Today brings the confirmation of the long-rumored appointment of Archbishop Burke to be the head of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome. From the Vatican website:
NOMINA DEL PREFETTO DEL SUPREMO TRIBUNALE DELLA SEGNATURA APOSTOLICA
Il Santo Padre ha nominato Prefetto del Supremo Tribunale della Segnatura Apostolica S.E. Mons. Raymond Leo Burke, finora Arcivescovo di Saint Louis.
This position ordinarily carries a promotion to Cardinal as well, which is of some solace to those His Grace leaves behind in St. Louis.
It is certainly a bittersweet announcement for those in St. Louis and around the world who have rejoiced in the Archbishop’s stalwart defense of orthodoxy, his courage, his perseverance, and his wise and faithful pastoral care. He has been a shining example of how a Bishop should guide and govern.
Of course, this promotion will almost certainly obtain for him the Cardinal’s red hat, and thus a seat at any conclave that may occur for the next twenty years. His Grace turns 60 at the end of the month. May it be in the plans of Almighty God that someday Cardinal Burke appears on the balcony in St. Peter’s Square; whatever may come for him, however, we can be assured that His Grace will fulfill his duties with the same zeal he has shown in St. Louis and in the past.
I ran a post last November naming Archbishop Burke the“Saint Louis Catholic of the Year 2007”. The obvious choice for an award created as a tongue-in-cheek exercise (as in, who cares who a blog thinks is Catholic of the Year), but which I intend now to make an annual award, named after him. That post, linked above, listed many of the reasons we can be thankful of his leadership in St. Louis. Since that time, the steadfast leadership he has exercised with regard to the local dissident crowd provides the pattern for the future Archbishops of this Archdiocese and Bishops around the world Time will tell if any will pick up the banner and advance.
A word of warning– brace yourself for the unrestrained glee of the so-called progressive crowd who will not be able to contain themselves. The press will interview every disaffected self-described “Catholic” who ever sought out a guitar Mass. They will say this is a repudiation of the just discipline he has dealt to schismatics. That it is a repudiation of his position that Canon 915 requires that pro-abortion “Catholic” politicians must be denied Holy Communion. That it is a way to get him out of the way.
Do not fret. God alone suffices, and we can trust His Son to send us another shepherd of souls after His Heart– which, by the way, is Archbishop Burke’s episcopal motto: Secundum Cor Tuum, or After Your Heart.
I can think of no better way to spend the coming weeks than in offering up Masses, Communions, Rosaries, Novenas and other prayers and sacrifices for the Archbishop, this Archdiocese, and for His Grace’s successor yet to be named.
Edmund Burke, the English statesman, has been attributed as the author of the maxim, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing.” Archbishop Burke did something. Does something. And God willing, will continue to do something– for the triumph of Christ’s Church over her enemies and for the salvation of souls.
For a little background information not contained above about the already outstanding episcopal career of this good Bishop, the following is taken fromhis Wikipedia entry:
He served as the Bishop of La Crosse until December 2, 2003, when he was named as successor to Justin Rigali, who had been appointed to be the Archbishop of Philadelphia. He was formally installed on January 26, 2004. Not long thereafter, Burke was presented with the pallium on June 29, 2004 by Pope John Paul II. In St. Louis, Burke has given particular emphasis to the promotion of vocations to the ministerial priesthood; he also publishes a column in the archdiocesan weekly newspaper, the Saint Louis Review. In both La Crosse and St. Louis, Burke has established oratories for those who attend the Tridentine Rite. He has invited traditionalist Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest into his dioceses and has ordained priests for the group. His ordination of two traditionalist priests on June 15, 2007, was the first time in 40 years that the Tridentine rite of ordination had been used in the cathedral. In July 2006, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Burke to be a member of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the highest court in the Catholic Church. He issued a statement, in line with Catholic moral precepts, opposing embryonic stem cell research when an amendment to the Missouri Constitution that allows it was narrowly passed by voters there.
On June 25, 2007, Burke accompanied Seán Cardinal O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, on a trip to Rome, where the prelates reviewed Pope Benedict’s impending motu proprio Summorum Pontificum granting greater freedom for the use of the Tridentine Rite.
When he was still bishop of La Crosse, Burke initiated a plan to construct a shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas. The spacious church, designed in the Renaissance style, is due for completion by July 31, 2008. The archbishop has also installed a prominent shrine to the Sacred Heart in the diocesan cathedral. Both projects represent his desire to foster the sacred arts and to encourage spiritual devotions which have long been characteristic of Catholicism.
