Homilia proferida por Sua Eminência Reverendíssima,
Cardeal Raymond Leo Burke,
Prefeito do Tribunal da Assinatura Apostólica, por ocasião da Santa Missa celebrada no Pontifício Colégio Norte-Americano, em Roma, em acção de graças pela pelo Consistório em que foi criado Cardeal
Alguns excertos da homilia, traduzidos em Português:
"A batina, a tradicional e venerável veste do Padre, Bispo e Cardeal, ao executar o ofício da caridade pastoral, sobretudo nos Sacramentos da Penitência e Sagrada Eucarístia, é um sinal de sua pertença total a Cristo através da consagração sacerdotal. Quando o Padre veste a batina, é lembrado, de uma maneira visível, que foi configurado a Cristo, Cabeça e Pastor do rebanho em todo tempo e lugar, e que é Cristo quem age nele, mais especialmente no oferecimento no Santo Sacrifíio da Missa e no perdão dos pecados no Sacramento da Penitência, para a salvação de todos os homens de todo o mundo. A batina também o ajuda a evitar a tentação de se ver, em vez de Cristo, como o protagonista nas obras de caridade pastoral, e, por isso, ela é uma ajuda prática na vida conversão diária de vida, no esvaziamento diário de si, de modo que seu ser sacerdotal possa ser preenchido com a graça de Cristo Sumo Sacerdote.
[...] No empenho em compreender o serviço do Cardeal na Igreja, naturalmente nos voltamos para as vidas de Cardeais que foram heroicamente virtuosos em cumprir as responsabilidades de seu ofício. Penso, por exemplo, em São João Fisher, que recebeu o chapéu Cardinalício quando já estava na prisão por sua recusa a assinar o Ato de Supremacia, do Rei Henrique VIII, pelo qual ele teria traído Cristo, negando que Cristo apenas é Cabeça e Pastor da Igreja através de Seu Vigário na terra, o Romano Pontífice, Sucessor de São Pedro. Quando o chapéu Cardinalício chegou a Calais, na França, em seu caminho de Roma para Londres, o Rei foi informado e enviou imediatamente seu secretário, Thomas Cromwell, para conversar com Dom Fisher na prisão. Quando Cromwell perguntou ao bom bispo se ele aceitaria o chapéu Cardinalício que o Santo Padre, o Papa Paulo III, deveria lhe enviar, São João Fisher respondeu:
“Reconheço-me mui indigno de tamanha dignidade, que não penso absolutamente nada sobre tais questões; mas se ele o enviar, esteja certo que trabalharei de todas as formas para que possa beneficiar a Igreja de Cristo, e a este respeito o receberei de joelhos”.
O Rei, cujo coração outrora pertencera ao Senhor, mas que então havia se voltado contra o Senhor, compreendeu o significado das palavras de São João Fisher e, em sua irada rebelião contra lei de Nosso Senhor escrita em seu próprio coração, declarou:
“Bem, deixem que o Papa lhe envie um chapéu quando desejar. Mas providenciarei para que, ao chegar, ele possa usá-lo sobre seus ombros, pois não terá mais cabeça para nela vê-lo”.
Em 22 de junho de 1535, São João Fisher foi decaptado, intrépido em doar-se totalmente a Nosso Senhor e Sua Igreja, até o derramamento do seu sangue.
Há muitos outros aspectos do ministério petrino do Papa Bento XVI aos quais um Cardeal deve observar e estar pronto também a oferecer sua assistência ao Vigário de Cristo na Terra.
Penso também no incansável trabalho de nosso Santo Padre para levar a cabo uma reforma da reforma litúrgica pós-conciliar, conformando a celebração da Sagrada Liturgia ao ensinamento perene da Igreja como fora apresentado novamente no Concílio Ecumênico Vaticano Segundo, de modo que em toda ação litúrgica possamos ver mais claramente a ação do próprio Cristo, que une céu e terra, mesmo agora, na preparação de Sua vinda final, quando inaugurará “novos céus e nova terra”, quando celebraremos todos a plenitude da vida e do amor na liturgia da Jerusalém celestial. O Cardeal hoje é chamado, de maneira especial, a assistir o Sucessor de São Pedro, em transmitir, em uma intacta linha orgânica, o que o próprio Cristo nos deu na Igreja, Seu Sacrifício Eucarístico, “fonte e mais alta expressão de toda a vida Cristã”. A correta ordem do Culto Divino na Igreja é a condição da possibilidade da correta ordem de seu ensinamento e da correta ordem de sua conduta."
