Synod Nightmare Scenario: Card. Burke on devolution of doctrine to local bishops and conferences

12_04_11_burkeFrom Lifesite… read the whole thing, but this is probably the most important bit.

There has been talk of devolving some decision making about various issues to regional conferences of bishops or to local bishops. That would, of course, be total disaster.

From the interview… my patented emphases and comments:

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. [The Kasperites and those who talk about bending the Church’s teachings (and practices) to “reality”, would indeed say that truth can vary from place place.  If they say that what might have once been true doesn’t necessary need to be true now, then why not also posit fluid truth based on location?  The German/Kasperite/Rahnerian approach replaces the philosophical grounding of theology with politics (cf. Robert Stark).  Truth changes according to shifting mores, values, etc.  To hell with reason (e.g., syllogisms).]

So, this is unacceptable. I don’t know where this idea comes from. [I have a couple ideas.] 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.’

[NB] 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. [Do I hear an “Amen!”?] 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.

Blessings upon Card. Burke.

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24 Responses to Synod Nightmare Scenario: Card. Burke on devolution of doctrine to local bishops and conferences

  1. TimG says:

    To me, the dominoes have already started falling with the changes regarding annulments….

  2. Pingback: Nightmare Scenario at the Synod - Big Pulpit

  3. Susan M says:

    Re: Photo at top of article – He would look beautiful all dressed in white with the papal ring on his finger.

  4. Sonshine135 says:

    It all comes down to how the word “pastoral” is defined. In my opinion, “pastoral” is one of the liberal church’s buzz words. If you hear “pastoral” from them, more times than not it means being nice to someone, empathizing with them, but not leading them back to God for fear of offending them. That isn’t pastoral. How can it be when it leaves the soul destined for eternity in hell?

    Cardinal Burke understands that the real pastoral approach is to lead people back to Christ. Lead that soul to heaven. That is the ultimate goal: Become a Saint. It isn’t enough to focus on the corporal works of mercy. We have to focus on the spiritual as well. After all, when we are dead and our bodies return to the dust, what need will any of us have to be receivers of the corporal works?

  5. Deo volente says:

    I have no idea what I would do without this blog. Sweet Lord, how did we get here when such heretical ideas seem patently true to some? Do they really seek to destroy Holy Mother Church? Thanks be to God for Cardinal Raymond Burke, a “man for this season”.

  6. Cosmos says:

    “The Kasperites and those who talk about bending the Church’s teachings (and practices) to ‘reality’, would indeed say that truth can vary from place place. If they say that what might have once been true doesn’t necessary need to be true now, then why not also posit fluid truth based on location? The German/Kasperite/Rahnerian approach replaces the philosophical grounding of theology with politics (cf. Robert Stark). Truth changes according to shifting mores, values, etc. To hell with reason (e.g., syllogisms).”

    The Kasperites make think/say those things in other contexts, but my guess is they aren’t going to say that. They are concerned with rhetorical effect, not logical consistency. And they have found an argument that is rhetorically appealing to many.

    That is, they will continue to insist on recognizing the line between: (1) doctrine, which cannot be changed, and (2) discipline, which must always recognize human imperfections and be guided by mercy. And they will insist that the reception of communion by the remarried is a matter of Church discipline, not doctrine.

    They will likely concede that the current discipline is intended to protect the doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage, but they will say that the discipline, however well-intentioned, is no longer universally suitable–from a pastoral perspective–and room needs to be given to make case-by-case exceptions. Mercy may need to prevail in this matter of discipline in certain situations.

  7. iamlucky13 says:

    “To me, the dominoes have already started falling with the changes regarding annulments….”

    The changes regarding annulments, although they do raise eyebrows, especially in the context of the agendas some people currently have on the table, do not themselves challenge Christ’s explicit teaching that marriage is indissoluble, nor that adultery is a grave sin which precludes a person from receiving the Eucharist. The focus remains on addressing the question of whether or not a marriage took place.

    There is a legitimate argument to be held about whether or not the specific changes made sufficiently protect valid marriages, and I’m hoping to hear more about this in the future from people like Father Z. and Dr. Peters. However, the annulment dominoes are not in the same line as the divorce dominoes. Knocking over the divorce dominoes takes a separate action from knocking over annulment dominoes.

  8. ACatholicGuy says:

    I’m only watching the Synod from a distance, but I don’t recall devolution of doctrine being mentioned in the first week. I take it as a positive since it makes me think the liberal faction has determined after week 1 that they won’t be able to push through a universal change, and are therefore now pursuing a “Plan B”, i.e. move it all to the local level instead.

  9. Gus Barbarigo says:

    There is a pertinent, frightening rumor: “According to Andrea Gagliarduchi, the Bishop of Rome may well disband the CDF and give doctrinal and pastoral authority to the bishops of each individual country.”

    http://eponymousflower.blogspot.com/2015/10/archbishop-fulop-kocsis-synod-must-name.html at comment by Robbie on 10-13-15, 11:40AM.

