4. March, 2014Blog Post100 comments
Dr. Taylor Marshall has broken his silence to share his reasons for leaving Fisher More College and to weigh-in on Bishop Olson’s recent decision to forbid celebration of the traditional Mass in the college’s chapel.
In a FaceBook post today, Dr. Marshall offers the following allegations as indicative of the “serious pastoral problems” at FMC:
1. Mr. King, president of FMC, refused to disassociate himself from a faculty member who made public statements suggesting that Vatican II is invalid.
2. Financial mismanagement on the part of Mr. King.
3. FMC hosted a “public repudiation of Vatican II and the Ordinary Form.”
4. Mr. King would not allow the so-called “Ordinary Form” to be celebrated at the college.
5. Mr. King “contracted an irregular / suspended” priest.
Let’s review each one with some common sense observations and questions, of which there are many.
1. Does Dr. Marshall mean to say “disassociate the college and its curriculum?” If not, this sounds like a private matter. If so, it would make sense that the bishop would feel compelled to act. Even the SSPX recognizes Vatican II as valid in that it met the canonical requirements of an ecumenical council, even as its text suffers from any number of serious flaws.
Assuming that he did mean “the college” and not just Mr. King personally, one cannot help but consider the various “Catholic” colleges throughout the nation that routinely teach flat out heresy and yet suffer no censure whatsoever. I digress.
2. Internal financial considerations are institutional matters for trustees and board members to address.
3. What is meant by “repudiation” of the Council and the Novus Ordo? If it means questioning validity, that invites the bishop’s attention. If it means pointing out very real and serious flaws in each, that’s another story.
4. Apart from someone demanding a celebration of the Novus Ordo in the college chapel, this lack of permission would not be known. Given the nature of the college, this causes one to wonder who has been requesting it and why. Was someone doing so to intentionally agitate matters? Too many questions remain.
5. How does Dr. Marshall know that the “contracted priest” in question is suspended? Was he contracted to teach and lecture, or to celebrate the sacraments? Again, more questions remain than answers.
Getting to the crux of the matter, Dr. Marshall makes a mistake when he concludes:
There is no need whatsoever for a priest to “request the Latin Mass.” It is enough simply for a priest to wish to offer it. Period. That’s the entire point of Summorum Pontificum.
As for the chapel falling under the bishop’s pastoral control, fine, but based upon Summorum Pontificum, or more properly speaking, the Instruction Universae Ecclesia, that control only allows for him to restrict the traditional Mass under the following condition:
It would seem to me that the worst case scenario at Fisher More, based on all that has been shared, is that Bishop Olson has reason to suspect that Mr. King and at least one of his faculty members is “against the validity of the forma ordinaria and/or the Roman Pontiff.”
A reasonable reading of Summorum Pontificum and Universae Ecclesia would seem to indicate that this alone is not enough to deprive the entire college community of the traditional Mass; rather, it would seem fairly obvious that the intent of UE 19 concerns groups that are organized in opposition to papal authority and the validity of the forma ordinaria. Otherwise, we must believe that one rotten apple is enough to put an end to the traditional Mass in any given community. Clearly, that’s not what the instruction is encouraging.
That being the case, a more prudent action on Bishop Olson’s part would have been to request in writing a statement from the college as to its official position as an institution, while addressing any remaining problems with specific individuals directly. Taking the traditional Mass away is a severe action, not an initial step.
As it stands, Bishop Olson is depriving the entire college community of a celebration of the Roman Rite that is rightfully theirs as faithful Catholics. It is difficult to reconcile this action with the appropriate esteem for the traditional liturgy that we rightly expect of our bishops, as opposed to merely tolerating it on a limited basis.
3. March, 2014Blog Post41 comments
It has been suggested both here in the comment section, as well as to me privately, that the real issue with Fisher More has to do with the way in which the content and impact of Vatican II is treated at the college.
Whether that means via curriculum, or simply the general attitude of the faculty, is unclear.
Blog for Dallas Area Catholics, for instance, has suggested that the problem concerns college president Michael King, who is allegedly “taking an increasingly severe stand regarding the Council and the changes that have occurred in the Church in the past 50 years.” (I resemble that comment.)
Whether or not this is all or part of the problem, I don’t know, but it certainly rings true.
It’s important to realize that the non-negotiable Charter of Newchurch is the text of Vatican Council II; ambiguities, misrepresentations and all of the confusion that comes along with it. It’s their version, or better stated, perversion, of the Oath Against Modernism.
