Thursday, July 25, 2013

ZENIT Interview with Cardinal Burke

ZENIT has an exclusive interview with Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke today. The interview was conducted “on the sidelines of Sacra Liturgia 2013, a major international conference on the liturgy held in Rome at the end of June”. Cardinal Burke has some interesting things to say – be sure to read the entire interview!

Here are some excerpts (my emphases):

ZENIT: Some argue the liturgy is mostly about aesthetics, and not as important as, say, good works done in faith. What is your view of this argument that one often hears?

Cardinal Burke: It’s a Communist misconception. First of all, the liturgy is about Christ. It’s Christ alive in his Church, the glorious Christ coming into our midst and acting on our behalf through sacramental signs to give us the gift of eternal life to save us. It is the source of any truly charitable works we do, any good works we do. So the person whose heart is filled with charity wants to do good works will, like Mother Teresa, give his first intention to the worship of God so that when he goes to offer charity to a poor person or someone in need, it would be at the level of God Himself, and not some human level.

ZENIT: Some also say that to be concerned with liturgical law is being unduly legalistic, that it’s a stifling of the spirit. How should one respond to that? Why should we be concerned about liturgical law?
Cardinal Burke: Liturgical law disciplines us so that we have the freedom to worship God, otherwise we’re captured – we’re the victims or slaves either of our own individual ideas, relative ideas of this or that, or of the community or whatever else. But the liturgical law safeguards the objectivity of sacred worship and opens up that space within us, that freedom to offer worship to God as He desires, so we can be sure we’re not worshipping ourselves or, at the same time, as Aquinas says, some kind of falsification of divine worship.

ZENIT: It offers a kind of template?

Cardinal Burke: Exactly, it’s what discipline does in every aspect of our lives. Unless we’re disciplined, then we’re not free.

ZENIT: … What basis of liturgical formation do we need in our parishes, dioceses and particularly in our seminaries?

Cardinal Burke: The first important lesson that has to be taught is that the sacred liturgy is an expression of God’s right to receive from us the worship that is due to Him, and that flows from who we are. We are God’s creatures and so divine worship, in a very particular way, expresses at the same time the infinite majesty of God and also our dignity as the only earthly creature that can offer him worship, in other words that we can lift up our hearts and minds to him in praise and worship. So that would be the first lesson. Then to study carefully how the liturgical rites have developed down the centuries and not to see the history of the Church as somehow a corruption of those liturgical rites. In the true sense, the Church over time has come to an ever deeper understanding of the sacred liturgy and has expressed that in several ways, whether it be through sacred vestments, sacred vessels, through sacred architecture – even the care for sacred linens which are used in the Holy Mass. All of these are expressions of the liturgical reality and so those things have to be carefully studied, and of course then to study the relationship of liturgy with the other aspects of our lives.

Read the rest here.


  1. Mother Teresa mentioned that if her work was merely Social Work, she certainly would've quit! Her work was not at the human level, as Cardinal Burke clearly explained. She saw Christ Himself in the poor and suffering.

  2. OK-I read the entire interview at Zenit. What hogwash! If the liturgy is to blame for the state of our society today, then the Vatican and the clergy have a lot to answer for. But the concept that a person cannot be do charitable works in God's name without a "good" liturgy is preposterous. There are a tremendous number of God-loving non-RCs who serve their neighbors without the benefit of the RC liturgy. While a "good" liturgy may elevate some RCs to increase their charity, there is no demonstratable correlation between liturgy and charity. Cardinal Burke's BS will only appeal to elitist RCs who need to feel they are superior to their neighbors.

  3. Absolutely splendid! Thank you, Cardinal Burke! How I love that man. He is another shining star in the Church. May God bless him.

    fRED, I'm quite offended by you insulting a Prince of the Church. So I guess you know better than Cardinal Burke, correct?

    How in the world do you expect us Catholics to go out and evangelize the Culture when we can't even worship God properly? The Liturgy is worshiping God. Period. Yes, you heard right, worshiping God. Nothing else.

    We are to do it right. It's not about feeellinngggssss and want I want all the time. Nope, set that aside for one hour on sunday. Not hard to do at all. Today Michael Voris had a Vortex on the subject of feelings and the Church. Guess what? Catholicism is a religion of the intellect, not feelings. Plain and simple. Just my two cents...

    St. Pius X, ora pro nobis.

    God bless!


  4. Fred - not sure how you know there's no demonstrable correlation between liturgy and charity. You underestimate the power and the meaning and the spiritual significance of the liturgy. The liturgy is about worshiping God - giving God what is due to Him. If you don't have that part right, you don't have anything right.

    Appeal to "elite RC's"?!? Holy smokes. It's my experience that there are plenty of "liberal" Catholics who consider themselves the "elite" and who do their utmost to put down the Catholics who are asking that we simply "say the black and do the red" in the liturgy - that is, follow the rubrics. It's really not that hard. And it makes all the difference in the world.

  5. In the course of his teaching, he [Jesus] said, 'Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and accept greetings in the marketplaces, seats of honor in synagogues, and places of honor at banquets. They devour the houses of widows and, as pretext, recite lengthy prayers. They will receive a very sever condemnation.' [Mk 12:38-40]

    The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself: 'O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity-greedy, dishonest, adulterous-or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and I pay tithes on my whole income.'

    But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven. 'O God be merciful to me a sinner.'

    [And Jesus said] "the latter went home justified, nor the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted." [Lk 18:11-14] Jesus address this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else.

    Read the gospels to see what Jesus thought about the rubrics. Jesus also has very little to say about the liturgy.

    When I see statements like Cardinal Burke, everything that Jesus preached about against the Pharisees in the Gospels comes to mind. Cardinal Burke comes across to me as a spot on Pharisee.

    "Repent and believe in the gospel."

  6. fRED, you realize that there were *good* Pharisees, right? (like Gamaliel[sp] who taught St. Paul, see Acts 5:34 & 22:3).

    They talked the walk and walked the talk. In other words the did not tie up and place heavy burdens upon the "little ones" as Jesus puts it in Matthew 23:4 when he was describing *hypocritical* Pharisees.

    Cdl. Burke is an excellent priest/Cardinal. He walks the talk and talks the walk. I have heard him in person. He is the epitome of a true shepherd of Jesus Christ. Your assertion of Cdl. Burke as being a "spot on Pharisee" is, in my mind, the sin of detraction and you could not be farther form the truth of this man's true character.

    You say, "Jesus also has very little to say about the liturgy." This proves what? The Gospels record little of what Jesus taught about human sexuality, but a cursory reading of the entire Bible gives us more of a glimpse of those teachings (also via Sacred Tradition).

    fRED, Jesus expected His followers to be obedient to the rightful authority of the time... that is to say the Pharisees that sat on "Moses' seat", those good or bad (see Mt. 23:1-10).

    However, he admonished his followers (including the Apostles and their soon-to-be successors and *the* authority of the New Covenant), "The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat; so *practice and observe whatever they tell you*, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice." (Mt. 23:2-3)

    Holy Mother Church expects her faithful to follow her guidelines - whether the issues be faith and morals, liturgy or disciplines, we are to comply (see Mt. 16:19, 18:18, 10:40, Lk. 10:16, 16:10).

    This *is* repenting and believing in the authentic authority of the Gospel, here on earth.


  7. So little joy in you Jay

  8. I appreciate the work you do, Jay. To love God in His Sacraments IS joy! Deo Gratias!

  9. This post at Fr. Zs shows Cdl. Burke is no hypocrite.


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