Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Insights On The Church And Modern Society

Q. It has been about four months since Pope Francis became the 266th Roman Pontiff. From the vantage point of your office in Rome, have you observed any tangible changes in tone or day- today operation in the Vatican? What is the role of the group of eight Cardinals formed by Pope Francis?

A. Certainly Pope Francis, as is the case with every Pope, has his distinctive style which is not the same as Pope Benedict’s. Everyone is adjusting to that. It is a style that has very much appealed to the faithful in terms of the number of pilgrims coming to Rome and their positive and overwhelming response to the new Holy Father. He has a way of communicating with people that is direct and which demonstrates his fatherly concern for them as individuals. When people see the fatherly and spiritual care that he gives to others, they understand that he also has the same care for them.

With regard to changes, the Holy Father has indicated that he wants to study a reform of the Roman curia and that would necessarily mean also a reform in his way of relating to the particular churches throughout the world. He is studying all of that at the present moment. Those of us who hold offices in the Roman curia have been confirmed provisionally until he has finished this study. As Pope Francis has himself said, he was not part of the Roman curia and is just now coming to know the operation of the curia, and that takes time. He has only been in office for four months, so we are waiting to see.

The group of eight Cardinals Pope Francis named [ to advise him on the reform of the Roman curia] is the result of a suggestion made during the general congregation before the conclave and is actually a suggestion that was discussed some years ago. The norms for the functioning of the body have not yet been published and so I cannot say exactly what will be the scope of the considerations presented to the group or precisely how it will operate. I imagine that that type of document will be forthcoming and then we will know more about it. What seems clear is that the Holy Father wants to have a group of close and highly qualified advisors to consult with in carrying out his responsibilities.

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Submitted by Francis V.


  1. The Pope says we are OBSESSING on the Unborn, Contraception, and castigating Homosexuals!
    One of my good friends is in Rome right now, MAYBE she will see the Pope, in all his Glory! Amen

  2. To comment on only one specific:

    “The renewed reformed rite of the Mass is not a new Mass, but is in continuity with the holy Mass as it has always been celebrated.”

    Few of the “loyal opposition,”–myself included–have called the Novus Ordo a “new mass.” Cardinal Burke comes closer to calling it a new rite, above, than just about any post-conciliar pope or Vatican insider. Obviously, and deliberately, he pulls up short: as is typical of post-conciliar, V-II oriented clergy.

    The plain, observable fact of the matter: The Novus Ordo is a discrete and new (“Novus”) rite. To refer to it as the “ordinary form” and to the Tridentine rite as the “extraordinary form” of the same rite is specious, ridiculous and intended not to enlighten, but to misdirect.

  3. Cathy,
    Me thinks the Pope did not suggest we were Obsessing over these modern issues but that they should be put into context?
    He is aware of them but was asking that we have other important and even more important items on the agenda of being a Christian.
    I hope your friend has a great time. Being in Europe we are more lucky than our American cousins because it is much easier to get around Europe and visit places like Rome etc. I hope she has good weather as Rome can be very hot or very wet!

    You are correct. The new (in age terms by use) vernacular is not strictly new in the sense that it is a continuation of the older Tridentine mass.
    The Council V2 has not altered the consecration nor the overall format or Liturgical statements. Indeed recently here, I think also in the USA? the liturgy was “updated” to bring the vernacular more in-line with the Latin. This has caused wide upset not least because languages do not always translate well but the decision has been made, so?

    On the other hand the added add on’s for example the variation in Scripture readings, the more familiar understanding of the language (that may or may not be a good thing. We agreed over Caritas for example?) have not properly added to the Mass in its Divine celebration but are “new in the way” it is celebrated locally if not universally?

    • I would add this point to those already made: The Novus Ordo rite was instituted with Latin as its language, and is quite properly celebrated that way. The vernacular is allowed (subject to approval of its translation), but not required.

    • Scampy22,
      Me thinks you were INCORRECT, the Pope used the word “Obsessed” with Abortion, Contraception, and Homosexuality!
      Look up the article published a few days ago!
      Of course, he had his reasons, but I find No Other Topics, as important to the World today! Murder of the Unborn and accepting Same Sex marriage are Forbidden by God! Me thinks they may Trump any other issue!

      • Cathy,
        I think the Pope sums it up far better than I can. Some of the transcript which I think and hope speaks for itself.


        “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.”

        Author notes; He explained that the dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent. Instead of focusing on controversial issues all the time, he wants to give primacy to the preaching of the gospel:

        Pope continued “A beautiful homily, a genuine sermon must begin with the first proclamation, with the proclamation of salvation. There is nothing more solid, deep and sure than this proclamation. Then you have to do catechesis. Then you can draw even a moral consequence. But the proclamation of the saving love of God comes before moral and religious imperatives. Today sometimes it seems that the opposite order is prevailing.”

      • Scampy2,
        Thank You
        Where is the word “Obsessed?” I read it in 3 sources, or else I wouldn’t have mentioned it!
        That. Makes all the difference….if you know, what I mean?
        Do you think the Sly Media, was trying to throw Darts, at the Papacy?

  4. Cathy
    Nothing would surprise me about the media. Where ever the Pope is concerned it is doubly ambiguous in its statements!

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