O grande assunto deste final de semana na Igreja marcará o pontificado do Papa Francisco: ele colocou o cardeal Raymond Burke, um cardeal ainda na início da carreira, bem novo em comparação com os colegas, que defende a Doutrina e a Tradição da Igreja com todo amor, em um cargo honorífico geralmente dedicado a cardeais em fim de carreira. O Papa Francisco tirou Burke da Signatura Apostólica, um cargo equivalente a advogado geral da Igreja, e o nomeou para o cargo de Patrão da Ordem Militar de Malta, que não tem funções.
O assunto está em inúmeros sites do mundo.
Cardeal Burke é amado virtualmente por todos os católicos conservadores do mundo. Esta ação de guerra contra os conservadores do Papa Francisco terá consequências.
Em um blog americano conhecido, eu sugeri que os conservadores façam peregrinação à ordem de Malta para ouvir o cardeal Burke.
Os esquerdistas detestam Burke e alguns "moderados" dizem que ele se colocou na linha de frente de ataques a como o Papa Francisco está dirigindo a Igreja.
Bom, todos que acompanham a Igreja sabem da confusão que se formou na Igreja desde a chegada do Papa argentino. Eu mesmo coloquei que logo na primeira entrevista do Papa, que foi dada no Brasil para o Fantástico, ele disse coisas terríveis. Ele disse por exemplo que não se importava se a criança era educada em um colégio católico ou não, reduzindo o valor do ensino católico. Depois, muitas entrevistas e falas do Papa Francisco foram fonte de divisão e escândalo.
Recentemente, Burke disse que a Igreja está andando sem leme, tamanha a confusão que ele observa. Muitos acusaram Burke de atacar o Papa.
Ontem, eu li uma entrevista de Burke que ele responde a este questionamento. Burke fala também sobre o que ele pensa do sínodo da família, sobre o que significa o amor do cantor homossexual Elton John ao Papa Francisco e sobre como Burke ajudou a conversão de um homossexual.
Aqui vai parte da entrevista de Burke (não vou traduzir para não prejudicar as palavras originais). Leiam toda a entrevista no site Aleteia.
Cardinal Burke was in Vienna, Austria this week for the launch of the German translation of a new book to which he contributed, Remaining in the Truth of Christ. The book is the collaborative work of five cardinals from Germany, Italy, and the United States. It is a response to Cardinal Walter Kasper's address at the Extraordinary Consistory in February of this year, in which he proposed allowing some "remarried" divorcees to have access to Holy Communion.
Tuesday’s launch at the parish house of Vienna’s Karlskirche brought together representatives from the Cistercian Abbey of Heiligenkreuz, the German speaking academic world, and Una VoceAustria.
Aleteia’s Rome correspondent and another reporter sat down with Cardinal Burke to discuss new accusations that he’s been critical of Pope Francis, Elton John’s praise of the Pope, and how he sees the Synodal process over the coming year.
Your Eminence, you said in your recent interview with Vida Nueva that you have a strong sense the Church is like a ship “without a helm.” Some observers are seeing statements like this as an insult against the Pope. Would you like to correct this?
Yes, I would love to. The fact of the matter is the interviewer simply asked me the question: there are many people who are confused at this point, and I think he used the image, or I did, that people on the ship of the Church, because of this confusion, are feeling some sea sickness. Many people are anxious and concerned and many people have been in contact with me. They say, “Where are we going? What is the Church really teaching?” And my response to them has always been that we know the Church’s teaching, it’s in the Catechism, it’s in the Tradition, and we simply have to cling to that, and with that we know we’re going to do the right thing.
I wasn’t in any way commenting directly on the Holy Father, and it’s unfortunate that people are using that. But certain media simply want to keep portraying me as living my life as an opponent to Pope Francis, which I’m not at all. I’ve been serving him in the Apostolic Signatura and in other ways I continue to serve him. And I know that part of my service is to speak the truth about situations, and we simply are in a situation right now in the Church where many people are confused.
In the Pope’s speech at the end of the Synod he spoke about defending the deposit of faith. Is that what you'd like to stress?
That’s all that I’m about. And I made it very clear in my response to [the interviewer] that I did not say that this was what the Holy Father is causing or doing but simply a reality today.
And you also said in that interview that we cannot go to the peripheries empty-handed. Do you want to explain that more?
Many people, I believe, are misinterpreting the Holy Father’s emphasis on going to the peripheries as a kind of chasing after the culture. In other words, that somehow we no longer have confidence in the teaching of the Faith and in the life of the Church, and so we go after those very deficient situations in society as if we have nothing to offer, and nothing to say.
The point I was making is that, yes, we go out to the peripheries, but we go there with Jesus Christ and all the richness of his life with us in the Church. That’s how we really serve those who are on the peripheries, those who are looking for some sign of God’s mercy in their lives, God’s truth. So it’s very important when we go out to the periphery that we go there with the integrity of our Catholic faith.
I also made it clear in the interview that I wasn’t saying that the Holy Father’s idea is this, but I’ve seen other people using his words to justify a kind of accommodation of the faith to culture which can never be.