Those who refuse in any way the required lockstep acceptance of the whole kit and kabboodle all but invite ecclesial sanction, even to the point of jeopardizing one’s claim to “full communion,” unless, of course, one happens to be a heretic in Catholic clothing, in which case one has all the qualifications necessary to be a card carrying New Evangelist.
This just so happens to be the primary reason the Society of St. Pius X is on the outside looking in, juridically speaking, as summed up well by Bishop Fellay:
“So when Pope Benedict requested that we accept that the Second Vatican Council is an integral part of Tradition, we say, ‘sorry, that’s not the reality, so we’re not going to sign it. We’re not going to recognize that’.”
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I wouldn’t sign such a statement for the simple reason that it’s simply not true, or as His Excellency said, “that’s not the reality.” Much of the conciliar text is indeed an integral part of tradition, but some of it isn’t, and the utter failure of the post-conciliar popes to clearly distinguish between the two, condemning the latter as a danger to the faith, is precisely why the Church in her visible structures is crumbling at our feet this very day.
As for the suggestion that Mr. King and some of the parents and faculty at Fisher More are having trouble getting along, that’s a pity, but since when does the Church consider withholding access to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass from Catholics who are under no canonical penalties a disciplinary tool?
Oh, yea… since “crypto-lefevrean tendencies” and the Pope of the People came along.
3. March, 2014Blog Post41 comments
First, let us consider the lot of the non-Christian:
As a hen gathers her brood young under her wings, Pope Francis recently offered a warm embrace to the heretics assembled at the Fort Worth based Kenneth Copeland Ministries Conference.
In a personal video message just oozing with affirmation and acceptance, the pope was all-too-delighted to express his great pleasure in recognizing the “cultural riches, religious riches and diverse traditions” of the protestants gathered in assembly to coordinate their collective efforts in leading souls away from the one true faith established by Our Blessed Lord.
His Holiness even made it a point to honor his heretical friend, Tony Palmer, by addressing him as “my brother bishop.”
Can you feel the love?
Now, by contrast, let us consider the lot of the faithful Catholic students, faculty and family members that make up the Fort Worth based Fisher More College community, the administrators of which just recently posted the following notice:
Can you feel the contempt?
And so it has been, and so it is likely to remain, for Christians living under the glorious reign of His Holiness Francesco, “The People’s Pope.”
3. March, 2014Blog Post102 comments
“I told you so” can be bittersweet indeed; in this case, far more bitter than sweet, but here goes.
The present pontificate’s subversion of the norms set forth in Summorum Pontificum in the restrictions placed upon the FFI is proving to be exactly as I expected; the first shots in what could very well blossom into an all-out assault against the traditional Mass and those who love it.
“Only a fool can be confident that this same, or a similar, criteria won’t eventually end up being applied in the regulation of the traditional Mass in dioceses (and parishes) wherein the local ordinary (or pastor) is either ambivalent or hostile toward the ancient rite. And why not? Rome has given such men (if they ever really cared about the mind of the pope in the first place) all they need to claim justification for doing so.”
So I wrote back in August, even as the neo-con papal cheerleaders at Catholic Answers were snickering up their collective sleeve while painting such concerns as an unwarranted “freakout in cyberspace” over “Pope Francis’s presumed dark intentions toward the extraordinary form liturgy.”
Sure enough, Rorate Caeli is reporting that Most Reverend Michael Olson, Bishop of Fort Worth, an obviously emboldened prelate who is clearly hostile toward the traditional Mass, took it upon himself on February 24th to forbid the celebration of the Usus Antiquior at Fisher More College.
In a letter addressed to Mr. Michael King, President of Fisher More, Bishop Olson stated:
While it was awfully nice of the newly consecrated bishop, who was installed just twenty-six days before writing his epistle, to alert Mr. King of the availability of the traditional Mass on Sundays at 5:30 pm at a parish off-campus, I have some bad news for him:
You don’t have the authority to forbid the celebration of the so-called ‘Extraordinary Form’ of the Mass. Period.
The letter, which might best be put to use as thurible kindling at Fisher More’s next Solemn High Mass, continues:
Yes, you read that correctly. The bishop is actually threatening to hold Jesus Christ hostage from a Catholic college in order to enforce his diabolical, yes, diabolical aversion to the venerable rite.
