During his recent stay in France, Cardinal Burke gave an exclusive interview to TV Libertés. We have transcribed the main points:
The Cardinal was in France for the Chartres pilgrimage. He celebrated Mass at the close of the pilgrimage on Monday in Chartres Cathedral.
He stated that he was very impressed by his visit to the camp and his meeting with all those who put themselves at the service of the pilgrims. He recalled that pilgrimages, which existed even in the Old Testament, were undertaken in the early Church and practised by Christ Himself. He also underlined the importance of making pilgrimages even today, of leaving behind the circumstances of our everyday existence to go in prayer and penance to a holy place in order to rediscover the supernatural in our lives. The Chartres pilgrimage, which is centred on the Sacred Liturgy, the fullest and highest expression of our life in Christ, is becoming increasingly attractive and the number of participants is set to increase in the years to come.
A month earlier, the Cardinal was in Fatima for the canonisation of Jacinta and Francisco. “The apparitions of Fatima are very relevant because the Mother of God, when she appeared in Fatima in 1917, addressed the problems of the modern world: secularisation, atheism, materialism, in particular under the political form of communism. Unfortunately this situation has not changed and today we are faced with a particularly virulent form of secularisation in the world and also within the Church. The call of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to do penance and to follow God’s plan is even more relevant today than at the time of the apparitions. It is an appeal, a message for the Church.”
Regarding the writings of Sr. Lucia, who explained that the final battle will be centred on the family: “Yes, Sr. Lucia wrote to Cardinal Caffara, then Mgr. Caffara, the first president of the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. He had requested prayers from Sr. Lucia because of the many problems he faced in the early days of the Institute. Sr. Lucia wrote to him, stating that the attack of the evil one in the Church will be against the family. In our time, Satan has attacked the world—and even the Church—with errors concerning the family and rebellion against the union of man and woman in marriage which constitutes the family. We must recognize this challenge and fight to save the family in the original form in which God created it at the beginning of the world.”
Cardinal Burke (and Bishop Schneider) have both mentioned the benefits which an official Consecration of Russia to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary would bring to the Church. On this subject, he explains: “I am not questioning the fact that in 1984, St. John-Paul II consecrated the entire world, including Russia, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. But I think that in the present time, in which Russia continues to be an important political power in the world while having undergone a certain conversion from communism to a more Christian form of government, it is more important now to make a specific consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart, as the Mother of God requested at Fatima.”
He also spoke about the 10th Anniversary of the Motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, which authorized the celebration of the extraordinary form of the Roman rite: “The Motu proprio responded to a situation following Vatican Council II where the liturgical reform desired by the Council Fathers was falsely interpreted. According to this false interpretation, the new form of the Sacred Liturgy should be completely different from the form of the Sacred Liturgy adopted throughout the centuries. This is a contradiction, because the Sacred Liturgy is organic, transmitted throughout the centuries by the apostolic tradition. Thus, the Motu proprio has given us the possibility to restore unity in the form of the Sacred Liturgy so as to emphasize the unchanging reality of Jesus present among us. I think that the celebration in the extraordinary form is going to increase, because in all my visits I see many young people who are attached to the extraordinary form of the Mass. What attracts them is the holiness of this rite. The liturgy is after all an action of God Himself: Jesus, seated in glory on the right hand of the Father, comes down on the altar to be present once again in His sacrifice. The extraordinary form is more obviously holy. Young people, young families, are very attracted by the extraordinary form. I am not saying that the ordinary form is not holy! Certainly it is, but the reform has, in a certain sense, stripped bare the form of the rite and has made this holiness less visible.”
The final topic explored in the interview were the Dubia, the questions concerning the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia and in particular article 8, addressed last autumn to the Holy Father along with Cardinals Brandmüller, Caffara and Meisner: “These questions are very important, because following the publication of the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, there has been great confusion in the Church, confusion among the faithful, among priests, among bishops. This confusion is extremely serious because it affects the salvation of souls. For married people, the sacrament of marriage is linked to eternal salvation. For the Church, marriage is the building block of the life of the Church and of society. This confusion also affects the sacraments of the Eucharist and of Penance: the necessary dispositions to receive these sacraments are not clear. We have, therefore, respectfully put these questions to the Holy Father, to offer him the possibility of clarifying the most important points in the post-synod exhortation. We are still hoping for a response from the Holy Father, and we will continue to implore a response for the good of the entire Church. This confusion is difficult, especially for priests. In my travels in various parts of the world, priests in particular tell me that is difficult for them because the faithful are asking impossible things. For example, a person living in an irregular matrimonial situation asks to receive Holy Communion without correcting his situation…It is very difficult for priests. I have great sympathy and compassion for priests who find themselves in this situation.”
To conclude, the Cardinal finished with a strong message of encouragement: “The situation in the world and the Church can lead to a sense of discouragement. I would say “fear not”, because the Lord is always with us. When we are faced with challenges like those of today, very great challenges, we should count even more on Him, by prayer, penance, but also by our commitment to bring the truth and the love of Christ into the world. He will never fail to respond to our prayers, to our efforts to evangelize in these times.”
. Translation by Maria McDermott]