Cardinal Burke: Notre Dame is Wrong

Notre Dame’s Great Scandal: Honoring Vice President Biden

By Thomas McKenna,
President of Catholic Action for Faith and Family:

The University of Notre Dame has announced that they intend to confer the Laetare Medal, an honor given to Catholics “in recognition of outstanding service to the Church and society,” upon Vice-President Joseph Biden at their 2016 commencement. Bishop Kevin Rhoades of the Diocese Fort Wayne – South Bend, the diocese where the university is located, has denounced it as scandalous.

Thomas McKenna, president of Catholic Action for Faith and Family, interviewed Cardinal Raymond Burke about this position taken by Bishop Rhoades in an effort to further clarify the issue for the public.

 

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Thomas McKenna:  Your Eminence, recently the University of Notre Dame announced that it was going to bestow their Laetare Medal which is presented “in recognition of outstanding service to the Church and society,” to Vice President Joseph Biden. Vice President Biden is on record consistently supporting abortion rights and same sex marriage. Recently Bishop Kevin Rhoades, the ordinary of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend where Notre Dame is located, released a public statement declaring:

Cardinal Burke:  “I believe it is wrong for Notre Dame to honor any “pro-choice” public official with the Laetare Medal, even if he/she has other positive accomplishments in public service, since direct abortion is gravely contrary to the natural law and violates a very fundamental principle of Catholic moral and social teaching: the inalienable right to life of every innocent human being from the moment of conception. I also question the propriety of honoring a public official who was a major spokesman for the redefinition of marriage. I disagree with awarding someone for ‘outstanding service to the Church and society’ who has not been faithful to this obligation.”

Thomas McKenna: Does Your Eminence agree with the position taken by Bishop Rhoades and could you comment on it?

Cardinal Burke:  Bishop Rhoades is simply exercising his responsibility as a teacher of the faith and as a bishop who has the care of a prominent Catholic university in his diocese, and what he says is absolutely true and most commendable. I find it difficult to imagine that a Catholic university would assign its highest honor to any politician who favors abortion and who also advocates for the recognition of the sexual liaison of two people of the same sex as equal to marriage. It is even more difficult to imagine that the university would confer such an honor upon a Roman Catholic who supports these anti-life and anti-family policies and legislation. It is my hope that Notre Dame University will hear the voice of their shepherd, the successor of the Apostles in their midst, and change this gravely wrong and most scandalous decision.

Click here to send message of support to Bishop Kevin Rhoades

Thomas McKenna:  The university of Notre Dame says that it is bestowing this award to honor Vice President Biden for his public service in politics and that they are not recognizing him for his positions regarding support for abortion and same-sex marriage. What would Your Eminence respond to this?

Cardinal Burke:  Well, we honor people for the integrity of their lives. Notwithstanding the fact that Vice President Biden may have sound views on other matters, his positions with regard to human life and marriage are contradictory to the natural moral law and obviously, therefore, to the teaching of Our Lord Jesus Christ. So, as much as one may want to praise certain positions which he has taken, at the same time one must realize that other positions are in the most grievous violation of the moral law and therefore make him ineligible to receive such an award from a Catholic university.

Thomas McKenna:  Bishop Rhoades explains that he is opposed to Vice President Biden receiving the award by stating:

“My principal concern about this whole matter is scandal. In honoring a “pro-choice” Catholic who also has supported the redefinition of marriage, which the Church considers harmful to the common good of society, it can give the impression to people, including Catholics in political office, that one can be “a good Catholic” while also supporting or advocating for positions that contradict our fundamental moral and social principles and teachings.”

Could you please comment on this scandal and the implications it may have?

Cardinal Burke:  As St. John Paul II observed in his apostolic exhortation on the laity, one of the greatest evils of our times is the tendency of Catholics to separate their faith from their daily living. And this is exactly what we have here. So we have the impression, given to other Catholics and to the population in general, that one can believe one thing and act in a completely contrary way. The fact of the matter is that most people will simply conclude that the Catholic teaching with regard to the inviolable dignity of innocent and defenseless human life and the integrity of marriage as the faithful, indissoluble and procreative union of one man and one woman, is not very firm and that it can easily be violated. Therefore it is a great scandal within the Church, but it is also a great scandal within society in general which depends upon the Church to give a witness to the truth about human life and the family.

