Cardinal Raymond Burke, the most highly visible of the four cardinal-authors of the dubia, appears intent on letting Francis know that two can play the media interview game – the same of which he and his henchmen (like Fr. Spadaro) are so obviously fond.
This strikes me as similar to what, in sports, is called “playing to the level of one’s competition.” Sometimes, this means elevating one’s play in order to engage a superior opponent, but all-too-often it entails the exact opposite.
With respect to Burke v. Bergoglio, on a visceral level, I must admit that it’s somewhat satisfying to witness Francis being made to stare down the barrel of his own preferred weapon of choice.
At the end of the day, however, such gamesmanship is unbecoming a churchman; especially when matters of grave importance, such as those addressed in the dubia, are being confronted.
Living as we do in this age of social media, we’ve grown used to being bombarded with excessive verbiage from all manner of public figures, be they in the field of entertainment, sports, business or otherwise.
If the world of politics has taught us anything, however, it’s that jousting with one’s adversaries in this arena necessarily invites contradictions and mixed messages that ultimately serve as the enemy of clarity.
This brings me to Cardinal Burke’s recent interview with Catholic World Report.
When asked to comment on allegations that the authors of the dubia are “implicitly accusing the Pope of heresy,” Cardinal Burke replied:
No, that’s not what we have implied at all. We have simply asked him, as the Supreme Pastor of the Church, to clarify these five points that are confused; these five, very serious and fundamental points. We’re not accusing him of heresy, but just asking him to answer these questions for us as the Supreme Pastor of the Church.
One can hardly be surprised by this answer, but let’s be perfectly honest: The dubia was, without any question whatsoever, submitted to Francis with precisely the implicit accusation of heresy.
As I noted several weeks ago, all dubia are not equal. Some express authentic “doubts” and are therefore properly considered sincere requests for clarification.
The dubia under discussion here, however, is very different indeed.
In his interview with Edward Pentin, when asked about the consequences of Francis failing to respond to the dubia, Cardinal Burke answered:
Then we would have to address that situation. There is, in the Tradition of the Church, the practice of correction of the Roman Pontiff. It is something that is clearly quite rare. But if there is no response to these questions, then I would say that it would be a question of taking a formal act of correction of a serious error.
Burke is plainly telling us that he and the other cardinal-authors of the dubia have no doubts; i.e., they are not the least bit confused. For them (and for every other moderately well-formed and informed Catholic) it’s entirely obvious:
Francis is actively promoting “serious error” – so much so that, apart from an act of self-correction, he will incur a “formal act of correction.”
One of the co-authors of the dubia, Cardinal Walter Brandmuller, in a December 23rd interview with the German newspaper Der Spiegel, pulled far fewer punches by making the implicit accusation of heresy quite clear, stating:
Whoever thinks that persistent adultery and the reception of Holy Communion are compatible is a heretic and promotes schism.
Sound like anyone we know? Obviously, Cardinal Brandmuller wasn’t speaking hypothetically; rather, he was flatly (and quite rightly) accusing Francis of being a heretic!
Cardinal Burke, later in the CWR interview, rightly indicated that the dubia is not a genuine request for clarification of any kind, but rather an effort to safeguard the faith and morals of the Church from corruption.
“These are questions that have to do with the natural moral law and the fundamental teaching of the Gospel,” he said.
“To be attentive to that teaching is hardly legalism,” Burke continued. “In fact, it is, as Our Lord Himself taught us, the way of perfection to which we’re called. That’s why He Himself said that He didn’t come to abolish the law but to fulfill it.”
Cardinal Burke continued:
There is a very serious division in the Church which has to be mended because it has to do with, as I said before, fundamental dogmatic and moral teaching. And if it’s not clarified soon, it could develop into a formal schism.
Again, let’s be perfectly clear: An attack against “fundamental dogmatic and moral teaching” and “the teaching of the Gospel” has a name; it’s called heresy, and those who foment it also have a name – that is, heretic.
Now we come to the part of the interview that is understandably garnering the most attention.
When asked if the pope can legitimately be declared in schism or heresy, Cardinal Burke replied:
If a Pope would formally profess heresy he would cease, by that act, to be the Pope. It’s automatic. And so, that could happen.
Get that? Cardinal Burke, an expert in Canon Law, said that in the case of a Roman Pontiff committing formal heresy, “he would cease, by that act, to be the Pope.” Furthermore, “it’s automatic.”
Later, Burke was asked, “Who is competent to declare him to be in heresy?”
To which he replied: “It would have to be members of the College of Cardinals.”
