****UPDATE 11/11/19: 

In an interview with Ross Douthat, published in the New York Times on Saturday, Cardinal Burke responded to a question on his position regarding the validity of Francis’s papacy.

Douthat: You believe Francis is a legitimate pope?

Burke: Yes, yes. I’ve had people present to me all kinds of arguments calling into question the election of Pope Francis. But I name him every time I offer the Holy Mass, I call him Pope Francis, it’s not an empty speech on my part. I believe that he is the pope. And I try to say that consistently to people, because you’re correct — according to my perception also, people are getting more and more extreme in their response to what’s going on in the church.

Thanks be to God that he answered this question in the affirmative, although the rest of the interview makes clear that he does not hold Francis’s official teachings to be binding, nor does he intend to show any deference to Francis’s exercise of his teaching office.

Still, this is something. Burke’s rhetoric had reached the point where even Douthat believed it was necessary to ask the question, especially in light of his podcast interview with Patrick Coffin and the carefully-worded document he wrote with Bishop Athanasius Schneider. The document, entitled, “A clarification about the meaning of fidelity to the Supreme Pontiff,” very clearly and deliberately separated all references to Pope Francis as a person from all references to the Petrine Office. For example, they write (emphasis mine), “We, as shepherds of the flock, express our great love for souls, for the person of Pope Francis himself and for the divine gift of the Petrine Office.” This is often a sedevacantist dodge: talking about having great esteem for the “Petrine Office,” while not recognizing the man who holds the office.

Nevertheless, we finally have a response from Cardinal Burke.****

Yes, this is a serious question, and I don’t ask it lightly.

Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke just stated his love for and fidelity to Pope Francis—so how can one even suggest he thinks Francis is a false pope?

I am not engaging in idle speculation, neither do I intend an attack on Cardinal Burke. But the evidence strongly suggests that Cardinal Burke strongly doubts the legitimacy of Francis’s papacy. Indeed, my sincere hope and prayer is that I am wrong, and that the cardinal will clarify the situation by publicly affirming his loyalty to Pope Francis and stating his religious submission of intellect and will to the magisterial teachings of the Holy Father.

Sadly, such a clarification seems unlikely in light of Burke’s most recent public statement, written with Kazakhstan Auxiliary Bishop Athanasius Schneider and released today in the National Catholic Register.

First, some background.

Since early in this papacy, Cardinal Burke has made several alarming and deeply concerning public statements about Pope Francis’s teachings and the office of the papacy. In late 2014, Religion News Service reported on an interview that the cardinal gave to a Spanish news outlet. He said, in a clear allusion to Pope Francis,

Many have expressed their concerns to me. At this very critical moment, there is a strong sense that the church is like a ship without a rudder … Now, it is more important than ever to examine our faith, have a healthy spiritual leader and give powerful witness to the faith.

In 2015, months prior to the second Synod on the Family, and more than a year before Amoris Laetitia was promulgated, Burke granted an interview to a French outlet. He made a few statements that gave no deference to the pope on matters of faith and morals. The English translation of the interview provides the following exchange:

-[Interviewer:] In a somewhat provocative way, can we say that the true guardian of doctrine is you, and not pope Francis?

-[Burke, in Italian:] [Smiles, shakes his head] We must, let us leave aside the matter of the Pope. In our faith, it is the truth of doctrine that guides us.

-[Interviewer:] If Pope Francis insists on this path, what will you do?

-[Burke, in Italian:] I will resist. I cannot do anything else. There is no doubt that this is a difficult time, this is clear, this is clear.

In this interview, Cardinal Burke foreshadowed his future resistance to Pope Francis and his Magisterial teachings, a resistance that has led to the deception of many committed, sincere Catholics who are now convinced Pope Francis is a heretic who is destroying the Church.

Catholic author Stephen Walford addressed this problem directly in a June 2017 open letter to the four dubia Cardinals, including Burke:

You may or may not be aware that there is a growing section of traditionalists and even some conservative Catholics who see you as the standard bearers for the rejection of this papacy. I know from experience that some of it is deeply troubling. The abuse from many, including those who run websites and Traditionalist blogs aimed at the Holy Father and those who are loyal to him, is nothing short of satanic. You are their role models and that is an intolerable situation.

In the two years since, Cardinal Burke’s words have continued to lead many Catholics to resist Pope Francis and have struck a blow to the unity of the Church. Burke’s name is cited frequently as a role model and inspiration to numerous American Catholic media figures, including EWTN host Raymond Arroyo, writers Taylor Marshall and Eric Sammons, and Catholic Answers apologist Steve Ray. He’s traveled the world and spoken out against the teachings of the pope, while couching his criticism in language like “clarification” and “I mean no disrespect.”

On at least five occasions, Cardinal Burke has rejected the magisterial nature of official papal teaching (in one case, pre-emptively dismissing a hypothetical official teaching of the Magisterium):

  1. Cardinal Burke has rejected the official teaching of Pope Francis in the new Apostolic Constitution Episcopalis Communio concerning the possibility that a pope can raise the final synodal document to the level of ordinary magisterium, if the pope chooses. (We covered the Episcopalis Communio here.)

The whole apostolic constitution on the Synod is problematic. … This idea that either the Pope on his own or the Synod together with the Pope can create some new Magisterium [i.e. a new teaching of the ordinary Magisterium], is simply false.

The Synod is a consultative body, to help the Pope to see how best to present the Church’s teaching in time. It’s not able to create ordinary Magisterium.

As a canon lawyer, Cardinal Burke must certainly be aware that an apostolic constitution is necessarily official magisterial teaching; in fact, it has the highest level of legal authority of any document issued by the Holy See. For Cardinal Burke to dismiss an apostolic constitution’s teaching as “false” is therefore astonishing.

  1. In late 2013, Cardinal Burke openly denied the magisterial status of Francis’s first Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium. He said in an interview (link to full episode here),

I would have to have the text in front of me, but it seems to me that the Holy Father made a very clear statement at the beginning that these are a number of reflections that he’s making, that he doesn’t intend them to be part of the papal magisterium.

  1. Cardinal Burke has rejected the Magisterial nature of Amoris Laetitia in its entirety.

The only key to the correct interpretation of Amoris Laetitia is the constant teaching of the Church and her discipline that safeguards and fosters this teaching. Pope Francis makes clear, from the beginning, that the post-synodal apostolic exhortation is not an act of the magisterium.

He has asserted this more than once.

The Holy Father says himself – in the document – that he’s not presenting the Magisterium – it’s a kind of reflection.

This is contrary to what numerous cardinals have asserted and to what Francis himself has said:

Over the course of the Exhortation, current and concrete problems are dealt with: the family in today’s world, the education of children, marriage preparation, families in difficulty, and so on; these are treated with a hermeneutic that comes from the whole document which is the magisterial hermeneutic of the Church, always in continuity (without ruptures), yet always maturing.

  1. Cardinal Burke has rejected the Magisterial nature of the guidelines of the Buenos Aires bishops on Amoris Laetitia, which were explicitly promulgated as authentic Magisterium by Pope Francis. He recently reaffirmed this rejection in his August 2019 interview with Patrick Coffin. In January 2017 (albeit prior to Francis’s magisterial promulgation of the guidelines being made public) he told the Remnant:

What he wrote in that letter simply means that this is his personal understanding of the matter. But that letter hardly could be considered an exercise of the papal magisterium. And so, it’s a painful situation in which to be involved but we simply have to press forward to clarify the matter.

  1. Cardinal Burke has rejected Francis’s teaching on the death penalty as “personal opinion.” I have already written a detailed account of this rejection, including audio and transcripts from an event where the cardinal told catechists that Francis’s revision to the Catechism on the death penalty had no authority that they should not teach it.

While each of these contradictions between Cardinal Burke and the Magisterial teachings of the Church is troubling, what separates Cardinal Burke from an ordinary Catholic who dissents from one or more magisterial teachings is Burke’s insistence that he is the one teaching the authentic Catholic teaching. He continually shows no deference to Pope Francis’s teaching authority or the ordinary Magisterium. In fact, he seems to reject the notion that Francis’s official teachings are magisterial at all.

Why does Cardinal Burke seem to reject everything that Francis officially promulgates as magisterial teaching? Why doesn’t he show any deference to the possibility that Francis, as the Vicar of Christ, might know a thing or two about the Magisterium? Why does Cardinal Burke appear to suggest that nothing that Pope Francis has officially taught to the Church in his role as Supreme Pontiff binds the faithful to religious submission of intellect and will?

Is it possible that Cardinal Burke doubts the validity of the papacy of Pope Francis?

Although I’ve had suspicions about what Cardinal Burke believes about Francis’s papacy since late 2016, I didn’t think it was proper to raise the issue publicly until recently. This changed when Cardinal Burke participated in an open discussion about Francis’s legitimacy in a podcast interview with former Catholic Answers Live radio host Patrick Coffin, he crossed a dangerous line that could potentially lead the faithful into error and confusion. See Scott Eric Alt’s piece summarizing key parts of the interview and providing a partial transcript.

On Where Peter Is, we’ve spoken in the past about sedevacantists — traditionalists who believe that every pope following Pius XII (from 1958-present) was a heretic and thus an antipope. They reject the second Vatican Council as well. Today, there is a new breed of Catholics who recognize the legitimacy of the popes through Benedict XVI but reject Pope Francis.

There are three basic schools of thought on this phenomenon, the first of which has been nicknamed “Benevacantism.” The first two theories were openly discussed by Burke and Coffin (and summarized by Alt in his post), the third was only hinted at. The three theories are:

  1. Pope Benedict’s resignation was invalid; he is still pope. (Advocates: Bp. Rene Gracida, Antonio Socci, Msgr. Nicola Bux.)
  2. The conclave that elected Pope Francis was invalid or corrupt, thus voiding the election of Pope Francis. (Advocates: While I am not aware of any prominent figures who have announced explicitly that they believe Francis is not pope based on an invalid conclave, those advancing the possibility include Church Militant and Roberto de Mattei.)
  3. The resignation of Pope Benedict was valid, as was the election of Pope Francis. But sometime after his election, Pope Francis officially promulgated heresy from the See of Peter, and thereby abdicated his office automatically. (Proponents: the signatories of the Open Letter to the College of Bishops, including Fr. Aidan Nichols, Peter Kwasniewski, Fr. John Hunwicke, and John Rist.)

During his interview with Coffin, Burke makes clear that that he rejects theory 1 (“That simply won’t float,” he says). With theory 2, he’s certainly amenable to the idea, but rules it out for the present (“I don’t think I have at hand the facts”).

The third argument, however, seems to be what Burke is banking on. He and Coffin discuss Amoris Laetitia chapter 8 at length (beginning around the 43-minute mark). Coffin and Burke go back and forth about the dubia, as well as the magisterial status of the Amoris Laetitia Guidelines of the Bishops of the Buenos Aires region (see above). Burke once again asserts that they are not magisterial.

Patrick Coffin presses Burke on this point, however. Coffin asks him (“hypothetically”) that if the pope absolutely confirms the revision to sacramental discipline that is contained in the guidelines, would it “rise to the level of heresy”?

Cardinal Burke’s answer? Yes.

In other words–unless Pope Francis has always intended Amoris Laetitia to be interpreted in line with Cardinal Burke’s view all along–Cardinal Burke believes Pope Francis has formally professed heresy.

Now, there has been a great deal of speculation in the past over whether it was possible for a Catholic Pope to formally teach heresy, as well as what to do in the unfortunate event that he did. St. Robert Bellarmine offered a few speculative theories on the question, but ultimately concluded that such a thing was extremely improbable (I agree with his theory). One of his other theories, however, has been embraced by both sedevacantists and the signatories of the open letter earlier this year. Another proponent of the theory is Cardinal Burke himself.

