ROME (ChurchMilitant.com) - Cardinal Raymond Burke is saying the Church owes no apology for its teaching on sexuality.
In an interview published December 21 in O Clarim, the former prefect of the Apostolic Signatura rejected the idea that the Church has discriminated against homosexuals.
"What I can say is that this year I turned 69, and I have spent my whole life in the Catholic Church," he said. "I have never encountered discrimination against people who suffer from the homosexual condition."
He went on to explain that same-sex attraction is "an abnormal condition: God has not created us to have sexual relations with people of the same sex. This is not a discrimination against persons. It is to affirm the truth of Christ, the truth of our faith."
"I don’t see why the Church ought to ask forgiveness for teaching the truth about sex and sexuality," he continued. "Rather, during my priesthood of more than 42 years, I have always found priests very compassionate in meetings with people who have had this difficulty and have suffered from this condition."
Burke is one of the four public signatories of the dubia, the set of questions submitted to Pope Francis last year regarding Amoris Laetitia, interpreted by various dioceses to allow Holy Communion to the divorced and civilly remarried. On publication of the apostolic exhortation, Burke declared that it "is not magisterial because it contains serious ambiguities that confuse people and can lead them into error and grave sin."
Recognizing a crisis in the Church, Burke acknowledged that this crisis is rooted in a crisis in the liturgy:
[T]he liturgy is the highest and most perfect expression of our life in Christ and in the Church. Because of the liturgical crisis we have suffered after the Council, there has also been a doctrinal crisis and a disciplinary crisis, but I believe that the restoration of liturgical life will also involve a reform, a full adherence to the doctrine of the Church, and at the same time, a moral life that is more deeply Christian.
He went on to criticize the man-centered worship that gained popularity after Vatican II.
"For me the aspect most in crisis is sacrality itself, the transcendence of the liturgical act, the encounter of heaven and earth and the action of Christ himself, through the priest who offers the Eucharistic Sacrifice," he explained. "That has been cast into doubt after the Council by anthropocentrism, a concept of the liturgy not as a gift of God to us, which we must respect and honor, but as a creation (or invention) of our own."
Always a strong advocate of the traditional liturgy, he was among the few prelates who spoke in defense of Cdl. Robert Sarah when he proposed a return to ad orientem ("to the East") worship — a proposal that earned the African cardinal backlash from fellow prelates. Responding to the label "traditionalist," Burke said he is "delighted" to be given that identification, "because I hope I am able to serve Tradition in my thought and in my priestly ministry. Tradition is Christ Himself."
Tradition, he explained, "is the doctrine defined in the chief magisterial texts of the Church, the Sacred Liturgy just as it has been transmitted to us from the time of Our Lord and the Apostles. They constitute the uninterrupted discipline of the Church."
Speaking frankly on the topic of Pope Francis' predecessor, Benedict XVI, Burke remarked that "it was not a good thing for the Church to lose its universal shepherd" when Benedict stepped down.
"There is a certain feeling among many Catholics that their father abandoned them," he remarked, also confirming that Benedict "did not want to be pope" because of the challenge of governing.
"So, he left it to others to attend to these things," Burke said, "and there are some who did not serve him well."
Read the full interview here.