Cardinal Raymond Burke: Tolerance vs. Satan (COMMENTARY)

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Cardinal Raymond Burke no longer heads the Vatican's highest court. He was moved out on Nov. 8, 2014 to an honorary post as patron of the Order of the Knights of Malta. Photo by Cathy Lynn Grossman

Cardinal Raymond Burke no longer heads the Vatican's highest court. He was moved out on Nov. 8, 2014 to an honorary post as patron of the Order of the Knights of Malta. Photo by Cathy Lynn Grossman

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(RNS) Cardinal Raymond Burke told an audience at the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio that marriage is under “diabolical attack" by both modern culture and church insiders.

  • There is nothing like a vane celibate pampered prelate telling everyone else how to live.

  • George Nixon Shuler

    I think your assessment is correct: he has articulated the reactionary position (to call it “conservative” would be a prevarication) but the real Powers-That-Be in the church mean adoption of such positions would make them more irrelevant than they already are.

    Men like Burke are the personification of the maxim “Respect a man who says he is seeking the truth; distrust one who claims he has found it.”

  • Bill Stewart

    By “open to life” does he mean “willing and able to have kids”? Because I’m really tired of hearing people say my marriage is invalid and shouldn’t have been permitted because my wife and I didn’t have kids, and so many of the “traditional marriage” folks say things like that.

    I’m Protestant, not Catholic, but the “it’s not natural” folks are entirely wrong about this issue.

  • Dominic

    The Cardinal’s stance is spot on. His views are neither liberal nor conservative, they are Church law. Homosexuality is a disorder as opposed to a norm, and the recognition of an illusion like gay marriage will never be tolerated as a merciful surrender to a fickle society.
    Things and actions are defined with words for clarity. Words should not mean multiple, even contradictory, things, and that’s what the Cardinal is saying. Especially words the Church use in its teachings…the Church takes years to state specifically what it means, and fancies of a changing society are ignored by the Church.
    The Pope can streamline the annulment process, but cannot reject it. His manner in speaking on today’s immoral attitudes may be more gentle, but his duty is to retain the Church’s wise boundaries on morality. There is no Church if there is no firm foundation of truth, an unalterable truth received by God.

  • Dominic

    There is no directive on having/not having children in a Catholic marriage. The couple is to be “opened” to the gift of children, but do not have to produce them for any kind of valid marriage. Of course, preventing artificially the production of children violates a Catholic law.

  • Tom

    The grave – and increasingly common – error in Cardinal Burke’s position is his confusion of marriage (a contractual, civil and purely secular institution) with Holy Matrimony (a sacrament).

    The Catholic Church is completely within it’s rights to define Holy Matrimony (e.g. as “exclusive, permanent and open to life”) and to use these definitions as criteria by which congregants will be admitted to or excluded from the sacrament. Conversely, in a democratic and pluralistic society – one in which religious liberty is guaranteed and the rights of minorities are protected – it is the duty of government to legislate and enforce terms for civil marriages which are fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory.

    That is what makes America great: the Catholic Church is free to administer the Sacrament of Matrimony according to it’s doctrines; and gays and lesbians are free to enter into a civil marriage without discrimination.

  • Sister Geraldine Marie, OP, RN, PHN

    Well said, Dominic, and one can look at the New Testament for how Christians are to view marriage and sexuality.

  • Jihadi Jimmy

    Allah commands that homosexuals be punished for their abominable existence and forbids gay marriage. Divorce is forbidden. A man can annul his marriage at his will. One need no concern with the thoughts of women here. Allah has his own plan for their role in life. Nobody has a right to usurp that divinely inspired way of life.

    All laws come from Allah. It is the duty of all who are devoted to the one true God to force all others to accept his word as their own. Government is there to serve God’s will and God’s will alone. As an American, it is my right under the free exercise of religion to express my beliefs and refuse to participate in the sins of the infidel. I need not sell them my wares nor provide my hand in service to them. Muslim government workers have a duty to ensure all people submit to the will of Allah.

