Monthly Archives: November 2016

Burke: Cardinals May Have to Correct Pope Francis

The National Catholic Register just published Edward Pentin’s interview with Cardinal Burke. The following responses appear at the end of this very important interview. These matters are very serious. Cardinal Burke knows that. He is treating them as such, for the sake of the Good of the Church, which is ordered to the salvation of souls.

What happens if the Holy Father does not respond to your act of justice and charity and fails to give the clarification of the Church’s teaching that you hope to achieve?

Then we would have to address that situation. There is, in the Tradition of the Church, the practice of correction of the Roman Pontiff. It is something that is clearly quite rare. But if there is no response to these questions, then I would say that it would be a question of taking a formal act of correction of a serious error.


In a conflict between ecclesial authority and the Sacred Tradition of the Church, which one is binding on the believer and who has the authority to determine this?

What’s binding is the Tradition. Ecclesial authority exists only in service of the Tradition. I think of that passage of St. Paul in the [Letter to the] Galatians (1:8), that if “even an angel should preach unto you any Gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema.”


If the Pope were to teach grave error or heresy, which lawful authority can declare this and what would be the consequences?

It is the duty in such cases, and historically it has happened, of cardinals and bishops to make clear that the Pope is teaching error and to ask him to correct it.

Burke’s Comments

Burke in an interview states:

It would contradict the Faith if any Catholic, including the Pope, said that a person can receive Holy Communion without repenting of grave sin, or that living in a marital way with someone who is not his or her spouse is not a state of grave sin, or that there is no such thing as an act that is always and everywhere evil and can send a person to perdition. Thus, I join my brother Cardinals in making a plea for an unmistakable clarification from Pope Francis himself. His voice, the voice of the Successor of Saint Peter, can dispel any questions about the issue.

Newman: Rome Shall Fall to the Justice of Divine Wrath

Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman wrote an essay on the Patristic Notion of Antichrist. It is a very fine essay, in four parts.

In this essay, he treats the various prophecies regarding the fall and destruction of the great beast. That great beast is Rome. The Fathers are clear that some day, Rome shall fall. Pope Gregory the Great registered this opinion (Dial 2.15).

Newman notes that whereas in some respects Rome has fallen, in other respects Rome has not fallen. Rome is not simply the old Empire. Rome is, perhaps the rule of law, European civilization, etc. These are still with us. So long as we do not seriously embrace the denial of the Principle of Non-contradiction. So long as we still retain key fragments of the natural law. But these things are crashing down around us.

Why has Rome not yet fallen, Newman asks? Why not yet punished? Newman contends that the only reason Rome has not been annihilated as of yet is that there must still be some who are righteous in it. There must be some preservation of Christ’s ways. But, as Pope Gregory indicated, some day, storms and earthquakes shall, executing Divine Wrath, shake Rome to its foundations.

“If [modern] Rome were as reprobate as heathen Rome itself, what stays the judgment long ago begun? [I.e., the judgment of Divine Wrath through Barbarians.] Why does not the Avenging Arm, which made its first stroke ages since, deal its second and its third, till the city has fallen? Why is not Rome as Sodom and Gomorrah, if there be no righteous men in it?”

Newman says, by implication, when Truth has gone out of Rome, when the natural law is upturned, when the remembrance of things sacred has fled, when the veil once again descends over the eyes of those who tickle their ears, then shall the Divine Wrath descend, offering a chance of repentance for those who, setting the hearts on the ways of the world, refuse to keep their eyes upon the plow, in faith in God’s work and truth. Should these then not accept, should they turn back upon the vomit of their sins, how can they not become as Lot’s wife?

Finally, if it is not simply Rome itself, a city in Italy, that is object of the prophecies, it is then the World Itself in its Worldliness. Perhaps it is both, each in its own way.

Newman closes with this caution to all:

We are warned against sharing in [the whore’s] sins and in her punishment; against being found, when the end comes, mere children of this world and of its great cities; with the tastes, opinions, habits, such as are found in its cities; … with all the low feelings, principles, and aims which the world encourages; with our thoughts wandering (if that be possible then), wandering after vanities; … with a haughty contempt for the Church, her ministers, her lowly people; … [with] an utter ignorance of the number and the heinousness of the sins which lie against us….

Cardinals Publicly Question Interpretations of Amoris Laetitia

I am very heartened by the charity of Four Cardinals who have brought forth publicly questions about Amoris Laetitia. This document has been causing great confusion among the faithful.

However, if we do not let our ears be tickled, we will not be deceived. The Church’s teaching does not change. It does not evolve. Organic development involves the complete affirmation of everything once taught, plus the addition of a new precision. This is not evolution, according to which one species (an old affirmation) dies out so that a new species (a newer affirmation, one that does not include the old affirmation) may be put in its place.

As these good cardinals know, the pope is custodian of these constant teachings. The papal authority does not extend to the point of denying divine revelation or altering those matters of discipline that are revealed.

Now, these teachings have to do with the Love of Sinners. The sinner cannot by his sin make his way to heaven. His sin takes him down a path of loss, despair, darkness, closedness, death. Hence, John the Baptist, who preaches against sin and wickedness, is an agent of love. He is not an agent of “rigidity”. He is an agent of peace and blessing. For one who clings to sin cannot be saved. One ignorant of sin should be awakened, so that he might be set free from sin. He should not be “coddled” in his ignorance. He should lovingly be shown the truth. He should lovingly be given the medicines of immortality: Penance and Eucharist.

I urge everyone to read this careful letter of these four cardinals. They asked the pope privately to disambiguate very strange locutions in his recent document. He did not respond to their request. Thus, as true shepherds lovingly concerned about the flock, they are asking him publicly to correct the minds of those who go astray from the true faith. May God bless them for their courage, love, and fidelity.