30 June 2008

Happy Birthday

To Archbishop Burke-- 60 today.

With grateful remembrance in our prayers.  

Let me know if you need a Rome-based blogger on your staff.

No, really.  

P.S.  We need a b-i-i-i-i-i-i-g apartment.

Rhymes With

It seems necessary to point out some inconvenient issues concerning the organization known as SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests). They really, really want to rain on Archbishop Burke's parade, and issued a recent press statement about the curial appointment, the language of which has seeped into the Post-Dispatch editorial of Sunday and into some of the comments on this and other sites.

The first thing to note about SNAP is its absolute desperation for media coverage. Their press release notes that SNAP's leader, David Clohessy, would be outside the Rigali center just hoping for an interview. It goes without saying that he got one.

Also, what makes SNAP an expert on Church matters? Their name? I notice that SNAP doesn't require conviction in a court of law to label a priest an abuser. I don't know what its internal investigative criteria are, but is seems like every alleged victim's story is conclusively presumed to true.

The thing that most irritates me about this group is that they don't make the connection between the abuse scandal and the sexual orientation (for lack of a better term) of the vast majority of those priests credibly accused. It is as plain a point as the summer sun, to paraphrase Will Shakespeare.

Does SNAP issue press releases calling for adherence to traditional Catholic sexual morality?

Does SNAP issue press releases calling for an end to the ordination of actively homosexual priests?

Does SNAP issue press releases calling for a maintenance of the Latin Rite's discipline of priestly celibacy?

To ask these questions is to answer them.

Because when Bozek, or the "womenpriests", or the latest incident regarding Sr. Lears proves that Archbishop Burke stands for the one approach that will end the abuse scandal-- upholding the truth about human sexuality, the nature of marriage and the nature of the Catholic priesthood, he is opposed by SNAP.

SNAP issued a statement faulting Burke for excommunicating Bozek (scroll down), an advocate of ordination for those who defy the truths of the faith in this area, because he has not excommunicated certain priests convicted for abuse. Yet all of these priests are suspended, or are being defrocked. Laicized. Just like Bozek. Does SNAP really want every adulterer, sodomite, and fornicator excommunicated, just for consistency's sake? Or is it more likely that it wishes to undermine the effort to uphold Catholic teaching?

SNAP will continue to have influence as long as the media covers its antics. They are to legitimate Catholic news what the Tamm Avenue overpass is to snow storms-- every news station's crutch for a quick quote devoid of relevance.

As for their unsupported accusations about the Archbishop "importing" pedophile priests, let's see some evidence. Real evidence. Do they even have real evidence of this? Because, you see, without it, their statement doesn't carry any weight. Just one more dissident organization whose goal is the weakening of the Church.

The Post-Dispatch Editorial Board Understands the Role of a Catholic Bishop Better than Many of the "I Grew Up Catholic" Crowd

For the second straight day, the local paper of record had excellent coverage of the Archbishop's appointment to the Signatura. This time, the paper's editorial largely nails the issues involved in his tenure, except for the very end, where they take some unsubstantiated claims by the SNAP organization and run with them. SNAP will get some attention in this space later today or tomorrow. The editorial below, with my comments in green:

Sunday editorial: The true believer
by the Editorial Board

In his four and a half years as head of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Raymond Leo Burke became a hero to traditionalist Catholics in the United States. One conservative commentator went so far as to call him “the new John Fisher for our times,” the original one having been beheaded in 1535 for his opposition to King Henry VIII’s creation of the Church of England. The comparison to St. John Fisher is apt. He is the exemplar of the brave bishop who would not flinch to stand up for the truths of the faith to the secular powers of the day. He was the only English bishop who did not cave in to the unjust demands of Henry VIII to call a lie the truth, and the truth a lie.

Archbishop Burke has been promoted to prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, a Vatican post roughly analogous to chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. The only higher legal authority in the church is the man who promoted Archbishop Burke: Pope Benedict XVI.

The prefect’s post generally guarantees elevation to cardinal, which means that Archbishop Burke, who turns 60 Monday, would be part of the conclaves that choose popes until he reaches the customary retirement age of 75. Actually, though the retirement age is 75, Cardinals may still vote in papal conclaves until the age of 80.

