Cardinal Burke’s Groundbreaking Interview Signals Official Papal Resistance

By Steve Skojec on 1Peter5

image Cardinal Raymond Burke, one of the signatories of the so-called “Four Cardinals Letter,” gave an interview to Catholic Action in which he explained the reasons behind the letter and why it was time to take the step of releasing it to the public. I believe this interview is a major step in the direction of an official ecclesiastical action to oppose the errors of Pope Francis.

[The following then gives excerpts of the most important parts from the interview Cardinal Raymond Burke gave to Catholic Action, and that we have already published on CP&S.]

There are always complaints that what the bishops and cardinals are doing is too little or too late. Nevertheless, I think this is an incredibly important development. Recall that the Church moves far more slowly than we are accustomed to in the information age where everything is so nearly instantaneous. Amoris Laetitia was only promulgated in April of this year. We are seven months into the fallout, and the steps being taken here are significant. Don’t let the gentleness of the language fool you. A few thoughts:

  • Cardinal Burke is documenting the obstinacy of Pope Francis in terms of his refusal to address “serious ambiguities that confuse people and can lead them into error and grave sin.” He gave all the same examples I did yesterday, and added the Declaration of Fidelity to the Church’s Teaching on Marriage and to Her Uninterrupted Discipline.
  • He is making clear that this request for clarification follows a formal process: “There have been many other statements of concern regarding Amoris Laetitia, all of which have not received an official response from the Pope or his representatives. Therefore, in order to look for clarity on these matters, three other Cardinals and I used the formality of presenting fundamental questions directly to the Holy Father and to the Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.”
  • He has outlined the history of Amoris Laetitia, has associated Francis directly with Kasper, has re-visted the deeply troubling mid-term relatio from the 2014 synod, has even mentioned his own removal from the synod process itself after 2014.
  • He has positioned the adversarial relationship between the four cardinals and Pope Francis in relation to the fixed point of Christ and His teaching. “I, together with the other three Cardinals, are striving to be loyal to the Holy Father by being loyal to Christ above all. ” and “Rather than being a matter of disloyalty to the Pope, our action is deeply loyal to everything that the Pope represents and is obliged to defend in his official capacity.” He is signalling that the pope has a moral duty to defend Church teaching, not to innovate or depart from it.
  • He is indicating that he and the other three cardinals are now performing their own duty, “which the Church has the right to expect of us.”
  • While some dislike the word “clarification,” Burke and the cardinals (and other bishops) who stand with him are asking Francis to state clearly what he believes. “It would contradict the Faith if any Catholic, including the Pope, said that a person can receive Holy Communion without repenting of grave sin, or that living in a marital way with someone who is not his or her spouse is not a state of grave sin, or that there is no such thing as an act that is always and everywhere evil and can send a person to perdition.” This statement indicates that they know he has contradicted the Faith, and if he does not recant but rather affirms this, then he will officially stand in opposition to the Faith.

I submit to you that these statements are indicative of something momentous. This could well be the prelude to something unprecedented: the challenging of a sitting pope for the crime of manifest, obdurate heresy. Remember that the “manifest and obdurate” parts are necessary to establish. As Michael Davies wrote in his essay,  A Heretical Pope?

