"Christianitas": Your Eminence, we meet at the Fota VIII International Liturgical Conference in Cork. It has been 15 years since the publication of the “Spirit of the Liturgy”. In your opinion, have the expectations of the New Liturgical Movement formulated by Cardinal Ratzinger at that time been fulfilled?
card. Raymond Burke: I think that great progress has been made, especially during the pontificate of Benedict XVI because of his luminous teaching on the sacred liturgy and his courageous act to advance the reform of the liturgy through the hermeneutic of continuity, namely his motu proprio Summorum Pontificum and the mutual enrichment that liturgical celebration in two forms provides. I believe that there is great hope, and I see it in my travels around the world where I meet so many people who are inspired to seek a more worthy celebration of the sacred liturgy. It becomes more evident that this is the Work of God, the action of Christ and his Church, to give glory to God and to sanctify his people.
I find many priests, young priests in a particular way, but also older priests who are inspired by the work of the Fota Conference and other efforts to cultivate what is the highest and most perfect expression of our Christian life. I find many priests who are not able to attend this kind of event but who are buying the proceedings and are studying these questions.
In your new position of the Patron of the Order of Malta, do you find opportunities to revive the liturgical traditions of the Order?
The heart of the Order of Malta is the religious knighthood of the professed Knights of Justice. This goes back to the times of Blessed Gerard and the foundation of the Order. The Order exists for two principal reasons: Tuitio Fidei, the Defence of the Faith, and Obsequium Pauperum, the Care of the Poor. Certainly the Defence of the Faith in its heart means a very rich liturgical life. I am only at the beginning of my service. I am the Cardinal Patron, but also there is a Prelate of the Order who has jurisdiction over the priests who are professed knights. I look to encourage him and to encourage other knights in this rich liturgical life. I have had no opportunity to study in their archives but no doubt there are a number of liturgical texts that need to be studied and perhaps revived.
In the document of the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith published 12 years ago, there is emphasized the right to conscientious objection if homosexual unions are legally recognized. What could practical implementation of this right look like and what support should lay people expect from the Church hierarchy?
First of all, the legislation cannot have any real value because it is divorced from the moral law, for positive civil law cannot contradict the moral law. Given the kind of lawless conditions in which we live, here in Ireland the referendum and in the United States the Supreme Court made a law in defiance of the order that God has placed in the creation of the human community, which from the beginning has been marriage between one man and one woman. So what can we do?
In our homes we have to live rightly, and our sexual identity should be a model especially to children and should teach them the truth about marriage. We should teach them that what is going on in the State in regard to recognition of so-called homosexual “unions” or homosexual “marriages” is against the Law of God. They should be uncorrupted by this legislation, but because law is a teacher, in the society where you have unjust law it leads people to be unjust.
In that context, parents should be particularly attentive to the education of their children. And they should refuse to send their children to schools in which they are taught the mistaken gender ideology and immoral practices. Only in this way society will be eventually transformed. In other ways too, people have to insist on the right to follow their own conscience. That may take different practical forms, and in some cases individual members of the Church or the Church herself will suffer persecutions.
Lawless persons try to enforce their agenda on whole nations. It is discouraging for us, but on the other hand, we know that Christ has won the victory of truth and love. If we remain faithful to him through conscientious objection and simply by ordering correctly our own lives there will be a transformation. I have confidence it can be turned around.
Bishops and the priests should be the leaders of the people and give to the people every encouragement and support. In addition, Church leaders need to protest the injustice of these so-called laws. The faithful should understand that their bishops are supporting them.
It can also be the case, as happened in England in the time of King Henry VIII and other historical situations, when great injustices were being done, sadly, to the shame of the Church, the hierarchy was silent or even complicit with the injustice. Nevertheless, we as the individual members of the Church have to be faithful to Christ.
Interviewed by Filip Łajszczak
card. Raymond Burke