    If the rumor were to prove true, as a practical matter, it would be impossible for any pope to defend the dogma and practice of the faith. The unity of the Catholic Church would essentially be destroyed, as no pope would be able to guarantee the faith as it is lived (or not lived) in various dioceses around the world. The rumor brings to mind:

    “In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved etc.”

    It is a horrifying concept, that The Fatima and Akita prophecies seem be unfolding now. If Pope Francis is really devoted to Our Lady, how in the world could he let these things happen?

  10. cwillia1 says:

    We need regional synods to deal with regional issues and for bishops to hold each other accountable. This presupposes an orthodox episcopate that thinks with the mind of the Church. The problem with centralization in Rome is that loyalty to Rome takes precedence over faithfulness to the apostolic tradition. So you end up with a politicized, heterodox episcopacy which cannot be trusted to make decentralization work.

  11. St Donatus says:

    ‘Devolution of doctrine to local bishops and conferences’ has already happened, it is called ‘Laudato Si’. All one bishop has to do is have someone rubber stamp annullments like plane tickets while another bishops spends much time and resources trying to ensure that the annullment process isn’t compromised. The bishop that rubber stamps the annullments saves hundreds of thousands of dollars of resources dealing with annullments, has extra priests to pastor parishes, while the orthodox bishop hasn’t got time to even manage his diocese due to the extra work load.

    What direction do you think most bishops will go? Catholic divorce, here we come.

    Don’t get me wrong, they can’t compromise the truths of the Church, but they can gut them. It is kind of like a highway in Oregon I used to drive, the speed limit was 55 but everyone went 70 or more and after a few fatalities they decided to start to enforce the law again. Of course, the fatalities went down. I pray that someday the Church will start enforcing the laws of the Church again because I am tired of seeing so many Catholics slowly die of spiritual murder in their parishes.

  12. TimG says:

    @ St Donatus

    That was my thought as well…it is already happening.

    St JP2 and B16 picked their battles…now anyone challenging behavior is being judgmental and a Pharisee.

  13. TNCath says:

    If the Pope and the Kasperites get their way, how will any pope or bishop ever be able to tell their people anything ever again with any credibility? If, as Cardinal Burke fears will happen if the Kasperites get their way, the Church ceases to be Catholic, what’s the point of having a Pope and a magisterium? It seems that this Synod’s purpose is to put the Church out of business. Veni Creator Spiritus!

  14. robtbrown says:

    cwillia1 says:

    We need regional synods to deal with regional issues and for bishops to hold each other accountable. This presupposes an orthodox episcopate that thinks with the mind of the Church. The problem with centralization in Rome is that loyalty to Rome takes precedence over faithfulness to the apostolic tradition. So you end up with a politicized, heterodox episcopacy which cannot be trusted to make decentralization work.

    The 13 cardinals who sent the letter are obviously men who don’t fit your analysis–they are more faithful to Apostolic Tradition than they are loyal to Rome.

    Further, the politicized episcopacy has existed and will exist in national and regional conferences, among which there have always been certain powerful bishops who have a lot to say about who becomes a bishop. It was no secret that Abp Bernardin at one time was the US bishop maker. It took direct intervention from the pope to nix the Bernardin choice (Abp Kelly) for New York.

    The Bernardin reign ended with when John O’Connor was named to New York.

  15. Traductora says:

    I don’t see how “devolution” is even faintly possible in the Catholic Church, although now that the Pope has mastered the Obama technique (bypassing the normal decision making or consultative bodies and simply imposing his will through administrative procedures), it’s certainly conceivable that he would try it.

    The synod has revealed how many flakes we have in high places, but it has also revealed how many strong, orthodox people we still have. The Pope’s not going to get his way with them, so that means he’s going to try to find a way around them.

  16. Filipino Catholic says:

    I remember St. Peter Damian’s distressing words about something of this sort: “We cannot restore primitive discipline when once it has decayed, and if we suffer any diminution in what remains, future generations will not be able to repair the breach.”

  17. CharlesG says:

    Besides devolution of doctrine, a new tack the modernists are taking is to say adulterers and active homosexuals can take communion based on subjective conscience. See Archbishop Cupich’s recent statements. The is is similar to the way some1treat artificial contraception. It clearly shows a lack of belief that these sins are really sins. If the Church adopts this, she can kiss her moral teachings goodbye and she will follow in the path of the mainstream Protestants into long term decline. The Orthodox need to tackle this new line as well.

  18. SanSan says:

    God Bless this Holy Cardinal. God Bless and keep ALL your faithful clerics. The others? Get the hook!