If, per impossible, a pope became a formal heretic through pertinaciously denying a de fide doctrine, how would the faithful know that he had forfeited his office as he had ceased to be a Catholic? It must be remembered that no one in the Church, including a General Council, has the authority to judge the Popes. Reputable authorities teach that if a pope did pertinaciously deny a truth which must be believed by divine and Catholic faith, after this had been brought to his attention by responsible members of the hierarchy (just as St. Paul reproved St. Peter to his face), a General Council could announce to the Church that the Pope, as a notorious heretic, had ceased to be a Catholic and hence had ceased to be Pope. It is important to note that the Council would neither be judging nor deposing the Pope, since it would not possess the authority for such an act. It would simply be making a declaratory sentence, i.e. declaring to the Church what had already become manifest from the Pope’s own actions. This is the view taken in the classic manual on Canon Law by Father F.X. Wernz, Rector of the Gregorian University and Jesuit General from 1906 to 1914. This work was revised by Father P. Vidal and was last republished in 1952. It states clearly that an heretical Pope is not deposed in virtue of the sentence of the Council, but “the General Council declares the fact of the crime by which the heretical pope has separated himself from the Church and deprived himself of his dignity.“(7) Other authorities believe that such a declaration could come from the College of Cardinals or from a representative group of bishop, while others maintain that such a declaration would not be necessary. What all those who accept the hypothesis of an heretical pope are agreed upon is that for such a pope to forfeit the papacy his heresy would have to be “manifest”, as Saint Robert Bellarmine expressed it, that is notorious and public (notorium et palam divulgata).(8) A notorious offence can be defined as one for which the evidence is so certain that it can in no way be either hidden or excused.(9) A pope who, while not being guilty of formal heresy in the strict sense, has allowed heresy to undermine the Church through compromise, weakness, ambiguous or even gravely imprudent teaching remains Pope, but can be judged by his successors, and condemned as was the case with Honorius I.

Cardinals Burke, Caffara, Brandmüller, and Meisner — along with their other as-yet unnamed supporters among the bishops — are giving Francis a way out. They are bringing “to his attention” as “responsible members of the hierarchy (just as St. Paul reproved St. Peter to his face)” the errors which he has fomented. (Remember, John XXII repented of his error after being confronted.) This is no doubt not only for Francis’ good, but for the good of the countless souls who would be scandalized by any act of public deposition of a pope, and the massive schism that would at last break the Church apart on her many emergent fault lines. If Francis continues to refuse to address this, these Cardinals, along with any other orthodox prelates yet remaining in the Church, will have no choice but to take action. Anything less will destroy their credibility as apostolic successors and shake the faith of countless souls in the indefectibility of the Church.

As one high-ranking member of the clergy confided to me recently, “Francis is an eclipse of the sun of Catholic truth.” It is long past time for the sun to come out again.

CP&S Comment – We believe this to be an unprecedented moment in the history of the Catholic Church, and we ask all Catholics to stand firm and pray hard.

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26 Responses to Cardinal Burke’s Groundbreaking Interview Signals Official Papal Resistance

  1. JabbaPapa says:

    More hysterics from that blog then …

    the adversarial relationship between the four cardinals and Pope Francis

    This is so grossly exaggerated as to constitute a willful distortion of reality.

    This could well be the prelude to something unprecedented: the challenging of a sitting pope for the crime of manifest, obdurate heresy

    And this is just just plain and straightforwardly ludicrous. One does not commit heresy, and certainly not “manifestly” and “obdurately”, simply because some people have unilaterally decided to deliberately and harmfully interpret a footnote in a manner contrary to Christian Faith.

  2. kathleen says:

    Then why doesn’t Pope Francis simply come out and answer the questions put to him by the four Cardinals, Jabba?

    He refuses to reply to the Cardinals. His silence condemns him.

    Edit: Rather than “manifest, obdurate heresy”, I would have described it as “deceptive, tenacious cunning” (to change the Church’s teaching on marriage).

  3. JabbaPapa says:

    Then why doesn’t Pope Francis simply come out and answer the questions put to him by the four Cardinals, Jabba?

    He refuses to reply to the Cardinals. His silence condemns him.

    Not necessarily — were the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to answer those questions with the proper degree of theological detail that they deserve, then it would be no trivial task, and could very well be as difficult to write as an Encyclical ; or otherwise, the Pope himself may need some more time to see how Amoris Laetitia is being implemented and what problems may be occurring before responding.

    I do not see, however, why some people systematically insist on seeing the worst.

  4. kathleen says:

    I do not see, however, why some people systematically insist on seeing the worst.

    Perhaps because this way is the glaring truth? The only realistic way of interpreting these last years of one papal shock and calamity after another? The obdurate refusal of the pope to irrefutably proclaim his adherence to the eternal doctrines of the Catholic Church, both now, and in all the earlier multiple exhortations of both clergy and laity beseeching him to do so?

