Cardinal Burke explains that a cardinal may disagree with the pope and is bound to tell the Holy Father when he does.
We offer a translated excerpt of an interview conducted by Jean-Marie Guenois of the French daily newspaper, Le Figaro Magazine, with Cardinal Raymond Burke and published on December 19, 2014 in an issue entitled, "The Secret War of the Vatican".
The title of the interview was "Cardinal Burke: 'I'm very worried'" and came on the heels of His Eminence's removal as the prefect for the Apostolic Signatura and appointment as the chaplain of the Order of Malta, a token honorary position.
Le Figaro: May a cardinal be in disagreement with the pope?
Cardinal Burke: It is indeed possible for a cardinal to disagree with the pope on procedure or pastoral questions. On the other hand, it is impossible to dissent on the question of Church doctrine or discipline.
This means that a cardinal, in a given circumstance, is duty bound to tell the pope what he thinks. He must do so with the proper respect since the pope represents the Petrine power. But if the pope places cardinals about him, this is precisely so as to give him advice.
Le Figaro: Have people attached too much importance to the diverse positions during the synod on the family?
Cardinal Burke: What is strange in this history of the remarried divorces is that those who have recalled and upheld what the Latin Church has always taught have been accused to be against the Holy Father and not in harmony with the Church… This is appalling!
This being said, the Church history has always known theological disputes and strong confrontations where theologians and cardinals were asked to give their advice. Hence, if I published together with other cardinals, a study on this theme to express my position, this was done to nourish a true theological discussion and finally reach the truth.
Le Figaro: Were you shocked by what occurred in the synod?
Cardinal Burke: The synod was a difficult experience. There was one line, that of Cardinal Kasper we might say, behind which those who had the high hand on directing the synod placed themselves. In fact, the mid-term document seemed to have been written before the interventions of the Synodal Fathers! And according to a single line, favoring the position of Cardinal Kasper… They also introduced the homosexual question, which has nothing to do with that of marriage, by seeking the positive elements.
Another very troublesome point: the mid-term text made reference neither to the Scriptures, nor to Church tradition nor to the teaching of John Paul II on conjugal love. All this was most disconcerting. Like the fact of having maintained, in the final report, paragraphs on homosexuality and the remarried divorces which, however, were not adopted by the majority of bishops required.
Le Figaro: What is the stake of what has become a polemic?
Cardinal Burke: In a period full of confusion, as we see now with the theory of the gender, we have need of the Church teaching on marriage. However, we are pushed in a direction which leads to admit to Holy Communion remarried divorces… without speaking of this obsession of lightening the nullity processes of the marriage bond.
All this will lead de facto to a kind of “Catholic divorce”, and to a weakening of the marriage indissolubility the principle of which is still reaffirmed. But the Church needs to defend marriage, not weaken it. The indissolubility of marriage is neither a penance nor a suffering. It is a great beauty for those who live it, a source of joy. I am very worried, and I call the Catholics, the laity, priests and bishops to get involved, from now until the next synodal assembly, to shed light as to the truth on marriage.