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Click here to join Operation Storm Heaven, a Rosary Crusade led by Cardinal RaymondBurke, to storm Heaven with prayer to obtain mercy for America and the World.

Euthanasia and the Last Rites

Bishop Prendergast, “It is a Sad Day for Canada.”

By Kevin J. Jones, EWTN News:

Legal assisted suicide will soon arrive in Canada, prompting a Catholic archbishop to reflect on what the last rites mean for those who want to kill themselves.

Archbishop Terrence Prendergast

Priests should work to dissuade people who request assisted suicide, Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa said. Priests should pray with these people and their families. However, someone who requests assisted suicide doesn’t have the right disposition to receive anointing of the sick.

“Asking to be killed is gravely disordered and is a rejection of the hope that the rite calls for and tries to bring into the situation,” the archbishop said, according to Canadian Catholic News.

Last rites – which is the sacrament given to the elderly or gravely ill – includes the forgiveness of sins.

“But we cannot be forgiven pre-emptively for something we are going to do – like ask for assisted suicide when suicide is a grave sin,” said Archbishop Prendergast.

Canadian lawmakers are preparing new assisted suicide laws. The law had previously criminalized assisted suicide. Those who counseled, aided or abetted a suicide faced up to 14 years in prison.

Then in February 2015 the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously ruled that doctors may help patients who have severe and incurable suffering to kill themselves. The national parliament was tasked with crafting a legal response to the decision.

The government’s final report on the topic was published Feb. 25. It said all publicly funded health care institutions must provide euthanasia and assisted suicide. This includes Church-run hospitals, hospices and nursing homes. The report has no protections for doctors who have religious or moral objections to referring a patient to a doctor who will help him or her commit suicide.

If the recommendations are accepted, the new law could have a major impact on Catholic institutions, the U.K. newspaper The Catholic Herald reports.

A full response from parliament is expected by June 2016.

Many other Catholic bishops have spoken out against assisted suicide.

“Caring for the dying does not include killing them or helping them kill themselves,” Bishop Douglas Crosby of Hamilton, the president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, told the Canadian Parliament in a Jan. 20 intervention.

The bishop said the Canadian government should prioritize palliative care, fund further research and education in pain relief and advance suicide prevention programs. He said the government must guarantee conscience rights in law.

Bishop Hamilton also wrote against assisted suicide in the Canadian bishops’ Lenten message to laity. In the Feb. 8 message he urged Catholics to be in communion with the Pope and the bishops and oppose assisted suicide.

The Catholic bishops of Alberta reflected on assisted suicide in a Feb. 11 message for the Catholic Church’s World Day of the Sick.

“The decision of the Supreme Court of Canada makes legally permissible in some circumstances what is morally wrong in every circumstance: the taking of innocent human life. This is unacceptable in a truly just and ethical society,” they wrote.

They said “no Catholic may advocate for, or participate in any way, whether by act or omission, in the intentional killing of another human being either by assisted suicide or euthanasia.”

“When any life can be taken at will, the dignity of all lives is seriously eroded and respect for human life in our society as a whole is diminished.”

They warned that the law will place some people at serious risk, including the disabled and the mentally ill. Purported safeguards are not effective, they said.

The Alberta bishops warned that some jurisdictions in Canada undermine the conscience rights of doctors and other healthcare workers opposed to suicide. To force a physician to assist in a suicide or euthanasia would “fundamentally redefine what it means to be a doctor,” they said. “Killing is not medicine.”

In October 2015, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada issued a joint declaration against euthanasia and assisted suicide. They were joined more than 30 other Christian denominations as well as 20 Jewish and Muslim leaders.

