INTERVIEW with Card. Burke about their Five Dubia about problems in Amoris Laetitia

In the wake of the Five Dubia about Amoris laetitia submitted by the Four Cardinals, one of The Four has been again interviewed.  His Eminence Raymond Card. Burke was interviewed about the Five Dubia by the National Catholic Register‘s Edward Pentin, probably the best English language vaticanista in Rome these days.

His Eminence touches on many helpful points in explaining what The Four did and why they did it.  He also responds to some theoretical questions about the role of the Pope and what happens if there is error.

You should read the whole thing, but here is a taste of the core section of the interview:

[…]

Without the clarification you are seeking, are you saying, therefore, that this and other teaching in Amoris Laetitia go against the law of non-contradiction (which states that something cannot be both true and untrue at the same time when dealing with the same context)? 

Of course, because, for instance, if you take the marriage issue, the Church teaches that marriage is indissoluble, in accord with the word of Christ, “He who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery.” Therefore, if you are divorced, you may not enter a marital relationship with another person unless the indissoluble bond to which you are bound is declared to be null, to be nonexistent. But if we say, well, in certain cases, a person living in an irregular marriage union can receive holy Communion, then one of two things has to be the case: Either marriage really is not indissoluble — as for instance, in the kind of “enlightenment theory” of Cardinal [Walter] Kasper, who holds that marriage is an ideal to which we cannot realistically hold people. In such a case, we have lost the sense of the grace of the sacrament, which enables the married to live the truth of their marriage covenant — or holy Communion is not communion with the Body and Blood of Christ. Of course, neither of those two is possible. They contradict the constant teachings of the Church from the beginning and, therefore, cannot be true.

Some will see this initiative through a political lens and criticize it as a “conservative vs. liberal” move, something you and the other signatories reject. What is your response to such an accusation?

Our response is simply this: We are not taking some kind of position within the Church, like a political decision, for instance. The Pharisees accused Jesus of coming down on one side of a debate between the experts in Jewish Law, but Jesus did not do that at all. He appealed to the order that God placed in nature from the moment of creation. He said Moses let you divorce because of your hardness of heart, but it was not this way from the beginning. So we are simply setting forth what the Church has always taught and practiced in asking these five questions that address the Church’s constant teaching and practice. The answers to these questions provide an essential interpretative tool for Amoris Laetitia. They have to be set forth publicly because so many people are saying: “We’re confused, and we don’t understand why the cardinals or someone in authority doesn’t speak up and help us.”

It’s a pastoral duty?

That’s right, and I can assure you that I know all of the cardinals involved, and this has been something we’ve undertaken with the greatest sense of our responsibility as bishops and cardinals. But it has also been undertaken with the greatest respect for the Petrine Office, because if the Petrine Office does not uphold these fundamental principles of doctrine and discipline, then, practically speaking, division has entered into the Church, which is contrary to our very nature.

[…]

Towards the end, the Cardinal responds to questions about what might have to happen in the Church should it be determined that the Holy Father has taught error, which he won’t then correct on his own.   Mind you, these points were raised by the interviewer.  Card. Burke responded, as a good and diligent teacher would about a theoretical situation.   However, I foresee that some will claim that Card. Burke was himself calling for what he described to the interviewer.  That is not the case, but they will try to smear Card. Burke.   But what else is new?  When it comes to Burke Derangement Syndrome, reason and fairness take flight through the windows.

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23 Responses to INTERVIEW with Card. Burke about their Five Dubia about problems in Amoris Laetitia

  1. Jean-Luc says:

    To the question:

    “If the Pope were to teach grave error or heresy, which lawful authority can declare this and what would be the consequences?”

    Cardinal Burke answers:

    “It is the duty in such cases, and historically it has happened, of cardinals and bishops to make clear that the Pope is teaching error and to ask him to correct it.”

    Can I dare to ask: And then, what if the Pope ignores the correction? What would be the next step?

  2. Filipino Catholic says:

    Jean-Luc, according to Thomas Aquinas, “If a man is not persistent in his error, he is no heretic, only a man in error” (something along those lines, can a Thomist scholar please verify), which seems to imply that Pope Francis refusing or ignoring correction would raise a terrifying prospect I wish to never see in my lifetime, or my children’s lifetime, or my grandchildren’s lifetime.

    As for the next step, Christ says “if he will not hear the church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican” (Matthew 18:17). Unfortunately, should said terrifying prospect which is unspeakable arise, that is easier said than done.

  3. kiwiinamerica says:

    No, the cardinal clearly states that they will make “a formal act of correction” if the Pope continues to ignore this.

    It’s on……….

  4. JabbaPapa says:

    Jean-Luc :

    Can I dare to ask: And then, what if the Pope ignores the correction? What would be the next step?

