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Card. Burke: The Synod should present constant teaching of the Church!

Card. Burke: The Synod should present constant teaching of the Church!
Fot. Dominik Cira / Sacra Liturgia 2013

“The Synod is here to help the pope present constant teaching and practice of the Church in the circumstances dictated by the times. The Synod has no legislative authority; certainly doesn't have any powers for magistrates, under which assembly of bishops would recommend to the Holy Father the things opposed to the constant teaching and practice of the Church,” Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, former prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, now patron of the Sovereign Order of Malta said in June 2015 in his conversation with Piotr Doerre and Krystian Kratiuk.


During the Synod of 2014 there were proposals for easing the approach to the sin of sodomy. It was said that in the homosexual relationship, like in the marriage, you can find some positive elements.


That was a shock to me, as well as for many synod fathers. In other words, it was attempted to state that we seek some good in fornication and adultery!


I was truly shocked. Although today I think I shouldn't have been so surprised – an attempt to undermine the essence of marriage and its indissolubility opened the gate to various other subjects that have nothing to do with marriage, but they reflect the corruption of the idea of human sexuality arising from not upholding the true nature of marriage.


Basically the idea is that the conjugal act belongs only in the marriage and aimed at procreation in its nature. Any distortion of this truth results in escalation of aberrations and a hail of attacks on the Church.


However, from the supporters of the changes we heard arguments concerning the alleged atrocities of the Church toward homosexuals. What is the real situation of such people in the Church? Is the Church really so cruel?


This year marks forty years since I became a priest. In the course of my priestly ministry I took care of people with homosexual attractions. My experience is that the Church has never been cruel to them. I don't think you could find in the Church history any examples of persecution or treating with cruelty people who have these tendencies.


The Church must be supremely charitable to people who experience such tendencies, but at the same time the Church must speak the truth. Over the years of my priestly ministry I have always tried to do so and I know it's not easy. In the present times, it has become even more difficult because of the whole secular agenda that promotes homosexuality and the absurd idea of marriage between people of the same sex, proclaiming at the same time that the Church is hate-filled, that it uses the language of hate and so on, while the Church only teaches the truth.


The Church constantly proclaims the truth about sin, but on the other hand, tries to help people with such tendencies to organize their lives. Yet there is always the possibility that they will overcome these tendencies and enter into the marriage to live a happy life. However, the homosexual agenda doesn't even want to hear this – merely mentioning this subject evokes accusations of using hate speech.


But doesn't just the fact of talking about homosexuals and their problems during the Synod on the Family raise objections? After all, it fits in a currently fashionable narrative of “various models of the family.”


I agree with this statement, I mentioned this during the Synod. The subject of people with homosexual tendencies shouldn't be part of the Synod on the family and marriage as the union of two people of the same sex is not a marriage and it never will be! If we want to address at the Synod the issues of suffering by those who are attracted to a person of the same sex, we should organize a separate synod. These issues definitely should not be part of the synod on the family.


Cardinal Walter Brandmüller called the people trying to change the Church teaching on the marriage and homosexuality heretics. Does Your Eminence agree with these strong words?


Yes! If a person denies the Catholic faith – and here we are talking about denial of natural moral law that God wrote in the heart of every person and which is an integral part of Catholic teaching – than such a person is a heretic. Marriage is the fulfillment of the natural moral law, and through Christ we are given the grace to live faithfully in accordance with this law. Therefore, the claiming that homosexuality is not a disorder or has positive aspects is overt heresy. So, yes, I would agree with Cardinal Brandmüller's words.


Then what are the origins of the attitude of the German bishops whose utterances mainly resulted in a dispute about which we are talking. What's more, the bishops from Germany proclaimed that are not a branch of Rome. So has another big schism happened there in the Church? Do we have to deal with a real schism?


– We all serve Christ, who is the only one after all. The only one is also His Vicar on Earth - the Pope. There is also only one Church. From history, we know what the consequences are entailed by a tendency to form national churches, for example, in the form of Josephinism in the German-speaking world and Gallicanism in France. Even in the United States, heresy of Americanism appeared in the nineteenth century. These are pernicious practices.


The whole Catholic Church believes in one faith, obeys one doctrine, one worship and one moral law. Therefore, I don't know what the German bishops are trying to say by announcing to the world that are not a branch of Rome, but if they're saying that they are independent from the Universal Church, in that case they are not longer Catholic.


The next session of the Synod of the family is coming. What would happen if – purely theoretically – the synod accepted the theses of Cardinal Kasper on the family and homosexuals, thus changing maybe not the doctrine, but the pastoral practice?


Let's be clear: the synod exists to help the Pope present constant teaching and practice of the Church in the circumstances dictated by the times. The Synod has no legislative authority; certainly doesn't have any powers for magistrates, under which assembly of bishops would recommend to the Holy Father the things opposed to the constant teaching and practice of the Church. It would be a great scandal.


Without a doubt, if the synod issued a document against even the teaching contained in the encyclical Familiaris Consortio by Pope John Paul II, that would have to be corrected. Cardinals and bishops would have to draw the Holy Father's attention to this issue (which he would certainly be aware of) that the recommendations of the Synod were in opposition to the teaching and practice of the Church.


In an interview for France2 channel, Your Eminence said: “If a pontiff decided against the doctrine or practice of the Church, I would object. This kind of situation is simply unthinkable for Catholics. Can we, therefore, ask for a comment on these words?


I felt very badly about the program because the interview I gave was manipulated in order to create an impression that I am an enemy of Pope Francis and I somehow try to oppose him. It's not true. The question asked by the journalist had nothing to do with Pope Francis. It was purely hypothetical of what I would theoretically have to do if any pope proposed something against the Catholic doctrine. To me the answer is simple: you have to resist! The truth of faith cannot be subjected to what may be an error of a Roman pontiff. From history we know the examples when a Roman pontiff has made decisions against either the nature of the Church or its teaching. There has been a bishop or cardinal or anyone else who resisted and eventually the situation was corrected. My words just had such a hypothetical sense.


However, the story with that interview grieves me deeply. I received very harsh letters from people claiming that I've become a follower of Archbishop Lefebvre, while all this stems from misinterpretation. I am not in conflict with Pope Francis. The Holy Father has never told me that I shouldn't teach something that the Church teaches. But if he did, I would resist.



Thank you for the interview.



The full interview can be watched at




DATA: 2016-01-11 12:29

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