2 Reasons Why We Are Members of the Church?

The Major Problem of Disobedience and Disrespect for Church Authority

Fr. Charles Nwora Okeke

A Reflection on a major problem in the contemporary Church: “Because each person presumes that he or she knows what best, disobedience and disrespect for Church authority prevails. We should all step back and remind ourselves the reason we are members of the Church; it is to save our souls through prayers and reception of the sacraments.”

A major problem in the Church today is the profusion of people who, with neither study nor formation, presume expertise in theological, liturgical, and miscellaneous Church matters. We read one or two blogs on the internet and we presume on having a better understanding of the Church and spiritual matters than the Pope. Everybody has an opinion on how best to govern the Church; on what the liturgy should be or not. At a recent committee meeting someone even suggested that we should include catechumens and first communicants among those whose feet are to be washed on Holy Thursday. But in the Roman Missal it is clearly stated that “MEN” should be invited. (Note: This was written before Pope Francis’ feet washing declaration.)

Do the RED, Say the BLACK

In celebrating the liturgy, we priests are bound to do what is typed in red in the Roman Missal and say what is in black; the laity is expected to participate actively, reverentially and prayerfully. Any other thing becomes an innovation or distraction. Today, many Catholics seem to forget that the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church is not utilitarian; it is not a Church of opinion polls. Because each person presumes that he or she knows what best, disobedience and disrespect for Church authority prevails.

We should all step back and remind ourselves the reason we are members of the Church; it is to save our souls through prayers and reception of the sacraments. If we fail to attain this purpose then we have truly failed in life, and it would be better that we were never born. And the Lord in His perfect wisdom, and knowing the brokenness of man, has made is such that the efficacy of the sacraments is not affected by the sinfulness of the minister. So we have no reason to fail.

Protestant Clergyman Showing Signs of Oppression Walks Into a Catholic Church

Fr. Charles Nwora Okeke

A Story Revealing the Power of the Holy Eucharist

By Fr. Charles Nwora Okeke: Christ delivers: “To our Protestant brothers and sisters I would give this counsel…and challenge: Stand before the exposed Blessed Sacrament and say, “Lord, if You are truly present in this Sacrament, then enlighten me and I will serve You with all heart and soul.” If you are sincere, you will soon become Catholic.”

Protestant Clergyman Shows Signs of Oppression

About a week ago, I had a visit from a Baptist clergy. He was very much agitated as he keeps seeing things at his home; people walking through the living room and then vanishing into the wall. He had moved into a hotel room but then he began to experience something moving through his body; he could even follow the movement by the raising of the skin.  And whatever it was would sometimes fall on him like a dead weight and he would be paralyzed for a while, especially while trying to get to sleep. Now he is afraid to go to bed.

He Walks Into a Catholic Church

Immediately we walked into the Church, whatever it was that was moving inside of him ran amok, and left him. The deacon was amazed and wondered what happened. I told him that whatever it was could not stand the presence of Christ in the Tabernacle. Then I asked if he believed in the Real Presence, and he said yes. Why don’t you then become Catholic? He became evasive; much hemming and hawing. Anyway, we did the Stations of the Cross together; gave him a plastic gallon jug of exorcised holy water and St Benedict crucifix. He left a happy deacon, but then I had to remind him that the relief was temporary; if he had no Catholic prayers and sacraments to back him up, it would be back to square one after a short while.

A Heartfelt Challenge

To our Protestant brothers and sisters I would give this counsel…and challenge: Stand before the exposed Blessed Sacrament and say, “Lord, if You are truly present in this Sacrament, then enlighten me and I will serve You with all heart and soul.” If you are sincere, you will soon become Catholic.

Slight editing.

Bishop Tobin: Don’t Be Fooled

Catholics: Vote Pro-Life

By Bishop Thomas Tobin: As the primary election draws near in Rhode Island, I encourage faithful Catholics to vote pro-life – and never to vote for any candidate, of any party, who supports abortion.

And don’t be fooled by those who say they “aren’t pro-abortion, but are just pro-choice.” It’s a smoke screen for what they really believe, but are afraid to admit. After all, what kind of choice are they promoting? They’re not talking about choosing a favorite ice cream flavor, are they? And it’s not about so-called “reproductive freedom or women’s health care” either. Clearly, politicians who support abortion are encouraging a choice that ends the life of an innocent human being and ultimately harms the mother, personally and spiritually!

