke was clear, in what he actually said, that in his opinion a general lack of clarity regarding the Pope’s position had caused harm to the Church.  BuzzFeed’s more sensationalist rearrangement of this text identifies the Pope himself as the cause of the harm.  The difference is of course important.

Benjamin Harnwell, the Founder of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, said: “The DHI has no issue with the professionalism of the journalist who filed the original story, and we were willing to give BuzzFeed the benefit of the doubt to an ambiguously reported paraphrasing.  However, once it was made clear that this controversial paraphrase did not reflect what Cardinal Burke actually said, we expected a speedy correction.  Sadly, BuzzFeed management declined our repeated requests.

So, DHI has tried to clarify what was obvious in the interview, for those who read it, namely, that Card. Burke did not attack or criticize the Pope.  Fishwrap and those types with BDS prattle away about Burke constantly criticizing Pope Francis.  Not so.

However, to make the issue clearer, through DHI, Card. clarifies:

Statement of Cardinal Burke:

Speaking through the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, Cardinal Burke said:

“As a priest, bishop and finally a cardinal, I have only ever sought to serve Our Lord’s Church in humble obedience to the Magisterium and to the Holy Father. Needless confusion regarding my motives does not help me in this service, especially when substantial questions of principle are at stake.  I very strongly believe that one also serves loyally by expressing a contrary judgment, in accord with the pursuit of the truth, and that one only serves faithfully when one has dutifully and clearly spoken, in obedience to one’s conscience.”

I did not state that Pope Francis has harmed the Church.  Rather, as the now published verbatim interview reveals, I was perfectly clear that it was a lack of clarity about where the Holy Father stands on issues related to marriage and Holy Communion that had caused the harm.  It is precisely for this reason that I subsequently said that only a statement from the Holy Father himself could now remove this lack of clarity.”

“Sadly, confusion, such as that generated by this particular interview, has been used to portray those opposed to Cardinal Kasper’s thesis as motivated by a personal animus against the Holy Father.  This is just not the case, though it no doubt helps the cause of those with certain ideological axes to grind to make this appear so.”  ENDS

We might hope that this will settle the issue, but I doubt it.  Liberals are unlikely to be fair when it comes to Card. Burke.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. CJ says:

    I’m glad to see that this clarification has been issued.

  2. Jerry says:

    Perhaps I am dense tonight, but I don’t see the distinction: if the lack of clarity about the Pope’s position is causing the harm, who except for the Pope might be responsible for that lack of clarity? Even if he is not responsible for the initial confusion over his remarks, does it not become his responsibility when he fails to correct the obvious confusion in a timely manner? (This assumes, of course, that his position differs from that we believe (hope) to be a misinterpretation…)

  3. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    He lack of clarity in the Pope’s position on the matter is in large part due to the ideological reporting of the mainstream media about his positions. the fault does not necessarily originated in the Holy Father himself, and this is what Cardinal Burke is trying to make the distinction about. He does affirm, as you suggest, that fhe Pope does need to make a clear statement to bring greater clarity to his position to limit the harm being done to the church by ideological reporting.

  4. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    So, BuzzFeed approached DHI to arrange the Feder interview, which DHI “willingly did”.

    BuzzFeed later refused explicitly to correct anything at the request of DHI. Instead, “At the request of many readers, BuzzFeed News has published a full transcript”, which has the effect of implicit correction while avoiding any admission of need to correct. At the end of the interview, stands this note (in italics): “This interview has been edited for clarity and to protect the identity of a source.”

    I am probably not the only reader who wondered just what the effects of being “edited for clarity” had on the accuracy of the transcription. Unlike Edward Pentin, with respect to another recent (‘de facto’?) interview, BuzzFeed did not provide an audio recording as well (not even one “edited [only as far as necessary…] to protect the identity of a source”).

    Now, however, Cardinal Burke writes ” as the now published verbatim interview reveals”: at least an implicit endorsement of its accuracy as transcription.

    This is a welcome clarification in its own right.

    This discussion itself – of “harm” and “lack of clarity” – reminds me of philosophical and theological discussions of ‘the problem of evil’, ‘God’s Will’, and so on.

    God is Almighty, and is not the origin of evil in the sense of positively willing evil, yet is the Creator and Sustainer of a creation in which evil is evident rather than in every instance having been miraculously prevented. Thus (for example), ‘God’s “permissive Will” ‘ is spoken of – as well as His remedying effects of evil in the fulness of time.

    Burke writes of ” expressing a contrary judgment” – presumably as to how most prudently to address and attempt to remedy discernable “harm”. The implication (as I read it) is of a difference of prudential judgement with the Pope as to how best to address and attempt to remedy any such harm. There is (so far as I can see) no implicit assumption that the Pope does not wish to address and remedy, but the perception of differences in method, and the contention that the Pope’s is not obviously the ‘method of choice’ here and now.

  5. SimonDodd says:

    I second Jerry’s comment above. I don’t understand how one can say “I did not state that Pope Francis has harmed the Church,” but rather that “it was a lack of clarity about where the Holy Father stands on issues related to marriage and Holy Communion that had caused the harm” when the lack of clarity is entirely and exclusively Francis’ fault and responsibility. I don’t see how Card. Burke’s comments–the full ones, not the abbreviated version–can be read as anything but an entirely meritorious and well-founded criticism of Francis’ behavior. Nor do I understand why they should be: That man is bloody brave for saying aloud what everyone knows but most are too cowardly to say, and I am not inclined to malign that bravery by accepting an interpretation of his remarks that blunts and redirects their force. His “clarification” is thus more than a little disappointing, and I’m getting pretty tired of people putting out “clarifications” to clear remarks and “apologies” for truthful remarks.

  6. marcelus says:

    I was expecting this!! Glad it happened.

    This is the most important part of the statement:

    “As a priest, bishop and finally a cardinal, I have only ever sought to serve Our Lord’s Church in humble obedience to the Magisterium and to the Holy Father. ”

    Clear enough. And it is exactly the place where the good Cardinal should be: behing the Holy Father,supporting him , no matter what.

    As for the Pope not speaking about marriage and Holy communion, during the synod.the Pope found a good occation to speak about it today and quite clear about family and marriage.

    The Kasperites will have to look for a script elsewhere now

  7. CrimsonCatholic says:

    This is why you don’t do interviews with sites like buzzfeed, which I didn’t know was a news site.

    The Pope made a clear statement on the family and marriage the other day.

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