    My impression is that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith can Authoritatively issue a correction or clarification in such circumstances.

  5. Traductora says:

    I think we may see the CDF undergo some changes; remember, Pope Francis has several times referred to Schoenborn as the head of the CDF, although he was simply a member of the congregation. Maybe that will be one of the dramatic things supposedly to be announced this weekend?

    In any case, Cdl Burke sent the letter to the CDF as well. Cdl Muller would probably affirm orthodoxy in his answers, but I doubt that the Pope would permit this to stand as his reply since it would conflict with all the things he and his surrogates have said about AL in the intervening seven months. I think he will probably forbid Cdl Muller to reply and simply ignore the letter (although without neglecting to take revenge on its writers).

  6. Joe in Canada says:

    I wonder what the Cardinals expect to happen if the Holy Father simply ignores them, privately and publicly.

  7. jhayes says:

    JabbaPapa wrote My impression is that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith can Authoritatively issue a correction or clarification in such circumstances.

    They could, but the document would have to be reviewed and approved by the Pope before they could issue it. He could approve it either in forma communi or in forma specifica

    Of course, it is unlikely that he would approve it if he didn’t agree with it.

  8. LeeF says:

    The College of Bishops, even if all agree the Pope teaches error, can effectively do nothing without his assent if he will not take a rebuke. So what chance does a minority of the college have when the mushy middle won’t take a firm stand either way?

    The answer is that a future pope corrects the error, hopefully in accord with a majority of the College of Bishops.

    As for now, we need more prayers and sacrifices that the Holy Spirit will guide the Holy Father and that the HF will heed that guidance. And that we ourselves are open to the possibility that in some of the details, the HF may actually be right.

    We have a Battle of Lepanto within the Church itself today, and we need to pray that Our Lady brings the fleet of Truth to victory.

  9. hwriggles4 says:

    Receiving communion without having an annulment (for those who are civilly married to another spouse – divorced Catholics without an annulment can receive communion provided they are living chastely and not cohabitating with a significant other) is a slap in the face to those who waited patiently and went through the annulment process. Although the process is shorter for the lack of form type, it is not a rubber stamp.

    Good priests advise divorced Catholics not to begin dating again until if and when an annulment is granted. The annulment process is a healing process (I was a witness in one case) , and it is worth the wait.

  10. JabbaPapa says:

    Traductora :

    remember, Pope Francis has several times referred to Schoenborn as the head of the CDF, although he was simply a member of the congregation. Maybe that will be one of the dramatic things supposedly to be announced this weekend?

    I don’t think there’s any foundation to this particular rumour.

    … but I doubt that the Pope would permit this to stand as his reply since it would conflict with all the things he and his surrogates have said about AL in the intervening seven months

    But in fact his principle surrogates in this matter have both, informally in the case of Cardinal Müller, and formally in the case of the Vicar of Rome, declared that a commitment to continence is the necessary prerequisite for access to the Sacraments in typical cases of divorced-remarried. The Pope stated so himself during the Synod.

  11. comedyeye says:

    Our Lady of Akita prophesied turmoil in the Church, cardinals against cardinals and bishops against bishops.

  12. Pingback: THURSDAY EDITION | Big Pulpit

  13. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    @JabbaPapa: >>a commitment to continence is the necessary prerequisite for access to the Sacraments in typical cases of divorced-remarried.<<

    Why the qualifying phrase "in typical cases"? Are there "untypical cases" in which continence is not required? That is exactly the source of the ambiguity: the unspecified circumstances that apparently allow a priest accompanying the couple to discern in his own conscience that they should be completely integrated into the Church and admitted to the Sacraments, without a decree of annulment for a previously married partner. Once again, what has always been in the external forum, the realm of facts, has been moved to the internal forum, the realm of desires.

    The U.S. bishops in their report on the implementation of Amoris laetitia said that guidance is needed on the meaning of “accompaniment,” “integration,” and “discernment.” Exactly!

  14. JabbaPapa says:

    Grateful to be Catholic :

    Why the qualifying phrase “in typical cases”? Are there “untypical cases” in which continence is not required?

    Well, not every single case of divorce and remarriage constitutes an Adultery. Just for starters.

    Then there are cases of marriages that turn out to be intrinsically invalid, religiously, and yet require civil divorce for their formal dissolution. There’s civil divorce after an unconsummated marriage, spouses who suddenly turn out to be brother and sister, and all sorts of other weirdness.

    More legally, there are cases that the Canon Law describes as constituting sacramental invalidity, and yet where no Court has been able to pronounce it due to lapsing and therefore uncooperation of one of the spouses.

    These are the sorts of things to be properly understood as the “more complex situations” of Amoris Laetitia, and not the far more simple cases of straightforward adultery.

