|I think I see a violation of Liturgical norms in this photo. It's the woman with the camera in the lower left hand corner.|
In my readings this weekend, I came across the Zenit article I feature below. The excerpt is taken from the full transcript of a speech that Cardinal Burke gave at the Kenyan Canon Law Convention. The whole speech is worth reading for in it Cardinal Burke makes the case that Canon Law is both the script and the glue that holds together the Church, and should be the foundation for the New Evangelism. There are a number of interesting historical takes with in the full speech, but I've chosen to excerpt his final four points which lay out his script for the primacy of Canon law in the New Evangelization.
CANON LAW AT THE SERVICE OF JUSTICE AND FREEDOM IN THE CHURCH AS THE PEOPLE OF GOD
Zenit - 8/30/2012
Specific Form of the New Evangelization through Canonical Discipline
From the above considerations, it should be clear that the knowledge of and respect for canonical discipline is indispensable to the Church’s response to the call to a new evangelization. There are many aspects of the form of the new evangelization through canonical discipline. I address four as examples.
The first aspect is respect for the rule of law as the irreplaceable foundation for right relationships and coherent activities within the Church. In specific, we must confront the antinomian tendency of the culture, which is inimical to the organic unity which is inherent to the Body of Christ. A general ignorance of canon law, which sees it as some esoteric and surpassed aspect of Church life, must be overcome. At the same time, the false conflict between canon law and the pastoral nature of the Church, between truth and love, must be addressed. (In an earlier part of this speech Burke goes on for quite some time about this false conflict between canon law and the pastoral nature of the Church. He seems to see punishment as pastoral activity, and adherence to Catholic Truth a higher priority than Christian charity. Or maybe it was more he sees adherence to Catholic Truth as the foundation from which real Catholic charity unfolds--as opposed to those CINO charitable organizations.)
Secondly, key to the form of the new evangelization through canonical discipline is the study of the sources of canonical institutes in the Sacred Scriptures and Tradition. The discipline regarding the refusal of Holy Communion to persons who persist in grave and public sin, for example, must be seen in its consistent development from the time of Saint Paul.[xliv] Likewise, the ground of nullity of marriage, lack of sufficient discretion of judgment, must be seen in the long canonical tradition regarding the influence of the lack of psychological capacity or the loss of it through mental illness on the capacity to give marriage consent. (Notice how there seems to be some self justification in this paragraph. I have to admit his convoluted sentence on nullity of marriage made no sense to me.)
Thirdly, the study of the text of the law must respect the mind of the legislator and, therefore, avoid any kind of formalism. The wording of Church discipline derives from solid juridical, canonical and theological foundations which can only be known by those humble enough to study them. All forms of manipulation of the law to advance particular agenda redound to the grave harm of the faithful and of the Church as the Body of Christ. (Unless this manipulation is being done by those who were humble enough to study Canon Law. Men like Cardinal Burke for instance.)
Finally, liturgical law must enjoy the primacy among canonical norms, for it safeguards the most sacred realities in the Church. It is interesting to note that in his first Encyclical Letter Redemptor Hominis, Blessed Pope John Paul II confronted the abuse of general confession and general absolution, of the essentially personal encounter with Christ in the Sacrament of Penance, reminding us both of the right of the penitent to such an encounter and the right of Christ Himself,[xlvii] and that, in his last Encyclical Letter Ecclesia de Eucharistia, he urgently addressed abuses of the Church’s discipline regarding the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. In Ecclesia de Eucharistia, he declared:
"I consider it my duty, therefore, to appeal urgently that the liturgical norms for the celebration of the Eucharist be observed with great fidelity. These norms are a concrete expression of the authentically ecclesial nature of the Eucharist; this is their deepest meaning. Liturgy is never anyone’s private property, be it of the celebrant or of the community in which the mysteries are celebrated. The Apostle Paul had to address fiery words to the community of Corinth because of grave shortcomings in their celebration of the Eucharist resulting in divisions (schismata) and the emergence of factions (haereses) (cf. 1 Cor 11:17-34). Our time, too, calls for a renewed awareness and appreciation of liturgical norms as a reflection of, and a witness to, the one universal Church made present in every celebration of the Eucharist. Priests who faithfully celebrate Mass according to the liturgical norms, and communities which conform to those norms, quietly but eloquently demonstrate their love for the Church."
As is always the case, knowledge and observance of canonical discipline frees us from the false impression that we must make the Sacred Liturgy interesting or stamp it with our personality, and frees us to be the instruments by which the presence of Christ, the Good Shepherd, among His people is rendered more visible, and the action of the Sacred Liturgy bears His stamp alone. (Giving liturgical norms the primacy of place in Canon Law essentially gives Holy Orders the primacy of place in the sacramental system, which was has been a large part of the last two papacies and is the fuel that runs all through Cardinal Burke.)
When I finished reading this speech I was left with the distinct impression Burke is attempting to define himself and his office as the prefect of the Apostolic Signatura as a separate seat of authority with in the Vatican. There are places where he seems to be saying even the CDF would have to answer to Canon Law and the interpretation of the Apostolic Signatura, and not the other way around. Burke states in no uncertain terms that beginning with the Second Vatican Council it was a systemic failure to observe or even take Canon Law seriously that has led to all the ills in Catholicism. The implication being that the CDF, the Congretation for Bishops, various other dicasteries, and his own predecessors at the Apostolic Signatura were asleep at the switch and the Church disintegrated in front of their snoring noses.
In one place he states had priests and bishops followed Canon Law with sexually abusing priests, the scandal would not have been nearly so extensive, especially in the US. The trouble with that piece of self justification is that many bishop enablers were exactly following Canon Law and that is precisely why priests were never reported to civil criminal authorities and precisely why the secrecy involved in the process resulted in so much more abuse by repeat offenders. But, Cardinal Burke lives in his own little Vatican world of pristine Catholic truth, and not in the real world where things aren't so pristine and I guess that frees him to believe what he believes is somehow universal.
His definition of freedom, as least the kind of freedom following Canon Law gives Catholics, can be seen in the final paragraph above. In Burke's script all we Catholics have to do is stop thinking and follow the script of Canon Law and we will be purified vessels in which the Catholic Jesus will flow out of us. This is very much the same as Mitt Romney having followed the male Mormon script and now has the Mormon Jesus so flowing out of him he deserves to be president of the United States. Too bad it's real easy for predators and antisocials to memorize and act on these religious scripts. It's the old wolf in sheep's clothing message.
Lastly, I'm not sure the good Cardinal recognizes the idea of scrupulosity, or the idea of spiritual pride, or the idea of using Canon Law as a club to beat others down or cast them out. He certainly doesn't see Canon Law as a series of pastoral guidelines. Canon Law is as binding as the 10 commandments and define the People of God. It is the very definition of pastoral to hold Catholics accountable to Canon Law. Otherwise one is not being pastoral. One is not giving freedom through slavish obedience. One is enabling sin and confusion and fostering laziness and spiritual sloth. And by the Grace of Jesus, there will be none of that on his watch.