Although he is regarded as among the American church’s most conservative bishops, it’s not out of the question that Archbishop Burke could be considered papabili — papal material — himself. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI three years ago, also was regarded as among the church’s most conservative theological voices.We congratulate Archbishop Burke on his appointment. He clearly is more comfortable amid the scholarly and legalistic vaults of canon law than he is as a pastoral leader. In that, he is more like his predecessor and patron in St. Louis, Justin Cardinal Rigali, now archbishop of Philadelphia, than Cardinal Rigali was like his predecessor in St. Louis, Archbishop John L. May. Though an American Pope is generally considered to be highly improbable, due to the fear that such a Pope would too closely identify with U.S. foreign policy as the world's (at least for now) foremost power, such a fear would not be the case with Burke. He has already shown the courage to stand up to leaders from both parties and would not flinch to do so in the future, if necessary.

Indeed, Archbishop Burke and Cardinal Rigali are at the forefront of what could be called an “old school” movement among American bishops that places great emphasis on faithful allegiance to the church’s catechetical teachings. Archbishop May, who died in 1994, along with Atlanta Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, the former bishop of Belleville, are more closely aligned with bishops who stress the church’s interaction with the problems of the world. With all due respect to the bishops named, "interaction with the problems of the world" in this context usually means compromising with the world at the expense of the Gospel truth.

Non-Catholics and secular institutions, including this editorial page, do not get a vote on the church’s teachings. In fact, as Archbishop Burke surely would point out, Catholics themselves don’t get a vote on the church’s teachings, either; the church is not a democracy. So we take no stand on whether Archbishop Burke was right or wrong in most of his high-profile pronouncements here. This is a wonderfully insightful point, and the Post deserves great credit in taking this position. Church doctrine is not up for a vote, because its author and source is Christ. The Church herself has no power to change it. That is what the Church-as-democracy crowd cannot seem to grasp.

We’ll say only that there sure were a lot of them. In that sense, we admire the archbishop: He wasn’t one to hide his light under a bushel. This is the best line of the editorial; the Post sees that the Bishop did his job and did not try to deflect his responsibilities, or win some P.R. contest.

Among those issues: his efforts to claim control over the finances of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church; his decision to excommunicate church board members; his discipline of those involved with an ordination-like ceremony for two women; his involvement in the dispute over stem cell research and his denunciation of singer Sheryl Crow’s involvement with a fundraiser for Cardinal Glennon Hospital. All these were internal church issues that just happened to become public. I will say, though, that these things often "just happened to become public" because the Church's enemies from within and without made them so, all too often with the willing help of the secular media.

Even his widely publicized statement that priests should deny communion to Catholic politicians — such as 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry — who support abortion rights was a faithful interpretation of traditional church doctrine. Hello, are any Catholics listening?

But there is one area in which Archbishop’s Burke’s actions intersected with broader public issues and for which he should be held to account. The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, an advocacy group, said in a statement released Friday that under Archbishop Burke, “dozens of proven, admitted, and credibly accused predator priests have been welcomed here.” The statement continued, “In fact, we believe there’s not a bishop in America who has imported so many pedophile priests into his diocese as Burke has.” Here is where the editorial goes off the rails. Just where is the corroboration for this wildly unlikely statement from SNAP? Why does SNAP always get a free pass from the press? I mean, a Bishop can't buy postage stamps without SNAP having to be interviewed. And of course no one can question the veracity of their stories, or their credibility, because they are "for the children." There is not one reported incident of Archbishop Burke defending a known pedophile priest.

That is not just a church matter. We hope Archbishop Burke’s successor will recognize that.

The sexual abuse scandal story broke in March 2002. Archbishop Burke was not appointed until 2004. How is this his problem? The vast majority of cases occurred a decade or two before his appointment. If SNAP has any statistics, I would like to see them. This whole issue is a red herring as it relates to Burke. There is no evidence of misconduct on his part, or of "coddling" pedophiles. Let's see some proof to back up statement here before treating with its credibility.

Considering the secular source, though, on balance a very positive editorial and the Post deserves some credit.

You Might Not Be a Catholic If...

This humorous piece over at Creative Minority Report is making the rounds of the blogosphere, so I thought I'd pile on.

It Was Twenty Years Ago Today...

