The cardinal has said he was talking about a 'hypothetical situation' when discussing the Pope and Church doctrine

Cardinal Raymond Burke has clarified comments about Pope Francis and Catholic doctrine saying that he was talking about a hypothetical situation.

The outspoken cardinal said on Monday that he would resist any move by Pope Francis to deviate from Catholic doctrine but has since said that he was talking about a “hypothetical situation”.

Cardinal Burke told Catholic News Agency yesterday, “I simply affirmed that it is always my sacred duty to defend the truth of the Church’s teaching and discipline regarding marriage.”

He added: “No authority can absolve me from that responsibility, and, therefore, if any authority, even the highest authority, were to deny that truth or act contrary to it, I would be obliged to resist, in fidelity to my responsibility before God.”

In an interview with the television channel France 2 on Sunday, according to a translation on the Rorate Caeli website, Cardinal Burke said that papal power was “at the service of the doctrine of the faith,” he explained, “and thus the Pope does not have the power to change teaching, doctrine.”

He was then asked: “In a somewhat provocative way, can we say that the true guardian of doctrine is you, and not Pope Francis?”

The cardinal replied: “We must, let us leave aside the matter of the Pope. In our faith, it is the truth of doctrine that guides us.”

When asked: “If Pope Francis insists on this path, what will you do?”

He said: “I will resist. I cannot do anything else.”