At the UK’s best Catholic weekly, the Catholic Herald, there is an interview with His Eminence, Raymond Leo Card. Burke.
‘Perhaps we have arrived at the End Times’: an interview with Cardinal Burke
CARDINAL RAYMOND BURKE In the present moment there is confusion and error about the most fundamental teachings of the Church, for example with regard to marriage and the family. For instance, the idea that people who are living in an irregular union could receive the sacraments is a violation of the truth with regard both to the indissolubility of marriage and to the sanctity of the Eucharist.
St Paul tells us in his First Letter to the Corinthians that before we approach to receive the Body of Christ, we have to examine ourselves, or we eat our condemnation by receiving the Eucharist in an unworthy way. Now the confusion in the Church is going even further than that, because there is today confusion as to whether there are acts which are intrinsically evil and this, of course, is the foundation of the moral law. When this foundation begins to be questioned within the Church, then the whole order of human life and the order of the Church itself are endangered.
So there is a feeling that in today’s world that is based on secularism with a completely anthropocentric approach, by which we think we can create our own meaning of life and meaning of the family and so on, the Church itself seems to be confused. In that sense one may have the feeling that the Church gives the appearance of being unwilling to obey the mandates of Our Lord. Then perhaps we have arrived at the End Times.
He is also asked about the “formal correction” in regard to the Dubia. He explains his present appointments. He opines about the first thing that any new Pope should do.
Card. Burke has called our times “realistically apocalyptic”.
Our Lord explained signs that would precede the End and His Second Coming (which we look for when we say Holy Mass ad orientem. He describes those harrowing times. We heard the Gospel reading in the EF last Sunday. Also, the Lord said:
When it is evening, you say, It will be fair weather, for the sky is red. And in the morning: Today there will be a storm, for the sky is red and lowering. You know then how to discern the face of the sky: and can you not know the signs of the times?
Paul wrote to Timothy:
For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables.
Since the Ascension of the Lord, Christians have known and deeply felt that we are in the “end times”. Sometimes that feeling is stronger than others. It is almost as if it rushes towards us and then – something happens to hold it off just a little longer.
Once there were Masses and Acts of Reparation. People offered their pains. Convents of religious did penance and adored the Blessed Sacrament in silence. Our Lady appeared with dire warnings but also with descriptions of what we were to do.
Now there are many many fewer of all these things, and Our Lady was not heeded.
Who knows how these factors, back in the day, held us back from the apocalyptic tipping point.
Who knows how the blasphemies and sacrileges, the indifference, is escatologically hurtling us to the end.
Here I will track back to what I have written before, long ago now, as a kind of manifesto.
The Eucharist, its celebration and itself as the extraordinary Sacrament, is the “source and summit of Christian life”.
If we really believe that, then we must also hold that what we do in church, what we believe happens in a church, makes an enormous difference.
Do we believe the consecration really does something? Or, do we believe what is said and how, what the gestures are and the attitude in which they made are entirely indifferent? For example, will a choice not to kneel before Christ the King and Judge truly present in each sacred Host, produce a wider effect?
If you throw a stone, even a pebble, into a pool it produces ripples which expand to its edge. The way we celebrate Mass must create spiritual ripples in the Church and the world.
So does our good or bad reception of Holy Communion.
So must violations of rubrics and irreverence.
Mass is not merely a “teaching moment” or a “celebration of unity” or a “tedious obligation”. Our choice of music, architecture, ceremonies and language affect more than one small congregation in one building. We are interconnected in both our common human nature and in baptism. When we sin we hurt the whole Body of Christ the Church.
If that is true for sin, it must also be true for our liturgical choices. They must also have personal and corporate impact. Any Mass can be offered for the intentions of the living or the dead.
Not even death is an obstacle to the efficacy of Holy Mass.
Celebrate Mass well, participate properly – affect the whole world. Celebrate poorly – affect the whole world.
In each age since Christ’s Ascension, people have felt they were in the End Times. They were right. In any moment, when the conditions are right, the Lord could return.
Considering what is happening in the world now, I am pushed to think about the way Mass is being celebrated, even the number of Masses being celebrated. Once there were many communities of contemplatives, spending time before the Blessed Sacrament or in contemplation, in collective and in private prayer. There were many more Masses.
Many more people went to confession.
Who can know how they all lifted burdens from the world and turned large and small tides by their prayers to God for mercy and in reparation for sin?
A single droplet of Christ’s Precious Blood consecrated at Holy Mass is the price of every soul ever created in God’s unfathomable plan.
So I repeat: