Rorate Caeli

For the record: Cardinal Burke's latest address on the Synod and "Annulment" Reform. Rorate reminder: 2015 Synod poised to assault Humanae Vitae too.

His Eminence, Raymond Cardinal Burke gave a talk on Sunday, September 13, 2015 to Credo St. Louis, Missouri. The title of this talk was "The Truth of Christ in Marriage". An audio recording is now available on Youtube (h/t Vox Cantoris.)


A summary of the talk is on the LifeSite News article What do we do if the Synod takes a ‘strange turn’? The simple answer just got Cardinal Burke big applause, authored by the eminent theologian Fr. Brian Harrison, which also summarizes the Cardinal's reservations about the radical reform of the canonical process for the declaration of nullity (our emphasis):

... His Eminence also noted that certain problems could arise in connection with Pope Francis' new marriage nullity legislation, promulgated on September 8th.
He commented respectfully that these revisions to the Code of Canon Law, which among other things eliminate the required confirmation of nullity decrees by a tribunal of second instance, will require "very careful interpretation and application" in the light of the Church's long canonical and doctrinal tradition. Cardinal Burke referred to his own chapter in the aforesaid book, in which he recalls his earlier experience as a Monsignor in the Apostolic Signatura during the period 1971-1983, when the 2nd instance tribunal confirmation of nullity decrees was almost completely suspended in the United States. Cardinal Burke repeated in his lecture what he said in the book: that the American experiment in “streamlining” the nullity process led in practice to a serious laxity which became widely perceived as "Catholic divorce." It seems this was one reason why the 1983 Code restored the obligatory second instance review (which had been introduced by Benedict XIV back in 1740).

The Cardinal's reservations about the new legislation can be heard beginning 15:31 on the recording embedded above. 

The article is going "viral" precisely because it reported the Cardinal's response to a very important question that is doubtless now in the minds of many good, orthodox Catholics (our emphasis):

After his talk, in answer to a question as to what Catholics should do if the upcoming Synod of Bishops should take a "strange turning," His Eminence gave an immediate two-word answer that drew a big round of applause: "Stay faithful!"  Those two words well summarize the whole thrust of Cardinal Burke's courageous and outspoken witness at this time of division and uncertainty over grave moral issues in today's Church. May God bless, strengthen, and protect him!

Cardinal Burke's talk on September 13 echoes his September 8 talk at Franciscan University of Steubenville on The Synod on the Family: Addressing the Instrumentum Laboris, which deserves to be more widely heard. We already posted this on our September 11 post detailing how the heterodoxy of the very Instrumentum Laboris for the upcoming Synod has been recognized by eminent scholars and prelates. Unfortunately a very important critique of the Instrumentum Laboris has gone largely unnoticed. We refer here to the open letter to the Pope published by First Things (September 10) appealing to him to uphold Humanae Vitae in response to Paragraph 137 of the Instrumentum Laboris: 

Paragraph 137 addresses a key document of the modern Magisterium, Humanae Vitae, in a way that both calls the force of that teaching into question and proposes a method of moral discernment that is decidedly not Catholic. This approach to discernment contradicts what has hitherto been taught by the Magisterium of the Church about moral norms, conscience, and moral judgment, by suggesting that a well-formed conscience may be in conflict with objective moral norms. 

As Catholic moral theologians and philosophers, we feel morally obligated to speak out against the distortion of Catholic teaching implicit in paragraph 137. If endorsed by the Synod, the defective text of the Instrumentum laboris would lead to confusion among the faithful. Paragraph 137 should be removed and replaced by a paragraph that speaks of the conscience in a more precise fashion, that celebrates the wisdom and beauty of Humanae Vitae, and that helps spouses to appreciate that the graces are available to them to live out God’s plan for the gift of sexuality.

The letter -- AN APPEAL - RECALLING THE TEACHING OF HUMANAE VITAE (AND VERITATIS SPLENDOR) -- was prepared by two Associate Professors of the John Paul II Institutes and endorsed by a veritable "who's who" of theologians and philosophers who have defended moral orthodoxy and tradition in the Church. Among the nearly 60 signatories are two auxiliary bishops (Bishops Peter Elliott and Andreas Laun), Abbot Jean-Charles Nault OSB of Saint-Wandrille, and luminaries such as Robert Spaemann, Leo Elders SVD, John Finnis, Luke Gormally, Germain Grisez, Norbert and Renate Martin, Josef Seifert, Juan José Perez Soba, and many others. There are four Opus Dei numerary priest-theologians among the signatories (Frs. Gahl, Rhonheimer, Rodríguez Luño and Brock), one Jesuit (Fr. Kevin Flannery SJ) and three Dominicans from the USA (Frs. Austriaco. Cole and White).