Friday, October 24, 2014

Pope Benedict: Relativistic Ideas of Religious Truth “Lethal to Faith”


From Fr. Z:

From CNS:
Retired pope says interreligious dialogue no substitute for mission
VATICAN CITY – Retired Pope Benedict XVI said dialogue with other religions is no substitute for spreading the Gospel to non-Christian cultures, and warned against relativistic ideas of religious truth as “lethal to faith.” He also said the true motivation for missionary work is not to increase the church’s size but to share the joy of knowing Christ.
The retired pope’s words appeared in written remarks to faculty members and students at Rome’s Pontifical Urbanian University, [Urbaniana] which belongs to the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. Archbishop Georg Ganswein, prefect of the papal household and personal secretary to retired Pope Benedict, read the 1,800-word message aloud Oct. 21, at a ceremony dedicating the university’s renovated main lecture hall to the retired pope.
The speech is one of a handful of public statements, including an interview and a published letter to a journalist, that Pope Benedict has made since he retired in February 2013.
“The risen Lord instructed his apostles, and through them his disciples in all ages, to take his word to the ends of the earth and to make disciples of all people,” retired Pope Benedict wrote. [Watch this...] “‘But does that still apply?’ many inside and outside the church ask themselves today. [Classic Ratzinger.  He brings up a theme and then asks a question.] ‘Is mission still something for today? Would it not be more appropriate to meet in dialogue among religions and serve together the cause of world peace?’ The counter-question is: ‘Can dialogue substitute for mission?’  [No!]
“In fact, many today think religions should respect each other and, in their dialogue, become a common force for peace. According to this way of thinking, it is usually taken for granted that different religions are variants of one and the same reality,” the retired pope wrote. [Do I hear an "Amen!"] “The question of truth, that which originally motivated Christians more than any other, is here put inside parentheses. It is assumed that the authentic truth about God is in the last analysis unreachable and that at best one can represent the ineffable with a variety of symbols. This renunciation of truth seems ["seems"] realistic and useful for peace among religions in the world.
“It is nevertheless lethal to faith.  [How I have missed you.] In fact, faith loses its binding character and its seriousness, everything is reduced to interchangeable symbols, capable of referring only distantly to the inaccessible mystery of the divine,” he wrote.
Pope Benedict wrote that some religions, particularly “tribal religions,” are “waiting for the encounter with Jesus Christ,” but that this “encounter is always reciprocal. Christ is waiting for their history, their wisdom, their vision of the things.[Inculturation takes place at this intersection of Christ and cultures.] This encounter can also give new life to Christianity, which has grown tired in its historical heartlands, he wrote. [He has a special preoccupation about Europe.]
“We proclaim Jesus Christ not to procure as many members as possible for our community, and still less in order to gain power,” the retired pope wrote. “We speak of him because we feel the duty to transmit that joy which has been given to us.” [He has a book entitled "Minister of Your Joy" about priestly formation and spirituality.   It is also, perhaps, a nod to... someone else who - contrary to some - didm' invent joy.]


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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Clarification from Michael Voris



Clarification

By Michael Voris

Hello everyone. Michael Voris coming to you from Rome with a clarification. This past weekend we aired a breaking news report about Cardinal Raymond Burke having granted an interview to a secular outfit in which he publicly revealed for the first time he was going to be transferred AND, in his estimation the pope not speaking out openly about the crazy ideas floating around the synod was harming the church. We decided to go with the story for two main reasons.

One – the tone of discourse had not risen to that level prior – that harm was being done to the Church and that he had now CONFIRMD he was going to be transferred.

Secondly – unlike much of the “inside the Catholic world” news reports that had been published before – THIS one had been released by the secular media – it had broken out of the Catholic media bubble and into the mainstream.

We approached the story and its details strictly from a journalistic point of view. In hindsight, that was a mistake because ANOTHER unintended impression was generated – that we were criticizing the Pope.

I could give a number of reasons why we didn’t forsee this – being close to the story here on the ground, being tired etc., but they aren’t sufficient to offset the unintended impression.

Given that some people may think we were criticizing the Pope, it was wrong to air the story. I alone made the decision so the responsibility is entirely mine. Again, I was approaching this from a journalism aspect, and not enough, or at all, from an apostolate standpoint. Other media outlets who cover Catholic things can run with the story as a newsworthy story, but this apostolate has an additional filter. What we do at Church Militant.tv is use the tools of the new media to further the cause of the Church. Period. We don’t use them as an end in themselves. On this occasion, I unthinkingly inverted those priorities and ran with it. For that I offer you my deepest apologies and ask your forgiveness.

I have dedicated the remainder of my life to serving the Church and to have to consider that I did something that brought some harm to Her makes me heart sick. On a personal note, to show you how bothered in spirit I am by my actions, I chose not to receive Holy Communion on Sunday, and have gone to confession over this entire matter.

Now .. shifting to the harm to the Church question, again, the harm has come in that some individuals have interpreted this report as being a criticism of the Pope, and by extension the Papacy, and by further extension the Church.

To whatever degree this has happened, again, I am to blame.