A homilia completa:
Praised be Jesus Christ, now and for ever. Amen.
Saint Cecilia whose memory we celebrate today was awise virgin who carefully provided oil for her lamp, so that when her Lordcame, He found her waiting and ready to meet Him with her lamp burningbrightly. We know little about her life, but, from tradition, we know theessence of her heroic holiness. She was a young Roman maiden, who was raised inthe Christian faith.
She, in fact, developed so strongly in her love of ourLord, through prayer and penance, that she resolved to offer her virginity toOur Lord as a perpetual gift, that is, to espouse our Lord alone as herBridegroom for ever. Contrary to her resolve, her father insisted that shemarry a certain pagan by the name of Valerian, but, on the day of her wedding,we are told that "amid the music and rejoicing of the guests, Cecilia satapart, singing to God in her heart and praying for help in her predicament."
One imagines that she was praying the words of thePsalms according to the ancient chant of the Church, which developedorganically from the chant used in Jewish worship and continues today to besingularly suited to the raising of our minds and hearts to the Lord.
The Lord heard her prayer, made even more pure andbeautiful because it was offered to Him in sacred song. Through the help of anangel, her new husband was converted to the faith and received Baptism at thehands of the Bishop of Rome, Pope Urban. Having come to life in Christ throughBaptism, Valerian fully respected Cecilia's virginal consecration. With SaintCecilia, he rapidly grew in pure and selfless love, and soon gave, with her,the supreme witness of total and faithful love of our Lord by accepting a cruelmartyrdom for the faith.
In the life of Saint Cecilia, we see fulfilled, in amost striking manner, the promise of our Lord's immeasurable and ceaseless loveof all men, without exception, the divine love which we celebrate most fullyand perfectly in this Eucharistic Sacrifice. Our Lord promises His holy people:"I will espouse you to me forever: I will espouse you in right and in justice,in love and in mercy; I will espouse you in fidelity, and you shall know theLord."
Our Lord called Saint Cecilia to espouse Him in love,to offer to Him her virginity, her whole being. Saint Cecilia responded withall her heart, placing her heart completely into the glorious pierced Heart ofour Lord. In the Sacred Heart of Jesus, her love was purified and strengthened,so that the witness of her virginal love reached its fullness with the crown ofmartyrdom. The pure white of her love as a virgin found its consummation in thecourageous scarlet of her love as a martyr for the faith.
The life and martyrdom of Saint Cecilia, in the fewdetails which have come to us, like the life of every consecrated virgin,teaches each of us the reality of Christ's love in our lives, a love whichinvites us to espouse Him, to be one in heart with Him in loving one another asHe loves us, purely and selflessly.
Saint Cecilia, by her virginal consecration, teachesall of us the way in which Our Lord is calling us to give ourselves to Him andto His Mystical Body, the Church, and to all men, in love, whether we arecalled to lifelong, faithful and fruitful love in the married life, in thededicated single life, in the consecrated life or in the priesthood. On herfeast day, we ask Saint Cecilia to pray for us, so that each of us will remainsteadfast in responding to our vocation in life, so that we will never fail toprovide oil for our lamps, so that, each and every day, Our Lord will find uswaiting and ready to welcome Him, with our lamps burning brightly. We pray,through the intercession of Saint Cecilia, that Our Lord will find us alwaysready to give our hearts completely to Him.
Providentially, our celebration of the memory of SaintCecilia coincides with the day on which we offer to our Lord the Holy Mass inthanksgiving for the Ordinary Public Consistory, held on this past Saturday,during which our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI created new Cardinals to assisthim in his shepherd's care of the universal Church. The distinctive vesture ofthe Cardinal, the scarlet biretta and cassock, uncover the meaning of theposition to which he is elevated. The purity and selflessness of the Cardinal'slove of the Church, to whom he, as a priest, is espoused in a way analogous tothe consecrated virgin, must be further purified and strengthened, in orderthat, in the words of the Successor of Saint Peter at the imposition of thecardinalitial biretta, the Cardinal may show himself to be "intrepid, even tothe shedding of his blood for the building up of the Christian faith, the peaceand harmony of the People of God, and the freedom and the extension of the HolyRoman Church."
