Card. Burke: “Yes, I’m a fundamentalist”

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In Italian bookstores a new book by Card. Burke has appeared in Italian: Divino Amore incarnato – La santa Eucaristia sacramento di Carità (Cantagalli). This is the Italian translation of His Eminence’s Divine Love Made Flesh.

For the occasion, the Italian Il Foglio interviewed Card. Burke.  A few snips with my translation:

Card. Burke: “Yes, I’m a fundamentalist”

“I’m open to the world, but I insist on the fundamental things.  Like the Eucharist.”  Thus says Raymond Card. Burke.

“The Church must be clear on her identity.  If, for ‘fundamentalist’ one means someone who insists on the fundamentals, I’m a fundamentalist.  As a priest, I don’t teach for myself and I don’t act for myself.  I belong to Christ.  I act in his person.  I teach only what He teaches in His Church, because this teaching will save souls.”

[…] Burke says quit labeling, which “is a way to discount a person and to not consider the truth which he teaches or what he does.  I am a Roman Catholic, I hope to be so always, and, at the end of my earthly life, to die in the arms of the Church.”


The position of Card. Kasper is not reconcilable with the teaching of the Church on Holy Communion and the indissolubility of matrimony.  Certainly, the Most Holy Sacrament is for sinners – which we all are – but for repented sinners.  A person who lives in an irregular union is bound to another in marriage, and therefore lives publicly in the state of adultery, according to the clear teaching of the Lord in the Gospel.  So long as the person in the irregular union, that is in the context contrary to the truth of Christ in matrimony, does not correct his particular situation, he can’t draw near to receive the sacraments because he has not manifested the repentance necessary for reconciliation with God.


If the Church were to permit the reception of the sacraments (even in a single case) by a person who is in an irregular union, that would mean that either matrimony is not indissoluble and this the person is not living in a state of adultery , or that Holy Communion is not communion in the Body and Blood of Christ, which instead requires the proper disposition of the person, that is, repentance about grave sin and the firm resolution to sin no more.


Many priests and bishops tell me that many people who are living in irregular unions are convinced that the Church has changed her teaching and, therefore, they can receive the sacraments.  In a large city that I visited last May, at the main door of a parish church there was an poster that said that in that church the divorced and remarried had access to the sacraments.  In certain countries, it seems that various bishops have simply decided to admit to the sacraments whoever is in an irregular union.


There is no doubt that the confusion in the Church is great, and that Church, for the good of souls and for her faithful testimony to Christ in the world, must affirm clearly her perennial teaching on the indissolubility of marriage and on Holy Communion.

[… I’m cutting a lot…]

He went on to explain that the way of saying Mass that is centered on the priest and congregation rather than the real presence of Christ has added to the difficulty we face.

He speaks of the contribution of the African Church right now.

Then… smiling…

I am entirely open to the world and I am full of compassion for the situation of our world, which is confused and in error about the most fundamental truths: the inviolability of human life, the integrity of matrimony and its incomparable fruit, the family, religious liberty which is the expression of the irreplaceable relationship of man with God.  For this motive, I embrace the world with true compassion which offers to the world the truth in charity.  I’ve discovered, during the 40 years of my priesthood, that what man (even secular man) awaits from the priest is Christ,

There’s more.  I suppose the whole thing will be converted into English one of these days.

Fr. Z kudos to Card. Burke!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. greenlight says:

    I keep telling myself it’s absurd, but the thought that keeps going through my head is “He’s going to have a real mess to clean up as the next pope”.

  2. dahveed says:

    I often think thus, although my thoughts also range similarly when I read interviews with either Cardinal Sarah or Bishop Athanasius Schneider. Good, holy men, there.

  3. iamlucky13 says:

    It wasn’t until about 20-30 years ago, if I understand right, that “fundamentalist” became a term of derision.

    It was a term deliberately adopted by some protestants in the early 20th century to focus on faith in five fundamental beliefs, that are both essentially universal among the Christian churchs, but also that distinguish Christianity from the other’ Abrahamic religions:

    1.) The Bible is inspired by God and without error.
    2.) Jesus was born of a virgin
    3.) Jesus died for our sins
    4.) Jesus rose again
    5.) Jesus performed genuine miracles during his earthly ministry.

    It was opposed to progressivism, so it wasn’t until the progressives became truly entrenched in society that it became a widely derisive term, meaning anti-intellectual or worse.