In a December 2016 interview with Catholic World Report, Burke was asked what might lead to the abdication of a pope:

CWR: Some people are saying that the pope could separate himself from communion with the Church. Can the pope legitimately be declared in schism or heresy?

Burke: If a Pope would formally profess heresy he would cease, by that act, to be the Pope. It’s automatic. And so, that could happen.

CWR: That could happen.

Burke: Yes.

The clear implication here, as well as the explanation for Cardinal Burke’s rejection of virtually everything that Pope Francis has formally taught, is that he thinks Francis hasn’t taught anything magisterial because he doesn’t believe Francis is pope.

Interestingly, it seems that Burke may believe that this has happened in the past. In an obscure 3-part interview with The Wanderer, Cardinal Burke made the shocking assertion that Pope Honorius had been a heretic, and had been deposed:

The Popes are all to proclaim and be obedient to the one true Catholic Faith. If not, they have been deposed, as in the case of Pope Honorius. So then, this is simply not possible.

This is an astounding and ahistorical claim. Many traditionalists cite the case of Honorius (and the condemnations after his death) as proof that a pope can be a heretic. Many sedevacantists and mainstream Catholics argue that Honorius wasn’t a heretic, but simply failed to uphold the faith against the Pelagian heresy. None, to my knowledge, have argued that Honorius was deposed (or was automatically deposed). A few sedevacantist blogs picked up on Burke’s statement after I tweeted about it, but when I first read the interview, I searched for any other sources who claimed Honorius was deposed and came up empty.

Which brings us to today.

Since the publication of the Coffin interview, I have raised the question of whether Cardinal Burke truly believes that Francis is the pope, both on Twitter and in the comments on Where Peter Is (here and here).

I sent a message to Cardinal Burke himself in late August, asking him for clarification on both this issue and on his rejection of the magisterial nature of Pope Francis’s teaching on the death penalty. In my message, I told him (or whoever reads his messages) to let me know if they needed more time to prepare a response. I later reached out to his spokeswoman twice via Twitter. I have never received a response from Burke or his staff.

When I posted my piece on September 3 about Cardinal Burke’s statements in opposition to the Magisterium on the death penalty, we received the two heaviest-trafficked days in the history of this website. Notable about our website analytics was the influx of traffic from Italy and Vatican City. Clearly this caught someone’s attention.

To those who thought our report on Cardinal Burke’s open dissent from the ordinary Magisterium was noteworthy, the question of whether he upholds the validity of Francis’s election is a much more important issue. A dissident cardinal is one thing, but a cardinal who doubts the legitimacy of the pope indicates a crisis and a grave scandal.

What does this mean, going forward?

I don’t know Cardinal Burke, and I can only speculate about what’s in his heart and what he plans to do.

His plans might be hindered by two things:

  1. He might be holding out hope that Francis is not actually teaching what he’s teaching. He could be piling all his desires on the hope that Pope Francis really did promulgate his teaching on the death penalty as mere personal opinion, for example. It’s not terribly common for a pope to issue a teaching through official channels, with the words “the Church teaches,” along with a document from the CDF explaining the teaching as “an authentic development of doctrine that is not in contradiction with the prior teachings of the Magisterium,” and mandating its translation and insertion into every edition of the universal Catechism, but I suppose Cardinal Burke may look at things differently. In other words, he holds on to the flimsy possibility that Francis’s teachings align with his own beliefs, and it’s all been a big misunderstanding.
  2. Lack of support. Many have noted the relatively small number of prominent clerics and theologians who have openly supported Cardinal Burke’s crusade against Francis’s papacy. Two of the four dubia cardinals have died, and they don’t seem to have many substitutes willing to step into their shoes. Sure, Burke will get a little support from Cardinal Ejik here, some from Cardinal Muller there. Notably, none have signed on to his most provocative public manifestos, however. This, I think, is the main reason his eminence hasn’t issued his long-awaited “Formal Act of Correction.”

After all, going it alone will likely mean the end of his tenure as a cardinal, and risks the possibility of formal excommunication.

That said, if he does plan to do something about it, taking a cue from the “Open Letter,” the next step would be for the “bishops of the world” (or more likely, Cardinal Burke and the 4-6 bishops who have already supported some of these initiatives) to admonish Pope Francis and order him to retract and/or clarify his teachings. Perhaps that’s what today’s document was meant to do.

After Pope Francis ignores this admonition (which he will), the letter implores the “bishops of the world” to officially declare Francis to have deposed himself as pope. They would then call for a new conclave (of one?).

Is this the way it will play out? I don’t know. One imagines that if Cardinal Burke is unable to enlist a significant amount of support, attempting to do this would be quite quixotic.

Regardless of what actions he ultimately takes, it appears that Cardinal Burke has doubts that Francis is currently the valid pope.

While I pray I am wrong, the evidence is too overwhelming to ignore.

Cardinal Burke, here is my plea:

I am concerned, your Eminence, that you are leading many of the faithful to entertain the hypothesis that Francis is not a true pope, and I suspect, based on your statements, that you unfortunately appear to believe this privately yourself.

I pray that I am mistaken on this matter. But the signs are there, and I can’t ignore them. I therefore ask that you please make a public statement affirming your loyalty and obedience to Pope Francis, and stating in no uncertain terms that you (1) do not harbor any doubts about the validity of his papacy, and (2) accept and affirm that which Pope Francis has proposed magisterially, even when not defining it infallibly, in accordance with the Professio Fidei and Lumen Gentium 25.

Your Eminence, the unity of the Church depends on your making such an affirmation, as well as your own personal integrity and perhaps the very salvation of your soul.




The original version of the story included the following text:

Later in the story, he is quoted giving a very strange statement regarding his own role in the teaching of doctrine:

I would like to be a master of the faith, with all my weaknesses, telling a truth that many currently perceive.

This is a particularly odd thing to say, given that the Church teaches that not even the pope is the “master of the faith”; rather, he is its servant. Yet here is a cardinal who is apparently aspiring to be just that.

I also refer to this parenthetically later in this essay:

(does he see himself as “master” of Truth?)

Theologian Robert Fastiggi commented that the word “master” may have been translated incorrectly in the RNS piece. The original Spanish interview (link) uses the word “maestro” which can be translated to either “master” or “teacher.”

I have removed this passage. That said, it is immaterial to my argument.

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Mike Lewis is a writer and graphic designer from Maryland, having worked for many years in Catholic publishing. He's a husband, father of four, and a lifelong Catholic. He's active in his parish and community. He is the founding managing editor for Where Peter Is.

*UPDATED* Does Cardinal Burke think Francis is an antipope?

119 Responses

  1. Katherine Yost says:

    I think your public plea for a “clarification” from Cardinal Burke is extremely apt.

  2. Peter says:

    Brilliant article, Mike.
    You have clearly stated your concerns and provided ample evidence to support your assertions.
    Your incisive reflections are read and well-supported by a great many Australian Religious, Lay People and Priests. Thank you for all that you do to help make sense of these troubling times. It can be difficult to understand, at times, the minds and hearts of those who oppose the Holy Father. WPI provides an theologically sound way forward.
    I, too, join you in prayer for the unity of the Church. Fundamental to such unity is humility; accepting our own errors.

    • George Palantine says:

      Actually, very little of his criticisms make sense. Cardinal Burke does not believe the pope is an anti pope. No one has ever heard him say such a thing. What we have here is an attempt – an attempt – to take some things that Burke has said and miscast them into more than they were. There appears to be an attempt to link Burke to every nut job conspiracy theorist on the internet. If you want to do that, you need to connect Pope Francis to every nut job on the internet that uses Pope Francis to declare that “conscience is the only thing that matters in Catholicism” (a totally false position) or that Homosexuality must be accepted (who am I to judge?) etc.

      If you are going to try to loosely connect Burke to some right wing nuts, then you have to connect Pope Francis to the left wing nuts, and you must say that Francis IS encouraging paganism, etc via the Amazon synod, and homosexuality through James Martin etc.

      Cardinal Burke is a very careful man. He is a canon lawyer. He knows what he can say, and what he cannot say. Many of the “damning” quotations you cite are not a problem at all. It is only your interpretation of them that makes them seem so.

      Consider the problem – IF you have a pope who skates close to the line on virtually every issue – IF you have a pope that seems to want to fundamentally change the magisterium of previous popes – IF you have a pope who may even be flirting with denying truths of the faith, what do you do? You gently and firmly attempt to state the truth. You may be forced, after years of this, to publicly go on the record and state what Catholic doctrine actually IS, if the pope continues confusing people.

      This is what Burke has done, and it is entirely correct. He remains obedient, but quite rightly puts doctrine above the person of the pope. This is entirely correct, since the Pope is there to serve doctrine, not to create new doctrines. This is straight out of Vatican I.

      Now, you need to separate Burke from some of the weird Anti Vatican II people who are out there, who cling to any orthodox cardinal in their burning desire to misrepresent Vatican II. These nuts are out there. Taylor Marshall is one, (His videos are classic cases on how to misunderstand everything and draw false conclusions from scanty data) many of the people you name are anti Vatican II nuts who cling to Burke like barnacles. Just because they cling to him, does not mean Burke believes what they believe. So that line of argument is no more valid than saying that because Charles Manson liked the Beatles, the Beatles were admirers of Charles Manson.

  3. jong says:

    Dear Mike.
    Perhaps this is one of your masterpiece article detailing all the issues sorrounding the behavior of Cardinal Burke since 2014. I may not believe some of your wisdom esp. on CM, but on this piece of article I am 100% sure the Holy Spirit guide your hands for the benefit of WPI avid readers. Although, the sad reality is, this will have no effect on the Rad Trads who are suffering from “diabolical disorientation” and most esp. to the Bishops & Cardinals who are infected with the “spirit of Antichrist”. Let us remember that Cardinal Burke actions & behavior against Pope Francis is not merely born of desire to seek clarifications, it is obvious they have an evil agenda since Day1 of Pope Francis papacy to oust him.
    They have thrown so many evil plot to oust Pope Francis to force him to resign, but Pope Emeritus BXVI powerful intercession is too powerful for them to overcome. This is the wisdom behind expanded Petrine Ministry to restrain the coming of Antichrist as prophesied.
    Look at the wisdom of Stephen Walford when he observed the behavior of the Rad Trads channel as “satanic” in nature, why?
    The schismatic Trads are not fully aware of the deception that they already separated themselves from the True Catholic Church, and the church that they belong to is the “mystical body of the Antichrist” opposing the Holy Spirit inspirations starting Vatican II which is centered on the Mercy of God.
    They think that holding on to pre-Vatican II Church Doctrines & Tradition who are centered on the “punishment of God”, they are still belonging to the True Catholic Church, they are deeply mistaken as this is the “religious deception” of the Antichrist written clearly in CCC675.
    Cardinal Burke et,al is following the prophecy in CCC675 regarding the “mystery of iniquity”, they are already successful in spreading the Great Apostasy contradicting Misrercordiae Vultus paragraph12 and had already grown in numbers thru relentless synchronize attack of the Rad Trads channel day & night.
    What is the next step in the prophecy? The “mystical body of the Antichrist” will launch a “revolt” and they already rehearsing this by the 40 Days Prayer Crusade a “revolt” in disguised of prayer & fasting but it’s evil mission is to oust the Pope. They are now testing the numbers of their followers & supporters. This will now be the trend of their attacks, a series of Prayer Crusade that will develop into a “grand spiritual revolt” in the near future that would be enough to force the ouster of Pope Francis forcibly. If God Providence allows this thing to happen, what is the next step?
    They will introduce their HERO, the “man of lawlessness or the son of perdition” . But the problem is, they can only “politically appoint” as their HERO is not a Cardinal but a Bishop, therefore not canonically eligible to be elected as Pope by the conclave.
    What is the final scenario?
    We have the schismatic Trads the mystical body of the Antichrist headed by a politically appointed Pope infected by the spirit of Antichrist that will be indwelt by Satan to become the Antipope.
    Pope Francis cannot be ousted and will stay as Pope with the Remnant Church composed of few loyal Bishops, clergy and Marian devotees.
    The politically appointed Antipope will transfer the Chair of Peter to Jerusalem and we can see the Final Confrontation of the Two Church both with their own Pope.
    This has been the direction of the Rad Trads since Day1, I believe that year 2022 is a crucial year for the Vatican II Church as it will celebrate the World Youth Day at Portugal, it is a perfect time and the perfect place to Consecrate Russia and the Second Pentecost predicted by Fr.Stefano Gobbi will likely to happen, as it will coincides with their 50th anniversary of Marian Cenacle Prayer a prelude to Upper Room scenario. My Jesus mercy. S&IHMMP4us.Amen

  4. espiritu ven says:

    Can someone explain how Cardinal Burke rose to such a high position in the church before Pope Francis demoted him? Something doesn’t seem right about it to me. He is acting like an antipope. Or setting himself up to be pope in the future. He really wants to get his name out there.