But others have taken my mistake and DELIBERATELY ran with it to imply that I and/or the apostolate have now hopped on the bandwagon of publicly criticizing the Pope. A very clear distinction needs to be made here. There are those in the Catholic blogosphere who do not like the pope and openly mock him and have practically created a cottage industry out of combing thru every syllable he utters and producing reams of criticisms over them.

They introduce to the Catholic world things that most Catholics would never hear of if it weren’t for their on-going discussions of them. He has been called evil, a heretic, an anti-pope – they have openly speculated that the conclave that elected him was bogus and Benedict is still somehow the real pope. They are sewing massive and countless doubts in the minds of many Catholics about this Pope’s legitimacy and authority and driving them to consider leaving the Church and entering independent Catholic enclaves that exercise no legitimate authority in the Church.

I wish to make abundantly clear that in no way shape or form do we condone anything of the sort. Pope Francis is the legitimate Pope and any kind of pretended communion with the Church while rejecting him is not possible. You are either in full communion or you are not.

Other blogs have speculated that I have “seen the light” at last. Wrong. I reported what I thought was a legitimate newsworthy story – I did not even consider, much less intend to destabilize belief in the Pope’s authority.

In short, my mistake is now being used to make hay and I decry that. Pope Francis is the Pope. He is the Holy Father. We are called to love the Holy Father, to pray for him. He is the very first name I mention in offering up my daily rosary. The Holy Father should not be being publicly criticized by lay Catholics, much less mocked and called insulting names and made the butt of jokes. If others do that, then they will have to give an account to Our Lord for mocking His Vicar when they die. I want no part of that, and make very clear in your understanding, I NEVER intended anything of the sort. Again, I was mistaken, and that mistake should not be being multiplied by those who see it as an opportunity.

Thank you and please keep our work here in your prayers. GOD Love you

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h/t to Fr. Z.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

From Bishop Tobin: Random Thoughts About the Synod on the Family

By Bishop Thomas J. Tobin

– It’s an enormous challenge to maintain pristine doctrinal purity while at the same time respond to the experiential, personal, and difficult needs of married couples and families. Behind every arcane discussion of gradualism and natural law there are parents and children awaiting God’s grace.

— In trying to accommodate the needs of the age, as Pope Francis suggests, the Church risks the danger of losing its courageous, counter-cultural, prophetic voice, a voice that the world needs to hear.

— The concept of having a representative body of the Church voting on doctrinal applications and pastoral solutions strikes me as being rather Protestant.

— In addressing contemporary issues of marriage and the family, the path forward will probably be found somewhere between the positions of Fr. Z and the National Catholic Reporter.

— Have we learned that it’s probably not a good idea to publish half-baked minutes of candid discussions about sensitive topics, especially when we know that the secular media will hijack the preliminary discussions for their own agendas?

— I wonder what the Second Vatican Council would have looked like and what it would have produced if the social media had existed at that time.

— Pope Francis encouraged fearless and candid discussion and transparency during the Synod. I wonder if the American Bishops will adopt the same protocol during their meeting next month in Baltimore.

— Wherever he serves, Cardinal Burke will be a principled, articulate and fearless spokesman for the teachings of the Church.

— Pope Francis is fond of “creating a mess.” Mission accomplished.

— Relax. God’s still in charge.

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On the Fixation with Moderation

By Father Erik Richtsteig

One of my former bishops was described, even by himself, as an extreme moderate. I would have called him a pathological moderate, but, hey, that's just terminology. He was and is a nice fellow and a good man, but he made the mistake of assuming that the middle ground was always the truth. He also made the mistake of thinking that he was always in the middle ground. (Often his positions were liberal/progressive.)

This is a common way of looking at the world. Heck, I looked at the world that way during my stupid liberal college days. You just find what you consider to be two opposite and extreme positions, create a continuum and stake out a mid-ground between them, and then you are safe. Except, that it makes a lot of false assumptions.

The first falsehood is that is assumes the things are opposites, like good and evil, male and female. Good and evil are not opposites. That view is heretical. Evil is a privation of good. It is nothing, a defect. Moderation between a thing and its privation is just less defective. Male and female are not opposites. The are complementary sexes of the same species. Neuter or androgyny aren't are virtuous middle between two extremes, but rather something else entirely...(continued)


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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Marriage & Communion, Fr. Robert Dodaro with Raymond Arroyo



h/t to Fr. Z.

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Michael Voris Interviews Edward Pentin Regarding Cardinal Kasper



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Michael Voris - AP Interview

Pope Benedict’s private secretary speaks on Synod, divorce, same-sex relations

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, left, waits for Pope Francis, second from right, at the beatification of Pope Paul VI and a mass for the closing of a two-week synod on family issues. (Gregorio Borgia / Associated Press)

By John-Henry Westen

(LifeSiteNews) Pope Benedict’s private secretary has given a surprise interview on some of the hot-button issues at the Vatican’s Extraordinary Synod on the Family, advancing views aligned with those expressed by Pope Benedict during his time as cardinal and pope.

In the interview published in the print edition of Chi magazine last week, Archbishop Georg Gänswein said, "The Church has always declared, based on the Scriptures and tradition, that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”  The acts, he said, “are contrary to natural law, because they prevent the gift of life, the purpose of the sexual act.”