On May 6, 2008 Pope Benedict XVI named Burke to two Vatican offices, increasing Burke’s already prominent stature in Rome.
Burke was named to the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, which interprets canon, or church, law and also assigned to the Congregation for the Clergy, which regulates the formation and training of diocesan priests and deacons.
The Congregation for the Clergy is one of nine congregations in the Roman Curia, as the church government is known. The Council for Legislative Texts is one of 11 pontifical councils in the Curia.
Burke is seen by some as one of the more controversial bishops in the United States. Among the reasons are his position regarding the political actions of Catholics who hold public office, and his disputes with St. Stanislaus Kostka Church in Saint Louis.
2004 Presidential Election
During the 2004 presidential election, Burke publicly stated that John Kerry and other Catholic politicians who vote pro-choice should not receive the Eucharist. This statement was based mainly on two canons of Catholic Canon Law, which state that ministers of Holy Communion should not administer the Eucharist to people who obstinately and publicly persist in some serious sin and that those who are conscious of being in a state of grave sin (as determined by Catholic doctrine) should not receive the Eucharist. Burke had articulated the same position while he was in La Crosse but the statements made as Archbishop of St. Louis gained more notice and added to his controversial reputation. He is one of a small number of bishops who have declared that they would refuse Communion to such politicians.
He also stated that Catholic voters who supported pro-choice candidates specifically because they supported abortion rights were committing grave sin and shouldn’t receive Communion without first having their sin absolved through the Sacrament of Penance. Later, Burke clarified his position to state that one could vote for a pro-choice politician and not commit a mortal sin, if one believed there was a more significant moral issue than abortion at hand, but had also stated that he could not think what sort of issue would qualify.
Sheryl Crow concert
On April 25, 2007, after singer Sheryl Crow, a pro-choice supporter, was scheduled to perform at a benefit concert for the Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, Archbishop Burke resigned as chair of the hospital foundation’s board of directors.
Deeming this a scandal, Burke claimed that to have the hospital host Crow would give “the impression that the Church is somehow inconsistent in its teaching.” The Saint Louis archbishop reportedly asked that her invitation be privately removed, but then felt compelled to submit his resignation when Crow’s performance at the concert was confirmed.
St. Louis University faculty
On January 22, 2008, Archbishop Burke urged St. Louis University to take disciplinary action against its head basketball coach, Rick Majerus, after Majerus publicly supported the rights of abortion and stem cell research at a campaign event for SenatorHillary Rodham Clinton three days earlier.
With St. Louis University being run by the Society of Jesus, Burke responded by saying, “When you take a position in a Catholic university, you don’t have to embrace everything the Catholic Church teaches. But you can’t make statements which call into question the identity and mission of the Catholic Church.” St. Louis spokesman Jeff Fowler responded to Burke’s statement thus: “Rick’s comments were his own personal view. They were made at an event he did not attend as a university representative”.
Burke again responded to the controversy aroused by his statements in an interview with the archdiocesan newspaper, The St. Louis Review, on the following February 1. The Archbishop said, “It gives scandal to other people, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, if they hear a Catholic give an interview to the media, saying that I am proud to be a Catholic but at the same time I hold these views.” When asked about his usually outspoken manner in controversial issues, he responded, “Is there something unusual about a bishop saying that it’s wrong to be in favor of procured abortion? I’m a Roman Catholic priest and bishop. What else would you expect me to say?”
Finally, as in any sudden appointment, Archbishop Burke leaves behind some matters that are not yet concluded. The most obvious is the final denouement of the Marek Bozek fiasco, not as firmly concluded as the canonical process involving Sister Lears. The restoration of the reredos at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, which had been dismantled only to serve as a constituent part of the cathedra and which was rumored to be on the agenda, hopefully will move forward. The expansion project of the seminary has yet to be completed. The spread of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite of Mass, called for by Summorum Pontificum and urged by the Holy Father, requires that priests and seminarians continue to be trained in its celebration, and that the Mass of the Ages be allowed to flourish without hindrance.
In other words, we pray most fervently that the next Archbishop will continue the bold and successful effort to promote Catholic tradition in this Archdiocese in the liturgy, in the pulpit, and in the classroom.
God bless you, Archbishop Burke. And thank you.