Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Cardinal Burke makes it clear he is NOT accusing the Holy Father of heresy ...

The Catholic World Report interview.

Another interview.  Repeating many of the same things.  In this case saying, kind of sort of, 'Yes, I am saying no, we are not accusing the Holy Father of heresy.'  To be clear and to quote the exact words in the article:

CWR: Some critics say you are implicitly accusing the Pope of heresy. 
Cardinal Burke: No, that's not what we have implied at all. We have simply asked him, as the Supreme Pastor of the Church, to clarify these five points that are confused; these five, very serious and fundamental points. We’re not accusing him of heresy, but just asking him to answer these questions for us as the Supreme Pastor of the Church. 
CWR: In raising these questions you've been accused implicitly by the Pope and explicitly by others of legalism, of being Pharisees and Sadducees. [Smiles, chuckles] You smile because you get this all the time. Why is this not legalism?
I know, you won't agree with me.  Yet CWR says critics accuse Burke of implicitly accusing the Pope of heresy.

Burke's response makes clear that he (they) have not implied that at all.  Though he accepts the CWR opinion that he (Burke) and the others have been implicitly accused of legalism and Pharisee-ism by the Pope himself.  So when did the Pope accuse Burke of being a Pharisee or accuse him of legalism?  When did he say that?  When did he signal Burke out for that public humiliation?

Cardinal Burke is a canonist, he was the Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, that was his job, so naturally he would be concerned about canon law and legalities.  So why would he assume the Pope was pointing the finger at him?  When did the Pope condemn him or Canon Law?  Considering Cardinal Burke's position and experience, as well as his expertise, seeking a clarification from the Holy Father is perfectly in order.  Nothing wrong with that.  Did the Holy Father condemn him for it?  I never read that.

As an under-educated Catholic layman with an opinion, it seems to me, what is actually going on, is that they are building a case against the Pope; what is happening seems to be a sort of pre-trial debate - a grande jury style investigation as it were, albeit public and well reported, to determine if indeed there is a case against the Pope.  While pretty much implying that there could be a case, it then gets reinforced by social media and traditionalist supporters of Burke and Bishop Schneider, two of the most official and notable opponents of the Holy Father's policies and Amoris Laetitia.

Undoubtedly there is now - more than ever, a need for clarification - and the Cardinals have already publicly and directly asked for that:

The letter stated, in part, that "we the undersigned, but also many Bishops and Priests, have received numerous requests from the faithful of various social strata on the correct interpretation to give to Chapter VIII of the Exhortation" and asked the Holy Father "as supreme Teacher of the faith, called by the Risen One to confirm his brothers in the faith, to resolve the uncertainties and bring clarity..." - CWR
Nothing wrong with that.

So what is the problem?  The Holy Father has not directly responded, as yet - no doubt he will.

In the meantime many followers of the Four Cardinals continue to imply something is wrong with the Pope, and some of these critics of the Holy Father's not only imply, they even directly and publicly accuse the Holy Father of heresy, of being an anti-pope, and illegitimate.  These accusations grow with every interview Cardinal Burke and Bishop Schneider do - especially when they extrapolate on how a Pope could automatically separate himself from the Church and cease being Pope.

Sensationalist bloggers such as Vox Cantoris, Ann Barnhardt and several others, though marginal and on the fringe of Catholic life, exploit and expound upon the Cardinal's statements, and thereby instigate a deeper division within conservative circles, already made distrustful of the hierarchy since the sex abuse scandals.  Less extreme bloggers and news aggregates, pick up the thread and these stories take on a life of their own, feeding an appetite for the average conspiracy theorist, bordering on calumny and outright detraction, while fomenting general mistrust of the Magisterium.

When Cardinal Burke makes it clear he is not accusing the Holy Father of heresy, he pretty much makes it clear that an accusation has already been leveled against the Pope - somewhere, by someone(s) - they've already has implied as much - but not Cardinal Burke.  Cardinal Burke appears to disassociate himself on that count.  Yet Cardinal Burke says he has become their spokesman.

CWR: In hindsight, with all of the controversy that has surrounded this, should you have kept these concerns to yourself and just waited for His Holiness to answer your dubia? 
Cardinal Burke: No, not at all, because the faithful and priests and bishops have the right to have these questions answered. It was our duty as cardinals, when the Pope made it clear that he would not respond to them, to make them public so that the priests and the lay faithful who had these same doubts might know that their doubts are legitimate and that they deserve a response.

 I think it would be prudent for the Cardinal to avoid interviews and statements to the press on where they might go from here, if the Pope doesn't cooperate with their timetable.  The interviews need to stop.  The implications, speculation, and projections need to stop.  The letter is now public, the whole world knows, and is watching.  The Cardinals can indeed go to Rome and resist the Holy Father to his face with a formal correction, but they need to stop sensationalizing the dubia and hyping the Holy Father's delay, in the Catholic press and on social media, they need to stop giving more ammunition to the enemies of the Pope.

Just my personal opinion.


  1. Terry I don't think you mean Vox Nova. That blog was a bunch of Catholic writers who are anywhere from centrist to Theo-political liberals. I used to read the blog for 1-2 authors but they both don't write there.