This sounds an awful lot like the argument I have been making; namely, that the papacy would be lost, not by some declaration of the proper authorities; not by the establishment of the fact of formal heresy on the part of the same, but by the act itself, automatically.
In other words, recognizing formal heresy, the “declaration” of the same, and the loss of papal office are distinct matters; with the latter being automatic by the actions of the man (former-pope) himself.
Now, in fairness, I suspect that if given an opportunity to elaborate further still (and no doubt he will be), Cardinal Burke might wish to offer greater detail as to exactly how one comes to distinguish between formal and material heresy with respect to a given pope, but the crucial point stands.
So too does the point that I made at the outset of this post – it is ill-advised to play the Bergoglian media interview game when so much is at stake as this can only lead to confusion and a lack of clarity.
As it concerns a pope losing his office due to heresy, Burke then stated:
It is a scary thought, and I hope we won’t be witnessing that at any time soon … I am not saying that Pope Francis is in heresy. I have never said that. Neither have I stated that he is close to being in heresy.
Now, I can understand why Cardinal Burke et al may wish to refrain from formally declaring Francis a heretic and an anti-pope until such time as the “formal act of correction” is carried out, but what exactly is the point of suggesting that he isn’t “close to being in heresy”?
If this were true, silence in the face of the dubia wouldn’t demand a formal act of correction.
Let me be very clear: I am exceedingly grateful to Cardinal Burke and the other cardinal-authors of the dubia.
As stated in my “Point/Counterpoint” exchange with Robert Siscoe, I believe that this was precisely the admonishment and warning necessary to make Francis’ formal heresy, pertinacity and contumacy plainly and publicly known. As such, the dubia has already provided a great service to the Church.
That said, at this point, I think Cardinal Burke would do well to refrain from offering personal public statements and media interviews until such time as he is prepared to issue formal declarations in the name of the Church.
Let us hope and pray that, barring a miraculous conversion on the part of Francis (something we must fast and pray for often) Cardinal Burke and other members of the College of Cardinals will carry this process to a faithful conclusion.
“…You cover the Lord’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor at your hand. You ask, ‘Why does he not?’ Because the Lord was witness to the covenant between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Has not the one God made and sustained for us the spirit of life? And what does he desire? Godly offspring. So take heed to yourselves, and let none be faithless to the wife of his youth. For I hate divorce, says the Lord God of Israel…” (Mal. 2:13-16).
Sounds pretty black and white, doesn’t it Bergoglio?
Michael F. Poulin
Cardinal Burke knows what he’s doing. What he says in an interview surely has some potential effect he has considered. We owe these men a great debt, if for no other reason than he is speaking for us. How hard it has been to watch this onslaught against the Catholic faith these last 3 years. It is astounding to find out that Catholicism is considered so fluid by these men they can just change the fundamental tenets at will and hardly anyone bats an eye. The last time a formal correction happened it was on one point, and we have a multitude of points!
What this has shown me is that I am very far from being a Catholic in the sense of Catholicism as understood over millennia. I am shocked that we are no longer shocked by what this man has said and done, and that if and when formal correction comes, most Catholics will not know about it or possibly even care.
“This sounds an awful lot like the argument I have been making; namely, that the papacy would be lost, not by some declaration of the proper authorities; not by the establishment of the fact of formal heresy on the part of the same, but by the act itself, automatical” If this statement is correct then do you need to College of Cardinals to declare that? If the answer is NO then the Sedevacantists have been right all along because objectively ALL (maybe with exception of JP I ) Vatican Popes have been heretics and worse Apostates(objectively).
“This sounds an awful lot like the argument I have been making; namely, that the papacy would be lost, not by some declaration of the proper authorities, not by the establishment of formal heresy on the part of the same, but by the act itself.”
Louie, can you point to canon law that clearly establishes that a pope would automatically lose the papacy if he espouses heresy?
Louie, months ago he was a mamby pamb traitor to Tradition. I said at the time that a well-thought-out response would come in time. The dubia response isn’t only well-thought-out, it’s almost perfect strategically. Now you would have this saint-in-waiting not respond publicly anymore to the constant barrage by surrogates Bergoglio is counting on to overwhelm public awareness and support for any questioning of his development of an entirely new religion. Thank you Cardinal Burke for continuing to remind what the True Church teaches and that this pope’s teachings are contrary. I wrote recently here that you were, indeed, correct in the debate over this anti-pope’s status as anti-pope. Cardinal Burke stated clearly that any pope is automatically not pope if he preaches heresy. That is a wonderful confirmation of the belief or many of us. What you must now recognize is that the four (actually many more) cardinals’ counterattack is not over. Dubia. Criticism by pope toadies. Reminders of the true faith. FORMAL correction, probably privately. Public release of the correction. Acknowledgement of heresy. Notice his eminence says only that CARDINALS would have to point out the heresy. He didn’t say a council, a synod or even a majority of cardinals. What I fear is coming is a choice for Catholics–to the left or to the right. With Satan or With Christ. The only other solution is intervention by the Holy Ghost–this time using His ACTIVE will.
