His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke addressed parents and young adults at the annual pilgrimage of the National Association of Catholic Families to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in Norfolk, England on Sunday May 29.
In his address Cardinal Burke provided wide ranging catechesis on Catholic teaching on marriage and the family. The foundation of his talk was that “the proclamation of the truth about the conjugal union, in its fullness, and the correction of the contraceptive thinking which fears life, which fears procreation” is “fundamental to the transformation of western culture.” His Eminence encouraged those present to respond to a “totally secularized world” by “teaching the faith, celebrating the faith in the Sacraments and through prayer and devotion, and living the faith through the practice of the virtues, as if for the first time, that is, with the engagement and energy of the first disciples, of the first apostles to our native places.”
The cardinal spoke at length about the relationship between contraception and abortion:
“The respect for human life is related essentially to the respect for the integrity of marriage and the family as they come to us from God. The attack on the innocent and defenseless life of the unborn, for example, has its origin in an erroneous view of human sexuality, which attempts to eliminate, by mechanical or chemical means, the essentially procreative nature of the conjugal act. The error maintains that the artificially altered act retains its integrity. The claim is that the act remains unitive or loving, even though the procreative nature of the act has been radically violated. In fact, it is not unitive, for one or both of the partners withholds an essential part of the gift of self, which is the essence of the conjugal union. The so-called ‘contraceptive mentality’ is essentially anti-life. Many forms of what is called contraception are, in fact, abortifacient, that is, they destroy a life which has already been conceived, has already begun.”
He also gave much needed encouragement to the families present to defend and exercise their rights as primary educators of their children. “Today” he said “parents must be especially vigilant, for sadly, in some places, schools have become the tools of a secular agenda inimical to the Christian life. One thinks, for example, of the compulsory so-called ‘gender education’ in some schools, which is a direct attack on marriage at its foundation and, therefore, on the family”. He continued:
“Good parents and good citizens must be attentive to the curriculum which schools are following and to the life in the schools, in order to assure that our children are being formed in the human and Christian virtues and are not being deformed by indoctrination in the confusion and error concerning the most fundamental truths of human life and of the family, which will lead to their slavery to sin and, therefore, profound unhappiness, and to the destruction of culture. Today, for example, we sadly find the need to speak about ‘traditional marriage,’ as if there were another kind of marriage. There is only one kind of marriage as God has given it to us at the Creation and as Christ has redeemed it by His saving Passion and Death.”
His Eminence concluded by encouraging those present to remain faithful to Christ, even if that led to martyrdom. He said:
“Given the breakdown in family life, the wholesale attack on innocent and defenseless human life, and the violation of the integrity of the union of marriage in our society, the call to the martyrdom of witness is ever more urgent. Reflecting, at length, on the critical state of the Christian culture and our response, in accord with the call to holiness of life and martyrdom for the faith, for the sake of our own salvation and the salvation of the world, we recognize that it is Christ Himself who makes it possible for us to pursue holiness, to be true martyrs. It is in following Him faithfully and without reserve that we bring the light of truth to our world. At the same time, He is with us always, as He promised, to sustain us by His grace, by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.”