Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Cardinal Burke on free will, conscience and more

January 19th, 2011, Promulgated by Mike

Cardinal Raymond Burke recently visited St. Louis to celebrate the occasion of his elevation to the Sacred College of Cardinals and to be present for the Ordination Mass of the new Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Bishop Edward Rice.

While there His Eminence sat down for an 18 minute on-camera interview with the St. Louis Review.  The video of the interview is available on their site and, as they do not allow embedding, you will need to go there to watch it.  An edited transcript is also available.

The video is available here.

Here is a snippet from the interview …

In summary, what does the Church teach on the subject of free will?

God made us in His own image and likeness. And that means that He made us to both know the truth and to live the truth in love. With our mind we come to know the truth; with our will, we love the truth and live the truth. Free will for us is never a question of license, namely doing whatever I please, because that really doesn’t make us free. And all of us have had the experience when we’ve just done what we please. Indeed, we don’t enjoy freedom. In fact, we become enslaved to one or another creature, or enslaved to a habit of sin.

Free will is developed in us through a discipline of our thoughts and our affections, and our words and our actions, so that they more and more are conformed to the mind and heart of Jesus Christ. And as we attain that conformity with the mind and heart of Jesus Christ, we experience a great freedom. We discover that freedom is not meant for my selfish enjoyment, but that true freedom is for the good of my brothers and sisters and the good of those who are around me. We discover that our greatest joy comes from being selfless and being generous and sacrificing ourselves, even when it hurts us very much, in order to love.

… and another one …

Do you think individuals take for granted this awesome responsibility and gift of free will? What kind of advice would you give to someone to help that person to remember that God gives us free will, but yet also keep in mind His will for us?

I do think that there’s a tendency in society today, especially through a lack of a deep education of the children and young people, and also from a lack of study and reflection on the part of us who are adults … to lose sight of the central reality of free will and of conscience in our lives. And that’s how we end up with so many tragic situations in the world. … I would urge, especially in the home, that parents devote themselves to forming the conscience of their children, even as they seek to keep their own consciences well informed through the study of the Catholic faith — especially through participation in Sunday Mass and the other means that are given to deepen the Catholic faith. … Our institutions of Catholic education should be very much directed to helping the students to develop a well-formed conscience.


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