Tuesday, March 10, 2015

RLB blesses RLB

Displaying 20150310_131553.jpgIt was a great pleasure to meet Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke at a meeting of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy in St Patrick's, Soho today. I last met him two or three years ago, he appears to have aged and seems burdened. He spoke about the Priesthood, the Eucharist and the Sacred Heart, Though he answered questions on the Synod his talk stayed away from that in his talk, though he did echo the Holy Father's words about a priest not being a social worker but a man rooted in Christ. What I suppose did touch on concerning the Synod, but indirectly  was the loss of Eucharist faith, which he blamed for a loss of priests from their ministry and a loss of vocations.

Later in response to a question he spoke about the book he had contributed to, 'Remaining in the Truth of Christ', he expressed his concern that those who present Catholic teaching are now regarded as 'divisive' or even dissident. I really felt for him, this seemed to be a cause of real pain for him not so much that he should be regarded as a dissident but that Catholic doctrine should be regarded in such a way by senior clergy, even Cardinals. Apparently some Bishops found our statement on Marriage divisive (see below). So much for the Holy Father's request for parrhesia, open fearless speech.

Displaying 20150310_131536.jpgHe spoke a little about 'rationalising' the annulment process. It might have been him or one of the countries most celebrate Canon Lawyers who I sat with at lunch who said, that one party at the Synod had wanted a bishop to sit down with a couple and decide whether a marriage was valid or invalid, on his private subjective unscrutinised judgement, not of course that would be a problem in the UK but in parts of the world where Bishops might themselves not be continent or even corrupt.
There were about fifty of us at the meeting, I understand more wanted to come, and I am sure a great number of lay people would have wanted to be present too. I came away feeling incredibly sad for the Cardinal and the burden he carries, especially the vicious personal attacks made on him, solely for his fidelity but also like most of those present very worried for the Church. As one priest sad, 'if the Church has been so wrong about marriage and the Eucharist for so long can she be trusted on anything she says', as Cardinal Mueller said 'Catholic doctrine and discipline is a whole'.

What impressed me about was that he spent time with priests, he wanted to be with us, he shared our concern, he listened, he likes priests. I could quite understand why he is sought out as spiritual director
Pray for him.

Statement of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy on Marriage
Marriage was instituted by God, not invented by man (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n.1603). The Creator has built it into human nature, even into the human body, in its two complementary forms, male and female. ‘Male and female He created them’ (Gen.1: 27): man for woman, and woman for man, united in marriage as ‘one flesh’ for the procreation of new life: ‘Be fruitful and multiply’ (Gen. 1: 28).
God has given marriage its essential characteristics and proper laws: unity (one man married to one woman); indissolubility (nothing but death can end a marriage); and openness to procreation (in every act of physical love). No president or religious leader, no senate or synod, nor any government, has the authority to re-define marriage.
Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Son of God, raised marriage to the dignity of a Sacrament. The marriage of a Christian man and woman is a sacramental sign of His union with His Church (cf. Eph. 5: 32). Since the union of Christ with the Church, His Bride, cannot be dissolved, no power on earth, not even the Pope himself, can dissolve the valid sacramental marriage, once consummated, of a Christian man and woman.
‘Those whom God has joined together let no man put asunder’ (Mt. 19: 6).
The Church’s discipline is built upon the doctrine of the faith, and gives practical expression to it. To introduce a discipline at odds with a doctrine thus implicitly undermines the doctrine. The discipline of not admitting to the Sacraments divorcees who have entered a subsequent civil ‘marriage’ follows directly from the doctrine of Marriage and the Eucharist as the Church has received it from Christ and His Apostles.
Unless an annulment has recognized the invalidity of the original marriage, then the state of life of divorced and ‘remarried’ Catholics ‘objectively contradicts the union of love between Christ and the Church signified and effected by the Eucharist’ (Pope St John Paul II, Familiaris consortio, n. 180). However sorrowful for their sins they may be, the divorced and ‘remarried’ remain ‘one flesh’ (cf. Gen. 2: 24; Mt. 19:5) with their original and only spouses. Therefore, their second ‘marriages’ cannot participate in the one flesh union of Christ and His Church that is signified and effected by the Eucharist.
In the absence of a clear appreciation of marriage and the true meaning of human sexuality, a number of associated moral challenges have arisen. Amongst these is the growth of widespread homosexual activity and the promotion of such behaviour. The Church teaches, as she has always taught, that homosexual activity is gravely sinful, as it distorts one of the most sacred and fundamental dimensions of human life. Even the inclination to homosexual activity is ‘objectively disordered’ (CDF, 1986) in the sense that such a sexual inclination, with its associated tendencies, feelings and expressions, is not properly directed to spousal union, marriage, and procreation. The Church, of course, welcomes all human beings created in God’s image, who by His grace have the power to renounce their sins, live a chaste life and become saints. But the Church cannot bless, or tolerate, sin in any form, nor structures and lifestyles that encourage or promote sin, disorder, and temptation.
The Church in so many ways reaches out to those broken and hurt by the breakdown of marriage in our society and by the widespread confusion of what it means to be male and female. No-one is turned away. The first mercy and true compassion is offering to sinners the truth of Christ as the light by which to live. The greatest help for those who struggle is to point out with charity the way of Christ, the only way conducive to virtue and true joy.
The Church has nothing, can do nothing, is nothing, without Christ, her Head and Bridegroom. She is the servant of the Word of God (cf. Dei verbum, n. 10). Her pastors therefore have no power whatever to change what He taught about the nature and goods of marriage and have the duty to promote and defend that truth for the good of every person and society.