  15. JabbaPapa says:

    PS I’m VERY Grateful to be Catholic too !!!!

  16. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    Thank you, JabbaPapa. But we are not talking here of cases where the previous marriage was invalid and could be found to be so, such as non-consummation, incest, or failure of form. Those are easily dealt with by applying for a decree of nullity. The cases involving passage of time and lack of evidence or spousal cooperation are easily identified and could be specified if that is what Amoris laetitia is talking about.

    The problem at hand is cases in which a decree of nullity is not obtained for some unspecified reason but the couple want their new union to be accepted and to receive the Sacraments. It is not sufficient to simply refer to “certain cases” or even “more complex situations.” We are dealing with the moral law of the Church and the guidance and salvation of souls. Hand-waving doesn’t cut it.

  17. Lucas Whittaker says:

    I am happy that these courageous Cardinal Fathers have presented their concerns to Pope Francis.

    In my personal life, as a layman, I follow the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas in my view of the Papal Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia. Thomas teaches on unbelief and heresy that if the crime against faith is of great public knowledge, generally widely accepted, and even publicly defended, then discipline should slacken and the heretic should be tolerated in order to avoid a schism in the Church (II-II, Q. 8, article 8, reply to objection 1; II-II, Q 11, article 3, reply to objection 2). The well-regarded German Catholic philosopher, Robert Spaemann, supports my view that a schism (“split”) is a potential result of the fact of, and public reaction to, Amoris Laetitia. Again, in this case, Pope Francis, should be tolerated in order to avoid a schism: We should be patient with him (our speech should be irenic).

    Peace is the proper act of charity (II-II, Q. 28, article 4). Aristotle says in the Ethics (Bk. IX, ch. 6) that friends need not agree in opinion but only in such goods as conduce to living life … Hence nothing hinders those who have charity from holding different opinions (Summa II-II, Q. 29, article 3, reply to objection 2). The precept of charity does urge us toward unity. As Aristotle says at the end of chapter nine: if people do not watch it carefully the common good is soon destroyed (Ethics, Book IX). There is little that we can do to speak to the Holy Father, which is why I am optimistic about the good Cardinal Fathers who have written to the Pope, because their words carry with them an appropriate weight of importance. But for our part (lay persons and parish priests), it seems to me that Aquinas advises that we should be cautious enough to consider the weight that our public reaction carries with it.

    It does remain important for each one of us to consider the epistle to the Hebrews, 3:13, “But exhort one another every day, whilst it is called ‘today’, that none of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” There are many people in our lives to whom we owe, through charity, a warning about certain mistakes that they have made which lead them away from God. This certainly does apply personally to Pope Francis since his error confuses many people. But the news media has made it clear that Pope Francis has already heard the message of our concern “loud and clear”. For now it is up to us who desire to uphold the faith as it was handed on to us, to go on with our Catholic life: attend good liturgy; make time daily for meditative/contemplative prayer. In this way we allow God to transform us inwardly so that we can live the gospel generously.

    Our goal at this time, then, should be to counsel the doubtful who come within our circle of influence while striving for peace for the sake of the common good, which means moving on with life in the face of the crimes against the faith/faithful commited through the document. It is true that under different circumstances justice would demand a penalty of some kind. In this case–to make my reading of Thomas’ teaching clear–it is owing to the looming danger of a split in the Church that makes this circumstance unique. In this case the virtue of justice calls for peace in order to preserve the unity that charity desires.

  18. JabbaPapa says:

    Grateful to be Catholic :

    Those are easily dealt with by applying for a decree of nullity

    More realistically, it has become very frequent in contemporary times that this is not the case.

    We are dealing with the moral law of the Church and the guidance and salvation of souls. Hand-waving doesn’t cut it.

    We’re dealing with pastoral guidance for priests in the confessional. The moral law itself is unaltered by Amoris Laetitia.

  19. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    JabbaPapa: Actually, whether Amoris laetitia has changed the moral law of the Church is precisely what the Cardinals are asking. What else but the moral law can determine the pastoral guidance of priests in the confessional?

  20. JabbaPapa says:

    Grateful to be Catholic :

    What else but the moral law can determine the pastoral guidance of priests in the confessional?

    Casuistics.

  21. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    Oh, I get it. You’re not serious. Over and out.

  22. JabbaPapa says:

    Grateful to be Catholic :

    Oh, I get it. You’re not serious.

    ????

  23. robtbrown says:

    JabbaPapa says:


    Grateful to be Catholic :

    What else but the moral law can determine the pastoral guidance of priests in the confessional?

    Casuistics.

    The application of general moral principles (moral law) to concrete situations is not casuistry (casuistics).