Cardinal Burke’s schismatic attitude toward the Pope

In a recent interview, Cardinal Burke assured everyone he will never be part of a schism.

“I will never leave the Catholic Church. No matter what happens I intend to die a Roman Catholic. I will never be part of a schism.” []

Good. I hope so. But his other comments undermine that assertion.

Burke has called for the Pope to correct or clarify the teaching of Amoris Laetitia: “some very formal calls for clarification are in process and they simply will demand a response….” The teaching of Amoris Laetitia is contrary to the understanding of Catholicism in the hearts and minds of some Catholics; therefore, they demand that the teaching be clarified, so as to agree with their own understanding. Their attitude is that any teaching contrary to their own understanding must be wrong. So then, how can any Pope teach or correct them? He cannot. They are implicitly putting themselves above the Roman Pontiff.

Burke has this same attitude: “I’ll just keep the faith as I know it and respond in the best way possible. That’s what the Lord expects of me.” He thinks that the Faith is synonymous with his own understanding of the Faith. He keeps the version of faith found in his own heart and mind. And this suggests that he will not submit his mind and will to any papal teaching contrary to his own understanding. The Lord founded the Church on Peter and his successors, and He expects us to be taught and corrected by the Petrine Teacher. But if your own understanding of the faith is supreme, then you cannot be taught or corrected by the Supreme Pontiff, nor by anyone.

Burke has told the Pope to his face: “Holy Father, the only way I can serve you is by speaking the truth in the best and clearest way possible.” But by truth, Burke means his own understanding of truth, regardless of what the Holy Father teaches.

Cardinals do not wear crowns. They are not kings or princes. The skullcap they wear is a symbol of submission to the person and office of the Roman Pontiff. For the head of the Church on earth is the Pope, not merely in his office, but also in his person. And he has the role to teach and correct Cardinals, Patriarchs, Primates, Bishops, priests, deacons, religious, theologians, and all the laity.

But some Cardinals have decided that, since they are conservative and the current Pope is liberal, they have the role to teach and correct him. They speak and act as if he should be submit to their pretended authority. And the basis for this conflict is the assumption that conservative Catholicism is Catholicism, and liberal Catholicism is error.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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1 Response to Cardinal Burke’s schismatic attitude toward the Pope

  1. Dan says:

    Yes, I would concur with your statement that “conservativeCatholicism is Catholicism”
    seen through the prism of a traditionalist Catholic.

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