As Pope Francis has reminded us: “It is not progressive to try to resolve problems by eliminating human life.” (EG #214)

5 Reasons Why Receiving Communion Unworthly Greatly Offends God

St. John Vianney: “It outrages God more than all other mortal sins”

From St. John Marie Vianney’s “Sermon on Unworthy Communion,” Book IV, ‘Sermons inédits.’

Unworthy Communions are frequent. How many have the temerity to approach the holy table with sins hidden and disguised in confession! How many have not that sorrow which the good God wants from them, and preserve a secret willingness to fall back into sin, and do not put forth all their exertions to amend! How many do not avoid the occasions of sin when they can, or preserve enmity in their hearts even at the holy table! If you have ever been in these dispositions in approaching Holy Communion, you have committed a sacrilege — that horrible crime, on the malice of which we are going to meditate.

1. It outrages God more than all other mortal sins. It attacks the Person of Jesus Christ Himself, instead of scorning only His commandments, like other mortal sins.

2. Whoever communicates unworthily crucifies Jesus Christ in his heart. He submits Him to a death more ignominious and humiliating than that of the Cross. On the Cross, indeed, Jesus Christ died voluntarily and for our redemption; but here it is no longer so: He dies in spite of Himself, and His death, far from being to our advantage, as it was the first time, turns to our woe by bringing upon us all kinds of chastisements both in this world and the next. The death of Jesus Christ on Calvary was violent and painful, but at least all nature seemed to bear witness to His pain. The least sensible of creatures appeared to be affected by it, and thus wishful to share the Saviour’s sufferings. Here there is nothing of this: Jesus is insulted, outraged by a vile nothingness, and all keeps silence; everything appears insensible to His humiliations. May not this God of goodness justly complain, as on the tree of the Cross, that He is forsaken? My God, how can a Christian have the heart to go to the holy table with sin in his soul, there to put Jesus Christ to death?

3. Unworthy Communion is a more criminal profanation than that of the holy places. A pagan emperor, in hatred of Jesus Christ, placed infamous idols on Calvary and the holy sepulchre, and he believed that in doing this he could not carry further his fury against Jesus Christ. Ah! Great God! Was that anything to be compared with the unworthy communicant? No, no! It is no longer among dumb and senseless idols that he sets his God, but in the midst, alas, of infamous living passions, which are so many executioners who crucify his Saviour. Alas! What shall I say? That poor wretch unites the Holy of Holies to a prostitute soul, and sells him to iniquity. Yes, that poor wretch plunges his God into a raging Hell. Is it possible to conceive anything more dreadful?

4. Unworthy Communion is in certain respects a greater crime than the deicide of the Jews. Saint Paul tells us that if the Jews had known Jesus Christ as the Saviour they would never have put Him to suffering or death; but can you, my friend, be ignorant of Him Whom you are going to receive? If you do not bear it in mind, listen to the priest who cries aloud to you: Behold the Lamb of God; behold Him that taketh away the sins of the world.” He is holy and pure. If you are guilty, unhappy man, do not draw near; or else tremble, lest the thunders of Heaven be hurled upon your criminal head to punish you and cast your soul into Hell.

5. Unworthy Communion imitates and renews the crime of Judas. The traitor, by a kiss of peace, delivered Jesus Christ to his enemies, but the unworthy communicant carries his cruel duplicity yet further. Having lied to the Holy Ghost in the tribunal of penance by hiding or disguising some sin, he dares, this wretch, to go with a hypocritical reverence on his face, and place himself among the faithful destined to eat this Bread. Ah! No, nothing stops this monster of ingratitude; he comes forward and is about to consummate his reprobation. In vain that tender Saviour, seeing that he is coming to Him, cries from His tabernacle, as to the perfidious Judas: “Friend, whereto art thou come? What, thou art about to betray thy God and Saviour by a sign of peace? Stop, stop, my son; I pray thee spare me!” Neither the remorse of his conscience nor the tender reproaches made him by his God can stop his criminal steps. He steps forward. He is going to stab his God and Saviour. O Heavens! What a horror! Can you indeed behold this wretched murderer of your Creator without trembling?

