Cardinal Burke: It is ‘licit’ to call for the resignation of Pope Francis

U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, patron of the Knights and Dames of Malta, center left, and a group of priests pose with Pope Francis during his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Sept. 2. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)  U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, patron of the Knights and Dames of Malta, center left, and a group of priests pose with Pope Francis during his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Sept. 2. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Asked if it were wrong to ask for Pope Francis’ resignation, as the former nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, has done in his 11-page letter, Cardinal Raymond L. Burke responded, “I cannot say it is wrong.”

“I can only say that to arrive at this one must investigate and respond in this regard. The request for resignation is in any case licit; anyone can make it in the face of whatever pastor that errs greatly in the fulfillment of his office, but the facts need to be verified,” he said in an interview published this morning in La Repubblica, Italy’s highest circulation daily.

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Cardinal Burke was among the first of a small number of bishops to come out publicly in support of Archbishop Viganò’s denunciation of the pope. It came as no surprise; he is widely considered one of the leaders of the traditionalist groups that oppose Francis, and the archbishop and Cardinal Burke both contest aspects of the pope’s exhortation on the family (“Amoris Laetitia”). The former nuncio publicly sided with the dissenters to “Amoris Laetitia” when, last January, he added his name to the Kazakh bishops’ “profession of immutable truths about sacramental marriage.”

“I was deeply shaken because the entire document is most grave,” Cardinal Burke said.

“I was deeply shaken because the entire document is most grave,” Cardinal Burke said. “I had to read it several times because the first reading left me speechless. I believe that at this point there is need for a complete and objective report on the part of the pope and the Vatican.”

When it was pointed out that while Viganò’ contested Pope Francis’ handling of the McCarrick case he glossed over the way John Paul II and Benedict XVI had dealt with the allegations against the former cardinal during their pontificates, Cardinal Burke replied: “I cannot make a judgment on the merit. I can only say that here, too, it is necessary that there is clarity, by going through all the documents to arrive at the truth.”

Commenting on the fact that Archbishop Viganò’s letter states that there are cardinals and bishops who wish to change the church’s doctrine on homosexuality, Cardinal Burke said, “Yes, there are attempts to relativize the teaching of the church according to which a homosexual act is intrinsically bad.” He recalled the first session of the Synod of Bishops on the Family “where the idea was presented that the church should recognize the positive elements present in homosexual relations.” But, he added, “all this cannot have positive aspects.” Moreover, he described as “a problem” the “support that churchmen give to the Jesuit James Martin, who has an ‘open’ and wrong position on homosexuality.”

Cardinal Burke insisted that he is not “an antagonist” of Francis and has “nothing personal against the pope.”

He went on to point out that “the data show that the major part of sexual abuse committed by priests are in reality homosexual acts committed with young people.”

Cardinal Burke stated: “I think a homosexual person cannot become a priest because he is not able to exercise in depth that paternity that is required. He must have all the characteristics to be a father.”

He insisted in the interview that he is not “an antagonist” of Francis and has “nothing personal against the pope.” He explained, “I try simply to defend the truth of the faith and the clarity of the presentation of the faith.” The U.S. cardinal was one of four cardinals—two now dead, Joachim Meisner (Germany) and Carlo Caffarra (Italy), the fourth being Walter Brandmuller (Germany)—who wrote a letter to Pope Francis, which they later made public, raising doubts (“dubia”) about aspects of his teaching on marriage in the exhortation “Amoris Laetitia.” The doubts regarded the possibility for divorced and remarried people to receive the Eucharist under certain circumstances. In the interview, Cardinal Burke said that he did not know why the pope had not answered their questions.

He acknowledged in the interview that he contests Pope Francis’ magisterium, for example, “on the fact that persons in mortal sin can go to Communion. Or that non-Catholics can receive it in certain circumstances, beyond what is the present discipline of the church. It is not possible.”

Questioned about his relationship with Steve Bannon, the cardinal said the former advisor of President Trump had interviewed him once, at the time of the canonization of John Paul II, “and after that I have not seen him.”

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Reyanna Rice
11 months 4 weeks ago

Helen McCaffrey... what you are saying is so full of holes I’m not sure where to begin! You must not have read any of what this pope has written, witnessed his actions with people, especially marginalized people, or know any of his history. Yes, he has spoken out against the crisis of drug abuse and the loose sexual morals of young people...many times!!! Have you read or listened to his address before Congress? It’s obvious from it he has a deep respect for America and it’s people. His mother-in-law jokes are a result of his Italian heritage which is a blind spot for him. It’s forgivable because he truly does love and honor women, in a bit of an old fashioned way, but recognizing the rights of women to pursue their fullest potential. He’s had many close women friends who were high level professionals. And as far as schism...that is to be laid at the feet of those who do not see that the church must grow and change and fear their own need to open their hearts and minds

Luis Gutierrez
11 months 4 weeks ago

If Pope Francis resigns, who is going to succeed him? The entire ecclesiastical patriarchy is compromised. If the entire ecclesiastical patriarchy resigns, and is replaced by another ecclesiastical patriarchy, in a few years we are going to be back to the same mess.