...that Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, founder of the SSPX, consecrated four bishops without Papal mandate, thus solidifying the sad situation that has now existed for two decades.

Rorate Caeli has chronicled the circumstances leading to this event very ably. Part three, covering the rejection of the protocol previously signed between Cardinal Ratzinger and Archbishop Lefebvre, is here. There are links to the first two installments, and the protocol itself, in the story.

I have many readers who have come to the traditional Mass, and traditional Catholic practice, many years after these events. The survey at Rorate Caeli is a good way to come up to speed.

Maria, Mater Ecclesiae, ora pro nobis!

29 June 2008

The Feast of Saints Peter and Paul

Deus, qui hodiernam diem Apostolorum tuorum Petri et Pauli, martyrio consecrasti:  da Ecclesiae tuae, eorum in omnibus sequi praeceptum; per quos religionis sumpsit exordium.

O God, Who hast made this day holy by the martyrdom of Thine Apostles Peter and Paul:  grant that Thy Church may in all things follow the precepts of those through whom she received the beginnings of the Faith.

--From the Collect of the Mass

28 June 2008

Money Quotes

I woke up this morning to excellent coverage of the decision to name Archbishop Burke as Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura--from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Not only was there fair coverage of the main story, but there was also a typical Catholic-reaction story that was devoid of the type of puerility and slander that was so common on the radio yesterday.  In this post, I will intersperse quotes from this story  and this story in the Post.

This Archbishop is greatly respected and admired by most practicing Catholics in St. Louis, and loved by many.  

We have been blessed with a shepherd who truly imitated Christ-- all the way to the cross.  He spoke the truth, and was opposed.  He loved his flock enough to refuse to allow false shepherds to steal souls.  He was, contrary to the unfair portrayals by the Church's opponents inside and outside the Church, a tender-hearted, kind, compassionate and warm man.  A good man.

Mary Beth Rolwes of Kirkwood said she cried when she heard the news early Friday... "People who don't know him think of him as an intimidating steamroller who's intent on having his way," Rolwes said. "But to spend five minutes with him is to know that he is a humble, loving and gentle man."

People who have met the Archbishop almost uniformly relate what a kind and genial person he is.  His steadfastness in testifying to the truth comes from his love for Christ and the Church. The Good Shepherd demands from his Bishops that they imitate him, and guard the flock from wolves.  And, after all, Christ came not to bring peace, but, as He said, the sword.  The truth is divisive only because it is unchanging, and forces each person to choose to believe it, to follow it-- or to reject it, and oppose it.

Terry McHugh of Kirkwood said being a good leader sometimes means stepping on toes.

"Was he diplomatic? Probably not," McHugh said. "But people of faith are not looking for a diplomat."

[Sister Charlotte Rigali, sister of Cardinal Rigali, the man Burke replaced]  shrugged off the criticism that has come Burke's way, and she believes he did, too.

"I don't think he cared," Rigali said. "His priority was being a bishop, to keep the faith."

Those who claim the name Catholic, yet opposed or hated Burke, did so most often for one of two reasons--1) they were ignorant of what Catholicism teaches and were surprised by the ardent defense of those teachings by him; or, 2) they knew exactly what the Church teaches and oppose those teachings.  Of course, it is entirely conceivable that forty years of poor catechesis, crisis in the Church, and Bishops who have not always been vigorous in the proposal and defense of the faith could produce many Catholics in group 1).  But what is noteworthy is the size of group number 2).

The recent decrees dealing with those who advocate the ordination of women-- which is not ontologically possible, according to the infallible teaching of the Church-- highlights this point. The plaintive wail goes forth about the mean, cold, unloving Archbishop who won't dialogue with those who lead souls into mortal sin.  

And this quote from the most classless man in St. Louis, the "Reverend" Marek Bozek, the schismatic, bachelor-pad owner and part-time television personality (cue accent):

"Rejoice, St. Louis, beware, rest of the world."  

In Luke, Chapter 7: 31-35, Christ said:

And the Lord said: Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation? And to what are they like?

They are like to children sitting in the marketplace and speaking one to another and saying: We have piped to you, and you have not danced: we have mourned, and you have not wept.

For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine. And you say: He hath a devil.

The Son of man is come eating and drinking. And you say: Behold a man that is a glutton and a drinker of wine, a friend of publicans and sinners.

