This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Cardinal Burke accused of being a liberal modernist

The story so far: Pope Francis has written a 58,000 word blockbuster, Amoris Laetitia, which is soon to be a Hollywood epic, starring Laetitia Casta. However, the reception has been very mixed...

Laetitia Casta

Amorous Laetitia.

We should perhaps recall the standard pecking order for papal utterances:

1. Ex cathedra pronouncements on doctrine or morals, usually accompanied by the sound of trumpets.

2. Encyclicals, like Laudato si', which settled once and for all the question whether, every time you boil the kettle, a polar bear drowns in agony.

3. Apostolic exhortations, such as Amoris Laetitia. Of which more later.

4. Off-the-cuff comments on aeroplanes. Moreover, if the flights are with Easyjet or Ryanair, then passengers are expected to pay extra if they wish to be given some new papal teaching.

5. Interviews with Eugenio Scalfari, especially if his hearing aid wasn't working properly and he has lost his notes.

6. Tweets, such as:

@pontifex Come to communion. All welcome! LOL

pope in red nose

Statements made when the pope is wearing a red nose are not Magisterial.

All this means that Pope Francis's Amoris Laetitia is of rather more weight than some random nonsense about women deacons from Fr James Martin SJ, but less magisterial than a doctrinal statement on Father Zuhlsdorf's blog.

Now, reactions to the exhortation vary, but, if you are not sure whether to throw a wobbly or not, then here is a useful flow chart to help you decide.

flow chart

How you should react to Amoris Laetitia.

So where does this leave Cardinal Burke, once the hero of traddies everywhere, and persona not very grata with Pope Francis? Well, apparently he has refused to jump in with both feet and say "We're doomed! We're doomed! Pope Francis is the anti-Christ! We're going to be overwhelmed with people like Cristina Odone taking communion! Head for the hills! Where's my SSPX Welcome Pack?"

Instead, the great Raymond has said that the document is personal, that is, non-magisterial (a bit like this blog, come to think of it). The argument is that the Pope's exhortation is based on the 2015 session of the Synod of Bishops, which, as everyone knows, was a real chimpanzees' tea party.

Burke in Cappa Magna

Warning - this is what a nasty liberal modernist looks like.

Anyway, don't ask me what it's all about. I'm waiting for the film.


  1. Indeed, the earlier encyclical Casta Laetitia or the sweeter version Casta Saccharo was intended to replace the more marriageable arrangements found in Casta Conubile. However, if we cast an eye toward the future one in constrained to note a Casta Trastrophe eventually.

  2. I conducted my own survey of the reception of AL amongst the Catholic laity in my own parish the other day (well, it was raining and I couldn't get out in the garden).

    Answers received included "What is that in English?", "What is an exhortation?", "Are you sure you are pronouncing that correctly?", "Oh, not another one," and "Oh, is there? I hadn't heard of it."

    No-one mentioned footnote 351 (or whatever it was), as no-one had read the blessed thing. Assuming that spread of views is reasonably representative of the non-blogging/blog-reading laity in general, I don't see any need to panic.

  3. This may seem like a meaningless jumble of words to the uninitiated but ever heard of Bletchley Park? Just give me nice house in the country, hundreds of pretty servicewomen, a few Oxbridge dons who can do the Times crossword in 2 minutes, a very large computer and a couple of years and I can crack this.

  4. Yeah, Cardinal Burke has lost his edge these days. I thought his best work was in "Ironside". I never realised he could actually walk - shows how good an actor he is.

    Actually no, on second thoughts that was Raymond Burr, wasn't it. Ignore what I said.