Roman Catholic Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, the former Archbishop of St. Louis and the highest-ranking American prelate in the Vatican, says that there is a crisis within the faithful and “a strong sense that the Church is like a ship without a rudder.”
In an interview last week with the Spanish religious weekly, Vida Nueva (New Life), the current Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, which oversees the administration of justice in the Church, raised significant doubts about the direction in which Pope Francis is taking the Church.
Calling matrimony “the pillar of the Church,” Cardinal Burke appeared to criticize the Argentinian Pope’s liberalizing attitude toward pre-marital sex, divorce and homosexuality.
“If we don’t teach that truth and live it well, we will be lost,” Cardinal Burke said. “We would cease to be the Church.”
It is the sort of criticism that has been echoed by other top U.S. Church leaders, among them Philadelphia Archbishop, Charles Joseph Chaput, who, according to USA Today, said that a recent Vatican conference called for by the pope had sown "confusion" - which, he went on to opine, "Confusion is of the devil."
Archbishop Chaput is expecting to host Francis at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia next September.
While Cardinal Burke said that he didn’t want to seem that he’s “a contrary voice to that of the Pope,” he referred to homosexuality as a “suffering,” also saying that “I do not talk about people being homosexual, because nobody is identified purely by that tendency.”
The Cardinal doesn’t believe that his comments contradict the Pope, saying a few months ago “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”
“He said that he couldn’t judge a person before God, regardless of what they might be guilty of,” the Cardinal told Vida Nueva. “But actions should be judged, and I don’t believe the pope thinks differently. [Homosexual acts] are sinful and unnatural. The pope never said that we can find positive elements in them. It’s impossible to find something positive in an evil act.”