    No joy comes from facing the fact that we may have a heretic (or an anti-Pope) at the helm of the barque of Peter, but to not face up to this possibility would be to continue to live in cloud cuckoo land (IMO, that is).

  5. JabbaPapa says:

    The only realistic way of interpreting these last years of one papal shock and calamity after another?

    First of all, your use of “shock” and “calamity” is tendentious, and steers away from objectivity.

    Secondly, no, running about claiming “the Pope is a heretic !!!” is NOT the only possible response to his words and deeds.

    All these anti-Pope stories continue to be fuelled by a small number of agitating extremists at Rorate, 1P5, the so-called Remnant etc., and they continue to rely on exaggerations, misrepresentations, willful misinterpretations and over-interpretations, and the occasional bald-faced LIES by their most extremist contributors.

    These individuals continue OTOH not to constitute some sort of rival “magisterium”. And the Orthodoxy of the Catholic Faith continues not to be the traditionalist position to the exclusion of everything else.

  6. kathleen says:

    First of all, your use of “shock” and “calamity” is tendentious, and steers away from objectivity.

    Jabba, how else then would you describe the upsets faithful Catholics have suffered these last three and a half years? The libs and progressives have welcomed all the novelties Pope Francis has blabbered out, because they have a protestantised outlook and do not love the traditions and some of the, er, uncomfortable (for them) teachings of the Church. It is the mainstream, orthodox Catholics who have suffered witnessing the maverick ways Pope Francis has been steering the Church. I think “shock” and “calamity” are apt descriptions on what we have observed with great sorrow.

    All these anti-Pope stories continue to be fuelled by a small number of agitating extremists at Rorate, 1P5, the so-called Remnant etc., and they continue to rely on exaggerations, misrepresentations, willful misinterpretations and over-interpretations, and the occasional bald-faced LIES by their most extremist contributors.

    That is quite simply NOT TRUE, and you know it! Practically all blogs dedicated to divulging Catholic news (newspapers included) have reported on this “bombshell” (of the dubia of the Four Cardinals, and Pope Francis’ refusal to respond), Father Z included. That some have taken a more forthright approach than others is true, but the underlying horror at the prospect that we have a pope who will not reaffirm Catholic doctrinal teachings is very apparent everywhere.

    I know you follow, and sometimes comment, at Fr Z’s blog, so you will have seen that he said, referring to this issue: “The last thing that lib catholics want is clarity (or charity). For lib catholics, ambiguity and fog is advantageous: all the better to continue in immoral behavior and in doctrinal error.” Naturally Father Z has to be cautious, but is there anyone who is more “ambiguous” by word or by pen than Pope Francis himself?
    Fr Z also linked to Edward Pentin’s interesting interview on The Catholic Register, and that says a lot!

    Tell me Jabba, was the Magisterium of the Church wrong (IYO) to condemn Pope Honorius I ?

  7. JabbaPapa says:

    Practically all blogs dedicated to divulging Catholic news (newspapers included) have reported on this “bombshell” (of the dubia of the Four Cardinals, and Pope Francis’ refusal to respond), Father Z included.

    I was not commenting on this one particular story, but on the overtly aggressive attitude of some people, that has been unrelenting since the start of this Pontificate, and has recently been veering closer and closer towards overt factionalism, sectarianism, and schismaticism.

    As for Pope Honorius I, he was condemned by the legitimate Authority, to wit, by an Ecumenical Council of the Church sitting in Communion with the Roman Pontiff. These bloggers exercise no such thing, whereas Pope Francis has said and done nothing that could truly justify calling him a “heretic” as according to the relevant provisions of Catholic Doctrine and the Canon Law.

    He has committed no crimes against the Law entailing any automatic penalty of excommunication latae sententiae, as they are described in the Canon Law, which is the only manner whereby a sitting Pope could destitute himself other than by resigning.

    hashtag NotMyPope is precisely as effective as hashtag NotMyPresident — i.e. not in the slightest.

