Cardinal Burke Offers Extensive Reflection on State of World, Church

The veteran cardinal observed that ‘some, even among bishops, would tell us that the Church has to change her doctrine, her sacred worship, and her discipline in order to accommodate the culture.’

Cardinal Raymond Burke
Cardinal Raymond Burke (photo: ACI Prensa / EWTN News)

Cardinal Raymond Burke, who in recent weeks has figured prominently in the news following a report that Pope Francis had taken away his salary and Vatican apartment, offered an extensive reflection on the state of the world and the Church during the Mass he offered to coincide with the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Dec. 12.

“At the time of the apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the missionary Church in what is today Mexico was suffering seemingly impossible challenges: the violent conflict between the Native Americans and the Spanish explorers and settlers, and the diabolical practice of massive human sacrifice on the part of the pagans,” recalled the 75-year-old cardinal in his homily given at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

The cardinal, prefect emeritus of the Apostolic Signatura — the highest court in the Vatican — noted that in 1531 “Our Lord sent Our Lady to show the way to order and peace in our personal lives and in society, namely, Christ.”

“Through her apparitions and her abiding presence on the miraculous tilma of St. Juan Diego, Our Lady of Guadalupe showed the bishop and the whole Church that the way to overcome evil and to spread goodness is teaching the truth, praying at all times and offering all our love to God in sacred worship, and practicing the truth in love,” he continued.

On the Mission of the Church Today

The prelate went on to note that “the Church in our time faces similar seemingly impossible challenges. Human life itself, marriage and the family, and the practice of the faith are all under constant attack from a culture which refuses to recognize God and to submit in obedience to his commandments.”

“Many today violently rebel against God, who reveals himself to us through reason and, most fully and perfectly, through the Catholic faith. The rebellion has beguiled even members of Christ’s mystical body, leading them to abandon Christ and his way, leading them to apostasy. What are we to do? What is the Church to do?” he asked.

The veteran cardinal observed that “some, even among bishops, would tell us that the Church has to change her doctrine, her sacred worship, and her discipline in order to accommodate the culture."

“They talk about a necessary paradigm shift or an ill-defined Synodal Way, which declares that all are welcome in the Church without making clear the conversion to Christ which is necessary to be a member of his mystical body,” he lamented.

Cardinal Burke then pointed out that these members of the Church “forget that the king in the parable of the wedding feast, who had welcomed all, ‘the good and the bad,’ to the marriage feast for his son, when he saw ‘a man who had no wedding garment,’ had the man cast out from the banquet. Our Lord concludes the parable of the wedding feast with the admonition: ‘Many are called, but few are chosen.’”

“Yes,” he stressed, “Our Lord wants all of us to share in the banquet of divine grace, but we cannot do so unless our hearts, one with the immaculate heart of Mary, rest in his most Sacred Heart, unless we allow ourselves to be clothed with him in our daily life.”

Holiness in Everyday Life

The prefect emeritus highlighted that “the way of the Church in today’s crisis is the same as it has always been: The teaching of the deposit of faith and of all the riches of the Catholic faith, daily prayer, and worship of God ‘in spirit and in truth,’ and a good and holy daily life.”

After recalling that St. John Paul II explained that the world will not be saved by discovering “some magic formula” or “inventing a new program,” the cardinal emphasized that the path of salvation is “Jesus Christ alive for us in the Church.”

“The program leading to freedom and happiness is, for each of us, holiness of life in accord with our state in life and the particular gifts with which God has endowed us,” the cardinal stressed.

“It is to holiness of life in Christ that Our Lady of Guadalupe draws us. Leaving the ordinariness of our daily living to come on pilgrimage to her holy place, she manifests to us the extraordinariness of our daily living in Christ,” Cardinal Burke explained.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Leads Us to Christ

The prelate noted that “the cause of our joy today, the cause of our abiding joy, the cause of our eternal joy, is Christ, God the Son incarnate, whom his Virgin Mother brought into the world and to whom she is ever drawing us, showing us that he, seated at the right hand of God the Father in glory, is also with us in his holy Church which, together with the Virgin Mary, we rightly call Mother.”

“Christ is the fulfillment of man’s deepest desire: to know God and to love and serve him,” he continued.

“The mother of Christ, whom he gave to us as our mother when he was dying on the cross, is, in her maternal love, ever taking us to him with the words which she spoke to the wine stewards at the wedding feast of Cana: ‘Do whatever he tells you,’” Cardinal Burke said.

In closing, Cardinal Burke encouraged the faithful: “Let us now, under the maternal care of Our Lady of Guadalupe, give our hearts completely to Our Lord in his Eucharistic sacrifice.”

“May the holiness of our union of heart with his most Sacred Heart through the most Blessed Sacrament of the altar shine forth in our every thought and word and action,” he concluded.