gemoftheocean said...

Thanks for the detailed report. I very much wish he could know how much he is appreciated by all who care about proper orthodox teaching and at least take some, even small, comfort in that.

Romulus said...

It's OK, Father. Our Lord is divisive too.

Anonymous said...

I think there are two core issues. The first is that the Eucharist has become the marker for Catholic Identity rather than the Mass/Divine Liturgy (as it is with Eastern Catholics and the Orthodox). As a result, to deny a person the Eucharist is to deny that they are Catholic. The intention of Vatican II to raise the stature of the Eucharist was good and noble, but ultimately it hurt the faith by turning the Eucharist into a right.

The other core issue is that Hell isn't a realistic possibility. Unfortunately this impression is supported by the Catechism. Non-Catholics can be saved. Apostates (as long as they don't truly know the faith, which is common these days) can be saved. Unbaptized babies can also be saved (Limbo was just scholastic speculation).... While few Catholics actually believe that "There is a reasonable hope that all are saved" (since otherwise Jesus's death was not a complete victory or God didn't love us enough), Catholics live their lives as if everyone they care about or know are saved, no matter how they live. They may just need to spend a bit more time in purgatory.

Given this assumption, it's understandable why they think that the moral law is an unmerciful burden since ultimately what happens in this life cannot derail our ultimate destiny in heaven; anyone who repeats Catholic Doctrine is just a mean killjoy that's turning people away from the Catholic faith. Under this assumption, when taken to it's logical conclusion, Catholic Doctrine is ultimately the work of the devil because it pushes people away from God's love.

Tony Abbot's view from the sky said...

Met him on Sunday and just said thank you for everything to receive a most beatific smile

Dorothy B said...

Dear Father, despite the worrying circumstances of Cardinal Burke’s visit, all who have written about it have obviously been greatly encouraged to see his devotion and to hear him speaking out so clearly in support of true Christian teaching.

I have no doubt that the encouragement is mutual. He must surely have been moved by the experience of meeting so many of you, both clergy and laypeople, who support his efforts. I think you will all have cheered his heart.

Jacobi said...

The Holy Father has called for “parrhesia “, so what about this.

We in the Western Catholic Church are most likely in the process of a second Reformation, a Relativist Reformation. That orthodox Catholics such as Cardinal Burke are accused increasingly of being disruptive or even dissident is a clear indication of that. Let us pray we will have clear guidance from the Keeper of the Keys the present Pope!.

The Second session of the Synod on the Family which is rapidly turning into a Synod on divorce and acceptable homosexual relationships, to bring us into line with secular society, will be critical.

Depending on how this goes, or probably now, regardless of how this goes, the Catholic Church is likely to split into Catholicism in Continuity, and a secular form of catholicism, whatever it will come to be called, and we will each and every one of us have to decide which side we choose.

I trust the Holy Father, should he ever come across this little note, will appreciate will appreciate the frankness of it.

JARay said...

Well I know where I stand in the forthcoming schism. I'm with Cardinal Burke. Thank God for him and those like him.

fzk5220 said...

Francis said among many one liners that "we cannot go backwards. We must go forward."
History has shown that in times of uncertainty, standing firm and in place is also progress and a movement forward.

Gregkanga said...

