Cardinal Burke’s Hope

Clarity, Optimism and Truth: A Review of Cardinal Burke’s New Book

(photo: Register Files)

Editor’s Note: To learn more about this new book, see interview with Cardinal Burke here.



To Unite All Things in Christ

By Guillaume Alancon and Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke

Ignatius Press, 2016

123 pages, $14.95

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Some of the reminiscences in Cardinal Raymond Burke’s new book will come as no surprise to readers: He was raised in a Catholic family with support from devout parents, teachers and priests; and the Second Vatican Council brought unforeseen unrest, causing some of his brother priests to abandon their vocations.

Others of his personal revelations are startling: He first experienced his call to the priesthood at the tender age of 8; and his mother was urged to abort him after she became seriously ill during her pregnancy. “You already have five children,” the doctor told his mother. “It is important for you to be in good health so as to take care of them.”

In a wide-ranging interview, Cardinal Burke, chaplain of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and former prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, talked with French journalist Guillaume d’Alançon regarding his youth and childhood and the challenges facing the Church and the world today. That 123-page interview, titled Hope for the World: To Unite All Things in Christ, has now been released by Ignatius Press. 

Hope for the World presents Cardinal Burke’s keen insights into the wide-ranging problems facing the Church today. Cardinal Burke regrets that the euphoria that characterized the years of the Council was followed, in the minds of some, by ridicule of the Church’s constant teaching regarding liturgy, faith and morals. What resulted, Cardinal Burke explained, was an attempt by some to reconcile the spirit of the world with that of the Gospel, as exemplified by some people’s advocacy for a married priesthood and the ordination of women.

After 1968, newer instructional texts often focused on self-esteem rather than on timeless truths, which had formed the backbone of earlier catechetical tools such as the Baltimore Catechism or even the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Casual innovations in the liturgy belied the sacredness of what was happening on the altar. And the confusion in the post-Vatican II era reached down into the pews: Too often, among the faithful, there was a loss of faith in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, accompanied by a decline in Mass attendance.

Cardinal Burke lays out solutions to these and other problems. “We must return to our roots,” he says. “God alone is the goal of our quest, and everything must lead to him.”

Practically speaking, he explains, this spiritual renewal leads to a renewed reverence for the sacred liturgy, celebrated with dignity, and a renewed espousal of the virtues of modesty, purity and honesty.

As this spiritual renewal is enacted, Cardinal Burke expects good results — the results he summons to mind in his title, Hope for the World. He’s candid about his energetic expectations: “My hope,” he says, “... is that the Church may be more and more faithful to her identity as the Bride of Christ in her teaching, in her worship, in her prayer and devotion and in her moral life. My hope is that every branch of the vine, that every member of the Body of Christ, may become closer and closer to Christ and may know, love and serve him, so that the glory of Christ may illumine our world, as we await his final coming, when he will return all creation to the Father, thus inaugurating ‘new heavens and a new world.’”

From his lips to God’s ears. May God, whose divine will Cardinal Burke loves so profoundly, hear the prayer which is in his heart and respond to his hope, helping God’s people in the Church to grow in wisdom, knowledge and grace.


Kathy Schiffer writes from Southfield, Michigan.