And wisdom is justified by all her children.

Wisdom is justified by her children.  Consider two more quotes.  The first is from Bishop Hermann, the new administrator:

"He made us stronger by emphasizing church teaching and by applying that teaching," he said. "He is inspirational, he is kind and he is bright, and having him here was a tremendous blessing for all of us in the archdiocese."

And, finally, from Archbishop Burke himself:

"Like the father of a family, there are times when you have to make tough decisions for the good order of the family, and I've had to make some difficult decisions during my time here," he continued. "And those decisions I've made according to the best light of my conscience with only the good of the archdiocese, and of the church, in mind."

27 June 2008

Response from St. Cronan re: Sister Louise Lears

In three separate documents, which have been formatted in such a way that I am unable to post them in the blogger window, the folks at St. Cronan Parish have issued statements about Sr. Lears' interdict penalty:

All of them focus on the lack of loving dialogue, but don't address--either positively or negatively-- the issue of support for, and counseling others to, pretend women's ordination in contradiction of infallible Church teaching.

Read them for yourself, but really, it is like asking the Judge in a robbery case to engage in dialogue with the defendant instead of finding facts and sentencing him-- after he admits he committed the robbery but doesn't think robbery is wrong.

If anyone at St. Cronan wants to send me these documents in an email, I will copy and paste them here.

The Archbishop's departure has dwarfed this story-- but it is instructive to show why the Archbishop was so well thought of by those who adhere to Church teaching.  Whenever a person stands up for the truth in these times, they will be opposed and attacked.  The good Archbishop stood for the truth in spite of the hatred of the world.

Solemn High Mass Tonight at St. Francis de Sales on the Feast of Our Mother of Perpetual Help for the Archbishop's Intentions

Solemn High Mass tonight at 6:30 pm, at St. Francis de Sales Oratory, for the intentions of His Grace, Archbishop Burke.

His Grace was the first member of the renewed Archconfraternity of Our Mother of Perpetual Help at the Oratory.

It would be fitting to offer Mass for him, and for our Archdiocese, tonight.

Archbishop's Statement, Q & A, and Video

All from the Archdiocesan website. For the video, go to the link and scroll down. This statement is so typical of this good, kind, man-- brilliant yet humble. His promotion is our loss, a loss that is not devastating only because, as the Archbishop noted, all such matters are for us no more or less than placing ourselves at the service of our Lord Jesus Christ.
A great man, who will do great good in a position of influence in Rome.
Think about that man when you see people talking of him and treating him in such a disgusting manner.
The other info is below:

Statement of His Grace:

Today, at noon in Rome (5 a.m. CDT), it was announced that His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, has named me prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, effective immediately. With the announcement, I ceased to be the Archbishop of St. Louis.

I am deeply humbled by the trust which His Holiness has placed in me, and, in priestly obedience, I have pledged to serve our Holy Father to the best of my abilities. Although you will no longer pray for me as your archbishop, especially during the celebration of the Holy Mass, I ask your prayers for me, that I may faithfully and generously cooperate with God's grace in fulfilling my new responsibilities.

Leaving the service of the Church in the Archdiocese of St. Louis is most sad for me. It has been an honor and gift for me to serve the archdiocese over the past four years and five months. It had been my hope to serve here for a long time, but, as the bishop who called me to priestly ordination often remarked, "Man proposes, but God disposes." I trust that doing what our Holy Father has asked me to do will bring blessings to the Archdiocese of St. Louis and to me. St. Louis is a great archdiocese which will always have a treasured place in my heart.
In a particular way, I am saddened to leave my fellow priests, whom I have so much grown to esteem and love. Often, I have spoken about the remarkable unity and loyalty of our presbyterate. For me, it has been a special grace to work with them in the service of God's flock in the archdiocese. I thank them for the priestly fraternity which they have always shown me, and for the generous obedience with which they have responded to my pastoral care and governance of our beloved archdiocese.

With regard to the governance of the archdiocese, the College of Consultors will meet to elect an archdiocesan administrator who, with the help of the consultors, will govern the archdiocese, until the new archbishop is appointed and installed. Please pray for the College of Consultors and for the archdiocesan administrator whom they will elect.

Again, I ask your prayers. You can count upon my daily prayers for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, always.