“Any fraternal correction proposed to the Pope must be presented in camera caritatis” @vatican_en
It would now appear that Cardinal Burke is not the spokesman for the four Cardinals after all. Cardinal Brandmüller is pulling back somewhat stating that a formal correction should not be publicly made, although also stating PF should answer the Dubia. As PF continues to ignore the Dubia, does this mean the case is closed?
The dye has been cast as we say. Cardinal Burke said the next move will take place after the holidays. There will be no turning back now. So all there is to do is to let the process take its course. Noticing how both sides of the argument react is very revealing as well. Just as a side if not minuscule comment. This picture above of the Pope is inappropriate. How a Pope acts in his private quarters is one thing, but once out in the public and especially in front of the press, he represents the One, Holy, Apostolic, 2,000-year-old, the Divine institution of Christ, the King. Garments, uniforms, formal dress are expected. He is the Vicar of Christ on earth at every moment in every place. How he acts and what he wears should reflect that. The practice of the Church does not rest on one man. Here it seems to do just that.
Wait, Burke is now a saint-in-waiting? What world am I living in when a son of the vatican 2 protestant faith is now a future saint? SMH. This man bows down to the SAME false religion that mr bergoglio does and yet he’s a future Saint? Good gosh. And people wonder what is wrong with the Church. Here is a perfect example.
He may very well be a future Saint at some point, but lets let him actually do something before we start bowing down to him. He just said that jorge isnt even “close to heresy” yet. That isnt a good first impression.
You’re right. The “automatic excommunication” thing is exactly what the Sedevacantists use to try to prove their errors. For them, everything has to be black-and-white. The Pope espouses error, therefore he’s not the Pope. For them, it’s fairly simple.
The truth is usually very simple. So simple a child can understand it. “Heretical Pope” is an oxymoron.
This is a case of a modernist accusing a fellow modernist of being….well, too modern, I suppose.
Modernism speaking here. We need not have college degrees to know what the tenets of the Faith are……we are to have a Perfect Church that never errs which teaches us. Those tenets that have been set forth are always black and white.
Last I read, the Pope, being a sovereign, is the Law and I believe not subject to the law. This issue of the Pope losing his office is a theological issue not a legal issue, that has never been definitively taught by the only person who can answer this question, a Pope. So far all we have are many theologians and lawyers giving their opinion on this subject.
Of course the sede’s have been right all along. Only now, because of the current clown show, is that becoming more and more apparent.
Thats all it ever is, until somebody has the guts to denounce the satanic vatican 2
religion. Burke and co. are still goofing off (as usual) as far as I can see.
Enter Siscoe and Salza. Lawyers are TRULY the worst.
Rich, unfortunatey the last 50 years or so we have been told that somehow the church is still the church even though it does err and continues to teach error. This is suppose to be acceptable now and we have to be obedient and shut off our brains that keep screaming in our head that this new religion is really the old religion and some future pope or council will make it all better someday. Im sorry but I cannot swallow the fact that the Catholic Church teaches error any longer. If an institution teaches error, it cannot be the Catholic Church.
Most definitely. Our Lord Christ’s Church is fully incapable of teaching error simply because it was founded by the Perfect God. Whenever something purporting to be the One Church teaches error, as the modernist protestant church founded upon roncalli’s dirty council has done since 1965, then we need to spit on it, as we would any other false religion, and denounce it for the filth that it is. Hopefully the “learned” burke will get the memo soon because he’s an old man and doesnt have much time left.
I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.
Marian T. Horvat, Ph.D.
Quotes Our Lady of Good Success:
“In order to free men from bondage to these heresies, those chosen by Most Holy Son to effect the restoration will need great strength of will, constancy, valor and confidence in God. To test this faith and confidence of the just, there will be occasions where all will seem to be lost and paralyzed. This, then, will be the happy beginning of the complete restoration.”
