Do We Need Spluttering Expletives?
Do you recall my noting a month or so ago ago that some ultra-Traditionalists were accusing Cardinal Raymond Burke of pussy-footing around because he doesn’t yell abuse at Pope Francis? Hilary White of the blog What’s Up With Francis-Church went so far as to suggest that the Cardinal had thrown his most loyal supporters under the bus. And all because he has confined himself to noting that Amoris Laetitia is not part of the magisterium. Well, Fr Hunwicke has recently defended Cardinal Burke in much the same terms as myself—only with wit and learning, as you would expect:
Cardinal Burke has made himself quite unpopular in some Traddy circles by not denouncing Amoris Laetitia ut Leo rugiens* from his Maltese housetops. There are fierce people around who feel that, for a top lawyer simply to say that the document has no Magisterial authority, is just not nearly angry enough. Spluttering expletives, apparently, are called for. Raymond Leo Burke, they say, should put a lot more work into his spluttering techniques.
I must declare an interest here. When AL emerged, my own first comment (April 9) was to observe immediately that an Apostolic Exhortation is “not doctrinally constitutive nor juridically legislative”. Burke … and I! … are exactly right. That is why we do not splutter.
Some critics have claimed that AL must be magisterial because Bergoglio is on record as saying “I wrote an encyclical … and an Apostolic Exhortation, I’m constantly making statements, giving homilies. That’s magisterium.”
If this Pope really does imagine that his Petrine Magisterium extends to Apostolic Exhortations, to “statements”, and even to his endless homilies, then this is quite a serious and worrying misunderstanding on his part of his own office.
But however much this apparent claim may impress the hyperultrapapalists who surround the Holy Father but have never read Pastor aeternus of Vatican I, it should be an irrelevance to those of us who know better.
Apostolic Constitutions are way above the pay grade of Apostolic Exhortations. And the principle that “remarried” divorcees should not receive Holy Communion is embodied in the Catechism, which rests upon the authority of the Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum of S John Paul II. Moreover, it was given to the Ordinariates as our doctrinal norm in the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus of Benedict XVI.
This is the Catholic Faith which we have received.
It is the duty of every Catholic, high and low, to guard and hand on the Deposit of Faith which we have received, sancte et fideliter. Vatican I, unsurprisingly, took the view that this is especially the duty of the successor of S Peter (Denzinger 3070).
I still share that view, even if some of Bergoglio’s closest associates do not.
*like a roaring lion. 1 Peter 5: 8.
Now, if you’d like to see some real foam-flecked spluttering about the Holy Father, here is some: