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You Are Implying that the Pope Could Lead a Schism? Cardinal Burke: “Yes”

Excerpt from Ross Douthat’s interview with Cardinal Burke:

It was also in discussing the Amazonian synod that Burke brought up the specter that hangs over Francis-era debates, the idea of a schism in the church.

Burke: While the final document is less explicit in the embrace of pantheism, it does not repudiate the statements in the working document which constitute an apostasy from the Catholic faith.

The working document doesn’t have doctrinal value. But what if the pope were to put his stamp on that document? People say if you don’t accept that, you’ll be in schism — and I maintain that I would not be in schism because the document contains elements that defect from the apostolic tradition. So my point would be the document is schismatic. I’m not.

Douthat: But how can that be possible? You’re effectively implying that the pope would be leading a schism.

Burke: Yes.

Douthat: Isn’t that a deep contradiction of how Catholics think about the office of the papacy?

Burke: Of course. Exactly. It’s a total contradiction. And I pray that this wouldn’t happen. And to be honest with you, I don’t know how to address such a situation. As far as I can see, there’s no mechanism in the universal law of the church to deal with such a situation.

Read the entire interview at the New York Times