Q & A Regarding Archbishop Burke's Appointment as Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura

Q. What is the appointment?

A.His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Archbishop Raymond L. Burke to the office of prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome. The Apostolic Signatura is the highest judicial authority of the Catholic Church. The prefect is the highest authority at the Apostolic Signatura. Archbishop Burke replaces Cardinal Agostino Vallini.

Q. When does the appointment become effective?

A. The appointment is effective immediately, which means Archbishop Burke is no longer Archbishop of St. Louis. However, he will remain in St. Louis until his move to Rome in late August.

Q. Who will oversee the Archdiocese of St. Louis?

A. According to Canon Law, the College of Consultors, which is made up of local archdiocesan priests, will meet to elect an archdiocesan administrator who, with the help of the consultors, will govern the archdiocese until the new archbishop is appointed and installed.

Q. Can the administrator make any changes in the Archdiocese of St. Louis?

A. According to Canon 428, "When the see is vacant there are to be no innovations. Those who temporarily govern the diocese are prohibited from doing anything which could in any way be prejudicial to the diocese or episcopal rights; they themselves and any other persons are specifically prohibited from removing, destroying, or altering any documents of the diocesan curia, whether personally or through another."

Q. How long will it take for St. Louis to get a new archbishop?

A. The process for the naming of the new archbishop, which is conducted by the Holy Father's Congregation for Bishops, will begin immediately. Because it is a function of an archdiocese, the new archbishop will be appointed as soon as possible but with respect for the time which the process requires.

Afternoon Varia on Archbishop Burke

I am back from some other obligations and offer the following items:

First, Bishop Robert Hermann, above, has been named the Administrator for the Archdiocese until a successor is installed.

Next, the unrestrained glee of dissidents, nearly all of whom love to say, "I grew up Catholic," or "I've been a Catholic all my life," or "I went to Catholic schools," and then proceed to exhibit a complete lack of understanding of what the Church is or what it teaches, and end up by stating the most puerile mocks and slanders is, as predicted, in full force.

Adding to what a commenter to the post below noted, Charlie Brennan is living proof that you don't need talent, a working brain, integrity or good judgement to land a radio gig. His own comments were execrable, but the slanders he allowed callers to state-- not only without correction, but with his understanding-- were breathtaking.

Ignatius Press' Blog and American Papist have also linked to this site, thanks again.

STLToday story in the wake of the Archbishop's press conference at the link.

Unjustified Speculation Based on Nothing

The above photos date from the historic ICRSP traditional ordinations at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis in June 2007. The two bishops pictured are His Excellency Robert Finn, Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph, and His Excellency Joseph Perry, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago.
It is of course way too early--ridiculously early-- to speculate on a successor to Archbishop Burke.
But on a day like today, when the news is so bittersweet, it helps to occupy the mind!

Early Media Fallout on the Burke Appointment

(If you haven't read the story yet, the post is here.)

As of 7:45am, the Post-Dispatch/STLToday now has it.

Thanks to KMOX for crediting the blog this morning-- sorry I couldn't give you my name. ;-)

Rorate Coeli and Spirit Daily have linked here-- and Amy Welborn, too, and thanks.

The Archdiocese has scheduled an 11am press conference.

More to come.

Update: Work obligations (yes, work) make it impossible to hear the 11 am press conference live-- I will post when I can.

Goodbye, St. Louis: Holy Father Tabs Archbishop Burke as Prefect of Apostolic Signatura

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:


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.

26 June 2008

Archdiocesan Materials on the Lears Interdict

The Archdiocesan website has posted some materials in addition to the decree that popped up there late this afternoon.

First, a statement about the Decree itself; this is not signed by the Archbishop himself, an omission that is perhaps significant:




After a canonical process of several months, Archbishop Raymond Burke has, today, decided the 

case of Sister Louise Lears, S.C., a member of the “pastoral team” at Saint Cronan Parish, who was 

accused of four delicts, all connected with her encouragement of, promotion of and participation in 

the attempted ordination of two women to the Sacred Priesthood at a local synagogue in November 

of last year.  Delicts, which must be published in the Church, are grave and external violations 

against the Catholic faith or moral teaching.  A list of several delicts is found from cann. 1364 to 

1399 of the Code of Canon Law.  