The current sexual abuse crisis might be the "earthquake" that liberates the church from the patriarchal prison (cf. Acts 16:26ff). Some notes for your consideration:

Jesus Christ is the Redeemer, God made flesh, not a patriarch
God the Father is a person, but not a male
God the Son is a person, but was not a male before the incarnation
God the Holy Spirit is a person, but not a male
The Trinity is a communion of persons, not a patriarchate
The "Son of man" is God made flesh, not a patriarch
All men and women are consubstantial in their human nature
Jesus Christ is the Bread of Life, not the male of life
The substance of the Eucharist is BODY, not XX or XY chromosomes
The substance of the Eucharist is FLESH, not testosterone
Patriarchy is a disordered attachment to the supremacy of masculinity
The Church is a communion of persons, not a patriarchate
The Church is the body of Christ, not a woman with a male head
The Virgin Mary is the "type" of the Church, not a woman with a male head
The Marian dimension of the Church precedes the apostolic dimension
Apostolic succession is contingent on redeemed flesh, not on masculinity
The nuptial mystery of Christ and the Church is not a patriarchal marriage
Canon 1024 is an artificial contraceptive and abortifacient of female priestly vocations
Catechism 1577 reduces the priesthood of the New Law to priesthood of the Old Law
Catechism 1598 declares that ordaining only males is a choice, not a dogma
The exclusively male priesthood makes invisible the "feminine genius" in Christ
The Christian/Catholic/Orthodox faith is not intrinsically patriarchal
The conflation of patriarchal gender ideology and Christian doctrines is a disgrace
It is time to discard the patriarchal scaffolding that obscures the Catholic faith

The Vatican should stop fabricating patriarchal doctrines and allow Christ to call women to the priesthood and the episcopate. The theological foundation for doing it is crystal clear in St. John Paul II's Theology of the Body.

Bruce Pitman
11 months 4 weeks ago

Burke,Viganò, each has an agenda. Neither sees the underlying issue with abuse as a symptom of the assumption of clerical 'specialness' - "clerics" in Francis' language. We ought not give the time of day to what either of them says.

Chad Parker
11 months 4 weeks ago

So much opinions, and Jesus knows everything not Burke or Vigano. Remember, we go to church for Jesus, not the Pope, not the Cardinals or Bishops or those who think they know everytning.

Alvaro Amat
11 months 4 weeks ago

You are correct: we are not Catholics because we like or deslike our clergy, or for the Pope or for the Bishops. We are not Catholics because of the good or bad priests. We go to meet Jesús in the Eucharist! Amen!
The Church is not a political movement or a club. It is the mystical body of Jesus where we find our way to sainthood.

Alvaro Amat
11 months 4 weeks ago

Once again, a few traditionalist Cardinals going to the press, publishing their private letters and private conversations to press (pun intended) their own agenda. Instead of working for the church, by trying to remain United in Christ, they are creating division, Instead of attacking the problem at the root from their positions of power, they use their power to drive a wedge and debilitate the sacred body.
We have to stay strong, United and fight! We must fight together to protect our children and youth from those bad apples, to eliminate sin.

We have to fight to purify our beloved church, together as one, instead of debilitating our resolve with petty internal fights and stupid calls for resignation.
Burke and Co seem more interested in their own little egos than in the church. They want to be right and in pushing this, they are hurting the thing they claim to defend. Happened with the Dubia, it's happening again, they won't miss an opportunity!

Henry Brown
11 months 4 weeks ago

Why the vitriol ?

Cannot a lay commission be formed to find out what, as far as can be determined,
may have happened ?

Soames Landon
11 months 4 weeks ago

Pope Schmope.
What short memory you all have. Recall a Cardinal from Massachusetts who broke the LAW by sending criminal molesting priests from parish to parish instead of reporting them to authorities? So, Rome called the LASW veto Rome, gave him a prominent position and sanctioned him. When the State of Massachusetts sent extradition papers to return him to the US for criminal prosecution, it was JPII who protected Law and gave him sanction . One crime, one sin led to another. The message JPII sent to the clergy was....... tough break for the victims, but if you belong to the "Good Ole Boy Club" , we'll protect you. JPII a saint? My eye..... Satan's Accomplice was more like it, and up until now, the hierarchy and Clergy got the message they can do almost anything and no-one will touch them.

