Archbishop Burke – Kicked Upstairs or Promoted?

Posted by Censor Librorum on Jul 5, 2008 | Categories: Accountability, Bishops, Politics

Kicked upstairs or promoted? Why was Archbishop Raymond Burke named prefect of the Supreme Court of Apostolic Signature, the Vatican’s highest court? abpburke_sacred-heart.jpg

Here’s my guess:

1. The Vatican wanted to hustle him  out as Archbishop of St. Louis.  Too much negative press and too many excommunications. As much as Rome may dislike liberals, especially gadfly clergy, someone stepped in to put an end to Burke’s  punitive management style. The actions against people who disagreed with him were too many, too public, and too harsh.

2. He’s an able canonist, and  a position was available.

3.  To send a message to conservative bishops tempted to  use punitive measures (i.e., denial of Communion) to do so  sparingly.    The Vatican does not want to have to deal with a wave of bad publicity and  backlash among moderate  Catholics which will erase the goodwill left by Pope Benedict’s recent visit.

Like another lighting rod–Bernard Cardinal Law–a change of scenery for Archbishop Burke may be a prudent move by Mother Church.

In 2004 Archbishop Burke was the first member of the hierarchy to announce he would withhold Communion from politicians whose votes contradict Church teaching on “fundamental” moral issues. He came down hard on Catholic presidential candidate John Kerry for his support of legalized abortion.  Most other bishops did not follow his lead, but his action did spur debate and controversy.

But Archbishop Burke had one-two-three strikes of bad PR  in 2008 that probably helped to facilitate his “promotion.”

In March, he excommunicated the WomenPriests who were ordained in November 2007.   American Catholics overwhelmingly support women’s ordination – why wave a red flag?

In April, Burke barred renowned and respected canon lawyer Fr. Thomas Doyle from acting in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Doyle accused Burke of “vindictively clubbing people with canon law.” He said Burke “has sorely misused and abused the canonical process as a way to get even with people who disagree with him or whome he sees being in opposition to him.” tom-doyle.jpg

In June, in one of his last acts as Archbishop, Burke imposed the penalty of interdict on Sister Louise Lears, a   nun in the order of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, who worked at St. Cronan’s parish in St. Louis and attended the women’s ordinations last fall. The interdict prohibits Lears from receiving the sacraments and forced the parish to remove her from her ministry.

Barbara, a friend of mine who lives in Florida, sent me an email with a link to the Lears story.   “I suppose you heard about this,” it read. “If you didn’t, I thought I’d send it along. One would think the church would have learned something about the ineffectiveness of the counter-Reformation. Burning people at the stake and slapping interdicts on them, didn’t bring anyone back to the church. Someone should remind these guys that this is the 21st century.”

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2 Responses to “Archbishop Burke – Kicked Upstairs or Promoted?”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    I just had to reply to one odd comment: the reference to the “ineffectiveness of the counter reformation.” Actaully the counter reformation through a variety of methods from stake-burnings to jesuit preaching ( I’m not sure which was crueler) was absolutly amazingly effective. At it’s start Poland and Lithuania (both 90+% Catholic today) were Lutheran nations, large parts of France and Italy were protestant. Turin Italy was acenter of Calvinism as much as Geneva. Most observers of the time must have thought it inevitable that the Catholic Church would shortly disappear completely. Then came the counter-reformation and today there are more Catholics than memebers of all other forms of Christianity put together, over one billion total. If you predicted that before the counter-reformation even the most optimistic Catholic would have thought you nuts.

  2. D Paul Says:

    There was indeed a coup d’etat in the Chancery in St. Louis. I have emails from someone in the Chancery to corroborate that a “cabal had gotten rid of Raymond Burke” which included Justin Rigali and liberals inside the Chancery and actually in league with the rebel Polish church of St. Stanislaus. It would appear that liberal women inside the St. Louis Police Department were involved with these same liberal elements. Raymond Burke has “holy” credentials. Liberals in the Chancery are socialist in nature and ingrained with gay priests and radical feminist women who stoop to any means to attain their set goals of the co redemption which is heresy.

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