Just imagine the scene as Bishop Olson strides onto the Fisher More campus to seize the Eucharistic Christ from the tabernacle, crozier in one hand, thirty pieces of silver in the other.
Pardon me, Excellency, but this “Successor to the Apostles” thing kind of assumes you’ll model yourself after one of the other eleven. Capisce?
And why, pray tell, is this considered by Bishop Olson as a matter of such pressing importance that it merited this immediate and incomprehensibly harsh attention?
According to his letter, “I make these norms out of my pastoral solicitude and care for the students of Fisher More as well as for your own soul.”
No, this isn’t an early April Fool’s Day joke; this fool is the real deal.
He not only thinks that typing up a document on the computer in his new office is the same as establishing “norms,” one of the first things he committed to writing on his freshly printed letterhead makes it clear that he considers the traditional Mass a danger to souls.
This has all the makings of a case study in the real Francis Effect: A Barney Fife wannabe bishop with a burr under his saddle for the Usus Antiquior attacking with abandon traditional Catholics and that which they most hold dear, Summorum Pontificum be damned.
One expects that Fisher More College will respond to this outrage by making an appeal through official channels, doing everything possible to avoid a flat out showdown with their new bishop, but it’s difficult to imagine this ending any other way.
Let’s keep a close eye on this one; you can bet your favorite hand missal every whack job liberal bishop in the country is doing just that.
2. March, 2014Blog Post32 comments
I appreciate all of the responses to the Gore-Tex video. They’ve been overwhelming, really. Now that I have your attention, I hope you will permit me to encourage some introspection.
With Lent just a few days away, I think this would be a perfect time for all of us, me first and foremost, to take a look in the mirror.
This work of shining the light of tradition on all things, even those papal statements and actions that might otherwise confuse and mislead others, is a delicate balancing act. In the process, it’s important to make every effort to lift up the whole truth for everyone to see, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, that there may be no confusion whatsoever, and one of those truths concerns the honor and respect that we owe to the Petrine Office and the person of the pope. As I said, delicate.
With that in mind, I’m not afraid to admit that the CMTV Manifesto, in spite of its flaws, did at least serve one good purpose; it reminded me of how important it is in this effort to attack offenses without belittling the offender. Not easy! I’m certain that I’ve failed in the past and will fail again in the future, but I do hope to do better going forward and would ask that you please join me in thinking along those same lines as well.
On another note, I’m sure John Vennari, Christopher Ferrara and Michael Matt appreciate the encouragement you’ve expressed as well. That said, I’m also sure they’d appreciate it even more if you would consider subscribing to their print publications too.
Making a go of it financially in traditional Catholic media isn’t easy, believe me. So think about subscribing to Catholic Family News or the Remnant or both. If you do already, then you already know that they make great gifts. Just saying…
Lastly, some folks responded to the “Gore-Tex” video by saying of CMTV in so many words, “They’re dead to me.” I’m not on board with that, to be very honest.
I really do believe what I said; people all over the world now recognize “lies and falsehoods” dressed up in Catholic clothing, even when they flow out of Rome, thanks to the work CMTV does.
I was at the CMTV studio in May and can report firsthand that their day starts in the chapel with the Divine Office, and it ends in that same space with Holy Mass. The Enemy hates these people. Believe me. That entire staff is comprised of hardworking, dedicated people who are in it for all the right reasons, and that starts with Michael Voris.
This is a dust-up; serious enough, but it’s not a divorce. Let’s not go overboard. Some mistakes were made. Like I said, we’re still family and we’ll live to fight another day, hopefully side-by-side and hopefully soon.
Thanks again for all of your kind responses.
1. March, 2014Blog Post127 comments
Well… it is now undeniable: Michael Voris is all-in with the manifesto. Damn shame too. The guy screwed up. It happens. I’m pretty sure I did that once too. Maybe even twice.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the least bit pleased about this rift between Voris and people like John Vennari, Christopher Ferrara and Michael Matt. Not only do I respect these men a great deal, I’m out here doing the same kinds of things; namely, defending our Catholic faith against all comers, even the occasionally naked pope. A stone thrown at them hits me as well.
At the end of the day, we’re still Catholics. That makes us family. In other words, it ain’t over ’til it’s over; so with that in mind I’m offering a bit of fraternal correction.
