On at least five occasions, Cardinal Burke has rejected the magisterial nature of official papal teaching (in one case, pre-emptively dismissing a hypothetical official teaching of the Magisterium):
- Cardinal Burke has rejected the official teaching of Pope Francis in the new Apostolic Constitution Episcopalis Communio concerning the possibility that a pope can raise the final synodal document to the level of ordinary magisterium, if the pope chooses. (We covered the Episcopalis Communio here.)
The whole apostolic constitution on the Synod is problematic. … This idea that either the Pope on his own or the Synod together with the Pope can create some new Magisterium [i.e. a new teaching of the ordinary Magisterium], is simply false.
The Synod is a consultative body, to help the Pope to see how best to present the Church’s teaching in time. It’s not able to create ordinary Magisterium.
As a canon lawyer, Cardinal Burke must certainly be aware that an apostolic constitution is necessarily official magisterial teaching; in fact, it has the highest level of legal authority of any document issued by the Holy See. For Cardinal Burke to dismiss an apostolic constitution’s teaching as “false” is therefore astonishing.
- In late 2013, Cardinal Burke openly denied the magisterial status of Francis’s first Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium. He said in an interview (link to full episode here),
I would have to have the text in front of me, but it seems to me that the Holy Father made a very clear statement at the beginning that these are a number of reflections that he’s making, that he doesn’t intend them to be part of the papal magisterium.
- Cardinal Burke has rejected the Magisterial nature of Amoris Laetitia in its entirety.
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. Pope Francis makes clear, from the beginning, that the post-synodal apostolic exhortation is not an act of the magisterium.
He has asserted this more than once.
The Holy Father says himself – in the document – that he’s not presenting the Magisterium – it’s a kind of reflection.
Over the course of the Exhortation, current and concrete problems are dealt with: the family in today’s world, the education of children, marriage preparation, families in difficulty, and so on; these are treated with a hermeneutic that comes from the whole document which is the magisterial hermeneutic of the Church, always in continuity (without ruptures), yet always maturing.
- Cardinal Burke has rejected the Magisterial nature of the guidelines of the Buenos Aires bishops on Amoris Laetitia, which were explicitly promulgated as authentic Magisterium by Pope Francis. He recently reaffirmed this rejection in his August 2019 interview with Patrick Coffin. In January 2017 (albeit prior to Francis’s magisterial promulgation of the guidelines being made public) he told the Remnant:
What he wrote in that letter simply means that this is his personal understanding of the matter. But that letter hardly could be considered an exercise of the papal magisterium. And so, it’s a painful situation in which to be involved but we simply have to press forward to clarify the matter.
- Cardinal Burke has rejected Francis’s teaching on the death penalty as “personal opinion.” I have already written a detailed account of this rejection, including audio and transcripts from an event where the cardinal told catechists that Francis’s revision to the Catechism on the death penalty had no authority that they should not teach it.
While each of these contradictions between Cardinal Burke and the Magisterial teachings of the Church is troubling, what separates Cardinal Burke from an ordinary Catholic who dissents from one or more magisterial teachings is Burke’s insistence that he is the one teaching the authentic Catholic teaching. He continually shows no deference to Pope Francis’s teaching authority or the ordinary Magisterium. In fact, he seems to reject the notion that Francis’s official teachings are magisterial at all.
Why does Cardinal Burke seem to reject everything that Francis officially promulgates as magisterial teaching?
The clear implication here, as well as the explanation for Cardinal Burke’s rejection of virtually everything that Pope Francis has formally taught, is that he thinks Francis hasn’t taught anything magisterial because he doesn’t believe Francis is pope - Where Peter Is [https://wherepeteris.com/does-cardinal-burke-think-francis-is-an-antipope/]