A cardinal has declared it necessary to correct Pope Francis’ teachings on marriage — a rare declaration that hasn’t been brought against a Pope in centuries.
Cardinal Raymond Burke said that Francis’ refusal to answer a formal church inquiry consisting of five questions or “doubts,” known as a dubia, about his teachings has made it necessary to declare a correction to Francis’ teachings according to Catholic doctrine. Burke said the unclear nature of Francis’ teachings on marriage and communion, as espoused in Amoris Laetitia, are causing apostasy in the Church and brought it to the brink of schism. The correction, according to Burke, is necessary to restore unity to the Church.
“Pope Francis has chosen not to respond to the five dubia, so it is now necessary simply to state what the Church teaches about marriage, the family, acts that are intrinsically evil, and so forth. These are the points that are not clear in the current teachings of the Roman Pontiff; therefore, this situation must be corrected,” Burke told The Wanderer.
Burke particularly criticized Francis’ pronouncement that individuals who have remarried after being divorced are allowed to take communion, which reversed traditional Church doctrine that forbade communion for such people. Confusion over Francis’s new doctrine is causing division within the church, with different bishops making conflicting rulings over what is sin and what is not with regard to marriage and divorce. As for whether or not the confusion is dangerous enough to divide, or create a schism, within the church, Burke said it may well do so.
“This, in fact, is exactly what is going on. Bishops tell me that when they insist on authentic Church teaching with regard to irregular matrimonial unions, people are simply rejecting their teachings. They say that another bishop teaches differently and they choose to follow him,” Burke told The Wanderer.
“People can, however, be living in a schismatic situation if the teaching of Christ has been abandoned. The more appropriate word would be the one Our Lady used in her Message of Fatima: apostasy. There can be apostasy within the Church and this, in fact, is what is going on. In connection with the apostasy, Our Lady also referred to the failure of pastors to bring the Church to unity,” Burke added.
The process of bringing a formal, doctrinal correction against a Pope is rarely done and has not been invoked now “for several centuries,” according to Burke. Burke said the next step in the correction process, given Francis’ silence, is “simply to state what the Church teaches about marriage, the family, acts that are intrinsically evil, and so forth.”
“These are the points that are not clear in the current teachings of the Roman Pontiff; therefore, this situation must be corrected. The correction would then direct itself principally to those doctrinal points,” Burke added.
Cardinal Walter Brandmüller told the National Catholic Register that the correction will happen behind closed doors and will not be made a public affair.
The disparity between Francis’ teachings and church doctrine brings into question whether the Roman Pontiff or Church tradition has greater authority. Burke said it is the former.
“What’s binding is the Tradition. Ecclesial authority exists only in service of the Tradition,” Burke told NCR.
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