It is that time of year again when the writer of this blog must choose the Saint Louis Catholic of the Year Award. Last year’s recipient, Archbishop Raymond L. Burke set a high standard, but this year’s choice is equally well-qualified.
You see, this year’s winner is none other than Archbishop Burke.
Even though his reign as Archbishop ended on June 27 with the announcement that the Holy Father named His Grace to be the new Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, he accomplished enough in that six month time period to claim the award:
- He rebuked the public support of pro-abortion Hillary Clinton by SLU coach Rick Majerus, and challenged the administration of the Jesuit university to properly discipline Majerus in a manner consistent with a Catholic institution of higher education. This challenge was ignored by Rev. Biondi.
- He took concrete steps to fulfill his pastoral duties with regard to the dissident parish of St. Cronan, taking action to discipline Sister Louise Lears for her involvement in counseling the unfortunate “womenpriests”, calling the pastor to the chancery to address the situation, and taking steps that in the end broke up the so-called “pastoral team” of the lawful pastor, Lears, and activist Sean Collins. Today, St. Cronan is led by one pastor who is actually a Roman Catholic priest.
- He declared the excommunication of fake priestesses Rose Hudson and Elsie McGrath, as well as the pretend bishop who claimed to ordain them. Through his actions, the faithful of St. Louis were made well aware of the sham nature of these ladies’ “orders”.
- His Grace continued to take strong leadership in the matter of the St. Stanislaus schism. He declared the excommunication of Marek Bozek for simony and other canonical crimes and began the process of his degradation from the clerical state. He disciplined the canon lawyer for the Board of St. Stan’s, Thomas Doyle, OP, for abuse of ecclesiastical function in his representation of Board members Krauze and Rozanski, who themselves were declared excommunicated. Also in 2008, the Stanislaus excommunications were confirmed by the Vatican.
- The actions of Archbishop Burke ultimately led to a splintering of the Board in nearly equal parts, some favoring a continuation of schism and some favoring the ouster of Bozek and reconciliation with the Church. Though Bozek’s cronies dissolved the Board, several former members reconciled with the Church.
- He invited popular Catholic apologist Rosalind Moss to St. Louis to found a new religious order.
- He took concrete steps to foster liturgical restoration and beauty through his continued support of the Institute of Christ the King, the addition of several Archdiocesan parishes to celebrate the Traditional Mass, and by naming Fr. Samuel Weber, OSB to head the Institute for Sacred Music.
- He persuaded Aquinas Institute of Theology to rescind its invitation for Peter Phan to give a lecture in the Archdiocese.
- In May, he was named by the Holy Father as a member of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, and also as a member of the Congregation for the Clergy.
- And of course, His Grace became Prefect of a Vatican Curial Dicastery in June.
Not a bad six months, I should say. In fact, I think it would be most fitting to name this award after him– from now on it will be known as the Archbishop Raymond L. Burke Saint Louis Catholic of the Year.
Some other finalists that merited consideration this year included the following:
Bishop Robert Hermann, for his steadfast leadership in the interregnum, continuing the policies of Archbishop Burke, pursuing the civil lawsuit against St. Stan’s, declaring the excommunication of the new purported Board members, and boldly proclaiming the truth of Catholic teaching on human life in the election cycle.
Canon Karl W. Lenhardt of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, for his leadership of the Oratory and his work as the Archiepiscopal Delegate for the Implementation of Summorum Pontificum in the Archdiocese of Saint Louis.
Father Noah Waldman, whose sermon on the horrors of the abortion genocide and the responsibility of Catholic voters brought attention to the stark choice in this election.
Unknown Canon Lawyer X, whose important article on the liturgical law and immemorial custom of head coverings not only refocused the debate, but will have an impact into the future as the Extraordinary Form spreads to more and more parishes, and into the mainstream of Catholic life.
Congratulations to Archbishop Burke and, more importantly, thank you to Archbishop Burke for your service to the Church.