The delicts of which Sister Louise Lears is accused are: 1) the obstinate rejection, after written 

admonition, of the truth of the faith that it is impossible for a woman to receive ordination to the 

Sacred Priesthood (cann.750, §2; and 1371, 1º); 2) the public incitement of the faithful to animosity 

or hatred toward the Apostolic See or an Ordinary because of an act of ecclesiastical power or 

ministry (can. 1373); 3) the grave external violation of Divine or Canon Law, with the urgent need to 

prevent and repair the scandal involved (can. 1399); and 4) prohibited participation in sacred rites 

(can. 1365). 

Throughout the canonical process, Sister Louise Lears and her canonical advocate have been given 

ample opportunity to review all of the proofs and arguments in the case, and to respond to them.  In 

other words, Sister Louise Lears’ right to defend herself against the accusations was carefully 



Archbishop Burke thoroughly reviewed, with the help of two expert assessors, all of the proofs and 

arguments pertaining to the delicts of which Sister Louis Lears is accused.  He has found Sister 

Louise Lears, S.C., guilty of the first three delicts.  Because there is a question of the competence of 

the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the matter of the fourth delict of which Sister 

Louise Lears is accused, the Archbishop has referred the matter of the fourth delict to the 

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. 


As a result of his judgment of the case, Archbishop Burke has also imposed the following canonical 

penalties upon Sister Louise Lears: 1) the penalty of interdict and 2) the prohibition of receiving any 

mission in the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, effective immediately.  Interdict prohibits the reception 

of the Sacraments.  The prohibition of receiving any mission prohibits the holding of any Church 

position or the exercise of any apostolate of the Church in the Archdiocese of Saint Louis. 


The penalties are imposed for the purpose of bringing Sister Louise Lears to repentance for the 

delicts which she has committed and to reconciliation with the Catholic Church. 


Archbishop Burke expressed his sadness in imposing the canonical penalties which were 

necessitated by the refusal of Sister Louise Lears, even after repeated admonitions, to withdraw her 

statements and repudiate her conduct which have constituted grave delicts in the Church.  The 

Archbishop asks all of the faithful of the Archdiocese to pray for the reconciliation of Sister Louise 

Lears with the Church. 

Next, a Q & A concerning the matter.  In addition to the facts of the matter, there is this question:


The penalty of interdict seems harsh and divisive.  


An interdict is really an urgent call to reform one's conduct in the future. It’s classified as 

a "medicinal penalty" by the Church precisely because its main purpose is to bring about 

reform in the individual. Having certain actions punished by interdict demonstrates that 

certain actions are gravely wrong in themselves and cause deep harm both to their 

perpetrators and to others.  The hope of this interdict, and all interdicts, is that the parties 

will be awakened to their offenses and seek to return to full Communion in the Church


This is a public relations-type question and answer.  I wonder how many people who actually believe that the Church is the true Church founded by Christ and protected by the Holy Ghost would really ask such a question.  The Archdiocese should not be worried about the consequences for standing up for the truth.  His Grace has raised the standard, and we should not be afraid to follow it.  

And finally, the link again to the Decree, which was of up and down on the website at various times today.

Pretend Priestesses Turn to RFT for One More Chance to Whine about the Archbishop

This may come as a shock, but Rose and Elsie still want to tell everyone that they really, really, really, really, really are womenpriests, that they won't listen to the Archbishop, and that they are fairly desperate for publicity.

From the full story at the Riverfront Times:

The archbishop is enraged about a display advertisement that the women have been running in the Post-Dispatch, according to a June 10 letter from Burke to the Womenpriests. The ad, publicizing their services at Thérèse of Divine Peace Inclusive Community, runs every other week in the “Catholic” section of the newspaper’s Saturday-edition worship directory. Burke in his letter enjoined the women to rescind Catholic references from the ad immediately.

Both of you know that this is the height of false advertising, the Archbishop writes. The work that you carry out is not part of the Roman Catholic Church. It is in direct and contumacious rebellion against Roman Catholic teaching and practice. You have been excommunicated and have shown yourselves contumacious. You have incurred, automatically, the censure of excommunication because you have broken communion with the Roman Catholic Church…. I instruct you to cease immediately any reference to your activities as Roman Catholic or as constituting a Roman Catholic parish.


