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Cardinal Burke: Cardinal Kasper Is Urging a Direction Never Taken in the Whole History of the Church

Marcin Mazur/UK Catholic

Susan E. Wills - published on 10/02/14

Cardinal Burke Amazed that Cardinal Kasper Claimed to be Speaking For Pope Francis

Cardinal Burke would be the first to say that the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, which begins this Sunday, needs to address a host of concerns arising from the almost universal ignorance and confusion over the meaning and goods of marriage and family. Speaking to journalists this week in a conference call arranged by Ignatius Press, publisher of “Remaining in the Truth of Christ,” to which Cardinal Burke contributed an essay, the Cardinal explained:

“We have to admit that in a totally secularized society our teaching has been radically defective for the past 50 years. We must address these two things: the radical secularization of society and the sad defect with respect to catechesis.” He, and probably all the experts and journalists on the call, were hoping to explore the many other topics and potential solutions addressed in the Synod’s Instrumentum Laboris.

And yet, Cardinal Kasper’s proposal at February’s Extraordinary Consistory — to develop a process through which divorced and remarried Catholics could again receive the Eucharist — is not the elephant in the room, but a whole herd of stomping, trumpeting elephants: impossible to ignore, no matter how much one wishes they’d go away.

And because silence is not an option, as Cardinal Burke remarked, when one is faced with “things being said that are not true,” he spoke repeatedly and forcefully in defense of the truth.

At the outset, Cardinal Burke made it clear that the Kasper proposal had already been asked and answered:

The Kasper petition has been discussed already some decades ago at the time of the writing of Pope John Paul II’s exhortation on the family,
Familiaris Consortio
, and they were thoroughly discussed and the Church gave the response in accord with the Tradition.

Asked to elaborate on the direction the conversation is taking, with so much attention being paid to Cardinal Kasper’s proposal, Cardinal Burke underscored how extreme he believes Cardinal Kasper’s position to be:

I certainly had serious difficulties with what Cardinal Kasper was proposing. In proposing it, he was urging a direction which, in the whole history of the Church, has never been taken, a direction which would in some way involve either a disobedience or at least a non-adherence to the words of Our Lord Himself, and no one questions the words of Our Lord in Chapter 19 of the Gospel According to Matthew.

Cardinal Kasper asked for a dialogue on his proposal and I can speak with regard to the book “Remaining in the Truth of Christ”: Nine of us decided to respond to various aspects of his request with regard to marriage as he proposed it in his presentation in the Extraordinary Consistory on February 20 -21. Without referring to my own contribution, but I must say, having read all the other contributions, they are an effective response which illumines and holds up the beauty of the Church’s teaching with respect to marriage down [through] the centuries and also shows that fidelity to that teaching has not been easy in every age, even as now there are those who want to challenge it. But the firm conviction of the authors and, really, the firm conviction of the Church is that only by attending to the truth of marriage and how that truth is lived and practiced can the Church make the contribution she is called to make to the happiness — not only in this life but the eternal happiness — of the individual members of society, and also society as a whole. If the family is not stable and strong, society itself is in great danger. We see that in our own experience.

Cardinal Burke and his coauthors concluded that “the direction proposed by Cardinal Kasper is flawed fundamentally. He erred and so I [Cardinal Burke] believe the book is a very positive contribution to get the dialogue back on track.”

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MarriageSacramentsSynod on the Family
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