  • I’m scratching my head trying to figure out how it is, exactly, that “traditional marriage” is somehow being “attacked.” I mean, it’s not as though heterosexual couples can no longer get married if they want to; of course they can! Who’s stopping them?

  • Deacon John M Bresnahan

    There are a lot of phony assumptions in this article. First and foremost is treating polls as a source of truth. indicating the direction the Church should take in her teachings . Many other churches are dancing to the tune of the pollsters and paying the price as they slowly sink into irrelevance and oblivion.
    Fortunately Christ promised that the gates of Hell will never overwhelm and prevail over the Catholic Church no matter how decadent the culture that surrounds the Church becomes.

  • ryan

    Yes. What is the controversy? Who cares if the majority who identify as Catholic think they can make up marriage or right relations as they go? Church law is Church law. It is also Tradition in line with Scripture.
    I am a protestant, so I don’t feel the need to agree with or defend Catholic doctrine, but popular opinion doesn’t change truth. This same silliness is going on in the denomination in which I am ordained. While I light heartedly call it silliness it really is a Satanic lie. The Cardinal is spot on. Keep up the work of truth telling in the face of these liars.

  • That is an exercise in absurdism. Ratzinger expressed the idea that homosexuality is “objectively disordered.” The problem is that he lacks the erudition in social or psychological sciences to come to such a conclusion. He is a theologian and a catechist.

    In any event sexual orientation is a continuum with heterosexual and homosexual at the extreme ends. Most of us are at least a bit bisexual (I certainly am).

  • Greg1

    What’s interesting is that last Friday Night, Pope Francis was part of a telecast interview with a variety of American castaways by David Muir, and during the exchange, a single mother with two young girls was telling the pope how difficult life was as a single mother, and how she struggled daily. And the pope replied that she was a courageous woman, who opted not to kill her babies in the womb, and instead brought them into the world. He said she should be praised for not killing her babies by abortion. And the response from the Press was …. crickets … silence … Hmmm. So I guess the Press only reports when Francis states something in their favor. Very interesting.

  • Bernardo

    Burke is supporting Jesus on this one but of course Jesus does not count if you happen to be a non-Christiain:

    Matthew 19:

    “19 When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan. 2 Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.

    3 Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”

    4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’[a] 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’[b]? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

    continued below:

  • Bernardo

    7 “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”

    8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

    10 The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.”

    11 Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”

    “Annulment” in the RCC today is a joke (as is the RCC).

  • Dominic

    If the situation were that easy. The word “marriage” now changes definition when it crosses from secular to religious lines. It eternally has maintained the same male/female definition in both worlds, but now its corrupt.
    Gay marriage is a completely different societal structure, unknown in history and a huge deviation from the marriage definition. It will affect family life, geneological lines, and the right to a mother and father. Two people do not become one in a gay marriage.
    Since the same word now pretends to define both states, confusion, anger, and discrimination will continue to fester. Many will never consider gays truly married, even with a law that says so. Gays can never believe that a heterosexual couple is not married, for it would be an indefensible stance.
    A new word needs to be created to define a novel institution that only mimics marriage. It is wrong to latch onto a respected word and expect no push back.

  • Bernardo

    And Jesus’ comments about divorce are by rigorous historic testing, authentic. e.g.

    An excerpt;

    “Professor Luedemann [Jesus, 67] notes that the form of the tradition in Mark 10 reflects Roman divorce law, not local Jewish practice. He also observes that “the radical repudiation of divorce by Jesus is attested in both the Q tradition (Matt. 5.32/Luke 16.18) and by Paul in 1 Cor. 7.10-11. It follows that according to all the earliest material Jesus emphasizes the indissolubility of marriage.” On Matt 19:12, Luedemann [Jesus, 209] suggests that the saying about eunuchs is probably an authentic Jesus tradition growing out of his own practice as a single male.”

  • Bernardo

    Hmmm, Burke’s Satan the fallen one or is Satan simply another modern day demon of the demented?

