Carl Olson over at Catholic World Report has posted an article on a recent interview Cardinal Raymond Burke gave to promote his new book. So much good material in it I encourage you to read the whole thing.
Hard to choose what best to excerpt since there is so much excellent material in it. I love his simplicity and directness. It astonishes me that this Cardinal is so despised, but then, maybe it doesn’t, because he is not afraid to be a sign of contradiction.
Asked about the positive remarks made about Islam in Vatican II’s Nostra aetate, the Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions, Cardinal Burke distinguished between saying Christians and Muslims acknowledge the same Creator and saying we worship the same God. “How can the God we know, who is fundamentally a God of love as St. John says, be the same God that commands and demands of Muslims to slaughter infidels and to establish their rule by violence?”
One of the most interesting answers from Cardinal Burke came in response to a question about liturgy and the recent remarks by Cardinal Sarah about the need to worship “ad orientem” (facing liturgical East). Celebrating liturgy and worshiping properly is necessary, said Cardinal Burke, to fully appreciate the order of reality and to grasp the truth given to us through Christ. After the Council there was a “tremendously man-centered approach to the sacred liturgy”—not sanctioned by the Council—”to the extent that the idea that this worship offered to God according to God’s commandments was completely lost, and the liturgy became something that we created” and people claimed there was a need to “experiment” and to make liturgy “interesting”. This blurred the “essential encounter between heaven and earth which is the liturgy, between eternity and time”. One unfortunate result of this, said Cardinal Burke, is that many Catholics stopped coming to Mass, and those who did continue to come were “not being nourished with the truth and were not seeing the sacred liturgy this wonderful mystery of faith, God’s plan of salvation”.
Asked about Cardinal Sarah’s statements, Cardinal Burke flatly stated, “I agree with him completely, and I believe that many of the comments made afterwards are not well-informed and are not fair.” The fundamental point made by Cardinal Sarah about the position of the priest during Mass is that the priest is the head of the congregation; he is acting in persona Christi in offering worship to God—”and so all of us are facing the Lord”. Rather than the priest “turning his back to the people”, he is actually “leading us in worship” to help us lift our minds and hearts to God. He emphasized that nothing in Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, “would demand or even suggest that Mass should suddenly be now celebrated with the priest facing the people”. This change, he said, is something that was “introduced afterwards and I think was part of the false liturgical reforms”. Echoing some of the points made by Cardinal Sarah, Cardinal Burke pointed that when the priest faces the people “there is a great temptation … to see him as some kind of a performer, and now instead of the priest together with the people relating to God, somehow it becomes an interaction between the priest and the people.”