    1. Crap - you are right - thanks Julian - glad I checked back. I meant Vox Cantoris. Eyeroll!

    2. Thanks again for a fine piece ... it just confirms my own opinions about this whole "dubia" affair. The more Burke opens his mouth, the more distasteful it all has become.

      In the meantime, Papa Francis is silent and goes about his work.

      I'm praying and will continue to do so.

  2. My kneejerk reaction is Burke is ticked, the Rad Trads are slurping all the dirt up, Fr Z has blog fodder, and Terry is here to tell us what's really going.

  3. To me this affair reeks of "old church" politics. Pope Francis is taking a cautious slow stance. Not unlike Lectio Devino meditating on each word and consequence. Cardinal Burke has a following and certainly a right to express his opinion. His style is not my style but I understand it's appeal. WWJD? Remember that popular saying? I do not think he would turn away sincere believers? Do you?

  4. You personal opinion is wrong. The Pope is, contrary to how he is portrayed, the real Pharisee. It's his way or the highway. He is a bully. His refusal to do his duty and answer the dubia as Popes have for centuries upon centuries is disturbing. I recently had a conversation with a very holy monk. I asked him about Pope Francis. He said, and I quote, "I am convinced he knows exactly what he is doing. He is a very dangerous man." I wholeheartedly agree.

    1. We are each one of us free to express our opinion agreeing to disagree therefore, I would never presume to say you are wrong because well, yours and that of the "very holy monk" are mere opinions ... nothing more nothing less and without any authority whatsoever.
      I don't know our Holy Father personally as your comments seem to suggest you do so I cannot agree with you on your assertions that he is the true Parise or that he is a bully.

      He is the successor of St. Peter, he deserves the utmost respect as head of our Lord Jesus Christ's Church. He deserves our prayers daily entrusting him to Divine Providence.

    2. *Pharisee

      I want an edit button for Christmas. :)

    3. Al - you know I don't mind being wrong - I'm no expert on any of this - to be sure - but the Pope is so not a Pharisee. He eats with sinners and welcomes them - he invites the poor in, he goes out to all, my goodness, the list goes on and on and on.

      Seriously, I think he will respond - perhaps he is waiting for a formal correction to do so? I agree he knows exactly what he is doing - but I don't think the Holy Father is a dangerous man nor is he attempting to do harm.

      But I may be wrong - and I am open to correction - so I'll let this go now.

      Happy Christmas my friend!

  5. Your opinion is very charitable, Terry, and probably a lot more Christian than mine, but I do disagree with you. Cardinal Burke, along with Cardinal Pell, endorsed Dr. John Rao, a radical traditionalist who rejects Vatican II and the "New Mass" as illegitimate. Read it here on Remnant Newspaper:

    That alone should tell you exactly where Cardinal Burke is really coming from.

    Pope Francis has made it very clear that Amoris Laetitia is all about mercy and compassion. It is not about changing doctrine. It is about pastoral practice - walking with those who are separate from the Church and bringing them back into the flock, just like the good shepherd who left the 99 sheep and went looking for the one lost sheep. Pope Francis and others have explained this over and over again, and the Argentine bishops made it very clear in their response to Amoris Laetitia, which was endorsed by Pope Francis himself.

    Cardinal Burke and the others are just like the Pharisees of Jesus' time. They are not looking for answers from the Pope. They are looking to trap him and accuse him. The answers are there - Pope Francis is saying we need to stop looking at everything in black and white - you're good and you're going to heaven, you're bad and you're going to hell. The Church's job is not to judge, the Church's job is to save, just as Jesus Christ Himself said He did not come to judge but to save.

    But that is very hard work, and it means not feeling superior to others, not being the Pharisee saying, look at those dirty, rotten sinners. I'm so glad I'm not like them.

    No, Terry, Pope Francis is never going to answer the Dubia, nor should he. Cardinal Burke can claim all he wants that he is not accusing Pope Francis of heresy, but his actions say completely the opposite. And all those who support Cardinal Burke know it.

    1. Thanks for your input, CIB. Too bad it has come to this for all concerned.

    2. Thanks CIB - I don't know who Rao is so you know more than I do.

      I think it will all work out in the coming months. I agree there is definitely a perception that the Cardinal is close to accusing the Holy Father.

      You have a great perspective on what is going on because of your former involvement with the very, very traditional factions in the Church. I've always been aware of them but never followed.

      I get what the Pope is saying and doing - but "I've been steeped in sin since birth" as 'they' told the man born blind.

      I see the Holy Father as a living Gospel.

    3. You are so right about Pope Francis. His whole life is directed to living the Gospel. Truly, he is a living Gospel. A great way of putting it.

  6. Thank you Yaya for coming to my defense! We have disagreed in the past but in friendship not enmity. I think we need more Christmas Spirit. I too think the Pope's position is merciful. Mercy and forgiveness are hard stuff. Not originally in our nature but added by divine grace. In my humble opinion.

    1. Dear wh,

      How can an opinion be wrong? I was pondering that as the rain comes down early morning here in beautiful SoCal.

      In my humble opinion my friend, were it not for divine grace, my life is nothing but a dry, bitter wind.

      Let's rejoice in the eternal goodness granted us by the Lord who made heaven and earth!

      Merry Christmas to you and yours, wh!


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