    I don’t see humility or sincerity or deference to the Holy Spirit in him. but I certainly see it in Pope Francis.

    It’s frightening that the right wingers are leading so many astray. They talk and talk and complain and judge but they don’t talk about Jesus or really proclaim the gospel. They don’t wait upon the Holy Spirit. They don’t model humility or cross bearing or love or mercy.

  5. Robert Fastiggi says:

    Dear Mike,

    Thank you for this very informative article. I hope and pray Cardinal Burke clarifies the points you have raised.

    My only question would be about the interview when the Cardinal says: “I would like to be a master of the faith, with all my weaknesses, telling a truth that many currently perceive.” This could be a matter of translation. If Cardinal Burke was speaking in Italian (or Spanish), he probably used the term “maestro” which could mean “teacher” rather than “master.” This is just a minor point. Your article is excellent. You bring out details I had not known. God bless you.

  6. Andreas says:

    Too many clerics have been raised to be cardinals not because they live a life according to the Gospel, but because they “talk the talk and walk the walk” they appear to be orthodox and maybe are good administrators. I suspect that’s why Burke got his red hat. Great article Mike. Let’s hope it is read in the right places.

  7. carn says:

    I do not wish to comment on your argument, but i want to note that thereby:

    “Does Cardinal Burke think Francis is an antipope?”

    and in knowledge of this text:


    “Our public statement corresponds with the following words of Our Holy Father Pope Francis:”

    you accuse Cardinal Burke of lying.

    Cause if Cardinal Burke thought Pope Francis to be an antipope calling him “Our Holy Father Pope Francis” would be like calling white black, which is lying.

    Which gives rise to a problem:
    As you consider it possible that Cardinal Burke is lying or at least speaking untrue words, how could any declaration of Cardinal Burke convince you that he is loyal to Pope Francis?

  8. carn says:

    Shouldn’t Cardinal Burke if he is convinced that Pope Francis is the Pope follow his example how to handle questions?

    Wouldn’t that mean that Cardinal Burke should ignore Mike Lewis request for clarification?

    I mean, Pope Francis clearly suggest one should not react towards questions/dialogue/criticism, if one perceives it as stemming from the wrong attitude.

    That piece is maybe more accusatory than the dubia; if the Pope ignored the latter due to being too accusatory, Cardinal Burke should probably ignore this as well, if he follows Pope Francis lead.

    (Note: i personally would think that to be wrong; this weakling talk “ohhh, such unfair questions and accusations, i will not answer them” is not mine; so this is just an attempt to show how ridiculous things get thanks to this stupidity; Pope doesn’t answer Cardinal, when Cardinal thinks what Pope said is faulty; and Cardinal does not answer laity when they think what Cardinal said is stupid; and everyone is secured to his/her own filter bubble as all those nasty questions from outside filter bubble are ignored; i would strongly prefer Cardinal Burke to answer the question in the title in a way, that allows Mike Lewis to understand the answer, just as i would strongly prefer for Pope Francis to answer the dubia in a way that allows Cardinal Burke to understand the answer)

    • jong says:

      Cardinal Burke since 2016 are very active in many interviews. If you were diligent enough like what Mike Lewis had done following all the trails of his spoken words, you wont need an interview or an answer coming from Cardinal Burke anymore,why?
      The fish was already caught right from his mouth.
      Can Cardinal Burke denies the video & audio recording of his numerous interviews? I don’t think so…
      If you want to discern their evil strategy, Jesus Christ said “be wise like the serpent but do not act like the serpent”.
      If up to now, you cannot see the evil plot & the synchronized attack of Cardinal Burke, Bishop Schenider, Cardinal Muller, Cardinal Brandmuller, etc.. and the words of Pope Francis saying “I am not afraid of schism”, then you are missing their war of words. The war is on.
      @carn there is a Council of Media operating since the early years of Vatican II undermining the mission of the Church as Pope Benedict XVI stated on his 2013 addressed to the Clergy.
      Now, the Council of Media attacking Pope Francis had grown in numbers plus the magnitude of attacks on all front are so deceiving as the Rad Trads channel are mixing their attacks and at the same time imploring their viewers to pray.
      This is the religious deceptions happening today., even Ab.Vigano style of attacking are the same, how? Slandering Pope Francis and at the same time saying he prays and urging others to pray too but encouraging also to slander.
      Truly, a wolves in sheep clothing is the behavior of the Dubia Cardinal et,al “from the same mouth comes forth blessings & curses…”.
      Cardinal Oulette is the one who rebuked Ab.Vigano’s snake tactics saying in his published letter;
      “Dear brother, how much I wish that I could help you return to communion with him who is the visible guarantor of communion in the Catholic Church. I understand that deceptions and sufferings have marked your path in the service to the Holy See, but you should not finish your priestly life involved in an open and scandalous rebellion that inflicts a very painful wound to the Bride of Christ, whom you pretend to serve better, while causing further division and confusion among the People of God. How could I answer your call except by saying: stop living clandestinely, repent of your rebelliousness, and come back to better feelings towards the Holy Father, instead of fostering hostility against him. How can you celebrate Mass and mention his name in the Eucharistic Prayer? How can you pray the Holy Rosary, or pray to Saint Michael the Archangel, or to the Mother of God, while condemning the one Our Lady protects and accompanies every day in his burdensome and courageous mission?(Cardinal Oulette)

    • Jim the Scott says:


      Flawlessly logical.

  9. Anne Lastman says:

    “I would like to be a master of the faith” what does that remind us of? Something like “non servium
    est ?”
    I have written and spoken about this person from the beginning. I have not backed down.
    I have wondered where his swearing of his oath ti “Peter” went. I have been horrified at his snd colleagues ongoing persecution of the Holy Father. I have marvelled at the Holy Father’s silence against this ugly man and colleagues. I don’t see them as the Pope’s sharers in bringing the faith to humanity.
    It has been ( I believe) well timed attacked against “Peter” at a time when the voice ofJesus via Peter has been needed to be heard. At this time of attacks against life.
    This man (burke et al) is setting himself with his face towards papacy and setting the original adversary in place. “I am the master of the faith?”
    We remember the words “who is like God?”
    I have lost about 80% of friendships but i will remain with team “Peter”

    • Brian NJ says:

      Please give the Cardinal as favorable and charitable a translation of his words as you would have him give to Pope Francis.
      It’s getting old. I read this blog every day and I appreciate it. I also read posts critical of Pope Francis.
      “Confirmation bias” is a huge problem on both sides. “Context” is lost. It’s hard to avoid, with titillating internet posts and comments coming at us every day.
      I think that there are conservative and liberal factions in the church that are lobbying frantically right now. Part of the lobbying process involves giving dark and pernicious spin and translation to every word that comes out of Cardinal Burke and Pope Francis’ mouth. Thus, dividing us further.
      I’ve made the mistake of believing spin and rumors before. Count me out.

    • Mike Lewis says:

      Ann, I have updated the post to reflect Robert Fastiggi’s comments about the translation.

      • Anne Lastman says:

        Thanks Mike makes little difference. Maestro /master of the faith? Physician heal thyself. First.
        Jesus was the one who appointed peter, Burke and colleagues have forgotten that.

  10. Marie says:

    This revolt is well organized, and began before Francis became pope. It is an “us’ against all others, ‘nothing personal’. Cardinal Burke is the ‘saviour’ of the faith, and all others must be stopped. His dilemma is he must reject Catholic teaching to do so. but all is fair game in this war against ‘his’ Catholic Church. This requires leaving every door open to finding a way to defeat Pope Francis (and all who share his views). Anything will do. Honestly and integrity are not part of the equation, and can be sacrificed for the “greater good”.

    The faith needs to fit into his world order, which resembles only basic Catholic principles and includes little accountability of self: If you go to Mass, receive the sacraments, hold steadfast to moral teaching concerning sex, abortion and marriage, and throw your extra change in a jar, you are good to go. Pope Francis has challenged this myopic view of Catholicism on all levels, and so he must be stopped.

    The recent attacks on two children, one wearing a MEGA hat, the other fighting for climate change accountability show how low we are willing to stoop, priests and bishops included, to support a political ideology rather than supporting Catholic principles that have no political ties. Cardinal Burke does not seem to recognize this at all.

    Perhaps all priests should be required to do missionary work in their early years, and all bishops and cardinals should take a vow of poverty and live a simple life as a requirement for their position. Just maybe then things will turn around.

  11. Frank Salvato says:

    I don’t think he thinks he’s the anti-pope. He just thinks he’s a really bad pope, which he is. Not the worst by a long stretch but certainly the worst of the last 500 years.

    • Ralph says:

      It seems like Cardinal Burke is doing much more than that and possibly believes that Pope Francis’s papacy is not valid. There is a difference between being a “bad pope” in the sense that a pope can be corrupt, incompetent or have a dissolute personal life and saying that a pope is bad because he is not a valid pope and teaches heresy. Cardinal Burke and others like him seem to be arguing the second point, that Pope Francis is not a valid pope and that he has taught heresy. This is a very serious charge and at least to me it puts into question an important aspect of the Catholic faith, namely Catholic belief on the nature of the Petrine office.

      What puzzles me about this entire situation is that if one truly believes that Pope Francis is a heretic, why stay Catholic? Wouldn’t a heretical pope be a fatal blow to Catholic teaching on the nature of the papacy? It seems to me that if a person thinks Pope Francis is a heretic they would have to rethink whether they want to stay Catholic or not. Note that I am not trying to lead people away from the Church because I don’t believe that Pope Francis or any other pope has or ever will formally teach heresy. But I do wonder how people can claim to be fighting for true Catholic doctrine while denying an important aspect of the Catholic faith. It certainly brings up the thorny issue of just how do we know who teaches true Catholic doctrine. Is it Cardinal Burke? Taylor Marshall? Some guy on YouTube? Uncle Bob?

    • Anne Lastman says:

      Snd Frank what qualifies you to say that HH Pope Francis is a bad pope?
      We have so many theologian today. And they know soooo much more than the Pope

      • carn says:

        One does not need any qualification to have an opinion whether someone does a good or bad job. What qualification do you have to form the opinion that Trump does a bad job (or a good one, in the unlikely case you like him)?

        I guess none; and you do not need; you can watch and form an opinion.

        Qualification of course can help to increase the likelihood that the opinion is somewhat objectively correct. But it is not a requirement to have one.

        Also, there is nothing in Church teaching which forbids the faithful from forming an opinion about how well some shepherd does his job. They just need to voice it respectfully, if they voice it and try to be charitable.