NOTE: I’ll have something to say about the claim that the SSPX is “soft sedevacantist” later, but to be honest, that’s kind of like responding to a seven year old kid who just said, “Your mother wears army boots!”
27. February, 2014Blog Post, Uncategorized68 comments
The writer points to the following “very poignant” passage from the Book of Genesis in support of CMTV’s decision not to engage the pope’s offenses against our Holy Catholic faith. He even goes so far as to use Sacred Scripture to condemn those who do otherwise.
Not my game of choice, but I’ll play along just the same. For the record, I will say it again; this is the work of an as yet unnamed character who is pushing the envelope at CMTV. At this point, I’m fairly certain I know who it is, and it is him to whom I speak and refer.
As the CMTV oracle would have it, those who address the pope’s offenses directly (me, for example, when I write about things like Pope Francis’ encouragement to Muslims to hold fast to a false religion that rejects Our Blessed Lord) are modern day versions of Ham, “telling others of their father’s nakedness.”
Only in Rome have we seen such name calling!
Look, it’s a nice effort in the protestant tradition, but let’s be clear: It’s neither me, nor Christopher Ferrara, John Vennari, Michael Matt nor anyone else who is “telling the world” of Pope Francis’ nakedness.
The CMTV holier-than-thou ghostwriter himself plainly admits, “We at ChurchMilitant.TV are as aware as anyone of what could be judged the ‘nakedness’ of Pope Francis and his predecessors.”
Well then, this gives rise to a question, “How is it that CMTV is so aware?”
The answer is simple: Authentic Catholic teaching as transmitted throughout the centuries is what makes it plainly known. No one had to “tell” CMTV that the pope is far-too-often naked; their Catholic faith alone informed them of this regrettable fact.
Another way of saying this is to state that the occasional nakedness of Pope Francis and his post-conciliar predecessors is exposed by the light of Christ.
So, what then are we to do about that?
Since the CMTV scribe is obviously keen on seeking answers in Sacred Scripture, perhaps the following passage from Matthew 5:14-16 will help him find his Catholic bearings:
In the present case, one might say that the CMTV approach to the pope’s nakedness is tantamount to placing the light of Christ, our Holy Catholic faith, under a bushel.
I’m pleased to assume that this is done with the good intention of rendering a service to the Roman Pontiff and to the faithful he is duty bound to lead, but let’s not kid one another, so shielding the light of Christ from the pope’s words and deeds glorifies not our Father who is in heaven. Either we let the light shine or we don’t.
Returning to Genesis, while the CMTV exegete, who claims that others are guilty of purveying “spiritual pornography,” is pleased to congratulate himself for being a contemporary Shem, the poor man is merely engaging in what one might call in turn “spiritual masturbation.”
Aware of the pope’s scandalous condition, CMTV’s approach to the matter does not in any way serve to “cover” his nakedness; that’s pure fantasy, it’s really more like walking away from the scene of the crime.
Having left their spiritual father who reigns over the Household of God on earth shamefully exposed to every passerby, some are thus truly scandalized; many are rendered deeply confused, while still others depart in the belief that they encountered an image of Christ and the authentic Faith, when in truth they have not.
If we’re going to do role play with Genesis 9 as the backdrop, let us say that when the post-conciliar popes deny Christ, whether in word or deed, they can be likened to the drunken Noah, in this case, as men inebriated on modernism.
At such times as these, the popes also take on the role of Ham the tattler; their false witness immediately being exposed for all to see by the light of Christ who is Truth.
The likes of Christopher Ferrara, John Vennari, Michael Matt, and in a far more modest sense, me, are more properly likened to Shem and Japheth, covering the offensive sight of their father’s nakedness with the fabric of Catholic teaching, that those who encounter the scene may come away knowing the Lord’s life-saving truth.
One may reasonably respond, “Yes, but do such men avert their gaze?”
Taken as a metaphor for subjectively judging the state of the pope’s soul, something only Our Blessed Lord can do, absolutely such men avert their gaze, even as they meet the challenge of objectively addressing the Pontiff’s offenses against Christ and His Church, and this, at great cost.
Here’s the bottom line:
I am perfectly willing to assume good will on CMTV’s part as it relates to their editorial stance; I hope I’ve made that clear.
If CMTV wants to avoid direct criticism of the pope’s offenses as a matter of strategy; attempting thereby to apply the Lord’s exhortation to “be wise as serpents,” all in the belief that this approach may render a better service to the Church and the people for whom Christ died, that’s one thing.