  8. ginnyfree says:

    I have no doubt at all that this was made a necessity by Pope Francis and his intentionally fuzzy theology. I am very grateful that men like Cardinals Burke, Caffara, Brandmüller, and Meisner know enough about ecclesial law and procedures to see the proper way to proceed in such cases. It is a necessity. And it has been done before successfully in Church history to the benefit of the flock. This is an action by the Holy Spirit in Justice for the Church of the future. I am personally comforted and will watch carefully the procedures so as to learn from them. It is from the Mater Consolata to see discipline being expressed in such a way. I will remain thankful that this is being done and pray daily for the men so doing and all those around them who will be either helpful or hurtful as they decide for themselves what is most pressing in need: clarity or more smoke screens and parlor tricks. God bless. Ginnyfree

  9. ginnyfree says:

    Kathleen, Jabba’s right about the lies and distortions. It is one thing to openly speak one’s opinion of what a particular Pontiff says and does, it is another to use every little thing that can be seen as a detriment as an excuse to smear him all the time for the purpose of fueling a type of dissension that supports persons like the SSPX and their radically uber-Catholic world view. I really don’t care for his style and as I’ve said, he is no Saint, so there really is no reason to take to heart for my own spiritual enrichment much of what he says and does. My choice. But he is still my Holy Father and so I listen and when he makes mistakes I notice. Those who take advantage of those mistakes to further their own ends, well, they are worse than the person making the mistake IMHO. Yeah. God bless. Ginnyfree.

  10. ginnyfree says:

    ooops, I forgot: I will say once again that I love Cardinal Burke. I believe him to be a Saint and I sincerely wish I had him for my own Pastor for as a little sheep, I know I’d flourish under his shepherd’s eye. He is a consolation to me in these turbulent times. I pray that others grow bolder as they look to him and his example. We need more men like him. God bless. Ginnyfree.

  11. mmvc says:

    Ginny, I so agree with you about Cardinal Burke whom I was blessed to meet and exchange a few words with on a couple of occasions. He really is a humble and exemplary shepherd at a time when there are so few around to guide us. May God bless and protect him always!

  12. JabbaPapa says:

    I think we all admire and respect Cardinal Burke, our Brother in Christ.

  13. Toad says:

    “…Signals Official Papal Resistance…”
    No it doesn’t.
    It might signal Official Resistance to the papacy. The diametric opposite, in fact.
    “…and we ask all Catholics to stand firm and pray hard.”
    Shouldn’t that be “kneel” firm? And what should they pray for?
    Enlightenment? A new pope?

    [Last sentence deleted by a moderator.]

  14. johnhenrycn says:

    I think JP should change his name to Pollyana or Little Orphan Annie or Shirley Temple. His uber-ultramontanism, in the face of what many people far brighter and more informed than he, fear is becoming an inexorable drift onto the shoals of secular relativism tells me that he is no longer the least bit credible. He’s as much a shill for the Cafeteria Catholic establishment as that Keyhoe character.

    The criticisms now being leveled at PF and his closest advisors are not a case of disrespect or of hysteria on the part of alarmists. The loyal opposition (e.g. Burke et al) to PF’s increasingly obvious agenda deserves our immense gratitude, and I include in that group many Catholic bloggers and pundits. Again, JP is no where near as keen a Catholic analyst, he is no where near as “in-the-know” as he pretends. He sneers at every other Catholic commentator who has studied this situation, many of whom are experts in their fields (I certainly don’t include myself amongst them) and who disagrees with his party line. As for Ginnyfree – well, I’ve said enough.

  15. kathleen says:

    Jabba @ 10:36

    As for Pope Honorius I, he was condemned by the legitimate Authority, to wit, by an Ecumenical Council of the Church sitting in Communion with the Roman Pontiff.

    Yes, I know, but that is not what I was asking.

    These bloggers exercise no such thing, whereas Pope Francis has said and done nothing that could truly justify calling him a “heretic” as according to the relevant provisions of Catholic Doctrine and the Canon Law.