    I have some older apologetics material that uses the term fundamentalist in a genuinely neutral manner, and I didn’t even think about it until going over some of it with a convert from a protestant church. He seemed increasingly annoyed until I realized he’d grown up only hearing the term “fundamentalist” used as insult. The author had not intended it this way at all, but every time he wrote something like, “when explaining this to fundamentalists,” my friend read, “when explaining this to idiots…”

  4. kelleyb says:

    God bless Cardinal Burke. When I think of the progressives’ agenda, I must recourse to Saint Michael. I pray the progressives are not successful. I personally know catholics who are very supportive of Cardinal Kasper’s not so secret positions. God help us. May He continue to sustain His Spirit lead Fundamentalists. May our Lady wrap Christ’s Church in her protective mantle.

  5. SanSan says:

    Wow, and listen to his interview today with Lifesite News. Cdl. Burke is clear, concise and a true servant of Our Lord. Why can’t we get this type of clarity out of the Vatican?

  6. Charles E Flynn says:

    The book might be new in Italian, but the English original was published on June 7, 2012.

  7. Benedict Joseph says:

    When you sight his name its like finding water in the desert. God reward amply Cardinal Burke, and may his wisdom soon neutralize the outrage to which the Church is presently subject.

  8. Allan S. says:

    I wonder at what point it occurs to the Enemy’s minions that making him the head of an army wasn’t such a great idea? For them, anyway.

  9. Cardinal Burke’s statement:

    “The Church must be clear on her identity. If, for ‘fundamentalist’ one means someone who insists on the fundamentals, I’m a fundamentalist. As a priest, I don’t teach for myself and I don’t act for myself. I belong to Christ. I act in his person. I teach only what He teaches in His Church, because this teaching will save souls.”

    . . . and his courageous example of a stalwart, unwavering LEADER is why I, a sheep requiring a shepherd, remain a Catholic.

  10. RichR says:

    I have my family pray for bishops and priests all the time. Cardinal Burke is one of the few bishops I pray for by name. The crown waiting for this guy in Heaven must be massive.

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  12. Gratias says:

    Ich bin ein Fundamentalist auch!

    Viva Cardinal Burke, America’s gift to the Church.

  13. Christ_opher says:

    Cardinal Burke, If I understood the article correctly makes a wonderful point there should be no tags such as traditionalist, fundamentalist, liberal, progressive. You are either Catholic or a non Catholic. Catholic = adheres to the teachings of the Church non catholic does not adhere and wants to introduce changes to suit the world. All of the non catholic arguments are always constructed from a foundation of sand.

  14. robtbrown says:

    Many priests and bishops tell me that many people who are living in irregular unions are convinced that the Church has changed her teaching and, therefore, they can receive the sacraments .

    I have personally known people who are not married (even acc to civil law) and are cohabiting, but regularly receive Holy Communion. People believe the Church has changed her teaching because of the failure of priests and bishops.

  15. Gerard Plourde says:

    Dear iamlucky13,

    You’re right that those five points are the core of Fundamentalism and provide some common ground when speaking to Evangelical Protestants. There does remain the hurdle that their belief in Biblical inerrancy relies on the heresy of Sola Scriptura and an erroneous hermeneutical position that often places emphasis on Paul’s Epistles as normative for defining Church doctrine rather than relying on the words of Our Lord in the Gospels as the standard by which Doctrine is to be judged.

  16. oldconvert says:

    Well I am invalidly (but legally) married (never mind the details). I am allowed by my PP to receive the sacraments because he has satisfied himself that although for grave reasons we cannot separate, we are not living as husband and wife.

    It is possible that there are people in the parish who are pointing the finger, but if so they haven’t said anything to my face, and I trust Father to see off any impertinent comments that come his way.

    My point is to ask people to refrain from judgement on this issue unless you are sure that you know all the facts. Which is, when you come to consider the matter, extremely unlikely.

  17. St Donatus says:

    Old Convert, I doubt anyone here is judging you or anyone else unless they know the facts. Usually it has to be obvious before we can wonder. For example, when they are a family member or friends relative and you actually know the situation and they have 3 kids by their husband the 3 kids by the new husband. I myself had to live as brother and sister with my wife until my previous marriage was found to be invalid. The problem was that a nun thirty years ago told me my original marriage was invalid and I didn’t need an annullment. Again, much confusion as this synod will likewise cause.

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