Original Posted on Church Militant:

So, Is the Pope Making You Mad? “Amoris Laetitia”

Here at Courageous Priest we are sharing Cardinal Burke’s press release on the Pope’s Apostolic Exhortation.  Why?  Because, it is well balanced and shouldn’t take you to the edge concerning Amoris Laetitia.  Don’t get me wrong, many good Catholics have formally declared Cardinal Burke’s article as evidence that he jumped the fence.  Please don’t go there.

Catholics take courage!  Regain your peace.  

How?  Read this.  A Crisis of Saints!  It was written for times like these.

Here’s a vital tip.  If an article you are reading is attacking and lacks charity, don’t read it.  It will bring you down. Guaranteed.  Remember, you don’t have to agree with the Pope.  True!  But don’t attack and don’t lose the authentic Christian love for our Pope.

Now, here is a good take on Cardinal Burke’s piece by LifeSiteNews.   Enjoy and remember, God wins!

God bless,

John Quinn

 

‘Amoris Laetitia’ and the Constant Teaching and Practice of the Church

REGISTER EXCLUSIVE: Cardinal Burke says a post-synodal apostolic exhortation, ‘by its very nature, does not propose new doctrine and discipline, but applies the perennial doctrine and discipline to the situation of the world at the time.’

BY CARDINAL RAYMOND BURKE

National Catholic Register

The secular media and even some Catholic media are describing the recently issued post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, “Love in the Family,” as a revolution in the Church, as a radical departure from the teaching and practice of the Church, up to now, regarding marriage and the family.

Such a view of the document is both a source of wonder and confusion to the faithful and potentially a source of scandal, not only for the faithful but for others of goodwill who look to Christ and his Church to teach and reflect in practice the truth regarding marriage and its fruit, family life, the first cell of the life of the Church and of every society.

It is also a disservice to the nature of the document as the fruit of the Synod of Bishops, a meeting of bishops representing the universal Church “to assist the Roman pontiff with their counsel in the preservation and growth of faith and morals and in the observance and strengthening of ecclesiastical discipline and to consider questions pertaining to the activity of the Church in the world” (Canon 342). In other words, it would be a contradiction of the work of the Synod of Bishops to set in motion confusion regarding what the Church teaches, safeguards and fosters by her discipline.

The only key to the correct interpretation of Amoris Laetitia is the constant teaching of the Church and her discipline that safeguards and fosters this teaching. Pope Francis makes clear, from the beginning, that the post-synodal apostolic exhortation is not an act of the magisterium (3). The very form of the document confirms the same. It is written as a reflection of the Holy Father on the work of the last two sessions of the Synod of Bishops. For instance, in Chapter Eight, which some wish to interpret as the proposal of a new discipline with obvious implications for the Church’s doctrine, Pope Francis, citing his post-synodal apostolic exhortationEvangelii Gaudium, declares:

I understand those who prefer a more rigorous pastoral care which leaves no room for confusion. But I sincerely believe that Jesus wants a Church attentive to the goodness which the Holy Spirit sows in the midst of human weakness, a Mother who, while clearly expressing her objective teaching, “always does what good she can, even if in the process her shoes get soiled by the mud of the street” (308).

In other words, the Holy Father is proposing what he personally believes is the will of Christ for his Church, but he does not intend to impose his point of view, nor to condemn those who insist on what he calls “a more rigorous pastoral care.” The personal, that is, non-magisterial, nature of the document is also evident in the fact that the references cited are principally the final report of the 2015 session of the Synod of Bishops and the addresses and homilies of Pope Francis himself. There is no consistent effort to relate the text, in general, or these citations to the magisterium, the Fathers of the Church and other proven authors.

What is more, as noted above, a document which is the fruit of the Synod of Bishops must always be read in the light of the purpose of the synod itself, namely, to safeguard and foster what the Church has always taught and practiced in accord with her teaching.