This, in fact, is exactly the impression I’ve gotten from Michael in the past. Whether you agree with his tactics or not, I feel confident in saying that for him it’s all about drawing more people to the Church, her sacraments and ultimately salvation; it’s not about sanctimony.
The poison pen of Mr. Manifesto, on the other hand, writes a very different tale, one that reeks of a horse’s ass high upon which rides a still-anonymous writer who seems to think he has sole possession of the moral high ground in this discussion.
Careful partner, it’s a long way down.
27. February, 2014Blog Post6 comments
As you may have noticed, some idiot hacked into my website and placed text in some places. My web guy is cleaning this up. Reading and posting doesn’t pose any risk to visitors in the mean time. Should be handled soon. Thanks.
UPDATE: The problem is fixed and a Word Press update has been done. Please let know if you encounter any issues commenting. Thanks!
26. February, 2014Blog Post85 comments
The now infamous manifesto, ChurchMilitant.TV Will Not Engage in Public Criticism of the Pope, is causing a sizable stir among some traditional Catholics and one might reasonably wonder why.
We have bigger fish to fry than this, don’t we?
The visible structures of the Church have been crumbling for forty-plus years right before our very eyes, the pope himself belittles us on a regular basis, and changes are coming under this pontificate the likes of which one shudders to even imagine.
And yet, we still find time to fret over the opinion of Michael Voris.
That CMTV shies away from directly confronting the pope’s words and actions is nothing new. The crucial issue, as I see it, concerns the comments that are made in this document about the SSPX, the Remnant, and good men like John Vennari and Christopher Ferrara.
So, what to make of it all?
Here are my thoughts on the matter:
The document in question was forwarded to me (by someone I won’t name) back on February 6th – the very day Michael Voris took off for Ireland, a journey that was followed almost immediately by a trip to the Philippines, rendering him largely unavailable for comment as it made its rounds. How long it existed prior to that, I don’t know.
While I’m left to merely speculate about some things, here’s what I do know:
It’s been obvious for some time that Michael Voris is not interested, at least for now, in directly confronting the pope’s offenses against the Faith. That’s his call. Can it be frustrating? Sure, but as I sit here today I’m not going to make this the litmus test for whether or not his work is of any value.
I like Michael a lot. Are we in absolute agreement on all things? No, but who is?
While he and I aren’t exactly drinking buddies, I’ve spent enough time with him to know that his commitment to the Church is as genuine as anyone’s. Mine was as genuine as anyone else half a dozen years ago too, back when I pretty much bought the company line about the SSPX and Vatican II – hook, line and sinker.
Here’s the point: There isn’t a single person reading this post who hasn’t grown to the place they occupy today. This time next year, God willing, all of us will have grown in the Faith further still.
At some point in time, barring Divine intervention, I suspect that there’s a good chance Michael Voris will be forced by circumstances to publicly address the Pontiff’s shortcomings. In the meantime, why not cut the guy some slack on his papal silence?
These are not “normal” times in the life of the Church. People of goodwill, like Michael, who are far more brothers-in-arms than an adversaries, are sincerely struggling to figure out how best to respond to the crisis at hand in the most constructive way possible. Obviously, we’re not always going to get it right and we’re going to have disagreements, sometimes even on things that are crucially important. We can thank the Devil for that.
For my part, I decided to address the pope’s foibles directly. In return, even though I reach some people I may not otherwise, still, I reach far less on the whole. Diocesan and parish conferences are a thing of the past, one-time supporters among various bishops, priests and theologians have run for the hills like horses from a barn fire, Catholic News Agency (among other outlets) has dropped me after five years, and on and on it goes.
I don’t regret it in the least, but that’s the reality. Who’s to say that in the long run my approach is the be-all-end-all and Voris is blowing it? I’m not.
And now we get to the part of the manifesto where the scent of a rodent is nearly impossible to avoid.
As far as the Society is concerned, Michael Voris has never, at least insofar as I’m aware, used the CMTV platform to attack the SSPX as “sedevacantist” or even “soft sedevacantist,” whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean.
Is he an SSPX supporter? No, but as far as I can tell (mystery document aside), there is nothing in his track record that indicates that this is the hill he wants to die on.
