Cardinal Burke: Homosexuality, Not ‘Clericalism,’ Led to Abuse Crisis

by David Nussman  •  •  October 26, 2018   

'The majority of the acts which have been committed are homosexual acts done with young men'

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DETROIT ( - Cardinal Raymond Burke is rebutting those who say "clericalism" is the root cause of the clerical sex abuse scandal.

In an interview with Polonia Christiana published this week, the cardinal said, "First of all when people say: 'Oh, no, this is caused by clericalism', I ask them, 'What do you mean?' And most people can't tell me what they mean by 'clericalism.'"

Cardinal Burke clarified that clericalism might motivate people to cover up sexually abusive priests; but the cause of the abuse itself is often homosexuality.

"There is no question that the majority of the acts which have been committed are homosexual acts done with young men," he said.

There is no question that the majority of the acts which have been committed are homosexual acts done with young men.

While speaking about the homosexual predation scandal surrounding ex-Cdl. Theodore McCarrick, Cdl. Burke noted, "The people rightly feel profoundly betrayed when they see that a priest, who had been abusing young people, was ... promoted to be a bishop, then promoted to be a bishop of a diocese and archdiocese, and then of the archdiocese that is our national capitol, and then made a cardinal."

He also commented, "There is an attempt to simply let this go and not take this seriously. People are not — the good Catholics are not — accepting this, and I don't blame them. I don't accept it either."

This year witnessed a "Summer of Shame" for the Catholic Church in America, beginning in June with explosive news that there was a credible allegation that McCarrick had committed homosexual abuse. This led to further revelations — including reports that McCarrick preyed on seminarians.

In the midst of the McCarrick scandal, some prominent American prelates were downplaying the broader significance of the bombshell allegations — allegations which led to McCarrick's removal from the College of Cardinals.

For example, Cdl. Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C. told Canadian dissident Fr. Thomas Rosica in an interview in early August, "I don't think this is some massive, massive crisis."

Later in August, the Pennsylvania grand jury report came out. It implicated Cdl. Wuerl in the cover-up of a ring of pederast priests who produced child porn.

After months of calls for Wuerl to step down — with the cardinal himself flying to Rome to ask the Pope to accept his resignation — Pope Francis finally announced on Oct. 12 that he had accepted Wuerl's resignation.

In the recent interview, Cdl. Burke spoke about the need for laity to confront their pastors and demand that they clearly and unambiguously proclaim the truths of Holy Mother Church. He said, "If someone is not worthy, we need to confront that priest and say to him: 'What you're saying to me I believe is false.' So we need to demand from our priests and bishops that they present to us our Church's true teaching and discipline."

The topic came up of how the ongoing Synod on Youth has included discussion of welcoming LGBT people. Cardinal Burke criticized the use of terms such as "LGBT," arguing, "This type of language should never be in a Church document, and the Church must be very careful not to identify with this movement."

The cardinal pointed out that sometimes the most loving thing to do is to boldly proclaim the truth and call people to chastity: "The Church loves people, even those who can be aggressive in promoting evil. But at the same time, because of our love for those people, the Church is also 'militant' in teaching the truth about our human sexuality and about the appropriate ways in which it expresses itself."

This type of language should never be in a Church document.

The interviewer asked Cdl. Burke if he thought Poland would be the next target of left-wing, pro-abortion and pro-LGBT lobbying efforts. The cardinal remarked, "I think it's certainly a target and I'm sure a very important target right now. And I pray with all my might — because of that kind of Catholicism I've known in Poland — that the Polish will not give in to this."

Cardinal Burke was asked about the idea that Church leaders need to listen to young people and learn from them. He said:

That's a mistaken, a completely mistaken idea. Yes, we need to listen to the young people in order to understand whatever challenges which they are facing. But the young people have the right to hear from us, from the Church, from their pastors, from their parents, from those who are adults, they have the right to hear from us the truth so that they can order their lives accordingly.

At another point during the interview, the cardinal affirmed that it is important to recognize that the Church has enemies — especially when Her members are faithful to Christ: "I think Satan couldn't be happier than have us think that the enemies of Christ have all gone away and that the enemies of His Church have all gone away."

"I would say that at present times those enemies are probably as ferocious or even more ferocious than they have ever been," he opined. "We see it everywhere. We see it in the attack on human life, we see it in the attack on the integrity of marriage, we see it in the attempt to deny people the freedom to follow their own conscience in moral matters."

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