Gänswein went on to acknowledge that for people experiencing same-sex attraction the inclination can be a trial. “These people,” he said, “are called to live the will of God in their life and if they are Christians, to unite their sacrifice to the cross of the Lord, with the difficulties they meet because of their condition.”

The remarks echo the language of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which was published in 1992, when Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger headed the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). They also bear marked similarity to the language of the 1986 Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, published by the CDF and signed by Cardinal Ratzinger.

“Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered,’” says the Catechism. “They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life.”


In the 1986 letter on the pastoral care of homosexuals, Cardinal Ratzinger had written, “What, then, are homosexual persons to do who seek to follow the Lord? Fundamentally, they are called to enact the will of God in their life by joining whatever sufferings and difficulties they experience in virtue of their condition to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross.”

While Archbishop Gänswein did not directly address Cardinal Walter Kasper’s much-discussed proposal to allow divorced and remarried Catholics to receive communion in some circumstances, he left a clear impression that he opposed it. Even if a married couple separates, he said, "starting a new union contradicts what the Lord has indicated."

When asked directly if Catholics who have been divorced and subsequently entered a second marriage should be permitted to receive Holy Communion, Archbishop Ganswein said, "This is a very delicate question. According to Catholic doctrine, the sacrament of marriage is indissoluble, just like God's love for man.”

"The Church doesn't close Her eyes  to the difficulties of the Faithful who live in delicate and thorny situations," Ganswein added. "Nevertheless, the Church must offer sincere answers which directs, not towards the spirit of the times, but to the Gospel, to the word of Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God.
"The evangelical message takes much effort but it is worthwhile to live it," he said. "God welcomes, forgives, this is true, but it  is also true He asks for conversion."

Vatican watchers told LifeSiteNews this would not be the first time that Pope Emeritus Benedict's private secretary has hinted at Benedict's own thoughts. Most notably, in an interview on German television in March of this year, Archbishop Ganswein revealed that Pope Benedict had written a 4-page critique of Pope Francis’ controversial interview with a Jesuit magazine wherein the pope had said the Church, “cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods.”

The release of the interview with Archbishop Georg Gänswein came on the heels of the surprise publication of an interview with Pope Francis, which was unknown to the Vatican press office prior to its release, by the Argentine newspaper La Nacion on the opening day of the Synod.

In the interview, published October 5, Pope Francis was asked about the cardinals who have criticized Cardinal Kasper’s proposal to allow Communion for divorced-and-remarried Catholics. In response, he indicated that he is not in agreement with the “very conservative” bishops, but said he still enjoys “debating” them as long as they are “intellectually well-formed.”

The pope also said that the Church must not “stigmatize” and “impugn” those who are living together in what the Church calls “irregular” situations outside of marriage.

“We have to approach social conflicts, new and old, and try to give a hand of comfort, not to stigmatize and not to just impugn,” Pope Francis said.

“So many young people prefer to live together without marrying,” he added. “What should the Church do? Expel them from its breast? Or, instead, approach them, embrace them and try to bring them the word of God? I’m with the latter position.”

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Apostolic Breakfast Table


By Father Ray Blake

I don't know what the conversation around the Apostolic breakfast table in Sta Marta was about this morning, probably relief that the Synod is more or less over and had gone more or less the Pope's way, a memo to someone to get out Edward Pentin's file, relief that Burke is off to the Knights of Malta, maybe a sense that it will be regrettable if he has too much spare time on his hands. There might even be some wondering about the best disguise for Kasper if ever he is to visit Sta Marta again, perhaps a burqa? But perhaps he has become too toxic, ever to be seen in the Pope's company again, Lord Patton and Greg Burke will have to advise.... (continued)


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Michael Voris Daily Rome Report 10-18 - Video



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Pope Francis speech at the conclusion of the Synod


(Vatican Radio) At the conclusion of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, Pope Francis addressed the assembled Fathers, thanking them for their efforts and encouraging them to continue to journey.

Below, please find Vatican Radio's provisional translation of Pope Francis' address to the Synod Fathers: 

Dear Eminences, Beatitudes, Excellencies, Brothers and Sisters,

With a heart full of appreciation and gratitude I want to thank, along with you, the Lord who has accompanied and guided us in the past days, with the light of the Holy Spirit.

From the heart I thank Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, Secretary General of the Synod, Bishop Fabio Fabene, under-secretary, and with them I thank the Relators, Cardinal Peter Erdo, who has worked so much in these days of family mourning, and the Special Secretary Bishop Bruno Forte, the three President delegates, the transcribers, the consultors, the translators and the unknown workers, all those who have worked with true fidelity and total dedication behind the scenes and without rest. Thank you so much from the heart.

I thank all of you as well, dear Synod fathers, Fraternal Delegates, Auditors, and Assessors, for your active and fruitful participation. I will keep you in prayer asking the Lord to reward you with the abundance of His gifts of grace!

I can happily say that – with a spirit of collegiality and of synodality – we have truly lived the experience of “Synod,” a path of solidarity, a “journey together.”