Michael kindly invited me to do a “Roman Forum” segment with him a couple of years ago in which I was able to freely offer, to the best of my own knowledge at the time, the Society’s case, during which time he asked pointed questions but never denigrated, belittled or insulted Archbishop Lefevre or the SSPX in the least.
Michael has had Christopher Ferrara on his air more than once, most recently (I believe) in August. He has also collaborated with Remnant publisher, Michael Matt, and he has been a good friend to me over the past couple of years in the work that I’m doing, having me as a guest any number of times in spite of my own vocal criticism of the pope’s rhetoric.
One should also note that Michael Voris has a lengthy track record of ignoring his detractors. Twenty-five hundred word essays explaining and defending his positions are not his style. Not even close. In addition to that, the only thing this document accomplished was slandering the SSPX and dragging friendly collaborators through the mud. Also not his style.
No, this isn’t Voris’ work. This is just my opinion, of course, but I don’t believe for a moment that Michael Voris wrote this document, nor do I believe he commissioned it as written, even if he privately agrees with much of its content.
This thing has been floating around for at least three weeks, unsigned. Even those who despise Michael Voris have to admit that this isn’t his M.O.
Like him or not, Voris doesn’t insulate himself from his own positions. His name and his face are attached to all of his opinions. He is CMTV, and yet, this goofy document moves about anonymously for nearly a month?
It doesn’t take a conspiracy theorist to recognize that someone else is pushing this envelope.
Who might that someone be?
Well, whoever it is has obviously deluded himself into believing that going to war with the SSPX, and denouncing the work of people like Christopher Ferrara (whom Michael Voris clearly respects) is an act of Christian heroism.
It also appears obvious, given the fact that the still-unsigned document is now on the CMTV website, that he has managed to insert himself into a position of influence over CMTV’s operations.
I would bet dollars to donuts that this person’s personal crusade is starting to wear pretty thin right about now. (If it’s not, it should be.)
Though it seems obvious enough that this person took liberties in speaking on behalf of CMTV, Michael is now left to deal with it. At some point, he may even feel “compelled,” for lack of a better word, to lay personal claim to its authorship. If so, don’t believe it.
In conclusion, I don’t think Michael Voris invited this, and to be honest, I doubt he’s given it nearly as much thought as many of my friends.
My advice? Pray for Michael Voris and just suspend judgment for the time being. He obviously has his hands full with the crusading ghost writer who created this mess.
25. February, 2014Blog Post36 comments
Unlike his EWTN interview in December, during which His Eminence made a number of candid statements that betray his own sense of uneasiness with the present pontificate, Cardinal Burke’s latest comments, delivered at a conference of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, are a carefully crafted message that is being characterized in some quarters as a stirring “defense” and “explanation” of Pope Francis.
In my estimation, however, it is neither, and is more properly understood as an exercise in ecclesial gamesmanship and a bit of Romanità.
Some traditionalists have expressed deep disappointment in Cardinal Burke as a result of this speech, which tells me that it’s again necessary to address the way in which the cardinal himself is viewed.
Let’s be clear, Cardinal Burke isn’t going to rescue the Church from the present crisis; we’ve reached the point where only Christ can do that. His comments are important, however, coming as they do from one of the best of the Curial lot, especially as it relates to matters liturgical.
Even so, there’s no doubt that Cardinal Burke has embraced his share of conciliar novelties as well.
Consider, for example, his role as President of the Advisory Board of the very group he was addressing, the Dignitatis Humanae Institute (DHI).
In spite of whatever good works this group may be doing, no Catholic prelate should feel comfortable serving on the board of an organization that claims the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights as foundational. (See yesterday’s blog post for an essay on this condemnable proclamation.)
The DHI, according to its own Declaration, considers “the recognition of the dignity of Man” as that which is “most lacking in our society,” when every Catholic with a drop of traditional sense realizes that it is the failure to recognize the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ that is most lacking, and this thanks to the post-conciliar hierarchy of the Catholic Church of which Cardinal Burke is a member.
The point is simply this: Cardinal Burke has a toe in traditionalism and a foot in “newchurch.” Although he has certain traditional leanings, at the end of the day he is still a Curial prelate who obviously wishes to remain in the pope’s good graces at this time of great uncertainty, and it is from this place that he thus spoke.
So, what did Cardinal Burke actually have to say?
On the one hand, very little.