In other words, a post-synodal apostolic exhortation, by its very nature, does not propose new doctrine and discipline, but applies the perennial doctrine and discipline to the situation of the world at the time.

How, then, is the document to be received? First of all, it should be received with the profound respect owed to the Roman pontiff as the Vicar of Christ, in the words of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council: “the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity of both the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful” (Lumen Gentium, 23). Certain commentators confuse such respect with a supposed obligation to “believe with divine and Catholic faith” (Canon 750, § 1) everything contained in the document. But the Catholic Church, while insisting on the respect owed to the Petrine office as instituted by Our Lord himself, has never held that every utterance of the Successor of St. Peter should be received as part of her infallible magisterium.

The Church has historically been sensitive to the erroneous tendency to interpret every word of the pope as binding in conscience, which, of course, is absurd. According to a traditional understanding, the pope has two bodies, the body which is his as an individual member of the faithful and is subject to mortality and the body which is his as Vicar of Christ on earth, which, according to Our Lord’s promise, endures until his return in glory. The first body is his mortal body; the second body is the divine institution of the office of St. Peter and his successors.

The liturgical rites and the vesture surrounding the papacy underline the distinction, so that a personal reflection of the pope, while received with the respect owed to his person, is not confused with the binding faith owed to the exercise of the magisterium. In the exercise of the magisterium, the Roman pontiff as Vicar of Christ acts in an unbroken communion with his predecessors, beginning with St. Peter.

I remember the discussion that surrounded the publication of the conversations between Blessed Pope Paul VI and Jean Guitton in 1967. The concern was the danger that the faithful would confuse the pope’s personal reflections with official Church teaching. While the Roman pontiff has personal reflections that are interesting and can be inspiring, the Church must be ever attentive to point out that their publication is a personal act and not an exercise of the papal magisterium. Otherwise, those who do not understand the distinction, or do not want to understand it, will present such reflections and even anecdotal remarks of the pope as declarations of a change in the Church’s teaching, to the great confusion of the faithful. Such confusion is harmful to the faithful and weakens the witness of the Church as the body of Christ in the world.

With the publication of Amoris Laetitia, the task of pastors and other teachers of the faith is to present it within the context of the Church’s teaching and discipline, so that it serves to build up the body of Christ in its first cell of life, which is marriage and the family. In other words, the post-synodal apostolic exhortation can only be correctly interpreted, as a non-magisterial document, using the key of the magisterium, as it is described in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (85-87).

The Church’s official doctrine, in fact, provides the irreplaceable interpretative key to the post-synodal apostolic exhortation, so that it may truly serve the good of all the faithful, uniting them ever more closely to Christ, who alone is our salvation. There can be no opposition or contradiction between the Church’s doctrine and her pastoral practice, since, as the Catechism reminds us, doctrine is inherently pastoral:

The mission of the magisterium is linked to the definitive nature of the covenant established by God with his people in Christ. It is this magisterium’s task to preserve God’s people from deviations and defections and to guarantee them the objective possibility of professing the true faith without error. Thus the pastoral duty of the magisterium is aimed at seeing to it that the people of God abides in the truth that liberates (890).

The pastoral nature of doctrine is seen, in an eloquent manner, in the Church’s teaching on marriage and the family. Christ himself shows the deeply pastoral nature of the truth of the faith in his teaching on holy matrimony in the Gospel (Matthew 19: 3-12), in which he teaches anew the truth of God’s plan for marriage “from the beginning.”

During the past two years, in which the Church has engaged in an intense discussion of marriage and the family, I have frequently recalled an experience from my childhood. I was raised on a family dairy farm in rural Wisconsin, the youngest of six children of good Catholic parents. Ten o’clock Sunday Mass at our parish church in the nearby town was clearly at the heart of our life of faith. At a certain point, I became aware of a couple, friends of my parents from a neighboring farm, who were always at holy Mass but never received holy Communion. When I asked my father why they never received holy Communion, he explained to me that the husband was married to another woman and, therefore, could not receive the sacraments.