The Cardinal is only experiencing now what faithful, orthodox Catholics in Australia, especially those who support Into to the Deep, a monthly publication in Gippsland, have been experiencing for over 10 years now. We have been called delators, fundamentalists, Temple police and Taliban Catholics by Bishops, priests and religious for confronting them with the truths of the faith enshrined in the Catechism. Who would have thought that our consecrated leaders would become the enemies of the very truth they publicly swore to defend and uphold.

Jacobi said...


That makes two of us!

gemoftheocean said...

I'm with Burke.

Deacon Augustine said...

"Apparently some Bishops found our statement on Marriage divisive."

Well in that case, a pox on these inadequate hirelings!

Why is it that those who would divide us from the teaching of Our Lord are not "divisive"?

Why is it that those who would divide us from the teaching and practice of the Apostles and Fathers of the Church are not "divisive"?

Why is it that those who would divide us from every Council and Catechism that has covered this subject are not "divisive."?

And why is it that those who would divide us from the teaching and practice of every Pope up to this one are not "divisive"?

The divisive ones are those who would reject Christ because they have chosen to follow the world - who have chosen to look for good in sin.

The answer is not to get depressed or down-hearted in the face of this evil, but to take up the Sword of the Spirit and take the fight right back to them - that is what we have been ordained to do in this age. May God grant strength to our arms.

Catechist Kev said...

Fr. Blake,

This is such a sad entry, but I appreciate it very much. As a catechist I am always interested in giving and upholding the Truths of our Blessed Lord's Church.

For those who may be interested:

Cardinal Burke will be on this side of the "pond" in Louisville, Ky. at the "The 2015 Church Teaches Forum" on July 17 at the Galt House (this is a ministry of the late-great Jesuit theologian Fr. John Hardon).

I plan on being there to encourage this brave, loyal and true son of the Church.

Catechist Kev

Nicolas Bellord said...

On Monday there was a wonderful Pontifical High Mass at Ramsgate with Cardinal Burke and we were able to speak to him afterwards. I think his tiredness was more probably due to a fairly punishing schedule for someone of his age!

I am full of hope for the Synod. I think that the second Relatio gave the thumbs down overwhelmingly to the divorce and homosexual distractions although some might try and keep these issues going. However the Synod was distracted and much work needs to be done to get it back on track and so as to concentrate on the real issues facing the family.

Patrick Sheridan said...

Burke for Pope!

Unknown said...

I was disappointed not to be able to make it to Ramsgate to see His Eminence but I am very glad that my brethren could pass on the exact sentiments I had wished to.

Cephas means rock, a foundation. Rocks never move of their own accord (forwards or backwards). I hope and pray our Cephas is similarly immovable. I never want to have to quote Galatians 2:11.

fzk5220 said...

I know this is off the subject but as a layman who's not adroit in the history of the Great Schism in the Catholic Church I wonder if there are any posters who have a vision of the expected and often referred to upcoming Schism as to the details of how this would unfold?
I Expect there will be more than one claimant to be the "Pope " but then who (one or more) will "reign " from Rome or will there be many, one from Buenos Aires, one from Regensburg, one from San Francisco, one from a URL, etc...
And then to whom will the diocesan and local
parishes' obedience be assigned or chosen and by whom?
Right now it seems an online church is not yet ruled out?
I'm Just wondering out loud but for me the radicalism of the left makes it easy to drop out and follow what I learn from an iPhone like this.

dcs said...

by turning the Eucharist into a right

We have a duty to receive the Sacraments; therefore we have a right to receive them. The problem isn't recognizing that receiving Holy Communion is a right, the problem is modern rights language.

Curious observer said...

I had the pleasure of hearing Cardinal Burke speak at the SPUC Youth and Student conference in Southport. He spoke with such clarity, integrity and piety and it is something that will always stay with me.
My pregnant wife and I and our 3 young children drove down from Scotland for the conference especially to hear him. After his talk he received a standing ovation and my 3 year old son, who was sat at the back with me, got so excited (after admittedly being more preoccupied with playing with the pro-life badges on the table in front of us than listening to his Eminence) started to join in with the applause, clapping and punching the air as if he'd scored for Dundee United! It was fantastic. I then had the pleasure of meeting him briefly, which was a real honour.
While still on a high after all this I gave my brother a copy of the talk Cardinal Burke gave in Chester the night before the SPUC talk (which you can get off the Voice of the Family website). After he'd read it and we were discussing it, something really sad dawned on me. Cardinal Burke is saying and doing nothing more than every Bishop should be, and yet we all love him because he seems to be the only one (and I know there are more, but depressingly few) who are actually doing it.
God help us. And God bless the courageous and saintly Cardinal Burke!

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