And it has been “a journey” – and like every journey there were moments of running fast, as if wanting to conquer time and reach the goal as soon as possible; other moments of fatigue, as if wanting to say “enough”; other moments of enthusiasm and ardour. There were moments of profound consolation listening to the testimony of true pastors, who wisely carry in their hearts the joys and the tears of their faithful people. Moments of consolation and grace and comfort hearing the testimonies of the families who have participated in the Synod and have shared with us the beauty and the joy of their married life. A journey where the stronger feel compelled to help the less strong, where the more experienced are led to serve others, even through confrontations. And since it is a journey of human beings, with the consolations there were also moments of desolation, of tensions and temptations, of which a few possibilities could be mentioned:

 - One, a temptation to hostile inflexibility, that is, wanting to close oneself within the written word, (the letter) and not allowing oneself to be surprised by God, by the God of surprises, (the spirit); within the law, within the certitude of what we know and not of what we still need to learn and to achieve. From the time of Christ, it is the temptation of the zealous, of the scrupulous, of the solicitous and of the so-called – today – “traditionalists” and also of the intellectuals.

 - The temptation to a destructive tendency to goodness [it. buonismo], that in the name of a deceptive mercy binds the wounds without first curing them and treating them; that treats the symptoms and not the causes and the roots. It is the temptation of the “do-gooders,” of the fearful, and also of the so-called “progressives and liberals.”

 - The temptation to transform stones into bread to break the long, heavy, and painful fast (cf. Lk 4:1-4); and also to transform the bread into a stone and cast it against the sinners, the weak, and the sick (cf Jn 8:7), that is, to transform it into unbearable burdens (Lk 11:46).

 - The temptation to come down off the Cross, to please the people, and not stay there, in order to fulfil the will of the Father; to bow down to a worldly spirit instead of purifying it and bending it to the Spirit of God.

 - The temptation to neglect the “depositum fidei” [the deposit of faith], not thinking of themselves as guardians but as owners or masters [of it]; or, on the other hand, the temptation to neglect reality, making use of meticulous language and a language of smoothing to say so many things and to say nothing! They call them “byzantinisms,” I think, these things…

Dear brothers and sisters, the temptations must not frighten or disconcert us, or even discourage us, because no disciple is greater than his master; so if Jesus Himself was tempted – and even called Beelzebul (cf. Mt 12:24) – His disciples should not expect better treatment.

Personally I would be very worried and saddened if it were not for these temptations and these animated discussions; this movement of the spirits, as St Ignatius called it (Spiritual Exercises, 6), if all were in a state of agreement, or silent in a false and quietist peace. Instead, I have seen and I have heard – with joy and appreciation – speeches and interventions full of faith, of pastoral and doctrinal zeal, of wisdom, of frankness and of courage: and of parresia. And I have felt that what was set before our eyes was the good of the Church, of families, and the “supreme law,” the “good of souls” (cf. Can. 1752). And this always – we have said it here, in the Hall – without ever putting into question the fundamental truths of the Sacrament of marriage: the indissolubility, the unity, the faithfulness, the fruitfulness, that openness to life (cf. Cann. 1055, 1056; and Gaudium et spes, 48).

And this is the Church, the vineyard of the Lord, the fertile Mother and the caring Teacher, who is not afraid to roll up her sleeves to pour oil and wine on people’s wound; who doesn’t see humanity as a house of glass to judge or categorize people. This is the Church, One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and composed of sinners, needful of God’s mercy. This is the Church, the true bride of Christ, who seeks to be faithful to her spouse and to her doctrine. It is the Church that is not afraid to eat and drink with prostitutes and publicans. The Church that has the doors wide open to receive the needy, the penitent, and not only the just or those who believe they are perfect! The Church that is not ashamed of the fallen brother and pretends not to see him, but on the contrary feels involved and almost obliged to lift him up and to encourage him to take up the journey again and accompany him toward a definitive encounter with her Spouse, in the heavenly Jerusalem.

The is the Church, our Mother! And when the Church, in the variety of her charisms, expresses herself in communion, she cannot err: it is the beauty and the strength of the sensus fidei, of that supernatural sense of the faith which is bestowed by the Holy Spirit so that, together, we can all enter into the heart of the Gospel and learn to follow Jesus in our life. And this should never be seen as a source of confusion and discord.

Many commentators, or people who talk, have imagined that they see a disputatious Church where one part is against the other, doubting even the Holy Spirit, the true promoter and guarantor of the unity and harmony of the Church – the Holy Spirit who throughout history has always guided the barque, through her Ministers, even when the sea was rough and choppy, and the ministers unfaithful and sinners.

And, as I have dared to tell you , [as] I told you from the beginning of the Synod, it was necessary to live through all this with tranquillity, and with interior peace, so that the Synod would take place cum Petro and sub Petro (with Peter and under Peter), and the presence of the Pope is the guarantee of it all.

We will speak a little bit about the Pope, now, in relation to the Bishops [laughing]. So, the duty of the Pope is that of guaranteeing the unity of the Church; it is that of reminding the faithful of  their duty to faithfully follow the Gospel of Christ; it is that of reminding the pastors that their first duty is to nourish the flock – to nourish the flock – that the Lord has entrusted to them, and to seek to welcome – with fatherly care and mercy, and without false fears – the lost sheep. I made a mistake here. I said welcome: [rather] to go out and find them.

