Cdl. Burke: Parish Priests Aren’t Fostering Vocations

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by Rodney Pelletier  •  •  September 11, 2017   

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DETROIT ( - Cardinal Raymond Burke is attributing the shortage of priests to the failure of parish priests and families to properly catechize young men.

In the second part of an exclusive interview published by Hungarian independent Catholic news website, Katolikus Válasz, Burke declares, "God is certainly calling a sufficient number of young men to serve His Church" but the "failure of families, parish priests and other Christians" coupled with the "worldliness of the culture" is causing men to turn away from their calling.

He also notes that opening the priesthood to married men will not lead to an increase of vocations because "a priestly vocation is a response to a divine call, which includes the grace of celibacy or perpetual continence" and is not a job.

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The interviewer asked Burke about the 2015 Synod in Rome where some bishops claimed civilly divorced and remarried Catholics might be able to confer privately with their parish priest who supposedly understanding the situation would give permission to receive Holy Communion.

Burke answered it could not happen, asserting that since the sacrament of Holy Matrimony is a public sacrament and that "no priest has the authority to declare a marriage null in the internal forum."

He further responds:

If a college of judges in a matrimonial tribunal is not able to arrive at moral certitude, regarding the nullity of a marriage after a careful and thorough examination of the petition of nullity, how can an individual priest be capable of making such a judgment, having to do with the eternal salvation of the soul in question?

Burke notes the only way a priest would allow a divorced and civilly remarried couple to receive Holy Communion would be if they agree to live in continence — "as brother and sister." He adds the priest would also have to insist they receive the sacraments "in a place in which they are not well known, lest other faithful be led to believe that persons living in an irregular matrimonial union may receive the Sacraments."

The interviewer goes on to ask about critics, slamming Cdl. Burke for wearing "rich liturgical vestments" who claim it is a contradiction for a Church claiming to help the poor.

Burke responds:

The beauty of a church building and its appointments, the sacred vestments, vessels and linens and sacred music employed in worship have nothing to do with me or any priest but have everything to do with Christ, Our Lord and Savior, Who is acting sacramentally to make us holy.

He adds that vestments remind the priest he is acting as Jesus Christ in the Mass, not as himself. 

Burke notes the world "is hungering and thirsting for the Truth and love which Christ alone brings to us." He finishes, "By being faithful and generous to her true identity as the Bride of Christ, the Church brings to the world what the world most needs and desires."

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