        And also, Mark Lewis obviously voices with this text his opinion that Cardinal Burke does a bad job as cardinal; has Lewis some special qualification to do so? I guess not. Is it required? No. Might it be helpful? Yes (qualification here would be: being used to laywer talk; Cardinal Burke is a laywer-type, so being used to laywer talk would not hurt).

      • jong says:

        In a secular world it is ok to voice our opinion & criticize our leaders as we have the freedom of speech. But with regards to Church Authority and esp. the Vicar of Christ the faithful are guided by the Canon Law. Since the Pope is the Supreme Legislator, Interpreter and Guarantor of Faith, the Canon Law requires those who would like to voice or seek clarifications must be really competent and must do it in a filial way and not thru open publication in the media and much more if the clarification is tainted with pride & disobedience.
        If a faithful is very sure in his competency, the Church path of seeking clarifications are open. But only I repeat, it is only allowed to a competent person and not to all ordinary laity. For the Bishop, Priest & Theologians a much stricter rules must be followed in Donum Veritatis.

        Cardinal Burke & Bishop Schneider recent letter calling on a 40 Days Prayer Crusade somehow ruin your article as the letter cunningly implied that Cardinal Burke is not in schism and very much loyal to Pope Francis. And his public way of expressing contradictions is just an expression of his love for the Church and the Pope. So, he is personally claiming they are not in schism with Pope Francis. For me it is a deception.
        Why the Dubia Cardinals & Dissenting Bishops is denying their obvious acts & behavior is not a schism?
        It’s because of the recipe in CCC675 on the coming of Antichrist. It is composed of schism, apostasy and revolt.
        St,John clearly stated in the last hour, the Pastors will be in schism and this Pastors will be infected by the spirit of Antichrist.
        “18 Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.”(1John2:18-20)
        The Dubia Cardinals knows the biblical & church fathers prophecy of the coming of Antichrist and they do not want to be identified as the one in schism because the Antichrist belong to the separated group who committed schism.
        This is the reason why Pope Francis is daring them to fight and expose themselves as schismatics, but since they do not want to be identify in 1John2:18-20 description they will deny that their are in schism.

      • carn says:


        1. Read what i talked about: having and voicing an opinion, whether some shepherd does a good or bad job; as far as i understand that has nothing to do with canon 212; it is only a matter of doing it respectful and without intent to damage the person.

        Which here isn’t the case, cause intent is to state that Pope Francis is not an antipope. Statement by Frank Salvato is actually a partial defense of Pope Francis.

        2. What is your qualification to make these claims?

        Here the question of qualification is relevant, cause unlike Frank you make a claim about what canon law requires of all catholics.

        My qualification is that i am trained in different fields of law, are capable regarding law in different countries, am used to understand working of an unknown law system in short time as least so far that i understand what is going on to offer advice to a client and that i read what actual canon laywers said about 212. Not perfect qualification; but good enough to call you out for probably having little or none.

        3. Cardinal Burke has not violated canon 212 by asking dubia as far as i can tell (if you think so, what are your qualifications?), so by the standards you set down, the dubia were ok to ask and charity would require you to presume that.

        Do you do that? No.

        Who are you to judge?

      • jong says:

        The scenario#1 is an ordinary laity seeking clarifications to their Pastors is govern by Canon212.
        The scenario#2 is the Priest, Bishops, Cardinals & Theologians seeking clarifications to the Pope and they are govern by a different Church rules.
        For Dubia Cardinals et,al. I will allow the former Prefect of CDF Cardinal Muller to answer your question;
        “…he reminded his colleague that any “correction” must “take place in camera caritatis” . So not publicly . An appropriate warning, Müller himself explained: “The cardinals have the right to write a letter to the Pope. I was amazed because this became public, forcing the Pope to say yes or no. I don’t like this . It is damaging for the Church to discuss these things publicly “. https://www.uccronline.it/2017/01/09/il-card-muller-fedele-alleato-di-bergoglio-e-di-ratzinger/
        Have you noticed the words “camera caritatis”? The Dubia Cardinals have received a warning that a “public dissent” was not allowed by the Prefect of CDF in 2017. Did the Dubia Cardinals heed the warnings? NO!
        With regards to numerous Theologians,professors & priest who signed the first petition the “Filial Correctio” they are govern by Donum Veritatis.
        Do the petitioner who signed the “Filial Correctio” accusing Pope Francis of spreading heresies follow the simple evangelical guidelines in Donum Veritatis? NO! that’s why they failed.
        So, all those theologians, priest,bishops, professors, etc. and the Dubia Cardinals et,al who are seeking clarifications on Amoris Laetetia violates the Church Rules known to them. What can you say about their willfull disobedience & obviously ignoring Church Rules?

        What is my qualifications? I am a member of the Marian Movement of Priest founded by Fr.Stefano Gobbi and our main duty is to defend the Church united to the Vicar of Christ. We don’t rely on our personal accomplishment or personal titles, we rely on the guidance of Our Lady and our dependent on the graces coming from the Holy Spirit. see this link to know who are the MMP of Fr.Gobbi https://mmp-usa.net/

      • jong says:

        One more thing, to be honest I don’t consider Cardinal Burke et,al as True Pastors of the True Mystical Body of Christ. (Read Unam Sanctam)
        Their acts & behavior are schismatics based on Canon751,Canon752 and Lumen Gentium25.
        Cardinal Caffara a former Dubia who had reconciled with Pope Francis has this important words to them;
        «I was born Papist, I lived as a Papist, and I mean to die a Papist! If a Bishop has a thought contrary to that of the Pope» – he concluded: «he must go away, but really he must go away from the diocese. Because he would lead the faithful into a path that is not the one of Jesus Christ anymore. Therefore, he would lose himself eternally and would risk the eternal loss of the faithful».https://www.uccronline.it/eng/2018/10/08/card-caffarra-let-who-is-against-the-pope-go-away-he-will-lose-himself/
        They are openly, repeatedly, continuously and willfully opposing approved Magisterial Teachings and have the bad habits of displaying lack of prudence by prematurely criticizing last year the Youth Synod which none of their accusations & speculations happened. And now repeating again criticizing a mere “working document” in the upcoming Pan Amazon Synod.
        Cardinal Burke, et al are denying they are committing schism but as Mike Lewis gathered solid evidence of audio & video,etc, can you still trust their character? and they recently published letter on the 40 Days Prayer Crusade denying they are in schism? Their words contradict their actions. Are they lying?
        I trust the words of Pope Francis that they are in schism saying “I am not afraid of schism”.

      • jong says:

        Have you read Canon212 paragraph1-3? It is intended for ordinary faithfuls or laity. Cardinals, Bishops, theologians, and priest are not the subject to Canon212 but to the evangelical guidelines in Donum Veritatis and other Canon Law but not Canon212.
        I thought you are a lawyer, how come you cannot understand that provision was intended for ordinary laity seeking clarifications on their Pastors and not for clergy & prelates.
        See… I am not a lawyer like you but, in my own little of way I can grasp the clear definition Canon212. How about Canon751 and Canon752, did Cardinal Burke a Doctor of Canon Law grasp that he was subject to that Canon?

      • carn says:

        “Have you read Canon212 paragraph1-3? It is intended for ordinary faithfuls or laity. Cardinals, Bishops, theologians, and priest are not the subject to Canon212 but to the evangelical guidelines in Donum Veritatis and other Canon Law but not Canon212.”



        “(brothers making text-book use of their rights under Canon 212 § 3 to pose doctrinal and disciplinary questions that urgently need addressing in our day)”

        and Edward Peter saying that canon 212 also applies to them is sufficient to show that your claim is wrong.

        The other texts you named additionally apply.

        That your claim that 212 does not apply to cardinals but 752 shows that you did not consider the matter carefully:

        “Can. 752 While the assent of faith is not required, a religious submission of intellect and will is to be given to any doctrine which either the Supreme Pontiff or the College of Bishops, exercising their authentic magisterium, declare upon a matter of faith or morals, even though they do not intend to proclaim that doctrine by definitive act. Christ’s faithful are therefore to ensure that they avoid whatever does not accord with that doctrine.”

        To whom applies 752 according to its wording?

        To “Christ’s faithful”; they are bound by 752, at least as far as the words tell us.

        “Can. 212 §1 Christ’s faithful, conscious of their own responsibility, are bound to show christian obedience to what the sacred Pastors, who represent Christ, declare as teachers of the faith and prescribe as rulers of the Church.

        §2 Christ’s faithful are at liberty to make known their needs, especially their spiritual needs, and their wishes to the Pastors of the Church.

        §3 They have the right, indeed at times the duty, in keeping with their knowledge, competence and position, to manifest to the sacred Pastors their views on matters which concern the good of the Church. They have the right also to make their views known to others of Christ’s faithful, but in doing so they must always respect the integrity of faith and morals, show due reverence to the Pastors and take into account both the common good and the dignity of individuals.”

        To whom applies 212 according to its wording?

        To “Christ’s faithful”; they are bound by 212, at least as far as the words tell us.

        So your claim is that the term “Christ’s faithful” has a different meaning in 212 than in 752.

        While such things are possible in law, it is highly unlikely with canon law, cause canon law 1983 was revised in one go. That means a group of legal nitpickers read the words over and over again; and if “Christ’s faithful” at one point means a different group of people than at another, they very likely would have noticed and chosen different terms to ensure that there is no confusion that these canons apply to different groups of people.

        As the same word is used in both, there is an unlikely explanation – drafters of CIC failed to see the problem – and a likely explanation – both 212 and 752 are to address the identical group and therefore the same term was used.

        “How about Canon751 and Canon752, did Cardinal Burke a Doctor of Canon Law grasp that he was subject to that Canon?”

        Surely he is. And he didn’t violate them as far as i can tell.

      • jong says:

        Canon212 is a clear guidelines on Christ faithfuls on how to addressed their respective Pastors. Now, since Cardinal Burke is both a Pastor and let’s assume he is also a genuine Christ faithful, so he is both a Pastor & member of the Christ faithfuls, therefore he is also subject to the Supreme Pastor.
        This is where the wordings & warnings of Cardinal Muller the former Prefect of CDF plays an important role as he explicitly implied what is the Church rules that the Dubia Cardinals must adhered to for you to know the difference of Canon212. Look at the words of Cardinal Muller as he called the Dubia Cardinals “his colleague”. Here is the exact words “he reminded his colleague that any “correction” must “take place in camera caritatis” (Cardinal Muller)
        So, Cardinal Muller the former Prefect of CDF distinguished the ordinary faithfuls from the Pastors identifying the Dubia Cardinals as his “colleague”.
        And thanks to Mike Lewis previous good article as it will support my view where is the position of Dubia Cardinals fall into;
        “The closest thing I could find to an instruction for those who ultimately cannot assent to a particular teaching of the Magisterium is in the CDF document Donum Veritatis, On the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian, which states,”…http://wherepeteris.com/critics-of-pope-francis-whats-your-end-game/

      • carn says:


        I never can really grasp it; there is something so jumpy with many people; just like you here:

        First you admonish for being to blind to see that Cardinal Burke is not subject to 212.

        Then i provide strong arguments by verbatim quote from distinguished canon lawyer and by highlighting that both 212 and 752 (which you claim Burke is subject) are verbatim covering the same group, which would it make really strange if Cardinal Burke is subject to 752 but not to 212.

        Then you implicitly admit (“let’s assume he is also a genuine Christ faithful”) that 212 might be relevant for Cardinal Burke – and jump to the next argument.

        Did you even take time to consider whether your claim was wrong? Did you consider that being wrong with that claim might undermine other parts of your argument? Do you care?

        Instead you jump to the next thing:

        “And thanks to Mike Lewis”

        Remember what sparked the discusion:
        Whether Frank Salvato needs some formal/official qualification if he states something rather critical about someone higher in Church hierarchy.

        And that you now somehow want to support with an article by Mike Lewis, in which he criticizes heavily some cardinals, although Mike Lewis certainly has no qualification to go against a cardinal.

