Late yesterday, Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, the Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, responded to questions sent as a follow-up to his October 14th interview with Catholic World Report. He confirmed that he is leaving his positiion as Prefect, remarked on the reactions against the Relatio released this past Monday, reflected on the importance of the texts issued by the ten small groups, and commented on the recent controversy over an interview given by Cardinal Walter Kasper of Germany.
CWR: Not to discount or question other reports, but can you confirm that you will indeed be leaving your position as Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal? If so, do you have a sense of the timing of that move?
Cardinal Burke: Although the transfer has been communicated to me orally, I have not received the official decree of my transfer. I suspect that the decree will be issued before the beginning of November.
CWR: When we corresponded a few days ago, you spoke of the manipulation behind the Relatio. Many reports have shed more light on that since then. What is your impression of the responses of individuals such as Cardinals Pell and Napier (among others)?
Cardinal Burke: I wholeheartedly agree with what Cardinal George Pell and Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier have stated regarding the manipulation of the Synod Fathers by means of the Relatio post disceptationem. It is clear that whoever wrote the Relatio has an agenda and simply used the authority of a solemn meeting of Cardinals and Bishops to advance his agenda without respect for the discussion which took place during the first week of the Synod.
The fact that none of the interventions of the Synod Fathers were permitted to be published and that their content was filtered through the daily briefings organized by Father Lombardi facilitated the manipulation.
CWR: How important was it, do you think, that the ten groups issued texts that criticised and corrected, in various ways, statements and approaches in the Relatio?
Cardinal Burke: I consider the publication of the reports of the ten small groups of critical importance, for they demonstrate that the Synod Fathers do not accept at all the contents of the Relatio. The small group of which I was a part spent hours rewriting the entire text. From what I understand, the other small groups did the same.
There was an attempt not to publish the reports and to have Father Lombardi once again filter their contents, but the Synod Fathers, who up to that point were not given any direct means of communication with the public, insisted that the reports be published. It was critical that the public know, through the publication of the reports, that the Relatio is a gravely flawed document and does not express adequately the teaching and discipline of the Church and, in some aspects, propagates doctrinal error and a false pastoral approach.
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.