From Torch of The Faith News on Tuesday 15 November 2016 – 15:30:32
March 2015: Cardinal Raymond Burke defending Holy Matrimony in the ancient town of Chester.
On 6th March, 2015, I drove down to the ancient town of Chester, in order to attend Cardinal Raymond Burke’s presentation at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel. The title of His Eminence’s talk was Remaining in the Truth of Christ on Holy Matrimony.
It was a splendid presentation and a most encouraging evening. Given the gravity of these times, it was very heartening to see Shrewsbury’s Bishop Mark Davies in attendance, as well as clergy from various dioceses/religious orders and many lay people from all over Britain.
The historical Falcon Pub on Chester’s Lower Bridge Steet is an atmospheric place to share a pint during visits to the town: the building originated as a house around 1200 AD and underwent major reconstructions during its first century. It was extensively altered by the Grosvenor family during the English Civil War (1642-1651). It first became an inn during 1778. However, in 1879 it re-opened as a temperance house selling cocoa. A century later it lay derelict until complete restoration occurred in 1980; when it once more became a quality public house selling various fine ales! There are many such ancient buildings in and around Chester.
During the evening, Cardinal Burke acknowledged the gravity of the threats facing the Church and the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. He also gave a timely reminder of the importance of renewed commitment to the Great Commission which Our Lord gave to the Apostles to preach, baptize and teach all nations in His Name.
In consoling tones, His Eminence reminded the audience that Our Lord has promised to be with the Church until the end of time. He also reminded us all that this should call forth from us a more generous and ready obedience to the Word of Christ. As this obedience is indispensable, His Eminence invited all present to ask the Holy Spirit to purify us of any disobedience or rebellion that we might have harboured in our own hearts.
Having promised to pray for the re-conversion of Great Britain, Cardinal Burke underscored the fact that marriage is the critical locus of the Church’s witness for the transformation of our society. He noted that the restoration of respect for conjugal union within marriage is essential for the very future of Western civilization. During the course of the evening, Cardinal Burke also re-affirmed the Church’s true teachings on sex outside of marriage, homosexual activity and contraception. In relation to the latter, he also drew attention to the abortifacient component of many forms.
The cardinal proclaimed that there is only one kind of marriage as God created it; and as Jesus Christ redeemed it by the shedding of His Precious Blood. In light of these mysteries, the cardinal recalled that authentic fulfillment – meaning perfectio – has to do with nature and ends; rather than with merely selfish whims.
Towards the end of the evening, Cardinal Burke opened up the presentation to allow questions from the audience. I distinctly remember Laurence England, of That the Bones You Have Crushed fame, standing up and asking to what degree the cardinal thought the crisis over marriage was related to a Eucharistic crisis.
Cardinal Burke agreed that there is a definite link between the loss of belief in the Real Presence/the sacrifical nature of the Holy Mass and the call for divorced/re-”married” people to be given Holy Communion without amendment of life.
In answer to another person’s question, Cardinal Burke similarly acknowledged the link between the collapse in catechesis and the loss of the sense of the sacred that has occurred through the implementation of liturgical changes in recent decades. He recalled that many people left the Church when a ”man-centred” approach spread and took hold. This has all contributed to the present crisis in which we find ourselves.
The thing that I was most struck by in the whole evening was Cardinal Burke’s inspiring call for all present to commit to a defence of marriage that was limpid, heroic and ready to suffer. I think many of us ”signed up” both psychologically and spiritually to that commitment during that grace-filled night.
Especially when Cardinal Burke next recommended that we call frequently on the help of those great defenders of marriage, St. John the Baptist, St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More.
He also asked us to offer up all of our sufferings in these challenging times in union with Christ for the Church.
With the making public of Cardinal Burke’s joint actions with Cardinals Brandmuller, Caffarra and Meisner, one begins to feel and hope to at last have the generals needed to lead the call which many of us interiorly answered during that spring evening in 2015.
Please, Lord, that we do.
Viva Cristo Rey!