The Cardinal has a particular bond with the virginmartyrs. They are a sterling example to him of how he is to love Christ and theChurch, while, at the same time, they intercede powerfully for him, so that hemay be a sign to the faithful of our Lord's ceaseless and immeasurable love,"to the end," to the very outpouring of His life for us, on Calvary, HisSacrifice made ever present for us in the Holy Eucharist.
The cassock, the traditional and venerable vesture of the priest,Bishop and Cardinal, in carrying out the office of pastoral charity, above allin the Sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist, is a sign of his belongingtotally to Christ through priestly consecration. When the priest puts on thecassock, he is reminded in a visible way that he has been configured to Christ,Head and Shepherd of the flock in every time and place, and that it is ChristWho is acting in Him, most especially in the offering of the Holy Sacrifice ofthe Mass and in the forgiveness of sins in the Sacrament of Penance, for thesalvation of all men and of the whole world. The cassock also helps him toavoid the temptation to see himself, instead of Christ, as the protagonist inthe works of pastoral charity, and, thereby, it is a practical help in the dailyconversion of life, in the day by day emptying of himself, so that his priestlybeing may be filled with the grace of Christ the High Priest.
The change of the color of the cassock for the Bishop expresses thegift of the fullness of the priesthood, and for the Cardinal a particularservice given to the Shepherd of the universal Church, in his office of"perpetual and visible principle and foundation of the unity of the faith andof communion." For my own part, I can testify that with the changing of thecolor of the cassock there comes an increase of responsibility, in Christ, forthe life of the Church, which is daunting, but there is likewise a wonderfuloutpouring of grace for the bearing of the burden. The courageous bearing ofthe burden for love of Christ and His flock brings deep and abiding joy andpeace. In this light, we understand the importance of our daily prayers for ourpriests, Bishops, Cardinals and the Holy Father. In this light, you willunderstand that I, as a Cardinal, need your prayers now more than ever.
In striving to understand the service of the Cardinal in the Church,one naturally turns to the lives of Cardinals who have been heroically virtuousin fulfilling the responsibilities of their office. I think, for example,of Saint John Fisher who received the Cardinal's hat, when he was already inprison for his refusal to sign the Act of Supremacy of King Henry VIII, bywhich he would have betrayed Christ, denying that Christ alone is Head andShepherd of the Church through His Vicar on earth, the Roman Pontiff, Successorof Saint Peter. When the Cardinal's hat reached Calais in France on its wayfrom Rome to London, the King was informed and immediately sent his secretary,Thomas Cromwell, to speak with Bishop Fisher in prison. When Cromwell asked thegood Bishop whether he would accept the Cardinal's hat from the Holy Father,Pope Paul III, should it be sent to him, Saint John Fisher responded:
"I know myself far unworthy of any such dignity, that I think ofnothing less than such matters; but if he do send it to me, assure yourself Iwill work with it by all means I can to benefit the church of Christ, and inthat respect I will receive it on my knees."
The King, whose heart had once been belonged to the Lord but had then turnedagainst the Lord, understood the meaning of Saint John Fisher's words and, inhis angry rebellion against the law of Our Lord, written on his very heart,declared:
"Well, let the pope send him a hat, when he will. But I will soprovide that, whensoever it cometh, he shall wear it on his shoulders, for headshall he have no more to see it on."
On June 22, 1535, Saint John Fisher was beheaded, intrepid in givinghimself totally to Our Lord and His Church, to the very outpouring of hisblood.
Although not every Cardinal will be called to give his life in redmartyrdom for the sake of the Church and, above all, for the sake of theexercise of the ministry of the Vicar of Christ on earth, he is called daily tobe intrepid, to give his life in white martyrdom, steadfastly and courageouslydefending the Catholic Church and her holy faith in the care of Saint Peter andhis successors. How steadfast and courageous a Cardinal must be, today, inassisting Pope Benedict XVI in his pastoral ministry, announcing the truth ofthe faith, caring for the worthy celebration of the Sacraments as theprivileged actions of Christ for our eternal salvation and for the life ofprayer, devotion and penance, and governing lovingly and firmly the members ofthe Body of Christ, so that they may be one in Christ Who alone is "the way,and the truth, and the life!"
