Relationship between pope and Cardinal a 'caricature' says Burke, but Catholics want clearer presentation of doctrine

26 September 2017 | by Mark Brolly

'I find universally that there’s a great deal of confusion, also people feeling that the Church is not a secure point of reference'

Cardinal Raymond Burke has told an Australian newspaper that media portrayals of his relationship with Pope Francis are "a caricature" but that many Catholics feel confusion, "even a certain bewilderment", about the Church's teaching and were seeking a much stronger presentation of Catholic doctrine.

In an interview with Jordan Grantham of Parramatta diocese's 'Catholic Outlook' online news service on 21 September, the American Cardinal said the media misunderstood Pope Francis as the agent of some revolution in the Church. "... But the successor of St Peter has nothing to do with revolutions. In fact, he has to do with maintaining the Church in unity with her long and constant tradition."

Asked about criticism by Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras, coordinator of Pope Francis’s “C9” council of cardinal advisers, of four conservative cardinals, including Cardinal Burke, who had submitted a set of questions (dubia) to Francis over his encyclical Amoris LaetitiaCardinal Burke replied: "I find universally that there’s a great deal of confusion, also people feeling that the Church is not a secure point of reference. Some are feeling even a certain bewilderment... they are looking for a much stronger presentation of the Church’s doctrine.

"Certainly, as good Catholics they love the Pope with complete obedience to the office of Peter. At the same time they don’t accept these questionable interpretations, as you put it, of Amoris Laetitia, interpretations, which in fact contradict what the Church has always taught and practised.

"There isn’t clarity about these matters... It’s a fact that we have conferences of Bishops which are contradicting one another with regard to Amoris Laetitia, Bishops contradicting one another; we have lay faithful who argue with one another over this; and so many priests are suffering in particular because the faithful come to them, expecting certain things that are not possible because they’ve received one of the these erroneous interpretations of Amoris Laetitia. As a result, they don’t understand the Church’s teaching anymore.

"You know that in the Church, we have only one guide, the Magisterium, the teaching of the Church, but we now seem to be divided into so-called political camps. Also, even the language that’s used is very mundane and that concerns me a great deal."

Cardinal Burke said that with the deaths of Cardinal Joachim Meisner in July and Cardinal Carlo Caffarra this month, he and Cardinal Walter Brandmüller would take forward the important work of resolving the dubia.

"The urgency of a response to the dubia derives from the harm done to souls by the confusion and error, which result, as long as the fundamental questions raised are not answered in accord with the constant teaching and practice of the Church. The urgency weighs very heavily on my heart."

Of the media portrayal of his relationship with Pope Francis, Cardinal Burke said "it’s all a caricature".

"They depict Pope Francis as a wonderful, open person and there’s nothing wrong with that, but they depict me as just the opposite," he said.

"They’re making a caricature of someone who’s asking for clarity about certain matters, they’re saying ‘Well, he’s the enemy of the Pope’ and he’s trying to build up opposition to the Pope, which of course isn’t the case at all."

PICTURE: Cardinal Raymond Burke attends a consistory at the Vatican in June 2017 

Article List

Latest Issue

Digital/PDF Version

PDF version (iPad-friendly)

Previous Issues
Latest Tweet
Share Us
Tablet Subscription

Manage my subcription here


Sign up for our newsletter

Sign Up