        You are in an unsolvable self-contradiction:

        a) Faithful are free to have an opinion about whether Pope Francis does his job well. Then Frank Salvato is free to say what he said (although he might be wrong).

        b) Frank Salavato may not say what he said, cause he lacks qualification, etc. ; then all of WPI must shut up at once cause they have no qualification either and therefore just as Frank Salavato may not speak his opinion about how well Pope Francis does his job WPI people may not speak their opinion about how well Burke et al do their jobs.

        You cannot get out of that.

      • jong says:

        I already gave you the direct words of Cardinal Muller the former Prefect of CDF that the Dubia Cardinals must heed the church rules by taking their dissent to “camera caritatis”. Have you not figure out the procedure.?An ordinary faithful cannot go directly to the Supreme Pontiff for clarifications. The Church is Hierarchical. and the laity must seek the own Pastors and theor Pastors their Bishops and the Bishops to higher authority and so on…
        Ok, let’s stoop down to your world as a lawyer can an ordinary citezen question or seek clarification on the Supreme Court Chief Justice ruling?

      • carn says:

        “Ok, let’s stoop down to your world as a lawyer can an ordinary citezen question or seek clarification on the Supreme Court Chief Justice ruling?”

        Since we are still talking about whether by public asking rules were broken, the answer is a total yes.

        They have a postal address. You can send them any questions you like, nothing wrong about that. You can even make public in any way, that you are asking questions and that potentially they do not answer. No laws broken by asking and making public.

        And: if you ask for clarification about some law, you usually even get a response, which states in short words, why the supreme court was not required to answer your question (usually, cause you did not keep the necessary legal process before going to supreme court; at least if you just mail them legal questions). Thats because if a court receives some writing comprising something which might be a legal request, the court (or more precisely: some court underling) must check whether the request meets all requirements for the court to actually consider the matter; and if doesn’t meet them, this must be communicated.

        In what society do you live, where courts do not react in any way at all, when receiving mail pertaining to legal issues?

        Actually get the supreme court answer your questions? That is usually difficult.

        “I already gave you the direct words of Cardinal Muller”


        “The Church is Hierarchical. and the laity must seek the own Pastors and theor Pastors their Bishops and the Bishops to higher authority and so on…”

        Wonderful; as above Cardinals there is only the Pope, that works out fine for dubia.

      • jong says:

        here is the link of Cardinal Muller direct words;
        In any case, he reminded his colleague that any “correction” must “take place in camera caritatis” . So not publicly . An appropriate warning, Müller himself explained: “The cardinals have the right to write a letter to the Pope. I was amazed because this became public, forcing the Pope to say yes or no. I don’t like this . It is damaging for the Church to discuss these things publicly ” .https://www.uccronline.it/2017/01/09/il-card-muller-fedele-alleato-di-bergoglio-e-di-ratzinger/

        your new statement “Wonderful; as above Cardinals there is only the Pope, that works out fine for dubia.”
        Nope! don’t get too fast there’s is the CDF before they reach the Supreme Pontiff, that’s why Cardinal Muller reminded the Dubia Cardinals when he was still the Prefect of the CDF the keyword correction or clarification must be done in “camera caritatis”.

        Ordinary citizen can write letter questioning the Supreme Court Justice decision, ofcourse they have the freedom to send the as much letter they want to mail. If he is not a competent lawyer like what Canon212 required “competent” Christian faithful., even if the Supreme Court Chief Justice answer his letter do you think he can understand the proper terminology of the law? Even a lawyer who is not competent or does not have expertise on certain laws will have difficulty to comprehend certain Supreme Court Rulings.

  12. JOHN BRISTOW says:

    I get enough politics from the everyday tweets of Donald Trump. Burke could not survive in the US so they gave him a job in the Vatican. He can’t hold a candle to Pope Francis.

    • Yaya says:


      The beaming smiles, the tears of emotion that I have seen on the many who have encountered our Holy Father, truly they speak to me and give me cause for joy and for hope the the Risen Lord is close to his people.
      I lack the expertise, the theology degrees, to argue with the “experts who oppose Francis” but when comparing the two, Burke and Francis, I see no joy, no witness in Burke. He has yet to confirm me in the faith when all I see and hear is negativity and no real firm support of Papa Francis.
      Keeping the faith in these times is challenging enough so like I already said before … I stand with Peter.

      Viva Cristo Rey!

      Viva il Papa!

      • Jude says:

        I’ve seen beaming smiles and tears of emotion at Beatles concerts – Doesn’t make them prophets.

        Emotional reaction is really not a good way to judge anything, let alone spiritual.

    • Anne Lastman says:

      Indeed true.

  13. Ed Mechmann says:

    Is that how low the bar is for Catholics now? That the only unacceptable thing is to utter a syllable that traps you logically into holding that the pope is illegitimate? And above that bar, you don’t have to accept anything the pope teaches that is not solemnly defined?

    That attitude is de facto Protestant. The actual teaching of the Church demands more from Catholics, and indeed for Cardinals and bishops as well: “This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra; that is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will. His mind and will in the matter may be known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking.” Lumen Gentium 25

  14. JOHN BRISTOW says:

    If I’m right the last time a Pope spoke excathedra was Pius XII when he declared the doctrine of the Assumption. The encyclicals are always just a teaching the position of which can be changed. Burke should know this.

  15. Cbalducc says:

    Before being called to Rome and named the head of the Apostolic Signatura by Pope Benedict XVI in 2008, Burke was Archbishop of St. Louis. But was this a genuine promotion or a “kicking upstairs” of a troublesome prelate?

  16. Chris dorf says:

    “Battle lines have been drawn for October’s highly anticipated Vatican summit on the Amazon region, where the proposal to give isolated communities access to the sacraments by ordaining married men has led to uproar – frustrating some of the meeting’s organizers for distracting from other pastoral concerns at stake in the region.

    Father Michael Czerny, a Jesuit priest and longtime Vatican official who Pope Francis will make a cardinal a day before the synod opens, recently issued a plea for the Church to realize the urgency of greater attention to the Amazon region and not to be distracted by “contemporary misconceptions and pernicious practices” regarding it.

    Czerny, who will serve as a special secretary to the Amazon synod, cautioned that “the social and the natural cannot – and the environmental and the pastoral must not – be separated,” – likely as an indirect response to retired German Cardinal Walter Brandmüller who said that the synod’s working document is “heretical” and should be rejected.


  17. Frank Salvato says:

    Meanwhile in Germany there are real issues to worry about. One wonders why Pope Francis is so close to Cardinal Marx who seems not to believe anymore.

  18. Steve D. says:

    To all of you shamelessly attacking such a good and faithful servant as Cardinal Burke, I will only say:

    Why has Francis continually refused to answer his simple questions in the Dubia, which would have prevented confusion and loss of faith within the Church?

    • Mike Lewis says:

      He hasn’t refused, he’s chosen to ignore them. And probably because they are accusations framed as questions.

      Meanwhile, I am not attacking Cardinal Burke, i am asking questions as well.

      • Andrew says:

        It is the POPE who can settle all of this: answer the dubia! Does he have the character of a father? Answer the dubia. Does he care about a sizable portion of his flock? Answer the dubia. Is it Cardinal Burke who published a working document riddled with the worst possible forms of error imaginable for a synod populated by notorious Liberation Theologians? No. It was published under the Pope’s authority. Is it Cardinal Burke who published an encyclical that seems to leave open the possibility of ratifying divorce among Catholics? No. It was the Pope – – who should answer the Dubia.

        For the purpose of logical consistency, please draw up an essay casting doubt on the integrity of St. Paul in his dispute with St. Peter.

        In the meantime, I tip my hat at your ability to engage in gaslighting.

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        First of all, it was not an encyclical, it was an apostolic exhortation. And contrary to what you assert, it does not leave open the possibility of ratifying divorce among Catholics, since it specifically says and I quote “every break of the marriage bond is against the will of God”

        So maybe there is no gaslighting. Maybe there is no need to answer the dubia. Maybe it is you and people like you that need to study the issue from unbiased sources and admit the possibility that you are wrong and not as knowledgeable as you might think

      • carn says:

        Come on, if dubia are accusations asked as questions, your questions are also accusations asked as questions.

        In your defense one can say, that as you think Cardinal Burke considers asking people higher in the Church hierarchy accusatory questions in public, that you just follow his example of what is ok.

    • Yaya says:

      Wow … this anger towards our Holy Father is so much more palpable on the “faithful Catholic” websites where he is smeared and slandered on an almost daily basis. I refuse to name those websites as they do not merit mention but I am sure everyone here knows them.
      I see no attacks on Burke here that even compare to the ugliness hurled at our Holy Father Francis.
      Mr. Lewis is asking honest questions, ones which make sense to me.

      • espiritu ven says:

        Those who smear and slander break the 8th commandment by giving false witness against their neighbor (Pope Francis). They also break the 2nd commandment by doing and saying evil in the name of God and his church.

    • espiritu ven says:

      Because they weren’t simple questions. They were trying to trip him up and trap him in whatever he could have answered. This is the same tactic the pharisees used on Jesus. Jesus didn’t answer them directly either. Why did Jesus do that?

      • carn says:

        But Jesus did answer nearly always and always in a way that nobody was in doubt that his words were meant as an answer to the question asked.

        Of course, some of his answers are of the “i fail to understand what the answer has to with the question”-type. But no reaction at all? Seldom at most.

        Also, which question of the pharisees did Jesus not react to with some words?

    • Anne Lastman says:

      Balderdash. And the Holy Father didn’t have to answer. The CDF is responsible
      And a question for you Steve D where are signs of Burke’s pledge of loyalty to Peter.? Or was that his lie just to get the job. Another lie. he didn’t deserve such an honour.

      • Steve D. says:

        So now Cardinal Burke is a liar, nice. No, he didn’t have to answer the Dubia. But actions (or lack thereof) have consequences. Why should any Catholic trust a pope who could have easily clarified his position on Church teaching, but willingly refused to do so?

  19. RDB says:

    This is overwrought and not an accurate portrayal of what Cardinal Burke is saying and doing. I wish you could hear the stories my friends who work in the Vatican tell about this man (Pope Francis) and the spirit of fear he instills for fear of saying anything that could be construed as criticism.
    Burke knows canon law and theology. Nothing you present that he says implies anything schismatic.

    • Marie says:

      Interesting, Pope Francis just spoke about gossip again today, referring to it as a diabolical cancer. Maybe you can share that with your friends.

    • Terry says:

      Thank you for your comment. It is greatly appreciated in this time of great confusion.

    • espiritu ven says:

      Because they weren’t simple questions. They were trying to trip him up and trap him in whatever he could have answered. This is the same tactic the pharisees used on Jesus. Jesus didn’t answer them directly either. Why did Jesus do that?

    • espiritu ven says:

      So Burke knows canon law and theology. But does he “deny himself, carry his cross and follow Jesus”? Does he sincerely and humbly pray that “not his will be done but that God’s will be done”? “Does he pray and desire that “he decrease and God increase”? Those are the real questions.

      To me Burke and his collaborators want to impose THEIR will on the church. Their not interested in God’s will. Pope Francis seeks discernment and gets criticized for it. Burke and Co. assume that their will is God’s will or they don’t care. That is major Pride!

      • Yaya says:

        @ espiritu ven

        And major disrespect towards our Holy Father too by those here who defend Burke.

        Oh, let’s see …

        “this man (Pope Francis)”


      • RDB says:

        I dont know Cardinal Burke’s soul. In my reference to “this man”, it was to clarify that I was speaking about the pope and not Cardinal Burke. And Italians often say “Popa Wojtyla” or “Papa Ratzinger.”
        So many of these comments reveal a popeolatry and the writers would do well to spend a few hours reading soon to be Saint John Henry Newman and the dangers of this ultramontane understanding of what is owed the pope.