  19. cwillia1 says:

    Robert Brown, yes the 13 cardinals are orthodox Catholics. So why are they engaged in a debate at a global “synod” over settled issues of Catholic doctrine. The reason is that there are heterodox bishops at this meeting proposing a false doctrine of marriage and reconciliation. How did they get there? How is it that the German bishops cannot be trusted to run their own church? And they can’t be trusted. We are in a box where decentralization is necessary and decentralization is impossible.

  20. The Masked Chicken says:

    I have been have been hanging back on commenting on this Synod of the Family because it seems to me to be an example of how science, both material and theological, might be done by a schizophrenic. Clearly, no help for the family, or dare I say it, even new insights will emerge. Where are the studies by scientists, sociologists, historians, etc.? Where are the experiments, the empirical results, etc., that indicate a shred of factually-based knowledge, tempered by theological insights? Let me be blunt – this Synod is political and looks more like a committee in the U. S. Congress than a Synod of Wise Men, although it, still, might make it as a Synod of Wiseguys. It is a Synod on the Family that, ironically, does not behave like a family! More correctly, it behaves like a modern “family,” – you know, the dysfunctional kind.

    I have held back because what would be the point? There is no search for truth at this Synod. Truth is not a matter of individual opinion – that would be Modernism – oh, wait, wasn’t that the new proposal for the regional bishops conferences? It is so hard not to sin in thought, word, or deed while contemplating this Synod – you try walking around muttering under your breath – only on a college campus or an insane asylum (same thing, some days) will such behavior be ignored. For me, it has become a Sin-nod.

    All that being said, the other shoe has dropped. The AP (that bastion of truth…) is now reporting:

    “VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis called Saturday for a Catholic Church that is far more decentralized, where they laity play a greater role, bishops conferences take care of certain problems and even the papacy is rethought…

    Finally, he said a truly collegial church has implications for the papacy — and therefore relations with other Christian churches that split from Rome precisely over the primacy of the pope.

    Francis has been keen to insist that he is perhaps first and foremost the bishop of Rome.

    ‘The pope is not, all by himself, above the church but rather inside it as a baptized Catholic among other baptized Catholics, and inside the episcopal college as a bishop among bishops,” he said. At the same time, he added, the pope is called “to guide the church of Rome that presides in the love of all the churches.'”

    Now, I do not know if the author of the article, Nicole Winfield, is a Catholic, but this reads like the title of the Synod should be changed to, “The Synod Where Luther Won.” It was my understanding that one of the stresses that led to the rise of Protestantism was the conflict between the Pope and the Conciliar Movement back in the 13th and 14th centuries. This seems like a spin-off into smaller mini-councils. I expect Protestantism-redux, soon.

    Perhaps we should all start billing the Vatican for the many aspirins it will take to quench the headaches that are sure to follow.

    Silly me. I thought they were going to have a serious discussion about the family.

    The Chicken

  21. Ferde Rombola says:

    The Pope has already made his dream clear by telling his Protestant friend in Argentina, ‘We are not journeying toward one another. We’ll meet in the middle.’ What can that mean but the elimination of the Catholic Church and the creation, from Her skeleton, of another Protestant sect? Haven’t all his actions and statements pointed to that outcome?

    Our chatter here and elsewhere is to no purpose. Better we discuss ways to overcome the dictatorship of Papa Borgoglio.

    Fr. Z, I am unclear about the terms of the resignation of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Did he renounce all authority or is there some wriggle room for him to reclaim the Chair and create a schism between the current Pope and the Church, making the matter the business of a consistory?

    [I can’t see how that would happen.]

  22. acardnal says:

    Cardinal Burke, “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. . . .”

    In other words, you cannot be and not be at the same time.

  23. AndrewPaul says:

    I have a number of friends who are Mormon. One of the things that cause the most pain for them is “bishop roulette” where so many things depend on who your local leader is. I would really hate to see that happen in the Catholic Church after all the pain and confusion it’s left in other faith traditions.

  24. Rouxfus says:

    Cardinal Burke says:

    “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.’ ”

    This is the rub.

    I think rather what this revolting development, if it comes to pass, means is that the “church” which teaches this heresy no longer bears a couple of the marks given to the Church Our Lord founded for our salvation. The ones we hear in the Credo every Sunday are : one, holy, catholic and apostolic. Cardinal Burke rightly says that if the “Church” goes through and suggests that the dogmas do not hold up universally as one faith believed by all Catholics, then in one fell swoop, that “church” ceases to bear the marks which Christ gave it to distinguish His Church founded on St. Peter and the Apostles from all the false prophets he predicted would arise.

    We know the Church Christ founded will perdure (another of the marks of His church which is not mentioned in the Creed which but which we know He gave it. So if the Vatican “church” is no longer Catholic, and is no longer One, and is no longer teaching in accord with the faith handed down to us by the Apostles , then clearly the Church, the Body of Christ must subsist elsewhere. Where? What society more clearly and completely bears the marks of the Church Christ founded?

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