Rorate Caeli

Burke in Vienna on Synod's midterm relatio: "saddest possible document"

From GloriaTV, reporting from Vienna, where the Cardinal was this week:

On November 4th Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke presented in Vienna the German edition of the book “Remaining in the Truth of Christ” that collects articles of five Cardinals. A video recording of the presentation will be published on tomorrow. The gathering was organised by “Una Voce Austria”.

In his presentation Cardinal Burke explained, that the book is a response to the idea of Cardinal Walter Kasper, who has “argued in favour of a change in what has been the constant teaching and practise of the Church” concerning marriage. Kasper has – so Burke - asked for dialogue and the five cardinals answered by presenting credible studies.

At the Synod on the Family Cardinal Burke saw “the almost seaming forgetfulness of the Magisterium”: “It was as if the Church was for the first time addressing the question of marriage and teaching about it, whereas the Church has both in her doctrine and in her discipline one of the richest appreciations of marriage you will find.” The cardinal mentioned “Familiaris consortio” of John Paul II., “Humanae vitae” of Pope Paul VI. and “Casti cannubii”, of Pope Pius XI.

Burke reminded his audience, that the Church has 2000 years old tradition: “Today we act, as if we are creating the church out of nothing.”

The mid-term report of the Synod was for Burke “one of the saddest documents that I could imagine ever coming from the Church”: “Many of us were horrified with this idea that was presented in the report, that there could somehow be good elements in mortally sinful acts. This is impossible.”

Furthermore Cardinal Burke criticised a breakup between doctrine and discipline: “One of the most insidious ideas in the presentation of Cardinal Kasper and the discussions of the Synod is that: ‘Yes we uphold the doctrine of the Church with regard of the indissolubility of marriage.’ Even saying: ‘Who would question the doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage? We are talking about a matter of discipline.’ In other words: Marriage is indissoluble, we believe this. But in certain cases, where a person is married before God, but that marriage has in some way or another failed (without any comment about whose fault it is), but that person has knowingly and willingly attempted to another marriage and his living with someone who is not his or her husband and wife. In some of those cases we don’t uphold the indissolubility of marriage. We admit persons to the sacrament of confession and to holy communion.’”

This idea – Cardinal Burke pointed out – “must be a denial of the indissolubility of marriage”: “When one goes to confession for example and confesses a sin, one has a firm purpose of amendment or otherwise you can’t validly confess. How can a person, who is living in an adulterous union confess that - when he or she has the intention of remaining in that situation? These are simple facts.”

The Cardinal made his point very clear: “The Church's discipline can never be other than true to her doctrine.”

“Any kind of discussion, which attempts to say, that the Church can uphold her teaching on marriage and the indissolubility of marriage and at the same time in her practice deny that truth – that simply is not catholic, that won’t go. It is not acceptable.”

Cardinal Burke than mentioned “one of the big refrains” at the Synod: “The culture has changed so radically that we simply cannot teach as we have in the past.” But this is, so Cardinal Burke, “the loss of hope and faith in Jesus Christ”.

As priest and bishop Burke has according to his own words met many couples, who are living the truth about marriage counterculturally in a very secularised society: “But this is completely forgotten. Yes, the culture is very corrupted. None denies that. But we don’t go running after it. We bring to the culture, what could save it.”