Let's not talk about it: Cardinal Burke urges pope to take hot-button issues off table for next synod

Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, prefect of the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature, leaves the concluding session of the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family at the Vatican Oct. 18. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

A recently reassigned Vatican official has urged Pope Francis to take the issues of Communion for the divorced and remarried, cohabitation and same-sex marriage "off the table" for next year's Synod of Bishops.

Addressing more than 300 delegates at the family and marriage conference in Limerick Nov. 15, U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke said these issues had distracted the work of the synod in its first session in October.

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Warning that Satan was sewing confusion and error about matrimony, the cardinal patron of the Knights of Malta said, "Even within the church there are those who would obscure the truth of the indissolubility of marriage in the name of mercy."

The 66-year-old former archbishop of St Louis instead recommended that next year's synod devote itself to promoting the church's teaching on marriage.

Cardinal Burke also ruled out any easing of the restriction on Communion for those divorced and remarried without an annulment of their original marriage.

"I fail to be able to comprehend how—if marriage is indissoluble and someone is living in a state contradicting this indissolubility of marriage—the person can be admitted to holy Communion," he said.

He urged the Catholic faithful to write to Pope Francis and Vatican and Irish church officials to make their views known.

Lashing out at the "so-called contraceptive mentality," he warned it was "anti-life" and blamed it for "the devastation that is daily wrought in our world by the multi-million dollar industry of pornography" and the "incredibly aggressive homosexual agenda," which he claimed could only result in "the profound unhappiness and even despair of those affected by it."

Cardinal Burke said he was reduced to tears by attempts to introduce "so-called gender theory" into schools.

He warned that such theory was "iniquitous" and that exposing children to such "corrupt thinking" could not be permitted.

He said "society has gone even further in its affront to God and his law by claiming the name of marriage for liaisons between persons of the same sex."

To applause, the cardinal said he refused to use the term traditional marriage for the marriage of a man and a woman.

"My response is—is there any other kind of marriage? I fear that by using that terminology that we give the impression that we think that there are other kinds of marriage; well, we don't."

Speaking ahead of the conference to RTE News, Cardinal Burke said he would refuse Communion to a Catholic politician who voted for same-sex marriage.

In his opening address to the conference, Bishop Brendan Leahy of Limerick said the family needs to be rediscovered as the essential agent of evangelization.

However, he referred to the final message of October's synod, to remind conference delegates that "people need to be accepted in the concrete circumstances of life."

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