    Who on earth suggested that “bloggers” could excommunicate a Pope? (Well, Mr Kehoe might have been barking up that tree the other day, but no one else I believe has done so.) Though what “bloggers” (read Catholics) are legitimately entitled to do – as Father Hunwicke confirmed not long ago, pointing out Canon Law to prove it – is protest when they see their Catholic Faith being watered down, twisted, and even denied by either the Pope or those in the hierarchy, who should instead be the first guardians and preachers of the Holy Faith.

    Whether Pope Francis is an outright heretic or not, this, I agree, is not for us to say, but it has been pointed out on different sites (including Father Z’s) that if Francis continues to refuse to reaffirm Catholic Doctrine as these four good and respectful Cardinals have requested he do (for the good of the Church in order to abate the reigning confusion he initiated) then they will be obliged to take some drastic measures! Protecting and preserving the purity of Christ’s Church is paramount.

    Neither you, nor anyone, has been able to give a good reason as to why Pope Francis stubbornly refuses to respond to the dubia the Cardinals have sent him. They gave him time and waited patiently before going public, when all they had been given was an acknowledgment that their letter had been received by the Pope. What is stopping him therefore? It is hard not to see his silence as an ominous sign he cannot give the right answers to the Cardinals’ questions!

    These Cardinals have made this move in the name of all the Faithful, so Francis’ silence is directed not only at these representatives of the Apostles, but at the whole Church waiting anxiously for an assurance that our pope is not a heretic.

  16. kathleen says:

    Ginny @ 12:01

    Kathleen, Jabba’s right about the lies and distortions.

    I believe he’s using this excuse as a strawman to avoid the real issue. That “lies and distortions” abound is not news to anyone; and in fact there have been far more of these “lies and distortions” directed against faithful Catholics than anywhere else. Even so, the evidence is overwhelming that Pope Francis is not steering the barque of Peter in the same direction as his faithful predecessors.

    That a few what you call “uber-Catholics” (perhaps just a small group of sede-vacantists somewhere out there, but not the SSPX; they recognise the Pope) are using a smear campaign against the Pope is unfair. The vast majority of Catholics simply want to be Catholic and follow the precepts of their Faith. Westerners now have to contend, not only with a de-Christianised, hostile, secular environment in the world around us, but a continual bombardment of attacks on the Faith from treacherous, liberal bishops within the Church. And the stark reality (much as I hate to say it) is that our own Pope appears to be of the same mindset, and to favour these dissenters and even promotes and lauds them over the good and faithful members of the Curia!

    Yet we plod on, almost each day bringing a new disappointment or blow to have to contend with. Now the ‘cards are on the table’, Pope Francis can no longer avoid having to reveal his true intentions.
    But I keep praying for him every day, as I’m sure you do too.

  17. johnhenrycn says:

    “Neither you, nor anyone, has been able to give a good reason as to why Pope Francis stubbornly refuses to respond to the dubia the Cardinals have sent him.”

    All that PF need to have done anytime within the 2 months since then is send a private message that he received it and intends to reply in due course. Had he done so, the 4 cardinals would have continued to wait patiently; but no, they were ignored – as if they have no business questioning him. Respect is a two-way street. Idolization of the pope is a one-way street and a dead end.

  18. Toad says:

    “Idolization of the pope is a one-way street and a dead end.”
    Quite right, JhH. After all, what is the pope?
    The representative of Christ on earth – that’s all.

  19. ginnyfree says:

    And now we here from the Comic Division, a Papal reply: “We dedicate today’s catechesis to a work of mercy that we all know very well, but perhaps do not put into practice as we should: bearing patiently those who wrong us…..We are all very good at identifying the presence of a person who is bothersome: it happens when we meet someone in the street, or when we receive a telephone call. Immediately we think, ‘For how long must I listen to the complaints, gossip, requests or bragging of this person?’ At times, it may be that annoying people are those closest to us: among our relatives there is always one; they are not lacking in the workplace; and even in our spare time we are not free of them. What must we do with these people?”
    The rest can be found here: https://zenit.org/articles/pope-at-general-audience-what-should-we-do-with-those-people-who-bother-us/

    Honestly, who said the Pope’s silence is telling? Geeze Loueeze…………..God bless. Ginnyfree.

