Cardinal Wuerl’s Bizarre Response to the Dubia


Amidst all of the ongoing discussions and debates surrounding Amoris Laetitia (AL), Pope Francis’ exhortation on marriage and the family, Donald Cardinal Wuerl of Washington D.C. recently weighed in with a most revealing blog post.

In an entry titled, Is it confusion or different approaches?, Cardinal Wuerl takes a most unusual and uncharitable approach in defending the more controversial aspects of AL, namely those relating to the divorced and civilly remarried, and participation in the sacramental life of the Church.

The first thing that stands out in the Cardinal’s post is his repeated use of the phrase, “a very small number…” when speaking of those seeking clarification from Rome on AL. For example:

A very small number of people, whose voices have been amplified by some of the Catholic media, have challenged the integrity of Pope Francis’ post-synodal apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia.”

And later:

“But it strikes me that there is even more of an undercurrent to the present position taken by a very small number of clergy and their media supporters. It seems that a part of the distress evident in what has been described as a “tempest in a teapot” is the fact that Pope Francis is challenging all of us to move into a far more Gospel-identified mode of living…”

And further on:

“At the opening of the first synod on the family, there were those few voices that asked why we were even discussing the pastoral implications of the Church’s teaching since we already have the answers.”

It is rather odd that a prelate of Holy Mother Church, who is no doubt quite familiar with the stories of martyrs such as Sts. Thomas More & John Fisher, as well as the repeated exiles and attacks against the orthodox St. Athanasius during the fourth century Arian heresy, would suggest that truth belongs only to those in the majority.

Of course, it’s also bizarre since the Cardinal is most likely aware that 45 well respected Catholic scholars, prelates, and clergy have also expressed the same concerns as the signers of the dubia, and that entire conferences of bishops are at odds with one another over the implications of Amoris Laetitia.

The political Left is very familiar with this tactic, however. Targeting an opponent, personalizing the attack, polarizing and minimalizing the opposition…this is right out of the Saul Alinsky/Rules for Radicals playbook.

Later in his article, Cardinal Wuerl makes the following statement which, taken at face value, is highly anti-Catholic:

“Perhaps it might be very hard to let go of the symbols, medieval ornaments, and the ecclesial style and privileges that are marks of the Church of another era. It may also be difficult for all of us in leadership positions to recognize that decrees, declarations and statements are not the best way today in which we reach people, touch people, engage people, and strengthen their adherence to Christ or even bring them to Christ in the first place.”

Pope Benedict XVI (who gave the red hat to Cardinal Wuerl in 2010) spoke often of a hermeneutic of continuity versus rupture in the post Vatican 2 era. For Benedict, Jesus Christ -the same yesterday, today, and forever- meant that rupture was neither the proper hermeneutic nor even an authentic possibility. Cardinal Wuerl chooses instead to double down on the post-conciliar rupture and goes full 1970’s with his statement.

His rejection of tradition is evident, and very likely a jab at Cardinal Raymond L. Burke (one of the four responsible for the dubia), when he writes: “Perhaps it might be very hard to let go of the symbols, medieval ornaments, and the ecclesial style and privileges that are marks of the Church of another era.”

Since Cardinal Burke is known to favor the traditional Mass and wear the capa magna, the implication seems quite clear. Cardinal Wuerl, to my knowledge, hasn’t even attended a Mass in the Extraordinary Form in nearly five years.

Regardless, any dismissal of tradition using the argument, “what worked back then doesn’t work today…” is simply an excuse to reject our past while fully embracing modernism modernity.

Finally, what is most disconcerting about Cardinal Wuerl’s article is what we don’t find in it: the Eucharist. It’s not there.

The crux of this entire debate over Amoris Laetitia is whether or not those in second, civil, marriages can receive Holy Communion prior to (or without) an annulment. This is ALL about defending sacramental Marriage and the Blessed Sacrament. And yet, the Cardinal not once references the Eucharist.

We read repeatedly of encounter, of outreach, and of accompaniment. But never is the Eucharist mentioned. By comparison, the dubia itself references Holy Communion in the very first question posed to Pope Francis.

In the end we need to be grateful for articles such as Cardinal Wuerl’s. Feeling emboldened, the facade is being dropped and motivations revealed by many in the Church.

We the faithful (always) have a simple way of helping us to discern right from wrong, truth from error: our Catholic tradition and the Holy Eucharist. Run toward both, and away from wolves.

Posted on February 6, 2017, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. A very small number of apostles stayed faithful to Jesus on the cross. A very small number of English bishops refused to yield to the threats of a wicked king.
    Thank God for very small numbers.

  2. Excellent that these “liberals” feel emboldened to challenge the traditional way of living which is rooted in the Power of Jesus in the Eucharist.
    This same Cardinal hung out a great Priest Fr. Marcel Guarnizo some years ago so I’m not the least surprised.
    God bless our church there are so many “leaders” gone to the dark.
    Time for all of us to stay strong in faith. This too shall pass!

  3. I suppose one reason to be thankful for AL is that the wolves are now taking off the clothing. Sigh…

  4. Apologies. I meant “their clothing.”

  5. Shame on Cardinal Wuerl. He knows what Jesus said and he disregards him. This is not a minority, many lay faithful are in agreement with Cardinal Burke and companions. Jesus said the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church.

  6. Ronald Sevenster

    Today’s Church is occupied and colonized by modernists and theological liberals like Wuerl. Essentially, these men are not Catholic at all. Who of the historical Doctors of the Church, who of the canonized Saints would recognize such traitors of the faith as e.g. Cupich, Kasper, Marx, Schoenborn, McElroy, and countless other liberals, as Catholic?

  7. Cardinal Wuerl was permanently routed by Cardinal Burke in 2007, with this article:

    Burke proved that each violation of Canon 915 IS GRAVE MATTER.

    Wuerl has no answer, so he responds periodically with catty swipes at Burke, and by pretending that Canon 915 does not exist. And he crows to his friends each time Burke is demoted by the Pope.

  8. He weaves a tight knit for his judgment that in his arrogance believes he is immune …. he has entered the ‘dark side’ and grins and coaxes others to follow while just barely laces comments to confuse….sad that a prince of the church moves with cunning and shrewdness just as in the Garden….one would think being educated would provide proper morals and character. Pray for his soul!

  9. Fr, Prisco A. Cajes, OFM

    “I prepare Mercy rather than sacrifice” (Hosea 6:6). Please, know the meaning of this verse. How Jesus forgave the woman caught in adultery; how Jesus promised paradise to the criminal hanging on the cross; and how Jesus forgave Peter even when he denied Jesus three times should be understood and practiced by pastors in the Church… And now apply this spirit and mode in reference to Amoris Laetitia (nos. 300-305).Love or Mercy is prior and above the Law and the legalistic hermeneutic that the article above article tends to argue about, Please, let us not be like the Pharisees during the time of Jesus.

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  11. Arthur McGowan

    Wuerl is fanatically committed to the proposition that Communion must never be denied to anyone except those who have been formally excommunicated. Baum, Hickey, McCarrick, and Gregory have been committed to the same proposition.

  1. Pingback: Canon212 Update: Give Me a FrancisPrelature Then Watch Me Fly! – The Stumbling Block

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