Friday, 6 April 2018

#Hellgate: Cardinal Burke accuses Pope Francis of 'increasing confusion' over Church teaching

One of Pope Francis' most high-profile critics, Cardinal Raymond Burke, has accused him of 'increasing the confusion' in the Catholic Church following the pope's reported denial of the existence of hell.

Speaking yesterday to the Italian Catholic news agency La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana in an interview translated for Lifesite News, Burke labelled the Vatican response to the furore following the report atheist journalist Eugenio Scalfari 'highly inadequate'. It had said the pope was misquoted.

In a wide-ranging interview, Burke alleged that 'confusion and division in the Church on the most fundamental and important issues – marriage and the family, the Sacraments and the right disposition to receive them, intrinsically evil acts, eternal life and the Last Things – are becoming increasingly widespread' and that Francis 'refuses to clarify things' and is 'increasing the confusion'.

Of the Scalfari interview he said: 'Instead of clearly reasserting the truth about the immortality of the human soul and Hell, the denial only states that some of the words quoted are not the pope's. It does not say that the erroneous and even heretical ideas expressed by these words are not shared by the pope, and that the pope repudiates these ideas as contrary to the Catholic Faith. This playing around with the faith and doctrine, at the highest level of the Church, rightly leaves pastors and faithful scandalised.'

Burke hit out at the 'silence of so many bishops and cardinals' over the direction of the Church and warned those who had joined from liberal Protestant communions were 'suffering intensely at this situation – they perceive that the Catholic Church is going down the same road of abandoning the faith'.

Burke said the College of Cardinals was there to act as a check against 'papal error'. The power of the pope, he said, 'belongs not to his person but to his office as successor of St Peter'. He said there was a 'risky and even harmful confusion between the person of the pope and his office' and that 'Any act of a pope that undermines the salvific mission of Christ in the Church, whether it be a heretical act or a sinful act in itself, is simply void from the point of view of the Petrine Office.'

He defended making his criticisms public, saying that 'to ask – with due respect for his office – for the correction of confusion or error is not an act of disobedience, but an act of obedience to Christ and thus to his vicar on earth'.

Burke, an American who was archbishop of St Louis, Missouri, is a prominent traditionalist who has frequently criticised Francis, notably over his apparent suggestion in his encyclical Amoris Laetitia that divorced and remarried Catholics could receive communion. He is also highly critical of Islam and of what he sees as Western societies' accommodation with it, saying in his book Hope for the World: To Unite All Things in Christ: 'Islam is a religion that, according to its own interpretation, must also become the State. The Koran, and the authentic interpretations of it given by various experts in Koranic law, is destined to govern the world.'

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