Cardinal Burke Promises “Formal Correction”
if Dubia Remain Unanswered
Or Does He?
by Christopher A. Ferrara
March 27, 2017
There has been a seemingly endless run-up to the “formal correction” of Amoris Laetitia (AL) that was supposed to follow publication of the four cardinals’ dubia respecting Chapter 8 of that disastrous document. There can be no reasonable doubt that Chapter 8, particularly in paragraphs 300-305, purports to reduce the exceptionless precept of the divine and natural law expressed in the Sixth Commandment to a “general rule” whose application varies according to circumstances even if the “rule” remains.
Indeed, the very point of the dubia was a public challenge to Francis to deny any intention to smuggle this form of situation ethics into the Church via AL. And Francis’ answer thus far is a stony silence, from which one can reasonably conclude that he cannot deny the implicit accusation. More than reasonable, the conclusion is inescapable, for that reading of his intention is precisely the reading his collaborators are following with his blessing, as we see with his letter to the bishops of Argentina.
So where is the “formal correction”? It has been more than six months since Francis received the dubia and still no correction in sight. But now we read that Cardinal Burke has just spoken (March 25) on the question at a parish in Virginia. Here is what he is reported to have said in answer to a question by the pastor:
“Fr. De Celles: If there is no response [to the dubia], will [sic], what will your response be, the Four Cardinals?
“Cardinal Burke: Then we simply will have to correct the situation, again, in a respectful way, that simply can say that, to draw the response to the questions from the constant teachings of the Church and to make that known for the good of souls.”
With all due respect, this is ridiculous. Six months of growing confusion and division have elapsed, the universal discipline of the Church is being fractured, and the Cardinal now reveals he and the other three cardinals will — any day now! — offer a “correction” that would amount to nothing more than answering their own dubia.
But the reason for presenting the dubia to Francis was to petition him to answer whether he means to teach what AL appears to teach, which (as the dubia make clear) is contrary to all prior teaching on the moral law. If the cardinals merely provide orthodox answers to their own questions, Francis is off the hook and the cardinals will have given us merely their own interpretation of AL, which they could have done without need of the dubia.
Meanwhile, Francis will continue to pursue his own patently heterodox interpretation of AL, being implemented relentlessly around the world by his various collaborators, and there will have been no “correction” of his errors whatsoever.
Enough of this nonsense! Unless the four cardinals forthrightly declare that AL — if read according to its apparent signification — is in error on the particular points raised, and then correct those errors as errors, this entire exercise will have been in vain, for the faithful will have no warning that Francis has erred and is promoting error in the Church. They will have only the four cardinals’ interpretation of AL in conformity with orthodox teaching — the same interpretation with which they began. But it is precisely Francis’ interpretation that matters and which, at this very moment, is provoking catastrophic fault lines in the Church.
Will no one, absolutely no one, in the upper hierarchy simply stand up and say what priests and laity around the world can plainly see: that AL is an error-ridden document, contrary to all prior teaching, including that of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, and that it must be rejected and rescinded for the good of the Church and the welfare of souls?
Apparently, the answer is no. Such is the final stage of the greatest crisis the Church has ever seen.