Photo: Cardinal Burke (right) with Cardinal Walter Brandmüller (9/16/17, Edward Pentin photo)
By Fr. Gerald E. Murray, The Catholic Thing, Nov. 18, 2017
Raymond Cardinal Burke gave a powerful interview to Edwin Pentin of the National Catholic Register earlier this week. He explained why he continues to seek authoritative clarity on the meaning of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (AL) by asking Pope Francis to respond to the five dubia that he and three other cardinals submitted well over a year ago.
Cardinal Burke spoke about a problem with AL’s opening up of exceptions (footnote 351) to the Church’s refusal to admit divorced and remarried Catholics to the reception of Holy Communion. The main problem, he believes, concerns our understanding of the nature of the sacraments:
The decisive criterion for admission to the sacraments has always been the coherence of a person’s way of life with the teachings of Jesus. If instead the decisive criterion were now to become the absence of a person’s subjective culpability – as some interpreters of Amoris Laetitia have suggested – would this not change the very nature of the sacraments? In fact, the sacraments are not private encounters with God, nor are they means of social integration into a community. Rather, they are visible and effective signs of our incorporation into Christ and his Church, in and by which the Church publicly professes and actuates her faith. Thus, by turning a person’s subjective diminished culpability or lack of culpability into the decisive criterion for the admission to the sacraments, one would endanger the very regula fidei, the rule of faith, which the sacraments proclaim and actuate not only by words, but also by visible gestures.