[Update: included link to Fr. Z's take on the same article.]
The Bear is just being honest with the headline. And there's nothing wrong with what Cardinal Burke is doing. He's putting the best face on it. Stressing its limits. Spin is a useful and correct word. You should read what he says in the National Catholic Register. It does indeed represent a well-reasoned conservative response to Amoris Laetitia.
The summary is "no teachings of the Church were harmed in the making of this totally non-magisterial Apostolic Exhortation."
Well, of course not. That is not Francis' style. He knows there are arsonists in the forest. He winks and points to the sign that says, "Only you can prevent forest fires." Then he proceeds to silently put cans of gasoline and boxes of matches under the sign. He dusts his hands off, and leaves the forest singing, We Didn't Start the Fire," by Billy Joel.
But Cardinal Burke has to take the route he does, and he walks it well, as we would expect. No criticism of him is implied. He starts out:
The secular media and even some Catholic media are describing the recently-issued post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, “On Love in the Family,” as a revolution in the Church, as a radical departure from the teaching and practice of the Church, up to now, regarding marriage and the family.
Indeed. This is the well-known "Francis Effect" by which what people believe the Church teaches is changed even though Church teachings remain the same. This is not insignificant.
Cardinal Burke takes great pains to stress the non-magisterial nation of the document, and, in fact, goes on at great length to counter the erroneous tendency to interpret every word of the pope as binding in conscience. "Carefully diminishing' Amoris Laetitia might not be an unfair characterization.
The only key to the correct interpretation of Amoris Laetitia is the constant teaching of the Church and her discipline that safeguards and fosters this teaching. Pope Francis makes clear, from the beginning, that the post-synodal apostolic exhortation is not an act of the magisterium (No. 3). The very form of the document confirms the same. It is written as a reflection of the Holy Father on the work of the last two sessions of the Synod of Bishops.
Paragraph 3 does not really say the document is non-magisterial, as Cardinal Burke argues. It says different national conferences of bishops or regions do not need the magisterium to micromanage the implementation of Amoris Laetitia. Cardinal Burke would have us believe the document is merely personal reflections of Pope Francis, who (and the Bear thought this was a humorous observation) quotes his own homilies instead of supporting it with quotations "from the fathers or other authoritative authors."
Cardinal Burke demonstrates how couples in an "irregular marriage," as the euphemism has emerged, can be compassionately handled within the ordinary life of the parish.
Over more than 40 years of priestly life and ministry, during 21 of which I have served as a bishop, I have known numerous other couples in an irregular union for whom I or my brother priests have had pastoral care. Even though their suffering would be clear to any compassionate soul, I have seen ever more clearly over the years that the first sign of respect and love for them is to speak the truth to them with love. In that way, the Church’s teaching is not something which further wounds them but, in truth, frees them for the love of God and their neighbor.
[Emphasis added.] You don't change the rules, he is saying, you view the situation with honesty and treat people with respect and love.
The closest Cardinal Burke comes to outright criticism of Pope Francis' document is when he says the frequent use of the word "ideal" could give people the wrong idea.
It could lead the reader to think of marriage as an eternal idea to which, in the changing historical circumstances, man and woman more or less conform. But Christian marriage is not an idea; it is a sacrament which confers the grace upon a man and woman to live in faithful, permanent and procreative love of each other. Every Christian couple who validly marry receive, from the moment of their consent, the grace to live the love which they pledge to each other.
Cardinal Burke must be Cardinal Burke. The Bear must be the Bear. And the Bear points out this is all very well and good, but the Bear still believes Amoris Laetitia is a time bomb that may do great damage unless the Church is somehow rid of faithless and opportunistic prelates and priests.
For Fr. Z's red-letter treatment of Cardinal Burke's piece, go here.