McGrath has already assured her Post sales rep, Kevin Weaks, that she will not pull the ad.


Wink, wink-- the RFT says the Archbishop is "enraged". Right. Right.

I don't know if false advertising is a sin in their "church" or not. I guess it depends on the advertiser.

Sister Lears Found Guilty of Pertinacious Rejection of Church Teaching and Scandal: Punished with Interdict and Barred from Archdiocese

In a Decree issued this afternoon by Archbishop Raymond L. Burke, Sister Louise Lears, SC, has been found guilty of the following canonical delicts:

Pertinacious rejection of doctrine, obstinately rejecting a doctrine de Fide tenenda under can. 750, para. 2 ;

Publicly inciting the subjects of the Apostolic See or of an Ordinary to animosity or hatred of, and provoking disobedience to, the Apostolic See or Ordinary under can. 1373. This finding includes scandalizing the faithful in the exercise of her 'pastoral leadership' at St. Cronan, and by her position as religious sister and coordinator of religious education, which led the faithful to participate in sacred rites that the Ordinary has reproved as immoral and unlawful;

Violation of Divine or Canon Law which, because of its special gravity demands punishment, and which is coupled with the urgent need to prevent and correct scandal under can. 1399; the Decree also states that this canon is further implicated by Sr. Lears' commission of an act which per se is capable of leading a soul to commit mortal sin, and which directly entices a number of Catholic Faithful to lose membership in and full communion with the Roman Catholic Church and thus imperil their eternal salvation;

Finally, the Archbishop finds that Sister Lears has committed prohibited communio in sacris by participating in the simulation of a sacrament under can. 1365; however, because of possible jurisdiction issues this matter is denounced to the Holy See for determination of guilt.

The decree notes that Sister Lears was given several summonses and admonitions, and several other official notices with time to repent; she exercised her right to defense on several occasions. The Decree notes, as an aside, that the submissions and materials from her and her procurator were "insufficiently demonstrated, fallaciously argued, and, at times, most disrespectful". In spite of the full and lengthy process, Sr. Lears "has not withdrawn from contumacy in her objective delictual conduct" and is thus "subjectively pertinacious and contumacious in her violations".

The Archbishop has therefore decreed the following penalties:

1. Ferendae sententiae interdict for the crimes of public and pertinacious rejection of a teaching de fide tenenda, and for incitement of the subjects of the Holy See and the Ordinary unto strong discord and disobedience.

2. Ferendae sententiae prohibition of reception of a mission in the territory of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, effective immediately, for her having repeatedly and very gravely scandalized two women unto their final commission of the most grievous sin of schism and the simulation of priestly ordination, by which "they have been thrown off the path to eternal salvation, and in so doing, have given grave scandal to all of the faithful" of the Archdiocese.


Wow. Though this was expected, there are some items that I did not anticipate. First, the Archbishop addresses the grave matter of Sr. Lears' role in the "guidance" of Hudson and McGrath, and penalizes Lears for counseling them into schism, mortal sin and scandalous conduct.

Next, now we know why Sr. Lears is leaving for Baltimore to take care of her mother. She isn't allowed here anymore, effective right now.

The Decree seems to indicate that Sister may have laid hands on the two pretend priestesses at the infamous fake ordination in November.

Finally, the damage done by Sister Lears in her role as member of the St. Cronan's "Pastoral Team" is acknowledged and punished.

Because she is under interdict, Sr. Lears is prohibited from receiving the sacraments until such time as she repents and is reconciled with the Church. She, all those at St. Cronan's who have been led astray by her, and those who continue to reject the infallible teachings of the Church, need our prayers.

Speculum Iustitiae, ora pro nobis!

The Decree of Extra-Judicial Adjudication can be found here.

I Do Not Understand This Man

I don't know His Excellency, Bishop Williamson of the SSPX. By all accounts, he is a very bright and capable prelate.

What I do know, however, is that he is not His Excellency, Bishop Fellay, the Superior General of the SSPX, to whom the Papal offer and request relevant to reconciliation were given.

In light of this fact, why is he issuing statements like these? What are his motives? Is he the opinion leader, or is he merely a saboteur?

Only time, and Bishop Fellay's response, will tell.

We should keep all of the players in this matter in our prayers.