Soames Landon
11 months 4 weeks ago

Pope Schmope.
What short memory you all have. Recall a Cardinal from Massachusetts who broke the LAW by sending criminal molesting priests from parish to parish instead of reporting them to authorities? So, Rome called the LAW to Rome, gave him a prominent position and sanctioned him. When the State of Massachusetts sent extradition papers to return him to the US for criminal prosecution, it was JPII who protected Law and gave him sanction . One crime, one sin led to another. The message JPII sent to the clergy was....... tough break for the victims, but if you belong to the "Good Ole Boy Club" , we'll protect you. JPII a saint? My eye..... Satan's Accomplice was more like it, and up until now, the hierarchy and Clergy got the message they can do almost anything and no-one will touch them.

DONALD ALICE
11 months 4 weeks ago

I GOT CURED FROM HERPES,AFTER USING DR INIBOKU HERBAL MEDICINE.

I caught genital herpes from my ex boyfriend who never had any symptoms. I have had it for 4 months now,and it has affected my life. I have told my husband who I trusted about it and I have never had a bad reaction, it has affected my new relationships with my husband. People think herpes is really a minor skin irritation herpes has a long term effects on health. The stigma attached to this virus by ignorant people is ridiculous. Most people have herpes in one form or another. I would like to advise people on how i get rid of my herpes.i was reading a comment on the internet,and i saw a testimony posted by a woman from island that she get rid of her herpes with the help of doctor iniboku. so i was so happy when i saw that post,that his herbal medication is free.i quickly collect the herbal doctor email and i email him within 5 hr he respond to my email.i explain things to him he told me not to worry that i should fill his herbal form wish i did.he only request for little money that he will use to buy the items for the preparation of the herbal medicine,wish i send to him because the pain was too much for me to bear.after some days he told me that he has prepare the herbal medicine,that i should send him my address that he want to sent it to me via DHL or FED-EX that was how i got the herbal medication.and i use it as i was told.after few days i found out that my herpes was no more.when some of my friend who has herpes saw me they were surprise and i also introduce them to the man and they are also cure from the same herpes.if you have herpes,kindly contact doctor iniboku via this email drinibokuspelltemple@gmail.com or whatsapp +2347059186346

DONALD ALICE
11 months 4 weeks ago

I GOT CURED FROM HERPES,AFTER USING DR INIBOKU HERBAL MEDICINE.

I caught genital herpes from my ex boyfriend who never had any symptoms. I have had it for 4 months now,and it has affected my life. I have told my husband who I trusted about it and I have never had a bad reaction, it has affected my new relationships with my husband. People think herpes is really a minor skin irritation herpes has a long term effects on health. The stigma attached to this virus by ignorant people is ridiculous. Most people have herpes in one form or another. I would like to advise people on how i get rid of my herpes.i was reading a comment on the internet,and i saw a testimony posted by a woman from island that she get rid of her herpes with the help of doctor iniboku. so i was so happy when i saw that post,that his herbal medication is free.i quickly collect the herbal doctor email and i email him within 5 hr he respond to my email.i explain things to him he told me not to worry that i should fill his herbal form wish i did.he only request for little money that he will use to buy the items for the preparation of the herbal medicine,wish i send to him because the pain was too much for me to bear.after some days he told me that he has prepare the herbal medicine,that i should send him my address that he want to sent it to me via DHL or FED-EX that was how i got the herbal medication.and i use it as i was told.after few days i found out that my herpes was no more.when some of my friend who has herpes saw me they were surprise and i also introduce them to the man and they are also cure from the same herpes.if you have herpes,kindly contact doctor iniboku via this email drinibokuspelltemple@gmail.com or whatsapp +2347059186346

Gay Timothy O'Dreary
11 months 4 weeks ago

Donald, you really should stop seeing Tim O’Leary as your physician. He relies on Breitbart, First Things and Sede Vacantist R Us for his treatment guidelines. Consult with a physician who uses Evidenced Based Data.

Stop the misinformation. Herpesviridae is a large family of many virus subgroups, all viral, and never completely cured, e.g. Varicella Zoster Virus belongs to the Herpes family and causes Chicken Pox and later in the same individual as a mature adult, Shingles. Members of the Herpesviridae Family include Herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2, varicella-zoster virus, Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus, human herpesviruses 6, 7, and 8.

Pegon Zellschmidt
11 months 3 weeks ago

Questioned about his relationship with Steve Bannon....One interview and he has a 'relationship'. LOL

Vincent Gaglione
11 months 3 weeks ago

I was wondering what an examination of the record of Burke's tenure as a Bishop in the United States might reveal about how he handled cases of clergy sexual abuse of minors and clergy sexual liaisons with consenting adults.

kresimir cerovac
11 months 3 weeks ago

No, it is not licit! Now cardinal Burke has courage to say something like this. But during the time of pope John Paul II. and Benedict XVI. for such opinion he would be punished and even removed from list of cardinals.

kresimir cerovac
11 months 3 weeks ago

No, it is not licit! Now cardinal Burke has courage to say something like this. But during the time of pope John Paul II. and Benedict XVI. for such opinion he would be punished and even removed from list of cardinals.

Molly Roach
11 months 2 weeks ago

Why give Cardinal Burke a soapbox?

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