Elton John last week called Pope Francis a great hero for gay rights. Some welcome this and rejoice that someone who wouldn't normally look at the Church is now engaged with it in some way. Others say: yes, people like Elton John see an open door, but it's opening a door that affirms them in a sinful lifestyle. How can the Church best now navigate this situation she finds herself in so that there is truth and charity?
Only by the diligent effort to explain very carefully the Church’s teaching with regard to homosexual acts, and to make the proper distinctions between the sinner and the sin. This was one of the difficulties of the Synod, that this was all confused where it was at least implied that there could be good elements in mortally sinful acts. We all know that’s not possible. There cannot be any good in this. And so if the Pope is being praised for caring deeply about people suffering from same sex attraction — and in society today this is at least made very conscious through the whole gay rights movement — the Pope’s concern for them is that they understand that, even though they have this attraction, it is an attraction to disordered acts and that they need to seek the healing and grace needed and to order their lives correctly and to deal with this suffering, and it’s a very profound suffering.
But the Pope’s position cannot be seen to be somehow the Church taking back what she cannot take back; namely, the teaching that these are contrary to nature.
There was also an article last week about how you managed to bring a homosexual man back into the Church.
Yes, I remember the situation very well.
How did that happen?
He was very aggressive in the homosexual movement. Obviously he suffered very severely from the same-sex attraction. And he had tried in a way to be in the Church, and finally he became very angry. It may have even been caused by some teaching that I had given publicly with regard to homosexual acts and to the whole situation. And so one day he delivered to my office this box with what he called “the trappings of my Catholicism,” and he wrote a letter saying he was renouncing the Catholic faith and wanted to be rid of these. There was a crucifix, a rosary, a bible, the normal tools of the faith.
So I told my secretary to put them in the closet because I think the man will come to see the truth and then he would like to have those objects back. And so we put them on the shelf, and that’s exactly what happened. He experienced a conversion and he was helped. I didn’t help him directly with the conversion. He was helped by a good priest and by some very good laypeople who took him into their home because he had been so actively engaged in the homosexual movement that he was in a very deeply wounded condition. And then he made an appointment to come to see me, and on that occasion I certainly embraced him and told him how happy I was for him, and I told him: "I saved these things for you, and I think you would like them back." And he was delighted to have them back, and so I gave them back to him.
Sadly I’ve lost contact with him now, once I moved away from the United States, but I hope that he’s still doing well, because this is a suffering and there can be recidivism. But in any case, in that instance I saw the beauty of the Church’s teaching at work. It really was the best thing for him, and when he was able to come back to the practice of the faith and lead a chaste life he was truly happy.
Was there any lessening of the Church’s teaching on your part?
No, no. I don’t bear bad feelings towards people with same-sex attraction. I try to help anyone who would come to me, but I’m always clear with them that the ultimate way has to be to cease any kind of activity and lead a chaste life, but that’s true for all of us.
Returning to the topic of your recent interviews, as perhaps you saw, Religion News Service Friday identified you as the cardinal “who has emerged as the face of the opposition to Pope Francis’ reformist agenda”. How would you respond?
My purpose, my goal is to present the Church’s teaching around which there has been a great deal of confusion, also some of it caused by what happened at the Synod of Bishops. The Holy Father is the Successor of St. Peter and I don’t ever put myself in opposition to the Successor of St. Peter. But I think that people who wanted to identify the so-called “reformist agenda” of Pope Francis with all of their favorite ideas of what the Church should do or what the Church should become now try to discredit what I say by attributing it to some personal animosity toward the Holy Father, and that is not right.
And do you think that there is a real risk of schism in this?
If in some way the Synod of Bishops was seen to go contrary to what is the constant teaching and practice of the Church, there is a risk because these are unchanging and unchangeable truths.
At the Synod, when the interim report came out, some said it was a disaster.
It was a total disaster.
Do you see this agenda continuing through the coming year? They aren’t going to change course?
No, because the General Secretary has identified himself very strongly with the Kasper thesis, and he is not hesitant to say so and has gone around also giving talks in various places. He’s less outspoken than Cardinal Kasper but nevertheless it’s clear that he subscribes to that school. So no, this is going to go on and that’s why it’s important that we continue to speak up and to act as we are able to address the situation.
At the Synod, there did not appear to be much talk about heaven, or the final end, or eternal life, or hell, or sin. The language surrounding the Synod seemed rather horizontal. Yet the Catholic understanding of marriage is understood in light of eternal life and the reality to which it points, i.e. the union between Christ and His Church and God’s faithful love for His people. How can we refocus our attention on these realities in the coming year?
In the book, Remaining in the Truth of Christ, which was published and to which I contributed, in the back of it is a compendium of the Magisterium on marriage. There you will find this kind of direction, this approach, that everything has to be seen and approached from the perspective of eternal life and eternal salvation, which comes to us in Jesus Christ alone and His grace by which we daily convert our lives to Christ and daily struggle to overcome sin. And so also in marriage. The beauty of the sacrament is enhanced by the struggle of the partners to be faithful and to be generous in every way.
Diane Montagna is Rome correspondent for Aleteia's English edition.