I do believe Our Lady is speaking specifically about Our Lord’s Perfect Church which has been under persecution for a long time now. Yes, we all agree these persecutions are horrible, to say the least. Remember Jesus, who is Perfect, was also persecuted. He remained God and Perfect during His horrible persecution. Most of His hand chosen favorite friends couldn’t understand it either and ran away too. Where did they run though? Away. That must have been lonely. Only one stood by Our Lady the whole time. So, that’s OK that we don’t GET it. I don’t think we’re supposed to. It’s pretty vain to think that at a time like this we have all the answers. When all some could do is “run”. But where? Where do you go? Where’s your church? Mine here, unfortunately is under attack. And yes, that’s all I understand completely. Not to worry though, my God provides. He sent His favorite person down here, His Mother. She told us at Fatima, “In the end My Immaculate Heart will Triumph! ” Obviously there is some sort of horrible battle that she will Triumph over. Hmm..I wonder what THAT could be.
Also, God sent His Mother here in the 1600s under the title, Our Lady of Good Success. She said many great things. She came in the 1600s to specifically warn us of the crisis in THE CHURCH which would occur at the end of the twentieth century. She promised that there will be a “Complete restoration of The Church.” Because, you know, she was correct. Sadly, there is much need for a complete restoration of The Church. (That’s my Church, you know.) So, my prayer is that my eyes live to see this Great Restoration which I completely have faith, will occur. And yes, I also utter many useless and sinful things during this time of persecution to The Perfect, True Catholic Church.( I am grateful for the Sacrament of Confession.) But obviously we deep down know our Lord’s Church is under persecution and that is why even though some of you say that you ran away a long time ago, you really didn’t. I think you are extremely interested in what is going on at every moment with this, as you say, “false church”. This is where you must pray for faith, and stay close to His Mother, whom He sent to us as a comfort, refuge and answer. In the end Her Immaculate Heart will Triumph! Why? Because that’s the way He wants it to happen. I hope I live to see the day when my Lord’s Church undergoes a complete restoration, as Our Lady of Good Success promised. Check out what our Lady told the simple at Fatima. There’s a list of things that she instructed us to do. Some will follow her directions, but most will not. HAVE FAITH. STAY SIMPLE. STAY CLOSE TO OUR LADY. This is our place.
One more quote. Lucia of Fatima interview with Fr. Fuentes in 1957.
“Father, the Blessed Virgin is very sad because no one has paid attention to her Message, neither the good nor the bad. The good, because they continue on the road of goodness, but without paying mind to this Message. The bad, because of their sins, do not see God’s chastisement already falling on them presently; they also continue on their path of badness, ignoring the Message. But, Father, you must believe me that God is going to punish the world and chastise it in a tremendous way.
Where in canon law is it written in black and white that a heretical Pope automatically loses the Papacy?
No, they aren’t right, and never have been. They can’t abide any grey areas. They get upset at the thought of anything not being black and white. It disturbs them to consider that there are grey areas. Unfortunately, during a severe Crisis in the Church such as this one, not everything is black and white.
Christ did not come here to befuddle us over theological debates. Our past true popes have laid out black and white for us. None of them ever gave us the grey option. Forget about the sede position, just remember the Catholic position. The Catholic position IS NOT grey when it has been decided by past popes. Grey areas??? You cant be serious.
Didnt cardinal Burke just say that he does (as was common knowledge to begin with)? Are you now debating Cardinal Burke too?
Rich, I take it that you cannot provide any documentation in which canon law provides for the belief that a Pope who professes heresy is automatically excommunicated. Cardinal Burke also has not cited anything in canon law for his position on the matter. That’s because there is NO set doctrine on the subject. The best that can be done is to view the subject of a heretical Pope from historical writings and teachings of several theologians on the matter. I repeat: there is NO SET doctrine on the subject.
There are those who will follow the teachings of Bellarmine and Suarez (who held that a heretical Pope is automatically excommunicated), and others who take the opposite view and follow the teachings of Catejan and John of St. Thomas, the latter which I find the more compelling argument. If you would like to study the difference between the two camps, here is a link that will help.
You believe that during any Crisis in the Church, that the situation of the Crisis itself is always black and white? How exactly?
2000 years of Catholic teaching always gives us the right answer. Your contention that there are “grey” areas is basically saying that Christ formed a Church that doesnt always know what its doing. Again, this is crazy talk. There is nothing grey about mr bergoglio. He is clearly black. No further discussion is necessary. If you want to keep telling your less-informed Catholic friends that he is a pope, than that is your choice. I will never do that.
I haven’t said that there are grey areas in doctrine, but you keep insisting that I have. You are not honest.