“I noted a certain questioning [on the part of people in the United States] about whether Pope Francis has altered or is about to alter the Church’s teaching on a number of the critical moral issues of our time, for example, the teaching on the inviolable dignity of innocent human life, and the integrity of marriage and the family,” he said before going on to reject the idea.
Make note of the narrow focus here.
Cardinal Burke is not weighing in on the pope’s coddling of heathens and heretics, or his unbridled hostility toward traditionalists; rather, he is speaking very specifically about the dogmas of the Faith concerning human life and the sacrament of holy matrimony.
Of course Pope Francis isn’t going to “alter” these doctrines; the Holy Ghost won’t allow it. The simple fact that Cardinal Burke treats such “questions” as worthy of a response, however, is exceedingly noteworthy.
Remember, we are dealing here with nuance and subtlety.
While I can write blog posts that directly confront the pope’s growing number of offenses against our Holy Faith, like it or not, that’s not how life in the Curia is lived, unless of course one wants to be “promoted” right out the front door.
As for his evaluation of Pope Francis’ teaching, Cardinal Burke provides what strikes me as an excellent example of how the game is played in Rome.
On the one hand he says, “It is not that the Holy Father is not clear in his opposition to abortion and euthanasia, or in his support of marriage as the indissoluble, faithful and procreative union of one man and one woman.” (Notice that he speaks of “his opposition” and “his support;” not the clarity with which he instructs others on the demands of the moral law.)
On the other hand he states, “Clearly, the words and actions of the Holy Father require, on our part, a fitting tool of interpretation, if we are to understand correctly what he intends to teach.”
In other words, what is most clear to all is that “the words and actions of the Holy Father” do not clearly communicate the Faith of the Church, and they only become so when interpreted correctly!
A close reading of this speech also reveals that His Eminence offers very few opinions of his own in support of the pope’s modus operandi; rather, he simply rewords various quotes provided by others, like Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino and the pope himself.
Cardinal Burke also speaks quite a bit about the pope’s good intentions, while stopping well short of endorsing his method. In fact, one senses the exact opposite when he states, “But his approach cannot change the duty of the Church and her shepherds to teach clearly and insistently about the most fundamental moral questions of our time.”
As the speech draws near to its close, Cardinal Burke offers his most pointed commentary.
After suggesting that the pope wishes to “put the person of Jesus Christ at the heart of all of the Church’s pastoral activity,” he goes on to deliver what can reasonably be understood as a direct critique of the Holy Father’s methods.
At the same time, we should not think that such an invitation [to come to Christ] requires that we be silent about fundamental truths of the natural moral law, as if these matters were somehow peripheral to the message of the Gospel. Rather, the proclamation of the truth of the moral law is always an essential dimension of the proclamation of the Gospel, for it is only in light of the truth of the moral law, written on every human heart, that we can recognize our need to repent from sin and accept the mercy of God offered to us in Jesus Christ.
It is for this reason that Our Lord begins His own proclamation of the Kingdom of God with the challenge to “Repent and believe in the Gospel” (Mk 1:15). The call to repentance involves both the reminder of our sinfulness and failure to keep God’s law and, at the same time, the offer of God’s forgiveness. Thus, we see the Apostles, in their preaching after Pentecost, both admonishing their hearers for their sins, and inviting them to accept the mercy that God wishes to offer them through the Risen Christ (Acts 2: 38-40; 3:14-20). St Paul, in his Letter to the Romans, begins his comprehensive presentation of the Gospel precisely by reminding us of the natural moral law, written on every human heart, which reveals to us our sinfulness and our need for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ (cf. Rom 1-3).
This exhortation is, arguably, directed at Pope Francis as much as anyone else.
So, in conclusion, while I can understand why some folks initially reacted to Cardinal Burke’s address with disappointment, a careful reading through the lens of Romanità reveals that it’s far from the breathless defense of papal improprieties that some have taken it to be.
- Audio Sancto
- Catholic Family News
- Church Militant.TV
- Creative Minority Report
- Eponymous Flower Blog
- Fr. Jay Finelli
- Fr. Michael Rodriguez on YouTube
- Fr. Ray Blake's Blog
- Fr. Z
- John Salza Apologetics
- Kitchner Waterloo Traditional Catholic
- Mundabor's Blog
- New Sherwood: Jeff Culbreath
- Rorate Caeli
- Sandro Magister: Chiesa
- Society of St. Pius X
- The Remnant
- Unam Sanctam Catholicam
- Voice of Catholic Tradition Radio