His duty is to remind everyone that authority in the Church is a service, as Pope Benedict XVI clearly explained, with words I cite verbatim: “The Church is called and commits herself to exercise this kind of authority which is service and exercises it not in her own name, but in the name of Jesus Christ… through the Pastors of the Church, in fact: it is he who guides, protects and corrects them, because he loves them deeply. But the Lord Jesus, the supreme Shepherd of our souls, has willed that the Apostolic College, today the Bishops, in communion with the Successor of Peter… to participate in his mission of taking care of God's People, of educating them in the faith and of guiding, inspiring and sustaining the Christian community, or, as the Council puts it, ‘to see to it... that each member of the faithful shall be led in the Holy Spirit to the full development of his own vocation in accordance with Gospel preaching, and to sincere and active charity’ and to exercise that liberty with which Christ has set us free (cf. Presbyterorum Ordinis, 6)… and it is through us,” Pope Benedict continues, “that the Lord reaches souls, instructs, guards and guides them. St Augustine, in his Commentary on the Gospel of St John, says: ‘let it therefore be a commitment of love to feed the flock of the Lord’ (cf. 123, 5); this is the supreme rule of conduct for the ministers of God, an unconditional love, like that of the Good Shepherd, full of joy, given to all, attentive to those close to us and solicitous for those who are distant (cf. St Augustine, Discourse 340, 1; Discourse 46, 15), gentle towards the weakest, the little ones, the simple, the sinners, to manifest the infinite mercy of God with the reassuring words of hope (cf. ibid., Epistle, 95, 1).”

So, the Church is Christ’s – she is His bride – and all the bishops, in communion with the Successor of Peter, have the task and the duty of guarding her and serving her, not as masters but as servants. The Pope, in this context, is not the supreme lord but rather the supreme servant – the “servant of the servants of God”; the guarantor of the obedience and the conformity of the Church to the will of God, to the Gospel of Christ, and to the Tradition of the Church, putting aside every personal whim, despite being – by the will of Christ Himself – the “supreme Pastor and Teacher of all the faithful” (Can. 749) and despite enjoying “supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church” (cf. Cann. 331-334).

Dear brothers and sisters, now we still have one year to mature, with true spiritual discernment, the proposed ideas and to find concrete solutions to so many difficulties and innumerable challenges that families must confront; to give answers to the many discouragements that surround and suffocate families.

One year to work on the “Synodal Relatio” which is the faithful and clear summary of everything that has been said and discussed in this hall and in the small groups. It is presented to the Episcopal Conferences as “lineamenta” [guidelines].

May the Lord accompany us, and guide us in this journey for the glory of His Name, with the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of Saint Joseph. And please, do not forget to pray for me! Thank you!

[The hymn Te Deum was sung, and Benediction given.]

Thank you, and rest well, eh?

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Cardinal Burke Addresses Remarks by Cardinal Kasper

Cardinals Mauro Piacenza, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, Timothy M. Dolan of New York, and Raymond L. Burke, prefect of the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature, talk as they walk through Paul VI hall before the morning session of the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family at the Vatican Oct. 16. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Carl E. Olson @ Catholic World Report:

CWR: There has been quite a commotion over remarks by Cardinal Kasper about African bishops that he then denied—but were then substantiated by an audio recording. Do you have any remarks on that situation?

Cardinal Burke: It is profoundly sad and scandalous that such remarks were made by a Cardinal of the Church. They are a further indication of the determination to manipulate the process of the Synod to advance Cardinal Kasper’s false positions, even by means of racist remarks about a significant and highly respected part of the Synod membership. That this incident has taken place, especially in the context of such an important event in the life of the Church, has deeply saddened me.


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Interview With Cardinal Raymond Burke: Full Transcript

By Ellie Hall & J. Lester Feder

BuzzFeed News reporter J. Lester Feder spoke with Cardinal Raymond Burke Friday morning via Skype to discuss the Extraordinary Synod on the Family and address rumors that he was being removed as the head of the Vatican’s highest court of canon law.

Former Archbishop of St. Louis cardinal Raymond Leo Burke attends Palm Sunday Mass celebrated by Pope Francis at St. Peter’s Square on April 13, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Getty Images / Franco Origlia

Cardinal Burke: Hello, this is Cardinal Burke.

BuzzFeed News: Apologies, it seems we got disconnected. I was just asking if it’s okay if I record our conversation.

CB: Yes, it’s fine. That’s fine.

BFN: I know you don’t have a lot of time, so why don’t we just dive in. I’ve seen your comments suggesting that [the Extraordinary Synod on the Family] was being manipulated. Can you say a little bit more about that, and who is doing the manipulating?

CB: Since the presentation of Cardinal Kasper in February to the extraordinary consistory of cardinals, there’s been a consistent repetition of [Kasper’s] position that is trying to weaken the church’s teaching and practice with regard to the indissolubility of marriage. This has just been consistent, casting the synod — which was to be on the family, directed in a positive way on family life — suggesting that the main purpose of the synod would be to permit those who are in irregular unions to receive the sacraments of penance and holy communion, which is not possible. If someone is bound to a prior marriage which has not been declared null, and is living as husband or wife with someone else. That’s a public state of sin and therefore the person cannot receive holy communion or go to the sacrament of penance until the matter is resolved.

