Catholic social media is all abuzz with news that Cardinal Burke, squashing rumors to the contrary, has confirmed that the long awaited “formal act of correction” of Francis is still on track.
Don’t you believe it.
During an engagement at a Washington, D.C. area parish on Friday evening, Cardinal Burke was asked what he and the other Dubia Brothers will do if Francis fails to provide an official response to the five dubium that were submitted to him over six months ago.
This same question was posed by Edward Pentin of National Catholic Register back in November, to which Cardinal Burke replied at the time:
“There is, in the Tradition of the Church, the practice of correction of the Roman Pontiff. It is something that is clearly quite rare. But if there is no response to these questions, then I would say that it would be a question of taking a formal act of correction of a serious error.”
Now, pay very close attention to the answer that was given by Cardinal Burke on Friday:
“Then we simply will have to correct the situation, again in a respectful way, but simply to say that, to draw the response to the questions from the constant teaching of the Church and to make that known for the good of souls.”
Has something changed?
If one assumes that Cardinal Burke chose his words carefully in both instances, which given his legal background is rather likely, you better believe something has changed.
In November, the cardinal essentially promised a “correction of the Roman Pontiff,” and for the simple reason that he is teaching “serious error.”
On Friday evening, he sung a rather different tune; saying that the cardinals “will have to correct,” not the pope, but “the situation.”
And how exactly how might the Dubia Brothers do that?
By taking it upon themselves to provide answers to the dubia – a “Catholicism 101” quiz that any moderately well-formed adolescent can ace.
Does that sound like a formal act of correction of a Roman Pontiff who is teaching serious error?
It certainly doesn’t sound that way to me.
This most recent response comes on the heels of similar comments made by Cardinal Burke in an interview with the Remnant in January.
When asked by Michael Matt what the promised “formal act of correction” might look like, Burke replied:
“Well, it doesn’t look too much differently than the dubia. In other words, the truths that seem to be called into question by AL would simply be placed alongside what the Church has always taught and practiced and annunciated in the official teaching of the Church. And in this way these errors would be corrected.”
Notice how the tone has become progressively softer over the last four months:
– In November, it was the Roman Pontiff who would stand corrected in light of his serious error.
– In January, it was truths that only seem to be called into question (“these errors”) that would be corrected.
– Now, in March, it’s merely a “situation” that must be corrected.
At this rate, God only knows what May will bring.
In any case, as I wrote following Cardinal Burke’s Remnant interview:
If the bitter experience of the past five decades has taught us anything it’s that simply juxtaposing truth alongside error without plainly condemning the latter (in this case,Amoris Laetitia) and its purveyors (Francis chief among them) is a fool’s errand.
If Cardinal Burke confirmed anything last Friday evening it’s that he and his confreres are men of the Council – that regrettable event wherein the Apostolic duty to condemn both heresies and heretics was jettisoned in favor of religious diplomacy and dialogue with the proponents of evil.
That being the case, I’m no longer expecting an awful lot to come from this dubia dust up.