    As per the following, it is the latter:

    Father Edward Schillebeeckx, the famous contemporary theologian, has a different take on hell. He reasons that his god (and Burke’s) does not tolerate imperfection in his spiritual realm. Therefore, any soul dying in mortal sin will simply disappear since hell the imperfect state does not exist.

  • Dominic

    Bernardo, the RCC is far from a joke and neither is its annulment law. All anullment requests are not granted as are divorce requests. The marriage has to be proven to have been invalidly entered into for a host of reasons, and not for reasons that crop up afterwards. The Church expects honesty and free will to be a condition of getting married. Certainly, if a man is already married, he cannot marry another at the same time. Closeted homosexuality would be another, and arranged marriages, and so on.

  • Dominic

    Oh, Hell exists…..just as Heaven does. Fr. Eddy is not that good of a Catholic theologian.

  • Dominic

    Well, Muhammed is a false prophet and his “religion” is a heresy. To take Jewish teachings and Christian teachings and mix in an extremist’s ideology is nothing new. Allah has no relation to the God of Abraham. Islam was merely a means of uniting the Arab tribes under a specific rule….Muhammed’s.

  • I think Cardinal Burke is making not neccecery noise and wants to breake Catholic Church in half. And this is not God’s Angel work….Just read the New Testament. Jesus never refused anybody who came to him and He was the One who reached for those unwanted…
    Cardinal Burke and how is your “Malta” work going?

  • George Nixon Shuler

    You’ve provided no evidence for your assertions and acts of name-calling, revealing the weakness of your position.

  • George Nixon Shuler

    Obviously your last sentence is false, as during the life of Christ (approximately 4 BCE – 29 CE) the Catholic Church did not exist. It did not exist until its founding in 313 CE by Constantine.

  • Re: “It eternally has maintained the same male/female definition in both worlds, but now its corrupt.”

    Still, heterosexual couples haven’t been prevented from marrying.

    Re: “Gay marriage is a completely different societal structure, unknown in history and a huge deviation from the marriage definition.”

    So, who’s been harmed by gays marrying?

    Re: “Since the same word now pretends to define both states, confusion, anger, and discrimination will continue to fester.”

    Why should other people’s marriages matter to anyone?

    Re: “Many will never consider gays truly married, even with a law that says so.”

    Sounds childish to me.

    Re: “A new word needs to be created to define a novel institution that only mimics marriage.”

    No it doesn’t. The same word works fine.

    Re: “It is wrong to latch onto a respected word and expect no push back.”

    That sounds vaguely like a threat. Strange that someone would level threats over something that, to date, has never…

  • Fmr Cath

    @ Jihadi Jimmy- God has endowed humans with “free will”. We can choose our course in life. We can search for TRUTH and live by His laws and commands or we can reject them and substitute our own “way”. God does not force people to submit to Him. God doesn’t prescribe that his followers “force” people to submit. In fact, forced worship is unacceptable to God. He only accepts genuine, heartfelt worship and adherence to His laws. He searches the hearts of men (and women) and in every nation, the one who works righteousness is acceptable to Him. I hope you live long enough to meet the TRUE GOD. He will set matters straight, hopefully, very soon.

  • Deacon John M Bresnahan

    The Catholic Church as a community existed long before Constantine. In fact, it was in the years before Constantine in which the New Testament books and letters were written. In fact, it is frequently Christians who love the Bible who eventually join the Catholic Church when they realize that it was the Catholic Church- under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. which, in a sense, wrote, compiled, and transmitted the bible across the centuries. One perfect example is the former Anglican scholar John Henry Newman who became a leading Catholic scholar.

  • jihadi jimmy

    You are quote wrong. Like all good Muslims, you believe that God’s law must be followed by all. Willing or not. Allah hates abominations and unbelievers, just like you.

    Is it not righteous to point out the dangers of sin and prevent others to from being lost? Does free will prevent you from stopping someone running towards a cliff?

    Is it not righteous to display ones love of God in public settings? Do you not praise a woman who is preventing abominations from the sin of marrying?

    I see Christians understand Sharia better than most inams.

