Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Hopes And Concerns Of Cardinal Burke

This classic clerical ensemble is just a bit too monochromatic for my taste, and sort of queenly what with the apron and all the lace. It's hard to see the male Jesus in all this lace and finery.

Cardinal Burke reflects on his first year in the Sacred College
.- Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, one of the Catholic Church's top U.S.-born clerics, is marking the first anniversary of his November 2010 elevation to the Sacred College of Cardinals.

"Well, it’s been a very fast-moving year," Cardinal Burke told CNA in his Roman apartment just yards from the Vatican, where he serves as head of the Church's highest court.

"But, it’s been a very good year, I'd have to say. And I’ve certainly come to understand more fully what it is to give this service to the Holy Father and hope that I am doing it better.".....

......Cardinal Burke, 63, has had a remarkable journey from America's rural Midwest—where he grew up as the youngest of six children—to his current post as Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.

"I never dreamed of it, to be honest with you," he said, reflecting on God's guidance of his path to the Vatican.

"I grew up, thanks be to God, in a very good Catholic home," he recalled. "We were small dairy farmers in Wisconsin, which was a very common situation in that part of the world. But I see how God has been at work all along, and I marvel at it."

While much has changed since those days, his life as a cardinal is "not unrelated to what my parents were trying to teach me from the time I was little."

"And, the truth of the matter is that the older I get, the more I appreciate those first lessons that were taught to me, that early formation in the faith."...
(You may have gotten chronologically older, but the question is did you really get much older?).....

.....A patriot with an obvious love for the United States, the Rome-based cardinal remains invested in the struggle for his country's culture.

"It is a war," he stated, describing the battle lines between "a culture of secularization which is quite strong in our nation," and "the Christian culture which has marked the life of the United States strongly during the first 200 years of its history."

He says it is "critical at this time that Christians stand up for the natural moral law," especially in defense of life and the family.

"If Christians do not stand strong, give a strong witness and insist on what is right and good for us both as and individuals and society," he warned, "this secularization will in fact predominate and it will destroy us."

Cardinal Burke favors realism over pessimism, and believes "things are getting better" in America, particularly among the young. (This is just the most egregious of a number of wishful thinking beliefs.)

"I think that sometimes the young people understand much better the bankruptcy of a totally secularized culture because they’ve grown up with it," he observed.

Many youth "have seen their families broken" and "have been exposed to all the evils of pornography," leading them to conclude that the secularization project "is going nowhere and that it will destroy them" if left unchecked. (Maybe the Roman press hasn't covered Occupy Wall Street.)

But the cardinal also thinks persecution may be looming for the U.S. Church.

"Yes, I think we’re well on the way to it," he said, pointing to areas of social outreach - such as adoption and foster care - where the Church has had to withdraw rather than compromise its principles. (The Church Chose to give up government monies as a government contractor of these services.  Nothing forced them to remove themselves totally from these areas of social outreach.  Apparently they would rather spend their own money lobbying than for taking care of children.)

This trend could reach a point where the Church, "even by announcing her own teaching," is accused of "engaging in illegal activity, for instance, in its teaching on human sexuality."

Asked if he could envision U.S. Catholics ever being arrested for preaching their faith, he replied: "I can see it happening, yes.".... (This is not realism. This is teen age paranoia.)

........Above all, the cardinal hopes for a "new evangelization" of the United States - starting with faithful families, strong religious education, and reverent liturgical worship.

The family, he noted, is where a child "first learns the truths of the faith, first prayers, first practices his or her life in Christ." But the Mass itself is the "source of our solid teaching, of our solid witness," and also "the most beautiful and fullest expression we give to that teaching."

Cardinal Burke is also responsible for overseeing the Church's liturgy as a member of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship.

He is grateful to Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI for giving the Church "a font of solid direction" regarding worship, based on the Second Vatican Council's vision of a "God-centered liturgy and not a man-centered liturgy.(Priest centered liturgy is what he means.)

That intention was not always realized, he said, since the council's call for liturgical reform coincided with a "cultural revolution."

Many congregations lost their "fundamental sense that the liturgy is Jesus Christ himself acting, God himself acting in our midst to sanctify us." )

Cardinal Burke said greater access to the traditional Latin Mass, now know as the "extraordinary form" of the Roman rite, has helped correct the problem.

"The celebration of the Mass in the extraordinary form is now less and less contested," he noted, "and people are seeing the great beauty of the rite as it was celebrated practically since the time if Pope Gregory the Great" in the sixth century. (Try since Trent and limit your observations strictly to the Roman Church.  The TLM was never a big deal for most laity.  It was the theology of the TLM that was the big deal and now we've had that jammed down our throats in English--well, sort of English.)

Many Catholics now see that the Church's "ordinary form" of Mass, celebrated in modern languages, "could be enriched by elements of that long tradition."

In time, Cardinal Burke expects the Western Church's ancient and modern forms of Mass to be combined in one normative rite, a move he suggests the Pope also favors.

