DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - In a press conference held at the end of August, Cdl. Raymond Burke, former prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, spoke about many issues ranging from Islam to what he believes about saying Mass ad orientem.
On the issue of Islam, Cdl. Burke was clear on his beliefs, disowning the idea that the Muslim and Christian God are the same. "I hear people saying to me, well, we're all worshipping the same God. We all believe in love," he said. "But I say stop a minute, and let's examine carefully what Islam is, and what our Christian faith teaches us both."
The prelate made the point that it was his own research into Islam that has convinced him to believe Islam's laws are not laws "founded on love."
"I don't believe it's true that we're all worshipping the same God," His Eminence clarified, "because the God of Islam is a governor. In other words, fundamentally Islam is, Sharia is their law, and that law, which comes from Allah, must dominate every man eventually."
And it's not a law that's founded on love. To say that we all believe in love is simply not correct. And while our experience with individual Muslims may be one of people who are gentle and kind and so forth, we have to understand that in the end what they believe most deeply, that to which they ascribe in their hearts, demands that they govern the world.
The Catholic Church, on the other hand, "makes no pretense that it's to govern the world, but rather that it's to inspire and assist those who govern the world to act justly and rightly toward the citizens."
On the topic of the liturgy, he characterized it as "the highest and most perfect expression of our Catholic faith."
When it's celebrated correctly and with great dignity, we see the order of creation and we approach God Himself with worship, and we receive from Him not only the truth, which He teaches us through the Scriptures and through the homily of the priest, but also we receive truth itself in the sacraments and in direct encounter with Christ.
The cardinal also noted he agrees 100 percent with Cdl. Robert Sarah's call for the return of Mass said ad orientem, calling criticism of Sarah's comments in this regard "not well informed" and "not fair."
His fundamental point, and the question of the position of the priest in the assembly ... is key because the priest is at the head of the congregation, he's acting in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, offering this worship to God, and so all of us are facing the Lord. He's not turning his back on anybody. This is oftentimes what people say: 'Well, now, the priest turned his back on us.' Not at all; the priest, as our spiritual father, is leading us in this worship to lift our minds and hearts to God.
Cardinal Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, had offered opening remarks at this year's Sacra Liturgia conference promoting Mass offered facing the East, prompting several bishops to issue directives rejecting his calls.