Thursday, September 18, 2014

Destined for the Rise and Fall of Many in Israel

The Krazy Katholic blogosphere is alight with the rumors that Cardinal Burke is about to be removed from his position at the head of the Apostolic Signatura to be the Padrone of the Sovereign Military Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem, more popularly known as the Knights of Malta and consequently, without a curial chair, his Eminence will not be included among the prelates who comprise the 2014 Synod of Bishops which will deal with matters concerning Christian families.  Several months ago, in a reshuffle of the memberships of various Congregations, Councils, and Commissions, Cardinal Burke lost his appointment to several key positions, including his membership on the Congregation for Bishops which is responsible for naming bishops throughout the world.   The krazies are in a panic over this as they see Cardinal Burke to be the check and balance on Pope Francis and his liberal agenda.  Cardinal Burke is the hierarchy’s leading supporter of reviving the pre-conciliar rites. Along with Cardinal Law and Archbishop Lori, Burke pushed for the harassment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith when the Congregation for the Consecrated Life cleared them of the accusations against them. He is the most outspoken opponent among the American prelates against the Obama administration and its policies.  And—and this is crucial because of the upcoming synod and its agenda—he has been outspoken in his criticisms of Cardinal Walter Kasper’s suggestions that those who are divorced and remarried be permitted to receive Holy Communion.  Not only the krazies, but even the respectable and respectful conservative wing want Cardinal Burke at the Synod as they feel his presence is necessary to hold the line against any change in Church discipline regarding marriage, divorce, and remarriage. 
Cardinals Burke, Mueller (head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith), Pell (Archbishop of Sydney Australia),  Caffara (Archbishop of Bologna),  Brandmueller (President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Historical Sciences), and de Paolis (President Emeritus of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See) are among the contributors to Remaining in the Truth of Christ, (Ignatius Press) which was written to stem the tide of enthusiasm that met Cardinal Walter Kasper’s repeated suggestion that Church discipline might be changed in regard to the practice of barring those who are in non-canonical marriages from Holy Communion.  As many believe that Pope Francis himself is behind Kasper’s campaign to change the rules, Burke’s opposition is not directed against Kasper, but against Pope Francis. 
Cardinal Burke has certainly fallen from one of the most powerful men in the Roman Curia to an increasingly pathetic figure as many of his colleagues have been quick to distance themselves from the Cardinal.  There have been suggestions that it was Burke himself who “leaked” the rumors that he was about to lose his dicastery –and consequently his participation in the synod—in order to raise a ruckus that would force Francis not to take action against him, at least until after the Synod.  It is no secret that Pope Francis is not an admirer of Burke.  They have very different approaches to what it means to be a prelate.  Francis does not share Burke’s taste in pomp and circumstance and the Cardinal has made no secret for his contempt of Pope Francis’ shedding many of the trappings that have long embroidered the papal mystique.  And Francis, in his remarks last spring to the Latin American Religious,  signaled his support for the American nuns in their struggles with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.  
What the Cardinal’s supporters forget in their anger that Cardinal Burke may be shuffled out of his last remaining position of influence is that the Curial officials—from the senior Cardinal down to the lowest nun-typist—have no authority of their own but are only agents of the Pope.  Unlike Cardinals—or even lower prelates—who head dioceses, the Curial Cardinals do not, in their own right, share in the governance of the Church but are there only to carry out the polices of the Pope. As the traditionalists like to remind us—the Catholic Church is not a democracy, but then neither is it an oligarchy.  It is a monarchy—and an absolute monarchy at that.  Those who serve in the Curia do not set policy—they are appointed to carry out the policies of the Pope and, if the Pope does not have confidence in his staff, it should be expected that he relieves those in whom he lacks confidence from their responsibilities.  What is the problem?  Cardinal Burke has made it clear from day one of Pope Francis’ papacy that he and the Pope are not on the same page.  That was not a wise move.  And if he is sent packing over to the famous keyhole on the Aventine, he is only reaping the oats that he had sown. 

1 comment:

  1. Burke will now be able not only to get through that famous keyhole but will be able to assist the Camaldolese with their soup lines just down the hill.