  20. ginnyfree says:

    P.S. If it weren’t funny, I’d think it is ominous. I mean, what is he thinking about doing to the four Cardinals who are taking him to task publically for his papal blunders? How long has it been since a Pope has had a person beheaded by the Inquisition?

    Some notables were: Cardinal Alfonso Petrucci, convicted of plotting against Pope Leo X (July 16, 1517); Giordano Bruno, Italian priest, philosopher, cosmologist, and occultist (February 17, 1600); Cornelio Da Montalcino was a Franciscan friar who had embraced Judaism, and was burned alive on the Campo dei Fiori in Rome, Italy, in 1554.

    Oh dear, now that the Year of Mercy is ending, I’m wondering what the Holy Father will do with those annoying gadflies that dare to buzz his holy head………………….

  21. ginnyfree says:

    And now for something entirely different……………….https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nf_Y4MbUCLY&list=RD7WJXHY2OXGE&index=2

    God bless. Ginnyfree.

  22. JabbaPapa says:

    @ kathleen**

    I believe he’s using this excuse as a strawman to avoid the real issue

    No I’m not.

    That a few what you call “uber-Catholics” … are using a smear campaign against the Pope is unfair

    Sorry, they have been engaged in such activities against multiple Popes for literally decades.

    @ jh**

    Idolization of the pope is a one-way street and a dead end

    Who’s talking about “idolising” him ???? Do stop talking out of your hat …

    **[A moderator – Edited, to make it clearer to whom you were talking]

  23. JabbaPapa says:

    Ginny, there’s still hope in his conclusive remark : He concluded, “May the Holy Spirit help us be patient in bearing others, and humble and simple in giving counsel”.

    It may be a recognition of his own failures.

    Again, why systematically assume always the worst ?

  24. JabbaPapa says:

    Sorry, they have been engaged in such activities against multiple Popes for literally decades

    I mean, not even the brevity of Pope John Paul I’s Pontificate spared him from their slanders …

  25. ginnyfree says:

    I’m really not assuming the worst. It has little to do with my personal spiritual development. I do not look to the current Holy Father the same way I did St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI. I’m a convert. I entered the Church in 1996 under the reign of now St. John Paul II. I knew he was a Saint then when I first listened to his words on my television. All of Catholicism was foreign to me. I wasn’t converting from a Protestant denomination, so I’d never ever had a Pastor to look to for spiritual guidance etc. My very first thoughts on that day were that God had given me a gift in the Papacy, and its fulfillment was right before my eyes. God had given me personally a Holy Father, and I acknowledged the gift, the Giver of the gift and accepted him as he truly is, in all his capacities. I actually felt my human will bend in the right direction that day. It was very moving. It is part of the process of conversion. Some never get there I’m afraid. But that discussion is for another day. There weren’t any barriers of prejudice that are notable among the Protestants to accepting the gift of my Holy Father in the person of JPII. He was beautiful and a saint and I loved him. I read all his stuff and was amazed by it over and over again. I don’t feel that same way towards Pope Francis and have grown used to his daily disappointments. But I have had to grow also in acceptance. He too, is a gift from God, if you look in the right way. Detachment from all things so as to live for God alone is part of my own spiritual life and Francis gives me plenty of opportunities to practice this little spiritual movement of my heart and soul. But the very nature of the Papacy has never left me. I still in my heart of hearts have a Holy Father, no matter who occupies that seat and that will never change. I realize I’m kinda blessed that way. I wish it could happen for everyone that way, but not all persons can humble themselves for whatever reasons they put in front of it. As Jesus said, pity them for they are like sheep without a shepherd. I will never feel that way again, thanks be to God and my fiat on that day. God bless. Ginnyfree.

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