Cardinal Burke Calls for the Removal of German Bishops

May 24, 2022

According to Cardinal Raymond Burke, Pope Francis must dismiss the German bishops from their position if they do not distance themselves from the errors of the Synodal Path which they initiated in 2019 and which continues to attack Catholic doctrine.

Cardinal Burke does not beat around the bush. Faced with the fact that a certain number of bishops have either come out in favor of changes in the doctrine of the Church – e.g., regarding the evaluation of homosexuality, the celibacy of priests, or the ordination of women – or have not explicitly opposed such proposals within the framework of the Synodal Path, he asks Pope Francis to dismiss them.

The Holy Father “must challenge these bishops and ask them to renounce the heresies and even the positions that run counter to Church discipline,” Burke said in an interview published May 11 by Catholic Action for Faith and Family. “And if they do not renounce their errors and correct themselves, then he would have to remove them from office. This is the situation at which we have arrived.”

“The Roman Pontiff, successor of Peter, is by definition the principle of unity in the Church,” emphasized the cardinal. “It is up to him to correct these bishops. And if they do not accept fraternal correction, if they do not accept his hierarchical correction as bishop of the universal church, then appropriate sanction would have be applied so that the faithful know that these bishops are not leading them in the Catholic faith,” he insisted.

“Unfortunately, the confusion is being generated and impelled by those who are called to be teachers of the faith and shepherds of the flock with clarity and courage,” Cardinal Burke further noted.

According to him, bishops who do not clearly defend Catholic doctrine “abandon the flock and do not turn out to be shepherds, but mercenaries who try to adapt the doctrine of the Church to the vision of the world, to a vision of the secular world, a vision of the world without God.”

Cardinal Burke is one of the now more than 100 signatories of a critical letter addressed to Bishop Georg Bätzing, president of the German Episcopal Conference. In this letter, bishops and cardinals from all over the world warned that the Synodal Path risked leading to a “dead end” and having “destructive effects.”

Bishop Bätzing rejected the criticism, as well as the concerns expressed by the bishops of Scandinavia and Poland. The “urgent change” in the church following the abuse crisis includes “also the need to develop church teaching,” he said in May.

It is necessary to understand by “developing the teaching of the Church” a more or less radical change, an evolution contrary to the revelation and the teaching of the perennial Tradition, in other words a teaching contrary to what Jesus Christ, the Son of God, revealed to us.

Will this increasingly pressing concern of many bishops vis-à-vis the Synodal Path have any result on the side of Rome and the pope? This is unfortunately unlikely in view of the direction that the Synod on Synodality is taking on several of the errors denounced from the Synodal Path.