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World Oct. 22, 2018

Abuse scandal is ‘as bad as it gets,’  Cardinal Burke tells youth

By Deborah Gyapong

Cardinal Raymond Burke, shown in this 2016 photo, told a meeting of young people in Rome the sexual abuse scandal is “horrendous.” The crisis is “truly as bad as it gets,” he said. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

ROME—Cardinal Raymond Burke urged Catholic young people attending a conference to hold fast to the teachings of Jesus Christ and to resist temptations by a “profoundly secularized culture” to change the Church into “one more Protestant denomination.” 

The world and the culture in general is “spiralling” into a “diabolical situation” at the same time the Church is experiencing “confusion,” the American cardinal told the more than 50 youth from around the world at a Oct. 19-21 conference sponsored by Voice of the Family, a coalition of pro-life and pro-family groups. “She is giving the impression of trying to approach the culture – truly a culture of death – and accommodate herself.”

The conference coincided with the Oct. 2-28 Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment taking place in the Vatican. Cardinal Burke, who has been publicly critical of Amoris Laetitia, the Pope’s exhortation on the family, was not invited to participate in the synod.

In an Oct. 21 homily, Cardinal Burke refuted the notion that the Church needs “some new approach or program.” He said rather than change, the Church needs to encourage people to draw closer to Jesus and the sacraments, “and live the life of the Church with the greatest possible integrity.”

The cardinal did not minimize the challenges the youth face. 

“The crisis is horrendous,” he said. “It’s truly as bad as it gets.” 

But he questioned a response that has focussed on “new programs and new protocols” but you “hardly hear what we are dealing with, which is grave sin,” he said.

He urged the youth to follow “what the Lord taught,” which is “naming the sin, taking responsibility, and making reparation.”

He acknowledged that the recent scandals have prompted many people to abandon the Church. In particular, he mentioned adult converts who came into the Church after “seeing the truth of the faith,” but now are witnessing proposals to change the Church so it becomes “one more Protestant denomination,” he said. 

He said, “there are those within the Church who would compromise the truth of doctrine and the moral life, in order to achieve a deadly coexistence with a profoundly secularized culture.”

He urged the youth to be sensitive to those suffering from the scandals and to help them understand the Church “remains the mystical Body of Christ.”

“We can’t allow ourselves to abandon the Church because of the grave sin” of some of her leaders.

“The only answer is Jesus Christ and his sacraments, and his governance in our lives,” Cardinal Burke said. 

After a pilgrimage to Holy sites in Rome Oct. 19, a day-long conference on Oct. 20, the youth participated in all-night adoration at the Church of the Most Holy Trinity of the Pilgrims, followed by Mass celebrated by Cardinal Burke. 

Cardinal Burke cited the example of the first Apostles.

“They recognized the great lie of claiming to live a life of charity while neglecting the truth and even making compromise with the lies of the popular culture and of those who have betrayed their baptism through infidelity to Christ,” he said.

“Today, many in the Church, moved by emotions and sentimentalism, confuse love of the sinner with permissiveness or even approval of sin. Even as Christ exemplifies so clearly for us in the Gospel and as Saint Augustine teaches us, we must love the sinner, while, at the same time, we must hate sin.”

Cardinal Burke formerly held the position of prefect of the Supreme Court of the Apostlic Signatura, the Vatican’s highest court. In 2016, Pope Francis removed him as prefect and named him patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, a largely ceremonial role. He also removed him from the Congregation for Bishops. He is widely considered to be a traditional and conservative member of the College of Cardinals.

Cardinal Burke was one of five cardinals who submitted dubia – Latin for “doubts” – to Pope Francis after the publication of Amoris Laetitia in 2016. The dubia are five questions asking the Pope to clarify aspects of the moral law, and framed so a “yes” or “no” answer will suffice.

Canadian Catholic News