But that’s been — all along this keeps coming back, and I see more clearly than ever that that’s how the synod is. And certainly the media has picked up on this — very much so.

BFN: To the question of how that’s being done, presumably the pope was the one who asked Cardinal Kasper to frame the synod. Are you saying that [the pope] is the one who is manipulating these proceedings?

CB: The pope has never said openly what his position is on the matter and people conjecture that because of the fact that he asked Cardinal Kasper — who was well known to have these views for many, many years — to speak to the cardinals and has permitted Cardinal Kasper to publish his presentation in five different languages and to travel around advancing his position on the matter, and then even recently to publicly claim that he’s speaking for the pope and there’s no correction of this.
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.

BFN: Would it be inappropriate for the pope to do that? To structure the conversation in such a way that it is consistent with his thinking?

CB: According to my understanding of the church’s teaching and discipline, no it wouldn’t be correct.

BFN: I did a story a while back reporting on a conversation that sources relayed to me between an LGBT activist and Cardinal Müller. In that conversation, the activist apparently asked Müller about the possibility of the church possibly accepting some forms of civil unions, based on some of the comments that the pope had made and some of the positions he was understood to have taken while he was the president of the bishops conference of Argentina. Müller reportedly responded that [that decision] wasn’t up to the pope, it was up to “us,” referring to the curia. In that thinking about how these kinds of church teachings are made, can you explain to an outsider what the relationship is between this kind of conversation and the pope’s personal thinking?

 Former archbishop of St. Louis cardinal Raymond Burke leaves the Synod Hall at the end of a session of the Synod on the themes of family on October 13, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Getty Images / Franco Origlia

CB: Well I suppose the simplest way to put it is that all of us who serve the church are at the service of the truth: the truth that Christ teaches us in the church. And the pope more than anyone else, as the pastor of the universal church, is bound to serve the truth. And so the cardinal is quite correct that the pope is not free to change the church’s teachings with regard to the immorality of homosexual acts or the insolubility of marriage or any other truth of the faith. On the contrary, his work is to teach these truths and to insist on the discipline which reflects the truths in practice.

BFN: It sounds like there’s a tension, what we’re seeing play out in this [synod]. It sounds like you’re saying there are some people who deliberately want to change teaching. Like the people who are supportive of some of the positions that were articulated in the Relatio are saying that they’re trying to balance the pastoral need to find space for people who are living outside what the church teaches is the appropriate lifestyle, to find a way pastorally to incorporate them into the community and to bring them more in line.

You’ve used very strong words about homosexuality; in a recent interview you say again that homosexual acts are always wrong and evil. Is there any middle ground, any way to make space for LGBT people inside the church while also adhering to church teaching?

CB: Well the church doesn’t exclude anyone who’s of good will, even if the person is suffering from same-sex attraction or even acting on that attraction. But at the same time out of her love for the person who’s involved in sinful acts, she calls the person to conversion, in a loving way, but obviously, like a father or mother in a family, in a firm way for the person’s own good.

There never can be in the Catholic Church a difference between doctrine and practice. In other words, you can’t have a doctrine that teaches one thing and a practice which does something differently. If people don’t accept the church’s teaching on these matters than they’re not thinking with the church and they need to examine themselves on that and correct their thinking or leave the church if they absolutely can’t accept what the church teaches. They’re certainly not free to change the teaching of the church to suit their own ideas.

BFN: But as I read the Relatio — and again I’m reading this as a layperson — it seems like what they’re saying is [trying to establish] a welcoming tone. While not changing the teaching, they’re also trying to not make the primary point of contact be a fight over these lifestyle choices. While holding up that the ideal remains matrimony, they’re not going to be pushed out and harassed by virtue of not being in that arrangement.

CB: The point is that for the church, moral teaching is never a matter of ideals. They’re understood to be real commands that we’re meant to put into practice. All of us are sinners and we have to undergo a daily conversion to live according to the moral truth, but it remains for us always compelling. It’s not just an ideal that we hold out there, that, “It would be nice if it were this way, but I can’t do it.” No, we’re called to conform ourselves to those truths.

That’s the difficulty with the Relatio, which is not well expressed, and does not have a good foundation neither in the sacred scriptures nor in the church’s perennial teachings, and also uses language which can be very confusing.

One of the confusions is that it confuses the person with the sinful acts. In other words, it tries to say that if the church teaches that these acts are sinful that somehow they are turning on the people and driving them away from the church. Well, if the individuals involved are sincere and want to live the truth of moral law, the church is always ready to help. Even if someone sins repeatedly, the church always stands ready to help them begin again. But the truth of the moral law remains and it is compelling. It’s for now, it’s for me, it’s not something out there, some ideal out there that would be nice to realize but it doesn’t compel me.

Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke leads a Holy Mass in the chapel of the Vatican Governorate to mark the opening of the Judicial Year of the Tribunal of Vatican City at the Vatican, January 11, 2014. REUTERS / STEFANO RELLANDINI

BFN: I should ask you about the reports that you’re being removed from the Signatura. What message is that sending? Do you think you are being removed in part because of how outspoken you have been on these issues?

Cardinal Burke: The difficulty — I know about all the reports, obviously. I’ve not received an official transfer yet. Obviously, these matters depend on official acts. I mean, I can be told that i’m going to be transferred to a new position but until I have a letter of transfer in my hand it’s difficult for me to speak about it. I’m not free to comment on why I think this may be going to happen.
BFN: Have you been told that you will be transferred?

CB: Yes.

BFN: You’re obviously a very well respected person. That must be disappointing.

CB: Well, I have to say, the area in which I work is an area for which I’m prepared and I’ve tried to give very good service. I very much have enjoyed and have been happy to give this service, so it is a disappointment to leave it. On the other hand, in the church as priests, we always have to be ready to accept whatever assignment we’re given. And so I trust that by accepting this assignment, I trust that God will bless me, and that’s what’s in the end most important. And even though I would have liked to have continued to work in the Apostolic Signatura, I’ll give myself to whatever is the new work that I’m assigned to…

BFN: And that is as the chancellor to the order of Malta, is that right?

CB: It’s called the patron of the sovereign military order of Malta, that’s right.

BFN: So where are we now? As I understand it, the final draft of the Relatio is expected later today and it will be voted on tomorrow, is that right?

CB: It’s scheduled to be read to us tomorrow morning and then there’s to be discussion and the final vote is tomorrow afternoon.

BFN: I’m curious about the revisions that happened yesterday in the English version of the [Relatio] and none of the others. I don’t know if you can shed any light on that…

CB: I only know the revisions that were suggested by the small group to which I belonged, I haven’t seen the other ones, they were all delivered yesterday and were studied yesterday afternoon and today for the revision of the text. From the reports which were published, the summary reports, I believe that there was a rather thorough revision.

BFN: On this final stretch, you have very well respected doctrinal experts like Cardinal Wuerl on [the Relatio] writing committee. Do you have confidence in them going forward?

CB: I trust that they will produce a worthy document. I must say I was shocked by what I heard on Monday morning, which was presented by a very reputable cardinal, the Cardinal-Archbishop of Budapest. So you can imagine I’m a little shaken by that, my trust is a little bit shaken, but I am hoping that we won’t have a repeat of that.

BFN: All right, sir, I very much appreciate you making the time, I know you haven’t spoken with a lot of secular outlets, so I am really honored that you’d be willing to do that for us.

CB: You’re welcome. Goodbye, and God bless you.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Burke: Synod designed to “weaken the church’s teaching and practice” with apparent blessing of Pope Francis


Video: Michael Voris Discusses the Breaking News

Update:  Interview With Cardinal Raymond Burke: Full Transcript

By J. Lester Feder

(BuzzFeed) A top cardinal told BuzzFeed News on Friday that the worldwide meeting of church leaders coming to a close in Rome seemed to have been designed to “weaken the church’s teaching and practice” with the apparent blessing of Pope Francis.

Cardinal Raymond Burke, an American who heads the Vatican’s highest court of canon law, made the remarks in a phone interview from the Vatican, where a two-week Extraordinary Synod on the Family will conclude this weekend. An interim report of the discussions released on Monday, called the Relatio, produced a widespread backlash among conservative bishops who said it suggested a radical change to the church’s teaching on questions like divorce and homosexuality, and Burke has been among the most publicly critical of the bishops picked by Pope Francis to lead the discussion.
If Pope Francis had selected certain cardinals to steer the meeting to advance his personal views on matters like divorce and the treatment of LGBT people, Burke said, he would not be observing his mandate as the leader of the Catholic Church.

“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.” Burke said the Pope had given the impression that he endorses some of the most controversial parts of the Relatio, especially on questions of divorce, because of a German cardinal who gave an important speech suggesting a path to allowing people who had divorced and remarried to receive communion, Cardinal Walter Kasper, to open the synod’s discussion.

“The pope, more than anyone else as the pastor of the universal church, is bound to serve the truth,” Burke said. “The pope is not free to change the church’s teachings with regard to the immorality of homosexual acts or the insolubility of marriage or any other doctrine of the faith.”

Burke has publicly clashed with the pope since Francis took office in 2013, and he has come to represent the sidelining of culture warriors elevated by Joseph Ratzinger as Pope Benedict and as the top doctrinal official under Pope John Paul II. Burke, who caused controversy while bishop of St. Louis by saying Catholics who voted for politicians supportive of abortion rights should not receive communion, went on Catholic television in 2013 to rebut remarks Pope Francis made to an interviewer that the church had become “obsessed” with abortion and sexuality to the exclusion of other issues, saying, “We can never talk enough about that as long as in our society innocent and defenseless human life is being attacked in the most savage way,” Burke said. While Francis famously responded to a question about homosexuality in 2013 by asking, “Who am I to judge?” Burke described homosexual “acts” as “always and everywhere wrong [and] evil” during an interview last week.