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        Interestingly, I just finished reading an Essay on the Development of Doctrine and was struck at how much it validates all of the things that Francis teaches and that critics argue are against Scripture and Tradition

  20. Pete Vickery says:

    Very good piece Mike. You really do your homework. I think Pope Francis should ignore Burke. What Burke desperately wants is attention. Also your suspicion about the use of the word master is correct. Having lived in Mexico it’s not unheard of to refer to your teacher as maestro. It’s not a big deal.

    • espiritu ven says:

      The issue is more than “attention”. If Burke were just a traditionalist trying to protect the church, why does he meet with secular power brokers like Steve Bannon and Tim Busch? What would a faithful priest have in common with secular people who want to corrupt he church into serving their worldly interests.

  21. Stephen Golay says:

    Hey Mike, if it hurts you to ask it then don’t.

    Maybe it’s time to rethink this whole pope thing, period. But, now that you have your guy seated on Peter’s Chair, you wouldn’t (where as in the past you would) be interested.

    It’s all about power, isn’t it?

    • Pedro Gabriel says:

      Your projection is breathtaking. We don’t have “our guy” seated in the Chair of Peter. We are being faithful to Francis in the same way we were being faithful to Benedict XVI and John Paul II in their time.

      You are the one who wants to “rethink this whole Pope thing”, as soon as the guy seated in the Chair of Peter is not “your guy”

      Yes, it’s all about power… for you. Therefore it has nothing to do with Christianity. Christianity has to do with obedience and docility

      • Yaya says:

        @ PG
        I wholeheartedly agree with you.
        It seems such a weak arguement to claim everytime that “those of us who faithful to Pope Francis” are engageid in popeolatry. An amusing thought but nothing could be further from the truth. Papa Panchito would be the first one to call me on the rug were it true.
        I respect him because he is the Vicar of Christ on earth. I pray for him because upon his shoulders the Church of Christ rests and boy … what a heavy burden it has become of late.
        I admire the Holy Father because I believe he knows if the anti-Francis chatter and yet he is always calm and serene because his anchor is Christ Jesus while he holds onto our Lady’s hand in all his comings and goings.

        Viva Cristo Rey!
        Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe!
        Viva il Papa!

  22. Peter Klos says:

    Dear Mike,

    I am a priest (my mother language is not English, so forgive my grammatical errors) and I am one of the faithful who has great concerns about pope Francis. I recognize (as Cardinal Burke does) that pope Francis is the legitimate Pope. But to me it is evident that Pope Francis breaks with Tradition in so many ways (his attitude and words concerning marriage, concerning homosexuality, concerning oecumenism, concerning the existence of hell, concerning absolute moral values. comcerning etc. etc.), so I cannot really understand that you want such a blind obedience to Pope Francis. It is evident that it is mine (and yours) obligation to resist Pope Francis when he proclaims errors or even heresy. The Working Document of the Amazone Synode is full of heresy, no one with any sound Catholic faith can deny that. So it is very good and praiseworthy that some Cardinals and Bishops – among them Cardinal Burke and Bishop Schneider – point out these heresies and defend our faith. I really cannot understand why Catholics should critizise that. It is absolutely not true that Cardinal Burke provokes a schism. It is – as Mgr. Vigano rightly said – the Pope himself who provokes a schism by encouraging all kind of heresies (and the Amazone Synos is the summit). Sometimes – when I read your website – I wonder whether you have really understood our Catholic faith. Obedience to the Pope is never ever meant as cadaver obedience. As our upcoming Saint John Henry Newman wrote: first obedience to our conscience and after that obedience to the Pope.
    May God bless you.

    • Pedro Gabriel says:

      The Pope’s attitudes and words regarding marriage, homosexuality, ecumenism, hell and absolute moral norms is perfectly compatible with Tradition. We advise you to read some of the articles that we have written on this blog so far about those topics. After that, maybe you will be more able to ascertain who is really provoking schism

      • Peter Klos says:

        I don’t think we will ever (not even in eternity) agree. But you are free to make your own interpretation. In the end, everything will come to the light…

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        We agree. However, your apparent lack of interest on our contribution to showing you how the Pope is consistent with Tradition is troublesome

        I will just take the issue of Hell. Did you know that Francis is probably one of the Pope who has talked more and in more traditional terms about hell? Did you know that he has forcefully talked about hell on several occasions? We have an article on that… but you probably prefer to believe the account of a biased atheist who, without direct quotes, postulates the Pope denied hell in a phone conversation and which was picked up by sites hostile to the Holy Father. And so here you are, repeating without any interest in correction, the idea that the Pope’s views on hell conflict with tradition

      • Peter Klos says:

        How do you know my “apparent lack of interest in your contribution…”. I know your arguments but I also know that it is useless to argue with you. You call black what is white in my eyes. That is your right of course, but I will not waste my time arguing about it.

    • RDB says:

      I would say this comment reflects the opinion of 90% of young priests and seminarians. Pope Francis can only find allies in the elderly clergy and the power hungry.

      • Yaya says:

        Says who, you?

        Based on what I have seen of his many travels around the world many in his audience and with whom he meets are young people and children too. I am sure Papa Francisco has made a lasting impression upon them as to his witness in following Christ and in loving our Lady.

        If the elderly are his allies, then all the more many blessings since they have lived life and have learned to stay away from those who would say they are “faithful Catholics” yet spend their time bashing the Pope. I am elderly and have watched along the road who is not to be trusted. I stand with our Holy Father Francis.

        Power hungry allies? It seems our Lord Jesus dealt with these kind too. Power hungry swings both ways though … pull the plank from your own before you cast stones upon those who support and respect our Holy Father Francis.

  23. If Cardinal Burke is not happy anymore with the current Pope, he has the freedom to leave the Church. Nobody refrains him not to do it. Maybe it will be good for the Church for him to leave.

    • Fred Smith says:

      I respectfully turn the card back to you. All those not living up to the true deposit of faith all levels are the ones that I wish would depart. It is so sad to witness the destruction of the church from within. Just leave please so we can restore the church.

  24. Marie says:

    It is interesting to me that Cardinals’ Burke and Schneider issued a clarification letter concerning ” true fidelity” , presumably to help those of us “suffering” from papolatry, yet they ignore any reference to Catholic teaching to support their claim. They choose to quote a little blurb Bishop Melchior Cano said during the Council of Trent! That’s the best they can do? Why don’t they back up their concern with catholic teaching? Because they can’t!

    It is not papolatry to follow church teaching, it is our duty! The fact that some of us may also admire the Pope’s strength and courage during these times has nothing to do with our commitment to respond to papal authority according to what our faith teaches. It is something we are obliged to do, and have in the past and will continue to do, regardless of the pope in Peter’s chair. We are to follow ALL Catholic teaching.

    Catholic teaching is clear on this. Cardinal Burke chooses to ignore this, and has decided not to address it to those of us concerned with his behaviour. No mention at all. How about it Cardinal Burke? Why don’t you tell us what the meaning of Church teaching is concerning a catholic’s obligation toward papal authority? Specifically, Canon law 752. Is that papolatry? The Catechism of the Catholic Church, the go to reference to Church teaching, explains our obligations to the pope. CCC 880-896 deals with this, in particular 892., concerning non infallible teaching.

    Cardinal Burke has no authority to speak on faith and morals unless united to the pope. That is Church teaching! The cardinals refer to themselves as true friends of Pope Francis. “We have a supernatural esteem of his person and of the supreme pastoral office of the Successor of Peter. We pray very much for Pope Francis and encourage the faithful to do the same.” The old expression “with friends like this who needs enemies” comes to mind. Cardinal Burke has openly criticized the pope and his papacy from the beginning. He has aligned himself with political figures and ideologies over his obligation to the Church.

    The cardinals took a vow of obedience to the Pope and his successors when they became cardinals. Was that conditional? Did the vow include only when I agree with the teaching? Did it include when I don’t agree I can ignore the vow, or say it is just the pope’s opinion?

    Our fidelity is to the Pope and bishops in communion with him. Nothing Cardinal Burke or Schneider do will ever change this. The next time (I’m sure within a week or so) the cardinals decide to send another letter, to help ‘clear some confusion’ they may spend some time looking inward. God bless the Vicar of Christ.

    • Yaya says:

      Well said Marie, thank you for your eloquence. I was very happy to read about a group of Bishops from Africa who have gone on record in support of Papa Francis. They also had choice words for those who are in opposition to him causing confusion and dissention among the faithful.


      “The Holy Father Pope Francis has come under attacks in recent times. Of more serious concern are the attacks coming from some higher levels of the Church in some parts of the world. As members of the Episcopal College, of which the Holy Father is the Head, we regard these attacks as the proverbial ill wind that blows no one any good, bearing in mind that there are other more legitimate and traditionally tested avenues of expressing our opinions to the Holy Father,” the Bishops said.
      According to the Nigerian prelates, “To be able to lead the flock of Christ in the right direction in a world filled with many contradicting and confusing voices, we as a College must speak with one voice. We, therefore, recognise that ‘The Roman Pontiff, as the successor of Peter, is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the Bishops and of the whole company of the faithful’ (Vat II, Lumen Gentium 23). We reaffirm our faith in and commitment to the Pontificate of the Holy Father Pope Francis. Consequently, we pledge our loyalty and availability to him in the exercise of his Petrine office, and we promise to continue to cooperate with him fully in the discharge of his divine mandate as the Pastor of the Universal Church (cf. Code of Canon Law, Cann. 331, 334),” reads the Communique.


      • Fred Smith says:

        Indeed, a “well-organized movement that opposes Pope Francis,” exists. Count me in as concerned with this Pontificate. It is obvious that he promotes those who reject teachings of the Church. Meanwhile, he (and his subordinates) harm those who are true to the Magisterium. Copious examples abound but I will not take up your time with details.

        Focusing on the Pope detracts from a pandemic issue – corruption and heresy throughout the Church. The smoke of Satan has entered.
        The vast majority of liturgy and sermons around the world abound with modernism. This is the other side of the story. What is my hope for the laity and clerics who do not follow the teachings as detailed in the Catechism? Please leave the Church rather than change her.

        The Church is under siege with the greatest crisis in history. Shining light on the darkness must occur to expose the filth as Pope Benedict XVI warned us about. Yes, it is necessary to avoid the sin of detraction. Yet, we need to follow the example of Saint Athanasius and the other saints who in their time worked to restore the Church.

    • M. says:

      What really seems to stick in the craw of self-identified “Faithful Catholics” is our *affection* for Pope Francis. This affection is often attacked as “papolotry” etc. It’s just a straw man, but they’ll never b able see it. Black and white thinking is blinding in its soothing comfort.

  25. jong says:

    Sorry WPI, you can discard my two other unposted comments if you wish, just post the last one. this is only a private remarks. please do not post this. Godbless

  26. john murray says:

    Which of the Two Francis or Cardinal Burke can believe what this creed proclaim

    Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith. Which faith unless every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the catholic faith is this: that we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Essence. For there is one Person of the Father; another of the Son; and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one; the Glory equal, the Majesty coeternal. Such as the Father is; such is the Son; and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father uncreated; the Son uncreated; and the Holy Ghost uncreated. The Father unlimited; the Son unlimited; and the Holy Ghost unlimited. The Father eternal; the Son eternal; and the Holy Ghost eternal. And yet they are not three eternals; but one eternal. As also there are not three uncreated; nor three infinites, but one uncreated; and one infinite. So likewise the Father is Almighty; the Son Almighty; and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not three Almighties; but one Almighty. So the Father is God; the Son is God; and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods; but one God. So likewise the Father is Lord; the Son Lord; and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not three Lords; but one Lord. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity; to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord; So are we forbidden by the catholic religion; to say, There are three Gods, or three Lords. The Father is made of none; neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created; but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten; but proceeding. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity none is before, or after another; none is greater, or less than another. But the whole three Persons are coeternal, and coequal. So that in all things, as aforesaid; the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity, is to be worshipped. He therefore that will be saved, let him thus think of the Trinity.

    Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting salvation; that he also believe faithfully the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess; that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man; God, of the Substance [Essence] of the Father; begotten before the worlds; and Man, of the Substance [Essence] of his Mother, born in the world. Perfect God; and perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead; and inferior to the Father as touching his Manhood. Who although he is God and Man; yet he is not two, but one Christ. One; not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh; but by assumption of the Manhood into God. One altogether; not by confusion of Substance [Essence]; but by unity of Person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man; so God and Man is one Christ; Who suffered for our salvation; descended into hell; rose again the third day from the dead. He ascended into heaven, he sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty, from whence he will come to judge the living and the dead. At whose coming all men will rise again with their bodies; And shall give account for their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil, into everlasting fire. This is the catholic faith; which except a man believe truly and firmly, he cannot be saved.

    • Pedro Gabriel says:

      In my opinion, both men believe what is contained in that text

      • john murray says:

        Read what Pius X said over hundred years ago and study it


        o the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops
        and other Local Ordinaries in Peace
        and Communion with the Apostolic See.

        Venerable Brethren, Health and Apostolic Benediction.

        The office divinely committed to Us of feeding the Lord’s flock has especially this duty assigned to it by Christ, namely, to guard with the greatest vigilance the deposit of the faith delivered to the saints, rejecting the profane novelties of words and oppositions of knowledge falsely so called. There has never been a time when this watchfulness of the supreme pastor was not necessary to the Catholic body; for, owing to the efforts of the enemy of the human race, there have never been lacking “men speaking perverse things” (Acts xx. 30), “vain talkers and seducers” (Tit. i. 10), “erring and driving into error” (2 Tim. iii. 13). Still it must be confessed that the number of the enemies of the cross of Christ has in these last days increased exceedingly, who are striving, by arts, entirely new and full of subtlety, to destroy the vital energy of the Church, and, if they can, to overthrow utterly Christ’s kingdom itself. Wherefore We may no longer be silent, lest We should seem to fail in Our most sacred duty, and lest the kindness that, in the hope of wiser counsels, We have hitherto shown them, should be attributed to forgetfulness of Our office.


      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        Wonderful quote. And yes, I have read Pascendi, thank you very much. That is why I do not subscribe to these modernist tendencies of having personal interpretations apart from the Magisterium i.e. the Pope and the bishops in communion with him

      • jong says:

        John Murray
        Who is the enemy of the Cross of Christ? Let’s zoom in on the Pascendi.
        I will prove to you that you are on the wrong side of the fence if you take sides with Cardinal Burke, et al.
        1. When Pope Francis implore all the Clergy & Prelates to conversion and wear the cloak of compassion, it means they have to embrace the Cross of Christ.
        2. When Pope Francis magnifies the Cross of Christ, seeing the hopeless situations of the couples in irregular union, what did Cardinal Burke et,al said? No, the Cross of Christ cannot gave them access to the Holy Communion. In short they close the Door of Mercy.
        3. When Pope Francis magnifies the Cross of Christ offering compassion to the convicted criminals who committed heinuos crimes offering them hope that their dignity was not lost. Pope Francis extending the Cross of Christ to this hopeless souls assuring them that no one is beyond redemption. What did Cardinal Burke, et al said? Nope! they said let the state execute them they deserve the just punishment in the hands of the state.
        Now, how did Cardinal Burke et, al understand the Cross of Christ written in your posted Pascendi?
        Who is the real enemy of the Cross of Christ? Is it Pope Francis who is offering hope to all the lost & wounded souls encouraging them to implore the Mercy of God or the schismatic groups who followed Cardinal Burke et,al in closing the Door of Mercy of God saying, No! the Church Traditions & Doctrines cannot help you.

  27. Christopher Lake says:

    From the evidence of his interview with the French outlet, as quoted in this article, Cardinal Burke seems to think that the Catholic faithful can, and should, “leave aside the matter of the Pope” because, in his understanding, “it is the truth of our doctrine which guides us.”

    This is, quite frankly, astounding thinking, especially coming from a Catholic Bishop who sees himself as a champion of Catholic orthodoxy– *precisely because* the Catechism teaches, and the Church has always taught, that it is the Pope, and the Bishops who teach in communion with him, who are the *authentic, authoritative interpreters* of both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition within the Church.

    If one wishes to defend Catholic orthodoxy, then this “matter of the Pope (i.e. Francis),” of which Cardinal Burke speaks, *cannot* be set aside from, or above, or treated as a separate matter from, Catholic doctrinal truth. Logically speaking, how can there be any authoritative defining and promulgating of Catholic doctrinal truth which can somehow be set *above and against* the teaching office of the Papacy, *when* it is the Pope himself, as the Vicar of Christ, who *is responsible, as Christ intended*, for that authoritative defining and promulgating of doctrinal truth for the Church?

    In any event, there is nothing that Pope Francis has taught, as the Vicar of Christ, which has contradicted Catholic doctrinal truth. He teaches the truth about the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He teaches the truth about Mary. He teaches the truth about Satan. He teaches the truth about Hell, *including* by warning us that any of us can, indeed, go there, and that we must avoid it by continually seeking God and holiness. https://www.romereports.com/en/2018/04/04/pope-francis-strongest-statements-on-hell-and-the-devil/

    It honestly scandalizes me that a priest of the Catholic Church would say, as one has in the comments here for this article, that Pope Francis does not teach the truth about Hell, when he has clearly done so, publicly, many times. Francis warns us about Satan and Hell quite a bit, especially for a Pope who supposedly doesn’t believe in them!

    He also teaches the truth about marriage. In his public teaching office, Pope Francis has *never* contradicted Catholic doctrinal truth on marriage. A valid, sacramental marriage within the Catholic Church is still indissoluble. Pope Francis has been clear on this point, including in “Amoris Laetitia.” A partial shift in the *sacramental discipline*, for *certain, individual* cases, reached as a matter of *private consultations* between Catholic priests and spouses whom they are counseling, does *not* equate to a change in Catholic doctrine on marriage. Sacramental discipline is *related* to doctrine, but a partial change in the former, for individual people in certain cases, is not, in and of itself, a change in the latter.

    When a particular formulation of “Catholic doctrinal truth” is openly set against the visible, living, Christ-given, teaching authority of the Pope, by a Bishop, then Catholic orthodoxy has been contradicted by that Bishop. The Catechism is clear on where the ultimate doctrinal teaching authority resides in the Church:

    The Magisterium of the Church

    85 “The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ.”47 This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome.

    86 “Yet this Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God, but is its servant. It teaches only what has been handed on to it. At the divine command and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it listens to this devotedly, guards it with dedication and expounds it faithfully. All that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is drawn from this single deposit of faith.”48

    87 Mindful of Christ’s words to his apostles: “He who hears you, hears me”,49 the faithful receive with docility the teachings and directives that their pastors give them in different forms.

    (Source: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p1s1c2a2.htm)

    • Yaya says:

      Thank you Mr. Lake for your commentary. I learned much from it and reinforced my trust in our Holy Father Francis. I watch on a daily basis the many videos from Rome Reports and Current News as to what our Holy Father does and says.
      Helps me to keep up and to pray for everyone the world over.

  28. Jacob Son says:

    I sat in at a number of lunches in 2016 where Cardinal Burke was present. He was in the presence of a small group of religious and was speaking freely in the relaxed company. He had been giving a retreat that week (and I was a happy fly on the wall). During one particular mealtime, the cardinal mentioned that he had recently spoken with the former Pope (B16). Cardinal Burke said Benedict XVI seemed (to paraphrase) clear in his thinking and present enough to have been still able to function as Pope. He seemed to silently wonder why (as we all did) why Pope Benedict resigned. In the course of the numerous conversations I heard, Cardinal Burke in no way expressed, nor implied anything other than that Pope Francis is in fact the validly elected sitting Pontiff. That impression to me still stands.

    • Christopher Lake says:


      Based on the abundant evidence, from Cardinal Burke himself, that Mike Lewis presents, even in just this one article alone, I see two current, simultaneous messages, about Pope Francis, coming to us, from the Cardinal.

      First, Cardinal Burke certainly does still *verbally profess* that Francis is the Pope. He even states that he, Burke, is saying what he is saying, and doing what he is doing, regarding Pope Francis, out of love and respect for him *as* the Pope. With these related statements, I see one of the two messages that the Cardinal is currently communicating about the Pope.

      The second of the two messages that I am hearing from Cardinal Burke (i.e. from his own words and actions) is that whenever and wherever Pope Francis states and/or writes *anything* which conflicts with *Cardinal Burke’s understandings* of Catholic truth, then either Francis cannot possibly be speaking Magisterially, or, if he *is* speaking Magisterially, then he is spreading, at best, serious confusion, or, at worst, heresy.

      However, in repeated cases with which Cardinal Burke has voiced objections, Pope Francis has clarified, numerous times, that he *is* speaking Magisterially. One example would be with his personally approved, and CDF-thoroughly-explained, revision to #2267 of the Catechism on the death penalty. Another example would be in his specific Magisterial approval of the Buenos Aires BIshops’ guidelines regarding the application of “Amoris Laetitia.” Again, the Pope states that he *is* teaching Magisterially– and yet, Cardinal Burke seems to either doubt this statement of the Pope or disagree with it, apparently, because the Pope’s teachings, in these cases, do not fit within Burke’s personal understandings of “Catholic doctrinal truth.”

      Pope Francis states, and has repeatedly stated, that his Magisterial teachings are those of a “loyal son of the Church” and are in continuity with the historic Magisterium of the Church, within the Catholic understanding that there is a legitimate development of doctrine in the Church, from her earliest years to the present day. (There are also legitimate *changes in the application of Church discipline*, too, which many of the Pope’s critics are unfortunately mistaking to be changes in Catholic doctrine.)

      Cardinal Burke verbally professes that Francis is the Pope, and that we should respect and love him as the Pope. However, at the same time, Burke also, at the *very least*, seems to be extremely uncomfortable with the idea that Pope Francis could ever teach anything, Magisterially, which would conflict with the Cardinal’s own understandings of Catholic doctrinal truth. Moreover, Burke seems to be utterly, firmly convinced that if Francis were to ever do so, he would be embracing heresy and bringing necessary resistance to his Papacy from “faithful Catholics.”

      The major problem in Cardinal Burke’s unyielding confidence in his own grasp of Catholic teaching and orthodoxy, and in his ongoing concerns about the Pope, is that the Church teaches that it is *the Pope, as the successor of Peter, and the Bishops teaching in communion with him* who are protected from officially, Magisterially, teaching heresy. When a group of Bishops/Cardinals publicly calls into question, or aligns against, teaching which *the Pope has specifically stated as being Magisterial*, then the Church’s historic teaching is that it is *the Pope* who is protected from heresy in his teachings– and *not* the group of Bishops in their *opposition* to his teachings.

      From the evidence of his own words and actions, Cardinal Burke, while still professing formal recognition of, and respect and love for, the Pope, is allowing his own confidence in his grasp of Catholic orthodoxy to overwhelm his submission to the Pope, who, as the Vicar of Christ, has the promise of actually being protected from publicly, Magisterially teaching heresy– and the promise of *both maintaining, and legitimately developing, Catholic orthodoxy*. Does Cardinal Burke believe that Pope Francis is an antipope? I don’t know. However, Burke seems to be, at least, in a severe state of resistance to the idea that Pope Francis could teach him anything about Catholic doctrine which would conflict with his own current understandings of such. In that case, then, even if Cardinal Burke still verbally professes that Francis is the Pope, is Burke actually *functioning, on an everyday basis*, as if he owes the religious submission to Francis’s Papal teaching authority which the Church claims that he has from Christ Himself?

