Some extracts from an interview of Cardinal Burke, which gives clear guidelines of what Catholics must believe concerning the Church’s teachings on life-issues.
In contrast to some prelates who have recently called into doubt the Church’s moral teachings, American Cardinal Burke recently gave an interview to Polonia Christiana (a Polish magazine), during which he affirmed what Catholics must believe on such topics.
Courtesy of LifeSiteNews, we have published below some extracts of their translation of Izabella Parowicz’s January 7, 2014 interview entitled, “Cardinal Burke on faith, the right to life, and the family: English exclusive”. Note: the interviewer’s questions have been edited to reduce their length.
1. Is it possible to be partially Catholic?… To what extent are Catholics allowed to compromise when it comes to defending human life, marriage and family?
The notion of “partial Catholicism” is a contradiction in terms, which reflects the current cultural tendency to individualism and relativism, in other words, the tendency to accommodate any reality, without respect for its objective nature, to one’s own thoughts and desires. Catholics who have such a notion of their Catholic faith and practice are sometimes called “cafeteria” Catholics, because they pick and choose what they want to believe and follow from among the Church’s teachings on faith and morals. A true Catholic accepts, without compromise, all the truths which the Church teaches regarding the faith and the moral life.
2. Why is innocence downplayed nowadays? I refer to the life of unborn babies, to children [exposed to] sex education classes, and to innocence understood as purity of thoughts and (premarital) purity of flesh?
…Parents and teachers should be vigilant that nothing is introduced into the curriculum which violates a child’s innocence and even attempts to instill in the child gravely wrong ways of thinking, for example, a curriculum endorsed by a certain major government which teaches 4 and 5 year olds that marriage can take other forms than the lifelong, faithful and procreative union of one man and one woman.
3. …Nowadays attacks on human life are becoming stronger and stronger. Even nominally Catholic doctors… tend to take the sacredness of human life lightly and allow solutions which involve killing (i.e. abortion and euthanasia)… How can we prevent this intrinsic, disguised evil from spreading further?
…It is critical to give children, among whom are the future physicians of the world, a solid catechesis, including essential formation in respect for the inviolable dignity of innocent and defenseless life, for the integrity of marriage and the family, and for the free exercise of a rightly-informed conscience…
4. There is a growing pressure… to legalize in vitro techniques…. Catholic doctors who stand up publicly for the human life and do not hesitate to protect it are often… [ridiculed]… What arguments can be used to persuade… minds which do not want to listen…?
It is important to underline that the Church’s opposition to “in vitro” techniques for human conception is based on the natural moral law and not on a specifically Catholic precept. In discussing the question publicly, it is important to show how right reason regarding the inviolable dignity of human life and the integrity of human procreation makes the artificial generation of human life, even if for some good purpose, always and everywhere gravely wrong…
5. The world today is often contemptuous of numerous families (especially of the “reckless” parents), on the other hand many families… (in the time of economic crisis), they decide not to have “too many” children. …Aren’t also we, Catholics (i.e. Catholic marriages) tainted with a certain fear of having more children? Aren’t we seeking for excuses to justify our closing off to new life?
Two fundamental ethical and religious principles must be kept in mind. First of all, the conjugal bond is by its very nature procreative. A husband and wife will, therefore, welcome the procreation and education of children as “the crowning glory” of their marital love…
…Secondly, the procreation and education of children is a most serious responsibility of parents which they exercise with full respect for the nature of human procreation, not employing either devices or chemicals to alter artificially that nature. Pope Paul VI provided for us the perennial teaching of the Church on responsible parenthood in his Encyclical Letter Humanae Vitae(July 25, 1968)…
…In the end, what is essential is to understand that marital love is a sacramental participation in divine love which is pure and selfless, that is, totally generous. Parents, then, while they will take care to provide for what is essential for the correct upbringing of their children, will be generous in accepting every gift of new human life from God, recognizing in the act of procreation a cooperation in the mystery of God’s love which is particularly theirs. In that way, they will teach their children to love in the same way, to accept the sacrifice of material goods for the sake of loving God and neighbor. The contraceptive mentality, which radically distorts the beauty of marriage and family, teaches us to seek material goods above all else and, therefore, to become selfish. It is no wonder that the contraceptive mentality leads individuals to justify in their minds procured abortion, an intrinsically evil act.
7. I would like to touch upon the issue of nominally Catholic politicians who act against the teaching of the Church… Your Eminence frequently emphasises that these politicians must not be given the Holy Communion… How should priests proceed in order to ensure that this ban fulfils not only a punitive but also a corrective function?
