May 15, 2016

Cardinal Burke: We Must 'Resist' False Teaching on Marriage and the Sacraments

Here is Raymond Cardinal Burke's address before the Rome Life Forum last week entitled "Martyrdom for the Faith in our times", via Life Site News. [Read the full text here.] His Eminence quoted the words of Father John Hardon who in speaking of the need for contemporary witness noted present-day Catholics' ignorance regarding the truths of the faith:

"In a particular way, Father Hardon knew that the necessary strong Catholic witness depends essentially upon the right understanding of the faith and its demands provided by sound catechesis. He saw how decades of a thin and even false catechesis had created a situation in which many Catholics were illiterate regarding the faith. He saw how many were left in confusion and error regarding the most fundamental tenets of the Catholic faith and of the moral law written upon the human heart and definitively articulated through the word of Christ handed down in the Church. Faith in the Real Presence of Our Lord Jesus in the Holy Eucharist had dramatically diminished, resulting also in a practically total loss of Eucharistic devotion. Sunday Mass was no longer seen as a serious obligation, under pain of mortal sin, and regular access to the Sacrament of Penance was abandoned by a great number of Catholics. A lack of formation in the virtues, and general confusion and error regarding the moral law was wreaking destruction and death in the lives of many individuals and of many families. Parents and even parish priests no longer saw catechesis as their principal responsibility toward children. As a result, many children and young people were going down a path of sin and moral corruption without anyone correcting them or showing them the way of Christ, the way of truth and love." 

The Cardinal elaborated upon three types of martyrdom endured by the faithful in our society which "does not know God, is forgetful of Him or even hostile to Him and His law written in creation, inscribed upon every human heart, and taught in its fullness by the Church." They are:

1.) The Martyrdom of Blood, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, is the "supreme witness given to the truth of the faith." Before the choice of either betraying Christ or dying for Christ, the martyr of blood remains faithful and pours out his life for love of Christ.

2.) The Martyrdom of Persecution or of opposition is when the faithful suffer greatly even though their suffering does not end in violent death. For example, the suffering of Christians under the various communist regimes of our time. 

3.) Martyrdom of Witness is the most common form. In the words of Fr. Hardon, "no follower of Christ can escape it." The martyr of witness may not face active opposition, but faces passive opposition at the hands of "those who lack a clear vision of the Savior or who, having had it, lost their former commitment to Christ."

To read Cardinal Burke's remarks in their entirety go here

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