Cardinal Burke: Pope’s exhortation not magisterial, can’t change Church teaching

Cardinal BurkeCardinal Raymond Burke has said that the Pope’s newly released post-synodal exhortation cannot change Church teaching and practice, emphasizing that the document is not magisterial.

“The Church has historically been sensitive to the erroneous tendency to interpret every word of the pope as binding in conscience, which, of course, is absurd,” he wrote in an article published by the National Catholic Register today. “Pope Francis makes clear, from the beginning, that the post-synodal apostolic exhortation is not an act of the magisterium.”

Burke adds that the Church takes care that “a personal reflection of the Pope, while received with the respect owed to his person, is not confused with the binding faith owed to the exercise of the magisterium.”

“Certain commentators confuse such respect,” which is rightly due to the Pope, “with a supposed obligation to ‘believe with divine and Catholic faith’ (Canon 750, § 1) everything contained in the document,” says Burke. “But the Catholic Church, while insisting on the respect owed to the Petrine Office as instituted by Our Lord Himself, has never held that every utterance of the Successor of St. Peter should be received as part of her infallible magisterium.”

Cardinal Burke calls on the Church to make clear that the Pope’s personal opinions are not magisterial. “While the Roman Pontiff has personal reflections which are interesting and can be inspiring, the Church must be ever attentive to point out that their publication is a personal act and not an exercise of the Papal Magisterium.”

The Cardinal warns that a failure to make the distinction between the Pope’s personal opinion and magisterial teaching “is harmful to the faithful and weakens the witness of the Church as the Body of Christ in the world.”

According to Cardinal Burke the exhortation cannot be interpreted as a “revolution in the Church, as a radical departure from the teaching and practice of the Church,” since, “the only key to the correct interpretation of Amoris Laetitia is the constant teaching of the Church and her discipline that safeguards and fosters this teaching.”

Burke says:

Such a view of the document is both a source of wonder and confusion to the faithful, and potentially a source of scandal not only for the faithful but for others of goodwill who look to Christ and his Church to teach and reflect in practice the truth regarding marriage and its fruit, family life, the first cell of the life of the Church and of every society.

Burke likewise emphasises that pastoral practice cannot be in conflict with doctrine.  It is not possible to separate doctrine and practise because if a practise is legitimized that is contrary to Catholic thinking – such as giving communion to divorced and remarried couples who are living in a state of adultery – then automatically one affirms a heterodox doctrine.

Burke says:

The Church’s official doctrine, in fact, provides the irreplaceable interpretative key to the post-synodal apostolic exhortation, so that it may truly serve the good of all the faithful, uniting them ever more closely to Christ, who alone is our salvation. There can be no opposition or contradiction between the Church’s doctrine and her pastoral practice, since, as the Catechism reminds us, doctrine is inherently pastoral. ∎


  1. “Burke adds that the Church takes care that “a personal reflection of the Pope, while received with the respect owed to his person, is not confused with the binding faith owed to the exercise of the magisterium.”
    Datzzza aniizzza, but Bishop Chaput has just days ago announced that all the world’s Bishops will be required to report to his chosen Vatican overseer on how they are implementing Amoris Laetitia in their dioceses. Then what if a Bishop responds with Cardinal Burke’s attitude as expressed here? Could Cardinal Burke have under-reacted to Amoris Laetitia as a few Bishops and Cardinals, and laymen’s critiques suggest?!

  2. In godly terms “will of God”
    In human understanding reffer Mathew 14:9(prestige of king)
    Tell me if I’m correct or wrong!

  3. Unfortunately, perception is reality and Pope Francis is smart enough to be well aware of this, yet he continues beating his pontifical drum for “hope and change.” (And mercy.)
    We all know change is not always good, and in recent times, it has been disastrous. The pope ( the new one) is a bit of a rabble-rouser who confuses his flock in a time when we so desperately need clarity and courageous defense of 2000 years of Catholic Truth.

  4. Said Daniel ” He will not regard the god of his fathers, but in his own estate(Privately)worship a strange god- a god of forces” & to this the present American Pharaoh carries idols of a certain hindu monkey warrior god, denoting man evolved from the monkeys, in short Evolution as god,against the FAITH which is not the same as evolution as science. Now when Evolution becomes believed as god, it goes against the FAITH such that there is created a vaccum in ones heart in place of God & this vaccum eventually gets filled with man as god revealing the serpents words at Eden “Ye be as god’s”, unto the Prophecy of the Abomination of Desolation to take place as spoken by Daniel & confirmed by Christ.
    Again said Daniel” He will have no regard for the desire of women” which god given desire of women is to bring forth children, to which he brings in various cunningly crafted policies to the desires of the flesh, in short promotes Sodom & its Agendas , against the basic Family order, against REPRODUCTION.
    Now God who sees the end from the beginning, for the sake of the woman unto mankind eventually to his Redemption & Salvation, put in two wedges between the serpent & the woman 1)The Enmity for the sake of the FAITH 2) Put her desire unto her man from whom she was made, for the express purpose of REPRODUCTION, against Sodom.
    The present Pharaoh is not the Antichrist but one in the order of the 666, who have been coming over the years unto the fulfillment of the said number. Where each of them have a commoness to aggressively promote Evolution & Sodom against FAITH & REPRODUCTION.
    Interestingly St. Pope Pius V excommunication of QE1 was to the condemnation of Freemasonry out of that ‘ole iniquity, the very Entity of the serpent off the Enmity, for the basic but hidden belief of freemasonry is nothing but Evolution as god , to promote man as god, at the cost of god, simply against the FAITH. Likewise the warning of St. Pope Pius X against Modernism(applied to faith) where he specifically stated it to be Evolution, even to man as god indicating the Abomination of Desolation & by so doing was indeed revealing the Prophecy of Daniel.

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