In Pursuit of Progressive Bishops

March 25, 2023

Two cardinals – an American and a German – believe that bishops supporting the most progressive reforms proposed by the champions of synodality should be subject to canonical sanctions provided for by Church law. While the “continental phase of the synod” will soon to be completed, the Pope now seems to be advancing into minefield.

If the conclave took place tomorrow, Cardinals Ludwig Müller and Raymond Burke can be sure of one thing: they will have difficulty collecting the votes of some of the progressive high prelates from the banks of the Rhine and across the Atlantic. Especially since their last interview granted to EWTN and broadcast on March 16, 2023.

Referring to the German Synodal Path which saw most bishops approve the blessing of unions between people of the same sex, the former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith did not hesitate to bring out the heavy artillery: “ There must be a trial and they must be sentenced and they must be removed from their office if they are not converting themselves and they are not accepting the Catholic doctrine,” said Müller during the interview.

And if it need to be more clear, Cardinal Müller added: “It is absolutely blasphemous to make a blessing about those forms of life which is, according to the biblical and ecclesial doctrine a sin,  because all forms of sexuality outside of a valid marriage are a sin and cannot be blessed.”

Speaking honestly and openly as customary with the former prefect of the Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature: “Whether it’s a departure, heretical teaching and a denial of one of the doctrines of the faith, or apostasy in the sense of simply walking away from Christ and His teaching in the Church to embrace some other form of religion, these are crimes,” said Cardinal Burke, who emphasizes that the “Code of Canon Law provides the appropriate sanctions.”

And Cardinal Burke warns: “These are human interventions, human ideologies that are being pushed and the Church is being used. . . You will notice that in a lot of this talk, you never hear the name of Our Lord. You never hear talk about what Our Lord Jesus Christ is teaching us, what He’s asking of us. So this is a very serious situation,” even to the point that “opponents of these reforms are often derided as going against the Pope.”

However, explains the American cardinal who obviously wishes to spare the person of the Argentine pontiff, “we are the ones who love the pope and are trying to help him to carry out his mission,:” but “what the agents of the revolution do is simply ignore these statements and take other statements in which he seem to be favorable.”

So many words that risk having the red hat swallowed by the progressive German cardinals in favor of the synodal path across the Rhine, as well as by some of their American colleagues: for several weeks in America, the battle has been raging between the most conservative of the episcopate and the prelates who wish to reform the Church in a direction different, even opposed, to Tradition.

Thus, last January, Cardinal Robert McElroy, Archbishop of San Diego, California, emphasized the fracture lines that cross the episcopal conference of his country, by pleading the cause of the most liberal reforms, triggering an outcry among a many of his colleagues.

As the continental phase of the synod comes to a close in a veritable cacophony highlighting all the contentious issues that divide the Church, the famous “working instrument” to be presented next June concentrates all expectations.