I think, for instance, of the Holy Father's tireless teaching of themoral law to a world which, like King Henry VIII, is in rebellion against thelaw of God, written upon every human heart, above all in its violations of thedignity of human life and the integrity of the family as the first cell ofsociety. In his address to representatives of British society, on this pastSeptember 17th, Pope Benedict lovingly and firmly taught the truth that ourreligious faith must inform our life in society, purifying and strengtheningpolitical action so that it may be coherent with right reason, with the law ofGod written upon every human heart. He declared:
"Religion, in other words, is not a problem for legislators tosolve, but a vital contributor to the national conversation. In this light, Icannot but voice my concern at the increasing marginalization of religion,particularly of Christianity, that is taking place in some quarters, even innations which place a great emphasis on tolerance. There are those who wouldadvocate that the voice of religion be silenced, or at least relegated to thepurely private sphere. There are those who argue that the public celebration offestivals such as Christmas should be discouraged, in the questionable beliefthat it might somehow offend those of other religions or none. And there arethose who argue – paradoxically with the intention of eliminatingdiscrimination – that Christians in public roles should be required at times toact against their conscience. These are worrying signs of a failure toappreciate not only the rights of believers to freedom of conscience andfreedom of religion, but also the legitimate role of religion in the publicsquare."
How pernicious it is that, in society which, for the pursuit of thecommon good, depends upon citizens acting in obedience to their conscience, hergovernment attempts to compel her citizens to violate their conscience in itsmost fundamental tenets pertaining to the dignity of all human life and theintegrity of the family!
The Church's teaching on the service of the Church tosociety, also in the political realm, as the Holy Father himself noted, is notalways welcome, even as the Church's teaching on the Petrine office was notwelcomed by King Henry VIII, but the Church, the Virgin Mother of all thefaithful, must keep her lamp trimmed and burning brightly, waiting always forthe coming of Our Lord and welcoming Him each day, at every hour, as He offersus the grace of eternal salvation.
The Cardinal today is called, in a special way, toassist the Roman Pontiff in announcing all of the truths of the faith, but, ina particular way, the truth regarding the natural moral law to be observed forthe good of all in society.
There are so many other aspects of the Petrineministry of Pope Benedict XVI, to which a Cardinal must attend and be ready tooffer his assistance to the Vicar of Christ on earth.
I think also of the tireless work of our Holy Fatherto carry out a reform of the post-Conciliar liturgical reform, conformingthe celebration of the Sacred Liturgy to the perennial teaching of the Churchas it was presented anew at the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, so that in everyliturgical action we may see more clearly the action of Christ Himself whounites heaven and earth, even now, in preparation for His Final Coming, when Hewill inaugurate "news heaven and a new earth," when we will all celebratethe fullness of life and love in the liturgy in the heavenly Jerusalem. TheCardinal today is called, in a special way, to assist the Successor of SaintPeter, in handing on, in an unbroken organic line, what Christ Himself hasgiven us in the Church, His Eucharistic Sacrifice, "the font and highestexpression of the whole Christian life." The right order of Sacred Worshipin the Church is the condition of the possibility of the right order of herteaching and the right order of her conduct.
May our celebration of the Holy Eucharist on theMemorial of Saint Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr, unite our hearts more totally tothe glorious pierced Heart of Jesus, ever open to receive us, especially in theEucharistic Sacrifice. Lifting up our hearts, with the Immaculate Heart ofMary, to the glorious Sacred Heart of Jesus, our lives will be purified andstrengthened for a more pure and selfless love of God and of one another.
Lifting up our hearts to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, welift up to Him, in a special way, the newly created Cardinals of the Holy RomanChurch, thanking Him for them and praying that every Cardinal will always findin His glorious pierced Heart the purification and the strength to fulfill the particular responsibilities of service to His Vicar on earth, "intrepid,even to the shedding of his blood for the building up of the Christian faith,the peace and harmony of the People of God, and the freedom and the extensionof the Holy Roman Church."
In the Heart of Jesus, may we all find the wisdom bywhich we will keep our lamps trimmed, provided with the unfailing oil of Hisgrace, so that at every moment of our lives, we, with Saint Cecilia, will bewaiting and ready to meet Him with our lamps burning brightly.
Heart of Jesus, King and Center of all Hearts, have mercy on us.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of America and Star of the NewEvangelization, pray for us.
Saint Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr, pray for us.
Saint John Fisher, Bishop, Cardinal and Martyr, pray for us.
— Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke
Archbishop Emeritus of Saint Louis (USA)
Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura
Tradução: Fratres in Unum