…The exclusion of those who persist in manifest and grave sin, after having been duly admonished, from receiving Holy Communion is not a question of a punishment but of a discipline which respects the objective state of a person in the Church. Even as St. Paul, in chapter 11 of the First Letter to the Corinthians, admonished the early Christians: “For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself” (v. 29), so also the Church, down the ages, has admonished those engaged in manifest and grave sin not to approach to receive Holy Communion. In the case of a politician or other public figure who acts against the moral law in a grave matter and yet presents himself to receive Holy Communion, the priest should admonish the person in question and then, if he or she persists in approaching to receive Holy Communion, the priest should refuse to give the Body of Christ to the person. The priest’s refusal to give Holy Communion is a prime act of pastoral charity, helping the person in question to avoid sacrilege and safeguarding the other faithful from scandal.
8. …How should Catholic parents react to elements of gender ideology whether planned or already introduced into the school curricula? Is the Catholic Church able to offer a philosophy of femininity that could counter the narratives proposed by the feminists?
Parents today must be especially vigilant in instructing their children in the truth about human sexuality and in safeguarding them from all of the false messages regarding human sexuality conveyed in the schools and by the communications media. Parents should insist that their children not participate in lessons or activities in school which betray the truth about human nature, male and female. Particularly pernicious is the so-called “gender theory” which is promoted ever more aggressively, especially through educational curricula for children and young people.
In fact, the Church’s Tradition offers a powerful model of true femininity in the Blessed Virgin Mary and in many female saints…
10. The policy of the President of the US towards the Christian civilisation becomes more and more aggressive…
It is true that the policies of the President of the United States of America have become progressively more hostile toward Christian civilization. He appears to be a totally secularized man who aggressively promotes anti-life and anti-family policies…
11. I would like to touch upon the issue of legalisation of same-sex “marriages” …How can public opinion be made aware of the fact that the reason why the Church interferes with these new practices is because the politics has been more and more interfering with the natural law? …
The issue in question is precisely the natural law, which is the irreplaceable foundation of all legislation. The natural law written upon every human heart, as St. Paul observes in the Letter to the Romans (2:15), teaches those non-negotiable principles of law without which it makes no sense to speak of justice and love. I refer to respect for the dignity of human life, for the integrity of marriage and the family, and for the exercise of religion. Governments which impose legislation recognizing the relationship of two persons of the same sex as matrimonial violate the natural law, which teaches that marriage is the union of one man and one woman and that the sexual union belongs properly to marriage…
12. Is there any hope that the evil trend in the US legislation concerning the life protection be reversed? …Why were the tactics adopted by the abortionists so effective and how can it be successfully countered?
There is hope that the evil anti-life laws of the United States can be overthrown and that the anti-life movement which urges yet more of such legislation can be resisted. The pro-life movement in the United States has been working since 1973 to reverse the unjust decision of the Supreme Court which struck down state laws prohibiting procured abortion. It is true that the Supreme Court decision stands, but it is also true that the pro-life movement has grown ever stronger in the United States, that is, that more and more citizens, especially young citizens, have been awakened to the truth about the grave evil of procured abortion.
There are a number of reasons why anti-life legislation and decisions of the courts have prevailed in the United States until the present. The forces of secularization have been and remain powerful, and are supported by the greater part of the mass media. There has been a gravely defective catechesis in the United States for several decades, which has left adults and young people ill-equipped to defend the truth of the moral law. There has also been the tendency for the Church to be timid regarding its solemn duty to defend the truth in the public forum, coupled with an erroneous interpretation of the non-establishment clause of the Constitution of the United States. The non-establishment clause prohibits an established religion or religion of the state in the USA, but it does not prohibit the Church from witnessing publicly to the truth. The false interpretation is usually called “the separation of Church and State” and would restrict the activity of the Church exclusively to ecclesiastical matters. These are some of the factors which have favored the anti-life and anti-family movements in the USA.
14. …How can our worship of God help us stand up in defence of human life?
According to the ancient wisdom of the Church, the law of worship is essentially connected to the law of belief and the law of practice. Christ comes into our midst through the Sacred Liturgy, especially the Sacraments of the Most Holy Eucharist and of Penance, to cleanse our hearts of sin and to inflame our hearts with His own love through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Only when we have a strong sense of the reality of the encounter with Christ in the Sacred Liturgy will we understand the truths of the faith and the moral life, and what they mean for our daily living. This sense is fostered by a manner of celebrating the Sacred Liturgy with our eyes fixed on Christ and not on ourselves. It should not surprise us that the period of post-Conciliar experimentation with the Sacred Liturgy, a period which was marked by so many liturgical abuses, was accompanied by a loss of faith and by moral decline. If the Sacred Liturgy is seen as a purely human activity, an invention of man, it will no longer be true communion with God and, therefore, will no longer nourish the faith and its practice in everyday living.
Originally posted by SSPX – District of USA.