  29. Jim the Scott says:

    If I may be blunt. In principle I have no problem with intelligent rational criticisms of Cardinal Burke. After all if I can tolerate principled, fair and rational criticism of the Holy Father then why should Cardinal Burke get a free pass? But I have high standards and my basic analysis of this essay is if you strapped a thermonuclear device onto it and set it off it could not disintergrate any part of it worth saving. This essay is basically Taylor Marshall level of badness and or the Nichols’ Letter from the opposite direction. What is shares with them is a tendency to argue from inuendo and inference not by producing direct clear evidence.

    And I say to both sides. Pope Francis’ critics and Cardinal Burke’s. Give me clear evidence or bugger off because you risk boring me to death. One can insult me, my intelligence, my Mother and her chastiy but for God in Heaven’s sake never bore me!

    You are trying to “read” Cardinal Burke’s mind much like the Holy Father’s worst critics try to read his and with the same predictable results. Nowhere have you shown Burke rebelling against Pope Francis’ teaching nor deny his lawful claim to the office. At best you have Burke answering hypothetical questions about hypothetical Papal heresy or hypothetical irregularities in the Pope’s election but no specific accusation the Pope is a heretic nor invalidly elected.

    So basically you are to me like the Radtrad who cites “Who am I to judge?” to concocked an elaborate theory how Pope Francis is teaching in code that homosexual conduct is moral (when in fact his prima facia statements before post election are orthodox).

    The only difference is you are doing the same to Burke. Shame on you sir.

    • jong says:

      Jim the Scott
      Have you seen a leader or member of a syndicate or a Mafia operates with openness revealing their plots?
      Jesus commanded us to be wise like the serpent, why? We need to know their minds, their way of thinking and this an effective strategy in a war, in our case “spiritual war”. We are now in a spiritual war with the wolves & packed of wild dogs, and no one among the side of Cardinal Burke would admit that their actions & behaviors are schismatics. Why? Go and read 1John2:18-20.., the group of Cardinal Burke does not want to be identify as belonging to the Antichrist, but Pope Francis is revealing their identity telling them bravely “I am not afraid of schism”.
      Have you seen a professional criminal or robbers admitting to their crimes?
      That’s why Pope Francis implore all of us to conversion and be docile to the voice of the Holy Spirit. If you have the gift of discernment you can see a lot of satan footprints in the words & speeches of Cardinal Burke, and this brilliant article of Mike Lewis deciphers it…Where is the problem on your part? Either you don’t have the gift of discernment or you are completely in denial of the FACTS that was presented to you upfront by this well documented article.

      • Jim the Scott says:


        >Where is the problem on your part? Either you don’t have the gift of discernment or you are completely in denial of the FACTS that was presented to you upfront by this well documented article.

        What fact is it all suposition and inuendo like reading an page from INFILTRATION? Like I said I can get that from Tayor Marshall?

  30. Marie says:

    I see a close correlation between how we are expected to treat the Holy Father, and what the Catholic Church teaches us concerning the Forth Commandment and the duty of children towards their parents (CCC 2214-2220)

    Gratitude, respect, obedience and finally, responsibility for when they become sick, frail and weak. Our response to the first requirements reveal our understanding of our role, the last requirement tests our faith. For those who have gone through the physical and emotional journey of caring for a dying parent, and/or both parents, you know well both the suffering in witness, and the joy in being able to show such honour, as God has asked, to those who want us most in their time of need. This is expressed in different ways, depending on circumstance, but sadly, and often, in this test of faith, one painfully discovers that not everyone is up to the task.

    While our Holy Father may not need our care for him physically, we are required, as faithful Catholics, if we are truly being faithful, to show our gratitude, respect and finally obedience, through submission of the will and intellect, in honour of Christ, who promised us, through Peter and the bishops in communion with him, a Church for which the gates of hell shall not prevail.

  31. Andreas says:

    Forgive me my bluntness: but it’s time for wherepeteris to launch on YouTube. If you want to be a serious contender to the catholic extremist land, you need be where they are. I know you do this on your free time, do not receive any pay or whatever. And I know this is embarrassingly easy for someone like me to say: But you really need to get to YouTube.

    • Mike Lewis says:

      I’ve been waiting for Joe Dantona to give me the go-ahead.

      In the meantime, you can just listen to this over and over again.


      • jong says:

        Make it happen please. The Rad Trads channels are making evil money out of youtbube doing the works of the devil by accusing Pope Francis day & night.(Revelation12:10)
        As.St.Athanasius said “Where there is slander there is satan.”
        And St.Philip Neri called the Rad Trads host like Dr.Marshall, John Westen, etc “Chicken pluckers”.
        WPI needs to elevate their defense. I believe WPI is like a spark or one little candle, enough to brighten the social media of darkness the Rad Trads channel had darkened. (John1:5)
        May Our Lady give you WISDOM and may our Loving & Merciful Father provide all the needs of WPI. My Jesus mercy. S&IHMMP4us.Amen.

      • Andreas says:

        Ha ha ha, great news! Make the donate button bigger, I’m sure there are many out there that wants to support you

  32. Jude says:

    It would seem an important question to ask is whether or not the whole concept of anti-pope in the current usage is possible. Can a man who is held to be pope by the whole church be an antipope or lose the office?

    The state of someone who may be contemplating deciding Francis is an antipope would depend on the answer to that question. Would such a one be betraying the Faith, or not? If the possibility exists, such questions are not over the line (as long as they remain questions) if the possibility does not exist, that’s another thing.

    At any rate, Cardinal Burke, has not declared the seat to be empty. He, no doubt, knows that such a pronouncement is not for him to make. , even if he has decided thus.

    In attempting to rationalize Francis, some of the bishops have come up with ‘opinion of the man’ type reasoning and so on. That is not necessarily a betrayal of either Francis or the church, but their way of making everything fit. It is not necessarily in bad faith.

    • Mike Lewis says:

      I don’t think a man who is held to be pope by the whole Church can become an Antipope. If a pope COULD “automatically” lose his office, there is simply no objective standard by which the entire Church could know with certainty who the pope is. It would result in permanent chaos.

      Cardinal Burke, however, believes it’s possible, he’s said so. And he apparently believes Honorius lost his office, unless he misspoke in the Wanderer interview.

      Does he believe the decision is his to make? In part. He asserted that the college of cardinals could make the declaration, and it wouldn’t require a majority.

      He has dropped enough hints that suggest that he is in doubt of Francis’s legitimacy as pope that it’s worth asking the question.

      • Jude says:

        I don’t think so either. I don’t think anti-pope can exist in the way it is applied to pope Francis, but I don’t know if that’s right. What I am wondering is what is the church’s position on anti-popes, and how certain is it. In effect, are we wondering whether the Cardinal, or others, believe something that is remotely possible, or something that is absolutely impossible? If he were to say plainly that he has concluded Francis is not pope, does he have any ground to stand on… precedence, theory, law…?

        An article on that would be interesting.

      • Mike Lewis says:

        An antipope (historically) has been a second claimant to the papacy, elected in an invalid conclave, up against a legitimate pope. Some people today argue that Benedict is the true pope and Francis’s conclave was invalid, but that would mean that Benedict is pope without realizing it, which would be weird.

        Another line of reasoning used today is based on speculative writings by Bellarmine, Suarez, and other theologians about the possibility of a heretical pope. This has never been taught authoritatively by the Church. I’d argue that Vatican I ruled out the possibility.

        But their theories were resurrected by sedevacantists in 1970s and have been used by those who think Francis is an invalid pope.

        Cardinal Burke has expressed that he embraces this theory as well.

  33. Mike says:

    Let’s suppose you are right about Burke. Can we take Ch 8 of Amoris Laetitia to indicate that we should walk with and discern with His Eminence’s obstinate disobedience, violation of his promise to loyalty to the Pope, his grave scandal, potential schism, malice and so forth rather than eagerly pointing out the grave sins he obstinately persist in? By the same, given mitigating circumstances can he receive absolution and the Holy Eucharist as he persists unrepentantly in his assault on Francis driving others to resist him and causing grave scandal and potentially schism? Could this not be what God is asking of him in the concrete circumstances of his life?

    • Mike Lewis says:

      I am not sure if you are being sarcastic here or not. But actually, Amoris Laetitia has more to say about such cases:

      “Naturally, if someone flaunts an objective sin as if it were part of the Christian ideal, or wants to impose something other than what the Church teaches, he or she can in no way presume to teach or preach to others; this is a case of something which separates from the community (cf. Mt 18:17). Such a person needs to listen once more to the Gospel message and its call to conversion.”

      • Mike says:

        Ok, so objectively adulterous couples should not act as though their illicit union is some sort of good thing? They ought to refrain from public displays of romance or referring to each other as “spouse” or appearing together in public as a married couple with children and other acts flaunting their objective sin as some good? They ought to display a reasonable shame for the objective sin? Perhaps mitigating circumstance could allow such flaunting, because of the good of the children?
        Perhaps in the same way, we could think of Burke. He does not flaunt his objective sin as objective sin, but emphasizes obedience to the Magisterium and supporting the Petrine ministry and this he points to as part of the Christian ideal. Even if he is flaunting his sinful behavior, perhaps there are mitigating circumstance. Shouldn’t we discern and walk with him? Couldn’t this be what God is asking of him?

      • Mike Lewis says:

        That’s a lot of questions. And you aren’t making sense now.

        I just posted a quote from AL. The difference between Cardinal Burke and a Catholic in a tragically broken marriage situation is that Burke purports to be a teacher of the faith. He is flaunting his rejection of the Magisterium of the Church as if it’s the ideal.

        There’s a lot more wisdom in AL than you give it credit for. Your clever little point just wasn’t that clever.

      • Pedro Gabriel says:

        Again, AL excludes those who “flaunt an objective situation of sin”. So, the situation of mitigating circumstances no longer applies. Period. You don’t need to double down, because your attempt to stick Burke to the logic of AL has failed.

  34. Thank you for your thorough, thoughtful analysis. Pope Francis’ silence will serve as the means for Cardinal Burke and his associates to expose their true intentions soon enough. It has already begun.

  35. Jim the Scott says:

    Mike Lewis

    You are still reading yer own nonsense into Cardinal Burke’s writings.

    >But their theories were resurrected by sedevacantists in 1970s and have been used by those who think Francis is an invalid pope. Burke has expressed that he embraces this theory as well.

    What now Cardinal Burke is a Sede? You are confused.

    >Another line of reasoning used today is based on speculative writings by Bellarmine, Suarez, and other theologians about the possibility of a heretical pope.

    Those theories teach if the Pope became a formal heretic he would loose the office of Pope. It would have the effect of a resignation. For example if the Pope ran down to the local Mosque and in front of two Muslim witnesses started chanting “La Illah ila Allah Muhammad Rasul Allah” with the intention of becoming a Muslim such an act would be as good as a resignation. Or if someone produced hard evidence he did that in secret then they would declare the Chair of Peter vacant. Formally joining another religion is a de facto resignation. Burke has nowhere claimed this is the case with Pope Francis.

    Note holding a mere erroneous doctrinal opinion, being a material heretic or being what is called an occult heretic (i.e. holding false doctrinal views in secret) cannot cause one to lose the papal office. Otherwise John XXII would have ceased to be Pope for his erroneous views on when souls of the blessed get the beatific vision.

  1. September 26, 2019

    […] and Schneider’s “clarification”, Mike Lewis, one of the founders of WPI, posted a lengthy essay in which he claims “it appears that Cardinal Burke has doubts that Francis is currently the […]

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