I recall vividly that my father explained to me the Church’s practice, in fidelity to her teaching, in a serene manner. The discipline obviously made sense to him, and it made sense to me. In fact, his explanation was a primary occasion for me to reflect on the nature of marriage as an indissoluble bond between husband and wife. At the same time, I must say that the parish priest always treated the couple involved with the greatest respect, even as they took part in parish life in a manner appropriate to the irregular state of their union. For my part, I always had the impression that, even though it must have been very difficult to be unable to receive the sacraments, they were at peace in living according to the truth about their marital state.

Over more than 40 years of priestly life and ministry, during 21 of which I have served as a bishop, I have known numerous other couples in an irregular union for whom I or my brother priests have had pastoral care. Even though their suffering would be clear to any compassionate soul, I have seen ever more clearly over the years that the first sign of respect and love for them is to speak the truth to them with love. In that way, the Church’s teaching is not something which further wounds them but, in truth, frees them for the love of God and their neighbor.

It may be helpful to illustrate one example of the need to interpret the text of Amoris Laetitiawith the key of the magisterium. There is frequent reference in the document to the “ideal” of marriage. Such a description of marriage can be misleading. It could lead the reader to think of marriage as an eternal idea to which, in the changing historical circumstances, man and woman more or less conform. But Christian marriage is not an idea; it is a sacrament that confers grace upon a man and woman to live in faithful, permanent and procreative love of each other. Every Christian couple who validly marry receive, from the moment of their consent, the grace to live the love that they pledge to each other.

Because we all suffer the effects of original sin and because the world in which we live advocates a completely different understanding of marriage, the married suffer temptations to betray the objective reality of their love. But Christ always gives the grace for them to remain faithful to that love until death. The only thing that can limit them in their faithful response is their failure to respond to the grace given to them in the sacrament of holy matrimony. In other words, their struggle is not with some idea imposed upon them by the Church. Their struggle is with the forces that would lead them to betray the reality of Christ’s life within them.

Over the years, and, in a particular way, during the past two years, I have met many men and women who, for whatever reason, are separated or divorced from their spouse, but who are living in fidelity to the truth of their marriage and continuing to pray daily for the eternal salvation of their spouse, even if he or she abandoned them. In our conversations, they acknowledge the suffering involved but, above all, the profound peace which is theirs in remaining faithful to their marriage.

Some say that such a response to separation or divorce constitutes a heroism to which the average member of the faithful cannot be held, but, in truth, we are all called, whatever our state in life, to live heroically. Pope St. John Paul II, at the conclusion of the Great Jubilee Year 2000, making reference to the words of Our Lord at the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount — “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48) — taught us the heroic nature of our daily life in Christ with these words:

As the [Second Vatican] Council itself explained, this ideal of perfection must not be misunderstood as if it involved some kind of extraordinary existence, possible only for a few “uncommon heroes” of holiness. The ways of holiness are many, according to the vocation of each individual. … The time has come to re-propose wholeheartedly to everyone this high standard of ordinary Christian living: The whole life of the Christian community and of Christian families must lead in this direction (Novo Millennio Ineunte, 31).

Meeting men and women who, notwithstanding a breakdown in marital life, remain faithful to the grace of the sacrament of matrimony, I have witnessed the heroic life that grace makes possible for us daily, every day.

St. Augustine of Hippo, preaching on the feast day of St. Lawrence, deacon and martyr, in the year 417, used a beautiful image to encourage us in our cooperation with the divine grace that Our Lord has won for us by his passion and death. He assures us that in the garden of the Lord there are not only the roses of martyrs, but also the lilies of virgins, the ivies of spouses and the violets of widows. He concludes that, therefore, no one should despair regarding his vocation, for “Christ has died for all” (Sermon 304).

May the reception of Amoris Laetitia, in fidelity to the magisterium, confirm spouses in the grace of the sacrament of holy matrimony, so that they may be a sacrament of the faithful and enduring love of God for us “from the beginning,” which reached its fullest manifestation in the redemptive incarnation of God the Son. May the magisterium, as the key to its understanding, see to it “that the people of God abides in the truth that liberates” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 890).

