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Integrity of marriage under attack: Cardinal Burke

By Sarah Mac Donald - 18 November, 2014

Growing confusion and error about marriage "will weaken seriously if not totally compromise the Church’s witness” US prelate warns.

Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke

Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke

Former presidential hopeful, Dana Rosemary Scallon has accused the Government of denying people the right to hear the truth about the issues covered in the proposed Children and Family Relationships Bill.

The Bill proposes changes to the laws on adoption, custody and assisted human reproduction.

“We are being denied public debate and a vote on these issues,” Dana warned at a conference on ‘Family and Marriage’ hosted by the Catholic Voice and the Institute of Christ the King on Saturday in Limerick.

She told over 300 people who attended the conference, “We have been played with and toyed with as a nation.”

She also questioned why if the family based on marriage between a man and a woman is the gold standard and best practice it is not promoted in the same way that best practice is promoted in other areas of life.

The keynote address at the conference was given by Cardinal Raymond Burke, who was recently demoted by Pope Francis as Cardinal Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.

Referring to the differences which had emerged in the Church around October’s synod over issues such as Communion for the divorced and remarried and cohabitation, he asked the conference attendees for their “continued prayers for me for whatever little part I can play in the battle for the sake of the truth regarding marriage”.

He told the gathering at the Savoy Hotel in Limerick city, “It is my hope that my presence and my words will offer inspiration and strength to your critical mission of safeguarding and fostering the integrity of marriage and family life as the cradle of human life and the first school of its growth and development.”

“We are engaged in a very great struggle and it strikes at the very heart of the Church and there is not one of us who can excuse himself from engaging in the struggle for the defence of the truth of our faith,” the former Archbishop of St Louis said.

The 66-year-old prelate warned that in a world in which the integrity of marriage has been under attack for decades, there was at the present moment “no more critical issue for us to address”.

“The Church has remained a faithful herald of the truth about God’s plan for man and woman in the faithful indissoluble and procreative union of marriage,” he commented.

But Cardinal Burke warned that the Church, under pressure from a totally secularised culture, was at risk from the growing confusion and even error which had entered it and “which will weaken seriously if not totally compromise the Church’s witness to the detriment of the whole of society”.

He criticised the confusion and error which he said became evident to the world during the recent session of the third extraordinary assembly of the synod of bishops.

“The assembly, dedicated to the discussion of the pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelisation, found itself addressing in a confused way erroneous practices which contradict the Church’s constant teachings and practice regarding holy matrimony,” he said.

The Cardinal said he was referring to practices “which would give access to the sacraments to those who are living in a public state of adultery which would condone in some manner cohabitation outside of the sacrament of matrimony and would purport to find elements of goodness in sexual relations between persons of the same sex.”

The report given at the mid point of the synod made strikingly clear the gravity of the situation, the American prelate suggested.

“The report itself, which lacked practically any consistent reference to the constant magisterium of the Church, was a kind of manifesto – a kind of incitement to a new approach to fundamental issues of human sexuality in the Church – an approach that was a complete rupture from the church’s tradition,” the new Patron of the Order of Malta said.

He said his “great hope” was that the synod of bishops would hold up the holiness of marriage – the indissolubility of marriage and the great gift of fidelity and the great gift of procreativity for the married and for the whole of society and for the Church.

“This should be the work of the synod in a world that has grown very dark in its approach to marriage and family life,” he said and he cited as an example the “iniquitous theory of gender that is becoming more and more pervasive and is being introduced into the curriculum in our schools – corrupting the minds of children”.

He said that “Often today a notion of tolerance that promotes ways of thinking and acting contrary to the moral law seems to be the interpretative key for many Christians. This notion is not securely grounded in the moral tradition yet it tends to dominate our approach to the extent that we end up claiming to be Christian while tolerating ways and thinking and acting that are diametrically opposed to the moral law – revealed to us in nature and the sacred scriptures.”

Other speakers at the conference in Limerick were Fr Marcel Guarnizo and Mgr Michael Schmitz.

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