"It seems to me that is what he has in mind is that this mutual enrichment would seem to naturally produce a new form of the Roman rite – the 'reform of the reform,' if we may – all of which I would welcome and look forward to its advent." (If this is part and parcel of the New Evangelization, or the direction the new translation is to take the Church, it's another attack on collegiality and transparency.  Of course losing those two notions is also part of the "reform of the reform."

Cardinal Burke's main role, however, is to uphold the Church's legal system. He describes canon law as "the fundamental discipline which makes possible our life in the Church," since it is "not a society of angels" but a communion of men and women who require norms for living.

He acknowledges that canon law fell out of fashion beginning in the late 1960s, during a period where many Catholics bristled at the notion of such rules.

"The whole euphoria that set in within society – and in the Church itself – was that this was the age of freedom, the age of love, and so, in those years nobody talked anymore about ‘sin,’ this was considered to be negative talk." (And you were in high school and all this sexual talk scared you and you have never gotten past this.  Wonder why that is?)

But since "human nature didn’t actually change," the "lack of attention to discipline and to law" produced a great deal of "bad fruit."
One consequence, the cardinal believes, was the mishandling of clerical abuse accusations.

"Absolutely, there’s no question in my mind about that," said Cardinal Burke. He pointed out that both the 1917 and 1983 canon law codes put "a discipline in place" to confront an "evil" the Church had faced before.

"All of that was in place," he reflected, "but, first of all, it wasn’t known in the sense that people were not studying the law, were not paying attention to it, and so, if it wasn’t known or studied then it wasn’t being applied."(Nice try Cardinal, but you conveniently left out that Canon Law required Pontifical Secrecy.  The problem stemmed precisely from the fact that Canon Law was applied.)

Historically, he believes, it was an "unfortunate coincidence" that a cultural upheaval accompanied Blessed Pope John XXIII’s call for a reform of canon law.

"This added to the notion that we didn’t really have a law anymore – then the attitude developed that we don’t need it."

Bl. John Paul II resolved the situation after his election in 1978, implementing a new code of law by 1983. Cardinal Burke remains "deeply grateful" for the late Pope's action.

Since he is a cardinal, he could someday cast his vote for a future Pope. But could divine providence ever call the son of a Midwestern farming family to the papacy himself?

"Oh, I don’t believe so," Cardinal Burke laughed.

"I hope that the present Holy Father lives a long time. He’s a tremendous gift to the Church and that’s my great prayer – that the Lord gives him many more years."


I almost feel sad for Cardinal Burke.  It's actually easier for me to identify with him than it is his counter parts Cardinal George in Chicago or Cardinal Pell in the land of OZ.  George and Pell comes across as narcissistic opportunists, Burke comes across as a man who lost himself between God and gonads in his teen age years.  This isn't to say Burke can't wreak a pot of full of damage by meddling in American politics from Rome.  I left out the part in this article where he attacks Kathleen Sebelius as part of his 'our Church is under attack' delusion; or that he isn't capable of leading and not just abetting the attack on Vatican II theology.  Maybe it 's just that I personally can't take this man very seriously.

I swear that every time I see a photo of Burke I flash on a little boy pretending to say Mass. Back in the fifties when all us Catholics went to parochial school we all play acted priests or nuns-- some of us both priests and nuns.  They were our everyday authority figures so that should come as no surprise.  Most of us moved on beyond all that and it wasn't because of the cultural revolution of the sixties.  It was just because we grew up.  I swear for some reason Burke got stuck back there in the fifties and can't find his way out.  The truth is he has no incentive to find his way out,  because he's done well for himself through that part of the Church stuck in the fifties. And especially well since Benedict has been running the Church, which has really been the last twenty five years or so.

There's just over twenty years difference in age between Burke and Benedict.  Burke could have been one of those rebellious students that drove Benedict out of Tubingen, but he's the exact opposite of those students. This makes Burke utterly reliable and that quality far surpasses any other quality Burke might lack.  In Benedict's Church there is no one better than Burke for the responsibility of running the Church's legal structure.  Unfortunately like many teenagers, Burke is far better at seeing what is wrong with others, than he is in seeing what's wrong with himselfOh, but then that also describes a signature trait of a narcissist.  I guess that explains all the gold in the above picture.


  1. "I edited some of it, because it's just all too much anyway."

    LOL.... it sure is!! I don't think I can stomach reading this tonight. It's all getting to be too much anyway!! Spent some time at NCR reading today and that was enough for me to witness for one day.

    Mother F.

  2. I suspect the clerical bling owes more to the medieval and Renaissance eras than to the example of Jesus of Nazareth. I would concur about the narcissism, and think it's run rampant among the USCCB and the hierarchy.

  3. Where is the Rabbi Jesus of Nazareth in all this narcissism.

  4. I wonder if Father Ray in his official position ruled on Newt's three annulments of civil marriage. Does Newt get a fee discount with volume? I also hear that Father Ray is coming to the U.S. in late July, no doubt to give his imprimatur to the GOP candidate in Tampa one month later. "What's my support worth to you?" Tuppence? So many Canon Laws and so little time!