Cardinal Raymond Burke is the patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

Cardinal Burke On The Scandal At Notre Dame

One Cannot Oppose The Natural Moral Law And burke8Receive Awards From Catholic Institutions!

Interview By: Thomas McKenna, CatholicActionLeague.org

Thomas McKenna, president of Catholic Action for Faith and Family, interviewed Cardinal Raymond Burke about this position taken by Bishop Rhoades in an effort to further clarify the issue for the public.
Philadelphia – April 3, 2016

Thomas McKenna:  Your Eminence, recently the University of Notre Dame announced that it was going to bestow their Laetare Medal which is presented “in recognition of outstanding service to the Church and society,” to Vice President Joseph Biden. Vice President Biden is on record consistently supporting abortion rights and same sex marriage. Recently Bishop Kevin Rhoades, the ordinary of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend where Notre Dame is located, released a public statement declaring:

“I believe it is wrong for Notre Dame to honor any “pro-choice” public official with the Laetare Medal, even if he/she has other positive accomplishments in public service, since direct abortion is gravely contrary to the natural law and violates a very fundamental principle of Catholic moral and social teaching: the inalienable right to life of every innocent human being from the moment of conception. I also question the propriety of honoring a public official who was a major spokesman for the redefinition of marriage. I disagree with awarding someone for ‘outstanding service to the Church and society’ who has not been faithful to this obligation.”

Does Your Eminence agree with the position taken by Bishop Rhoades and could you comment on it?

Cardinal Burke:  Bishop Rhoades is simply exercising his responsibility as a teacher of the faith and as a bishop who has the care of a prominent Catholic university in his diocese, and what he says is absolutely true and most commendable. I find it difficult to imagine that a Catholic university would assign its highest honor to any politician who favors abortion and who also advocates for the recognition of the sexual liaison of two people of the same sex as equal to marriage. It is even more difficult to imagine that the university would confer such an honor upon a Roman Catholic who supports these anti-life and anti-family policies and legislation. It is my hope that Notre Dame University will hear the voice of their shepherd, the successor of the Apostles in their midst, and change this gravely wrong and most scandalous decision.

Thomas McKenna:  The university of Notre Dame says that it is bestowing this award to honor Vice President Biden for his public service in politics and that they are not recognizing him for his positions regarding support for abortion and same-sex marriage. What would Your Eminence respond to this?

Cardinal Burke:  Well, we honor people for the integrity of their lives. Notwithstanding the fact that Vice President Biden may have sound views on other matters, his positions with regard to human life and marriage are contradictory to the natural moral law and obviously, therefore, to the teaching of Our Lord Jesus Christ. So, as much as one may want to praise certain positions which he has taken, at the same time one must realize that other positions are in the most grievous violation of the moral law and therefore make him ineligible to receive such an award from a Catholic university.

Thomas McKenna:  Bishop Rhoades explains that he is opposed to Vice President Biden receiving the award by stating:

“My principal concern about this whole matter is scandal. In honoring a “pro-choice” Catholic who also has supported the redefinition of marriage, which the Church considers harmful to the common good of society, it can give the impression to people, including Catholics in political office, that one can be “a good Catholic” while also supporting or advocating for positions that contradict our fundamental moral and social principles and teachings.”

Could you please comment on this scandal and the implications it may have?

Cardinal Burke:  As St. John Paul II observed in his apostolic exhortation on the laity, one of the greatest evils of our times is the tendency of Catholics to separate their faith from their daily living. And this is exactly what we have here. So we have the impression, given to other Catholics and to the population in general, that one can believe one thing and act in a completely contrary way. The fact of the matter is that most people will simply conclude that the Catholic teaching with regard to the inviolable dignity of innocent and defenseless human life and the integrity of marriage as the faithful, indissoluble and procreative union of one man and one woman, is not very firm and that it can easily be violated. Therefore it is a great scandal within the Church, but it is also a great scandal within society in general which depends upon the Church to give a witness to the truth about human life and the family.