Cardinal-designate Burke on his reputation for outspoken orthodoxy

Vatican Radio has published an insightful short interview with Cardinal-designate Raymond Burke – who will be made a cardinal by Pope Benedict tomorrow in Rome:

Cardinal-designate Burke has a reputation for being outspoken about the moral rectitude of the Catholic faithful and the clergy. McClure asked him if he ever feels discouraged because people “aren’t getting the message.”

Burke: “I think it is only natural to be tempted to discouragement and I’ve had those temptations. For instance, on the question of a person who publicly and obstinately espouses the right of a woman to choose to abort the infant in her womb receiving Holy Communion strikes me as something very clear. In the two thousand years of the Church’s tradition, She’s always firmly held that a person who is publicly and obstinately in grave sin should not approach to receive Holy Communion and if she or he does, should be denied Holy Communion.”

Burke’s classic clarity comes through as always:

“It is discouraging that either members of the Church claim not to understand this or they claim that in some way there is an excuse for someone who is publicly and obstinately in grave sin to receive Holy Communion.”

This clarity, however, is founded upon a deeply spiritual perception and diagnosis of the world’s fallenness:

The Cardinal-designate argues that this response on part of “many in the Church” stems from living “in a society that’s completely secularized. The God-centred thinking which has marked the discipline of the Church is not easily understood by those who are bombarded day-in and day-out with a kind of God-less approach to the world and to many questions. So, I try not to get discouraged but try to continue to speak the message in a way that people can understand.”

Finally, +Burke on why he continues to be outspoken on this critical issue:

“It’s difficult… it hasn’t been easy for me to face this question with a certain number of Catholic politicians. And, I’ve had a number of priests speak to me and tell me how difficult it is when they have individuals in their parish who are in a situation of public and grave sin… and so they look to the bishop for encouragement and inspiration in dealing with this.”
“So, when a bishop takes appropriate pastoral measures in this regard, he’s also helping very much brother bishops, and also the priests.”

For +Burke aficionados, my father Ed Peters also notes:

Franz Klein of the Diocese of Lacrosse has a nice spread on Archbishop, and-one-day-shy-of-being-formally Cardinal, Burke in the on-line The Catholic Times (18 Nov. 2010, page 3B). Klein offers a good overview of Burke’s typical day at the Apostolic Signatura, and of the esteem in which he is held by those concerned for the proper coordination of law and theology. The essay even features a few quotes by yours truly. So enjoy!

Hopefully that should satisfy your weekend +Burke cravings! On to the consistory!

UPDATE – I should have known better! – there’s even more Burkiness to be had:

Cardinal-designate Raymond Leo Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura at the Vatican, will be the guest speaker for A Night for Life, the annual fundraising banquet for New Life Counseling, Thursday, Dec. 2. A Silent Dessert Auction will begin at 6 p.m. and the meal begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Buccaneer Room of the Lake Charles Civic Center. [More details here.]



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  • MarB

    Cardinal-designate Burke is an honest, faithful Bishop! Thank God we have him in the ranks. He must suffer greatly against the backdrop of dissent found among so many of his brother Cardinals/Bishops/Priests. Burke is a Cardinal with backbone!

  • Mik

    While the raw intellectual ability of Cardinal-designate Burke certainly exceeds that of the average bear, it seems that his willingness to put on the mind of the Church sharpens his focus still more. He very much reflects that peculiar clarity found in the Church’s teaching. Just as dissenters have always been known for their fuzzy logic, those who truly think and feel with the Church, especially when they possess more than ordinary intellectual ability, are marvelous examples of clear thinking. Cardinal Dulles was that way, as was the late, great Fulton J. Sheen, Fr. Richard Neuhaus and, of course, there is the exceedingly clear Joseph Ratzinger. Nothing quite like a fine mind honed on theological truth.



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