In a new interview with Lifesitenews, Cardinal Raymond Burke has outlined a possible “formal correction” of Amoris Laetitia at some point after Christmas.
Cardinal Burke, who along with three other cardinals has asked the Pope to clarify Amoris Laetitia, said that such a correction would be “very simple”.
It would be like the request for clarification – five questions known as “dubia” – but “would no longer be raising questions, but confronting the confusing statements in Amoris Laetitia with what has been the Church’s constant teaching and practice, and thereby correcting Amoris Laetitia”.
The dubia ask Pope Francis to reaffirm Church teaching on the sacraments and the moral law: for instance, that some actions are always intrinsically wrong, and that the divorced and remarried cannot receive Communion unless they endeavour to live as brother and sister.
Pope Francis has declined to answer the request. Cardinal Burke’s latest comments suggest that any correction would repeat much of the content of the dubia, while describing some passages of Amoris Laetitia as confusing. The Church has previously used condemnations such as “ambiguous” or “scandalous”, less grave than describing a statement as “heretical”.
Cardinal Burke said that correction of a pope is “an old institute in the Church”, although it had not happened in recent centuries.
Pope John XXII was corrected by a group of theologians in Paris after preaching a heretical opinion about the afterlife – which he later repudiated.
Cardinal Burke said that formal correction was not a sign of disrespect for the papacy, but “actually a way of safeguarding that office and its exercise”.
Asked when it might take place, Cardinal Burke implied that it could be early in 2017. He said: ”We are in the last days, days of strong grace, before the Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord, and then we have the Octave of the Solemnity and the celebrations at the beginning of the New Year – the whole mystery of Our Lord’s Birth and His Epiphany – so it would probably take place sometime after that.”
Cardinal Burke also advised Catholics to remain “serene” by reaffirming the Church’s teaching. “I think the important thing for us as Catholics is simply to affirm once again what the Church has always taught and practiced,” he said. The cardinal made particular reference to the teachings expressed by Pope St John Paul II in Familiaris Consortio – which rules out Communion for the remarried – and Veritatis Splendor, which affirms the existence of absolute moral norms.
Cardinal Burke said: “We have these secure teachings, and it’s important then to give witness to those teachings, to express them, to know them ourselves, and then simply to say, ‘But this is what the Church teaches,’ no matter what the media or others are saying, or even if some quote from the Pope himself seems to say otherwise. We need to give witness to what the Church has always taught and practiced, and that way we remain serene, we don’t give way to confusion, and even division as it can often happen in the Church otherwise.”
Asked about the attacks on the cardinals and those who support them, Cardinal Burke replied: “I just encourage the faithful not to become discouraged, not to let themselves in some way be intimidated by these kind of statements, for they know Our Lord in His Church, and they have good spiritual guides to keep them close to Our Lord.”