Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster, England, talks with Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, prefect of the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature, as they leave the concluding session of the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family at the Vatican Oct. 18. Also pictured is Italian Cardinal Carlo Caffarra of Bologna, center. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
In a third short interview with CWR, conducted by e-mail late yesterday, Cardinal
Raymond L. Burke, the Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic
Signatura, offers his impression of the Relatio Synodi,
comments on reports that the Synod has been a "setback" for Pope
Francis, and remarks on the push by certain European bishops to change
various Church teaching.
CWR: What reactions or impressions do you have to the Relatio Synodi?
Do you think it provides an accurate summary and accounting of what the
Synod discussed and expressed in its interventions and groups?
Cardinal Burke: Although I had hoped that more of the material from the small group of which I was a part [link] would be included in the Relatio Synodi, it is a significant improvement over the text of the Relatio post Disceptationem which was presented to the Synod Fathers on this past Monday.
I would say that it provides an accurate, if not complete, summary of
the discussions in the Synod Hall and in the small groups.
CWR: Many in the secular media are presenting this as a blow to Pope Francis. For example, the BBC states, "Pope suffers synod setback on gays".
Is that a fair or accurate analysis of the situation? Is there really
any evidence to suggest that the Holy Father's wanted the Synod to push
for more "openness" to those who identify as "gay/lesbian", or that he
wishes to relax Church teaching regarding homosexuality and "same sex
Cardinal Burke: It is a blow to those
who wrote the material which did not reflect the Church's teaching
regarding the homosexual condition and homosexual acts, which implied
that the Church wants now to relax its perennial teaching, and which
tried to introduce material regarding so-called "same-sex unions" into
the discussion of Christian marriage.
I have no evidence
regarding the Pope's thinking in the matter or regarding his alleged
support of a relaxation of the Church's teaching.
is a widespread impression that certain European bishops are intent on
getting Church teaching changed regarding homosexuality, homosexual
unions, remarriage and Communion, contraception, and related issues. Is
that a reasonable impression? If so, what underlies such an agenda, in
Cardinal Burke: The impression is
reasonable, as long as it is limited to certain European bishops,
because a number of European bishops have been clear and strong in
upholding the Church's teaching regarding all of these questions.
Cardinal Walter Kasper has been the most outspoken supporter of change
of the Church's discipline in these matters, even while he insists that
he is not proposing a change in the Church's teaching.
course, in the Catholic Church, her discipline is the mirror of her
doctrine, and, therefore, you cannot uphold the Church's teaching, while
proposing a discipline contrary to the teaching.
In my judgment,
a false notion of the relationship of faith and culture underlies the
agenda. Those who urge the agenda typically describe in detail all of
the tragic aspects of the total secularization of culture and then
propose that the Church has to change her language and discipline, in
order to take into account the radical changes in culture.
For example, one prelate made the comment that, since Saint John Paul II's Apostolic Exhortation on the Family, Familiaris Consortio [link], is some thirty years old, it is no longer adequate to address our situation. But Familiaris Consortio
presents the perennial teaching of the Church and is, therefore, as
pertinent to the situation of our day as it was pertinent in the 1980s.
correct view of the relationship of faith and culture tries to see how
the Church can more effectively, that is more clearly and strongly,
address the unchanging truths of the faith to the present situation.
Frequently, a faulty hermeneutic which was applied to the teaching of
the Second Vatican Ecumenical Councilclaiming to follow the so-called
"spirit of the Council" set forth in the Address of Saint John XXIII, Gaudet Mater Ecclesia, to open the Council on October 11, 1962, is used to justify the false notion.
false notion of the relationship of faith and culture must be
aggressively addressed to stop the spreading of a most harmful
Related on CWR:
"Cardinal Burke: Synod's mid-term report "lacks a solid foundation in the Sacred Scriptures and the Magisterium" (Oct. 14, 2014)
"Cardinal Burke to CWR: confirms transfer, praises pushback, addresses controversy over remarks by Cardinal Kasper" (Oct. 18, 2014)