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Pope names Cardinal Burke a judge on Vatican supreme court

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has named U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke a member of the Apostolic Signature, the church’s supreme court, which the cardinal headed as prefect from 2008 to 2014.

Pope Francis has named U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke a member of the Apostolic Signature, the church’s highest court, which the cardinal headed from 2008-2014. Cardinal Burke is pictured leaving a papal audience to exchange Christmas greetings with members of the Roman Curia at the Vatican in this Dec. 22, 2016, file photo. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Members of the Apostolic Signature serve as judges in the cases, which mainly involve appeals of lower-court decisions or of administrative decisions by other offices of the Holy See.

The appeals involve everything from challenges to the decisions of marriage tribunals to recourse against the dismissal of a religious, the transfer of a parish priest, the restriction of a priest’s ministry, removal of ministerial faculties, renovation of a parish church and dismissal from a teaching position.

Cardinal Burke’s nomination was met with surprise in some quarters because he continues to speak publicly about issuing a formal “fraternal correction” of Pope Francis over the pope’s teaching in “Amoris Laetitia,” his exhortation on the family. But the public criticism of the pope did not prevent Pope Francis in late 2016 from naming Cardinal Burke the presiding judge in a church trial investigating allegations of sexual abuse leveled against Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron of Agana, Guam. The results of the investigation and trial have not been announced.

The pope’s nomination of Cardinal Burke, 69, was announced at the Vatican Sept. 30. Also named to the Apostolic Signature were Cardinals Agostino Vallini, the retired papal vicar of Rome, and Edoardo Menichelli, retired archbishop of Ancona, Italy. Cardinal Vallini was prefect of the court from 2004 to 2008; as a priest, Cardinal Menichelli had worked at the Apostolic Signature for more than 20 years. Two others also were named members: Belgian Archbishop Frans Daneels, who retired as secretary of the court in 2016; and Auxiliary Bishop Johannes Willibrordus Maria Hendriks of Haarlem-Amsterdam, a canon lawyer.

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Doctrinal chief dismisses idea of a ‘fraternal correction’ of pope

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — The Catholic Church is “very far” from a situation in which the pope is in need of “fraternal correction” because he has not put the faith and church teaching in danger, said Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Interviewed Jan. 9 on the Italian all-news channel, TGCom24, Cardinal Muller said Pope Francis’ document on the family, “Amoris Laetitia,” was “very clear” in its teaching.

Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, arrives for a news conference at the Vatican in this June 14, 2016, file photo. Cardinal Muller said the Catholic Church is "very far" from a situation in which Pope Francis is in need of "fraternal correction." He made his comment in an interview about the pope's apostolic exhortation, "Amoris Laetitia," with Italian news channel TGCom24. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, arrives for a news conference at the Vatican in this June 14, 2016, file photo. Cardinal Muller said the Catholic Church is “very far” from a situation in which Pope Francis is in need of “fraternal correction.” He made his comment in an interview about the pope’s apostolic exhortation, “Amoris Laetitia,” with Italian news channel TGCom24. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

In the document, the cardinal said, Pope Francis asks priests “to discern the situation of these persons living in an irregular union — that is, not in accordance with the doctrine of the church on marriage — and asks for help for these people to find a path for a new integration into the church according to the condition of the sacraments (and) the Christian message on matrimony.”

In the papal document, he said, “I do not see any opposition: On one side we have the clear doctrine on matrimony, and on the other the obligation of the church to care for these people in difficulty.”

The cardinal was interviewed about a formal request to Pope Francis for clarification about “Amoris Laetitia” and particularly its call for the pastoral accompaniment of people who are divorced and civilly remarried or who are living together without marriage.

The request, called a “dubia,” was written in September by U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, patron of the Knights of Malta, and three other cardinals. They published the letter in November after Pope Francis did not respond.

In an interview later, Cardinal Burke said the pope must respond to the “dubia” because they directly impact the faith and the teaching of the church. If there is no response, he said, a formal “correction of the pope” would be in order.