  • George Nixon Shuler

    No, the Roman Catholic Church began in 313. Before, there was Christianity, yes, but no uniformity of doctrine, and more importantly, no official recognition, if fact, it was outlawed. Becoming official changed it entirely.

  • Bernardo

    If a heaven exists, as per JPII and Aquinas, it is a spirit state. i.e. no bodies there. Therefore no Jesus or Mary or Mohammed and therefore no Easter, no Ascension, no Assumption and no rides on heavenly chariots.

  • Ben in oakland

    You have to be careful, JJ.

    Some of the people here take Poe trolling seriously.

  • Betty Clermont

    Burke was an unimportant and inconsequential churchman before he was demoted by the pope. He became famous only by a lapdog media as further “proof” that the pope was “liberal.” He was demoted because, as a tea party prelate, his intemperate speech didn’t fit the new pope’s modus operandi of saying nice stuff while changing nothing essential.

  • Bernardo

    And the excuses for annulment continue to increase making annulments divorces. Francis is simply reducing the cost for the absurdities.

  • Larry

    That and the earliest form of sectarianism already developed into the religion by that time. Christianity was split between the Roman version of it and that adopted by Germanic tribes called Arianism. Of course Constantine declared Arianism heretical and worked hard to wipe it out. Arianism was wiped out due to conquest and genocide.

    Even in the early days, Christians started looking for excuses to attack each other in the name of their faith.

  • Jihadi Jimmy

    Yep 😉

  • Jihadi Jimmy

    Your previous statements show you understand Sharia Law quite well, whether you realize it or not.

    There is nothing extremist about letting government officials follow the word of God rather than submit to vile sinful abomination of “man’s law”.

    Do you not agree, there is nothing extremist about preventing our world from being mired in sin. Unbelievers must be shown the ways of God by all means available if they are to avoid eternal burning.

    Cardinal Burke understands that. He understands the will of God is greater than “tolerance” and “modern ideas”. He knows one cannot be fooled into the gentle nature of modern life. One must stand firm to the ways as they always have been. The will of God is unchanging and eternal. If not for straying into obsolete Christianity, he would be an excellent inam for Daesh as would you.

  • Ben in oakland


    Thought so.

    I am going to steal your last line. I hope it isn’t a vile abomination of me to do so.

  • samuel johnston

    It is always the same story. Some folks refuse to allow others to go their own way
    in peace. They demand control of them. They insist that others follow their vision,
    their inspiration, their understandings. From this attitude comes perpetual struggle and suffering. I would call it evil (willful destruction).
    Modernism has its faults, but it stems from impartial scholarship and therefore modesty concerning the state of knowledge, respect for the individual in his quest for personal happiness, and a striving for a better future. The god folks, despite their protests, are always tyrants.

  • Dominic

    Who wants control of non-believers? I don’t, and the Catholic Church certainly doesn’t. We are allowed to opine on the immoral condition of the world, and to call what we teach infallible Truths, it is up to listeners to accept or reject it. Modernism is a move away from God under the pretense of ” progress”, which it really is not. Progress is encouraged by the Church as a natural instinct of man, but not at the cost of dismissing God as either irrelevant or nonexistent. Why can God not be accepted in progress… it because some progress is unnatural or immoral? Most likely….so the teacher needs to be silenced or killed off.

  • Larry

    People who want government offices to abide by their faith in discriminating against the public. For example Kim Davis’s subordinates (sans her son) thought she was a bullying biyatch. Once authorized, they had no problem issuing marriage certificates in her absence.

    Everyone who stumps for banning abortion wants to control non-believers. People who attack access to contraception through their insurance feel the need to coerce employees to follow their religious faith.

    People who use public resources to support and extol their faith want to control the non-believers. To tell them that their religious belief won’t be respected by the government.

    “Why can God not be accepted in progress”

    Plenty of religious groups are quite progressive. You just don’t respect those faiths and sects. You and other reactionaries feel that God is only accepted by adhering to arbitrary centuries old rules and interpretations written under less enlightened times.