In the interview with BuzzFeed News, Burke confirmed publicly for the first time the rumors that he had been told Francis intended to demote him from the church’s chief guardian of canon law to a minor post as patron to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

“I very much have enjoyed and have been happy to give this service, so it is a disappointment to leave it,” Burke said, explaining that he hadn’t yet received a formal notice of transfer. “On the other hand, in the church as priests, we always have to be ready to accept whatever assignment we’re given. And so I trust, by accepting this assignment, I trust that God will bless me, and that’s what’s in the end most important.”

When the pope first took office, his pivot away from an emphasis on questions of sexuality were more a matter of personal tone rather than changes in church policy or personnel. There were rumors that he was trying to oust the man chosen by Pope Benedict to head the church’s office responsible for doctrine, Gerhard Müller, but last winter he instead elevated him from archbishop to cardinal. When word that Burke was on his way out began circulating last month, it signaled that Francis would take major steps to reshape the church. It coincided with the selection of a new archbishop of Chicago, Blase Cupich, whom Catholic progressives celebrated for positions like breaking with the American church hierarchy when it withheld its support for President Obama’s health reform law over questions of abortion and contraception.

Internal discontent among conservatives inside church leadership began to simmer over in the weeks leading up to the synod. Just before it began, Burke, Müller, and other senior cardinals published a book in several languages attacking the ideas laid out by Cardinal Walter Kasper on allowing those who had divorced and remarried to receive communion in a speech heartily praised by Pope Francis. It broke into open revolt at the midpoint of the synod, following publication of a document presented as a summary of discussions but that conservatives said misrepresented the debate by including passages on “welcoming homosexual persons” and discussing some of Kasper’s proposal on divorce. The backlash appeared to have been especially strong from the English-speaking world, which includes a large number of African and American bishops; in an apparent attempt to mollify anglophone conservatives, the Vatican released a new translation of the report that changed the phrase “welcoming homosexual persons” to “providing for homosexual persons” and made other small changes, while leaving the versions in all other languages unchanged.

The report is now being revised with feedback from small-group discussions held this week, and a final version is scheduled to be voted on on Saturday. Burke said he hoped that the committee writing the new report will produce a “worthy document,” but said his “trust is a little bit shaken” by the language in the interim draft he said lacks “a good foundation either in the sacred scriptures or in the church’s perennial teachings.”

But there seems to be little middle ground between Pope Francis’ worldview and Burke’s. Francis was president of the Argentinian bishops conference when that country passed a marriage equality bill in 2010 and reportedly tried to convince his colleagues to support a civil union proposal instead.

He lost the internal battle and gave voice to the hard-line consensus that the law was “sent by the devil.” The fight over the bill left the church appearing out of step with the beliefs of many in Argentina, a country where 76% identify as Catholic but only 38.2% went to church in 2005, per the most recent data available from the Association of Religious Data Archives. While Francis has shown no sign he supports overhauling the church’s teachings that homosexuality is sinful, he seems to have taken from this experience a desire to downplay conflicts over sexuality in order to broaden the church’s message.

But, Burke said, the church must always call a “person who’s involved in sinful acts … to conversion in a loving way, but obviously, like a father or mother in a family, in a firm way for the person’s own good.” There cannot be “a difference between doctrine and practice” on questions like homosexuality or anything else, Burke said.

“The church doesn’t exclude anyone who’s of goodwill even if the person is suffering from same-sex attraction or even acting on that attraction,” said Burke. “If people don’t accept the church’s teaching on these matters then they’re not thinking with the church and they need to examine themselves on that and correct their thinking or leave the church if they absolutely can’t accept. They’re certainly not free to change the teaching of the church to suit their own ideas.”

At the request of several readers, BuzzFeed News has printed a transcript of the section of the interview wherein Cardinal Burke talks about leaving the Signatura.

BuzzFeed News: I should ask you about the reports that you’re being removed from the Signatura. What message is that sending? Do you think you are being removed in part because of how outspoken you have been on these issues?
Cardinal Burke: The difficulty — I know about all the reports, obviously. I’ve not received an official transfer yet. Obviously, these matters depend on official acts. I mean, I can be told that I’m going to be transferred to a new position but until I have a letter of transfer in my hand it’s difficult for me to speak about it. I’m not free to comment on why I think this may be going to happen.
BFN: Have you been told that you will be transferred?
CB: Yes.
BFN: You’re obviously a very well-respected person. That must be disappointing.
CB: Well, I have to say, the area in which I work is an area for which I’m prepared and I’ve tried to give very good service. I very much have enjoyed and have been happy to give this service, so it is a disappointment to leave it.
On the other hand, in the church as priests, we always have to be ready to accept whatever assignment we’re given. And so I trust that by accepting this assignment, I trust that God will bless me, and that’s what’s in the end most important. And even though I would have liked to have continued to work in the Apostolic Signatura, I’ll give myself to whatever is the new work that I’m assigned to…
BFN: And that is as the chancellor to the Order of Malta, is that right?
CB: It’s called the patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, that’s right.

update

Cardinal Raymond Burke is being removed from the position as the chief of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. An earlier version of this post mischaracterized that position in one instance.

Link:
Update:  Interview With Cardinal Raymond Burke: Full Transcript

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