Cardinal Muller told the Italian television that “a possible fraternal correction of the pope seems very remote at this time because it does not concern a danger for the faith,” which is the situation St. Thomas Aquinas described for fraternal correction. “It harms the church” for cardinals to so publicly challenge the pope, he said.

In his letter on the family, Pope Francis affirmed church teaching on the indissolubility of marriage, but he also urged pastors to provide spiritual guidance and assistance with discernment to Catholics who have married civilly without an annulment of their church marriage. A process of discernment, he has said, might eventually lead to a determination that access to the sacraments is possible.

The possibility reflects a change in church teaching on the indissolubility of marriage and the sinfulness of sexual relations outside a valid marriage, in the view of the document written by Cardinals Burke; Walter Brandmuller, a German and former president of the Pontifical Commission for Historical Sciences; Carlo Caffarra, retired archbishop of Bologna, Italy; and Joachim Meisner, retired archbishop of Cologne, Germany.

In the TGCom24 interview, Cardinal Muller said, “everyone, especially cardinals of the Roman church, have the right to write a letter to the pope. However, I was astonished that this became public, almost forcing the pope to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’” to the cardinals’ questions about what exactly the pope meant in “Amoris Laetitia.”

“This, I don’t like,” Cardinal Muller said.

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Cardinal Burke: New evangelization fails if truths of marriage not upheld

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Catholic News Service

CHESTER, England — The new evangelization of Western societies will fail unless the church succeeds in transmitting its teachings on marriage and the family to Catholics, said a U.S. cardinal.

The success of efforts to convincingly preach anew the Gospel in secularized societies rests on the ability of Catholics to faithfully abide by the church’s teachings, said Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, patron of the Knights of Malta.

U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, patron of the Knights of Malta, gives a speech on marriage in Chester, England, March 6. Cardinal Burke warned his audience that the great project of the new evangelization would fail unless Catholics were soundly grounded in the teachings of the church on marriage and the family. (CNS photo/Simon Caldwell)

U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, patron of the Knights of Malta, gives a speech on marriage in Chester, England, March 6. Cardinal Burke warned his audience that the great project of the new evangelization would fail unless Catholics were soundly grounded in the teachings of the church on marriage and the family. (CNS photo/Simon Caldwell)

He said the obedient Christian witness of faithful married couples was critical to the renewal of the church and society and said Catholics must be willing to suffer in their efforts to uphold the truth of marriage.

“The challenge which confronts the whole church confronts particularly the church in the first cell of her life, which is the family,” he said in a March 6 speech, “Remaining in the Truth of Christ on Holy Matrimony.”

“If we can’t get it straight with regard to the truth about marriage and the family, we really don’t have much to say about anything else,” Cardinal Burke told more than 150 people at a meeting organized by Voice of the Family, an initiative of Catholic laity in support of the 2014-2015 Synods of Bishops on the family.

“Through sound family life, our society will be transformed,” he added. “Without a sound family life, it will never be transformed.”

The cardinal said it was clear “that if a new evangelization is not taking place in marriage and in the family, then it will not take place in the church or in society in general.”

“At the same time, the marriages transformed by the Gospel are the first and most powerful agent of the transformation of society by the Gospel,” he added. “The witness of the family is, therefore, at the heart of the new evangelization.”

The cardinal said there was “nothing more important” than safeguarding and fostering the truth about marriage and the family.

Without naming anyone, he criticized church figures who, he said, “will obscure the truth of the indissolubility of marriage in the name of mercy, who condone the violation of the conjugal union by means of contraception in the name of pastoral understanding and who, in the name of tolerance, retain silence on the very integrity of marriage as a union of one man and one woman.”

In a talk that lasted more than an hour, the cardinal cited the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, St. John Paul II and retired Pope Benedict XVI, but made scarcely mention of the teachings of Pope Francis.

In October, Cardinal Burke, the former archbishop of St. Louis and a distinguished canon lawyer, emerged as a prominent critic of the proceedings of the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family.

Shortly afterward, he was removed from his position as head of the Vatican’s highest court amid “legal restructuring,” a decision Pope Francis said had been made before the synod.

 

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