In a talk on 24 March 2017, at a parish in Springfield, Virginia, Cardinal Burke insisted the Pope Francis must answer the five dubia of the four Cardinals, or else the Cardinals “simply will have to correct the situation,” by issuing what he called a “formal correction.”
Cardinal Burke: “Until these questions are answered, there continues to spread a very harmful confusion in the Church, and one of the fundamental questions is in regards to the truth that there are some acts that are always and everywhere wrong, what we call intrinsically evil acts, and so, we Cardinals, will continue to insist that we get a response to these honest questions.”
The issue here is that divorced and remarried persons commit objective mortal sin when they have sexual relations, because their current union is not a valid marriage. It is the sin of sex outside of marriage. And if either or both persons are still validly married, under Church teaching and law, to another person, then those sexual acts are a type of adultery. The dubia Cardinals and many other conservatives believe that divorced and remarried persons should be prohibited from Communion, if they are committing this type of objective mortal sin and are unrepentant.
The hypocrisy is found in the fact that most Mass-going Communion-receiving Catholics are guilty of one or another intrinsically evil and objectively mortal sin: contraception, abortifacient contraception, sex outside of marriage, homosexual acts, unnatural sexual acts in marriage, masturbation, pornography, as well as various heresies. All these sins are far too common among Catholics who currently receive Communion. And it is not as if they repent, go to Confession, and then receive Communion. The lines for Communion are long, and the lines for Confession are short, if there is a line at all.
Yet the dubia Cardinals utterly ignore all these common intrinsically evil acts, and do not ask the Church to restrict persons guilty of those grave sins from Communion. It is blatant hypocrisy to loudly complain about one of the less common mortal sins among Catholics, and remain silent about all the more common mortal sins.
If the dubia Cardinals were consistent in their position on reception of Communion, they would have to propose that everyone guilty of objective mortal sin refrain from Communion. But if EVERY Catholic guilty of objective mortal sin did not receive Communion, the vast majority of Mass-going Catholics would be unable to receive.
But if the dubia Cardinals get their way — and I’m convinced that eventually they will — it absolutely will not stand that the ONLY objective mortal sin that excludes one from Communion is the type of adultery called divorce and remarriage. The Church will have to prohibit all of the aforementioned sinners from Communion.
And then they will stop going to Mass, and stop donating money to the parishes and dioceses. The Church will be thrown into a financial crisis of unprecedented proportions. Many churches and parishes will be forced to close. Many Catholic schools from K-12 to colleges and universities will close or will no longer be called Catholic. For there will be too few persons who wish to attend a Catholic school. A vast exodus of Catholics away from Catholicism will occur, very suddenly.
And that is the necessary inevitable result of this conflict over Communion for the divorced and remarried. The four Cardinals are pulling at a thread. And as they continue to pull, they will unwind a large portion of the garment, much larger than they realize.
But I am all for it. Persons who commit objective mortal sins should repent, and they should generally be required to go to Confession before Communion. Why should there be so many persons, who claim to be Catholics, whose lives are filled with heresy and unrepentant grave sin? Why should there be so many schools, which claim to be Catholic, among whose faculty, teachers, and students there can be found only a handful of faithful Catholic Christians?
The Church must become smaller, so that She can become holier. And then, once She is renewed, She can call back those who have left, but only by the path of true repentance.
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