"Are we prepared to promote conditions in which the living contact with God can be reestablished? For our lives today have become godless to the point of complete vacuity. God is no longer with us in the conscious sense of the word. He is denied, ignored, excluded from every claim to have a part in our daily life." - Alfred Delp, S.J.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The unique compassion and pastoral care of Cardinal Burke for SSA persons ...

I keep trying to convince people that Cardinal Burke is not the cranky old guy MSM and social media paints him as.  He does not hate gay people.  He is not unwelcoming or intolerant.  Far from it.

Badger Catholic posted this story:

Cardinal Burke and the 1998 conversion of one of "Wisconsin’s most outspoken gay activists"
The story is from 2011 but the actual conversion happened in 1998 in the La Crosse Diocese.
From 1990 to 1994, I went to Mass off and on. In 1995, I told my “partner” that I couldn’t go anymore because I was very angry with the Church. I boxed up all my crucifixes and Bibles and dropped them off at the office of the bishop of La Crosse, Wisconsin with a letter renouncing the Catholic faith.*
To my surprise, Bishop Raymond Burke replied with a kind letter expressing his sadness. He wrote that he would respect my decision and notify the parish where I had been baptized. Ever so gently, Bishop Burke said that he would pray for me and look forward to the time when I would reconcile with the Church.
As one of Wisconsin’s most outspoken “gay” activists, I thought, “What arrogance!” Then I replied to Bishop Burke with a letter accusing him of harassment. I told him that his letters were unwelcome and I asked how he could dare to write to me.
My efforts failed to put him off. Bishop Burke sent one more letter assuring me that he wouldn’t write again—but if I should want to reconcile with the Church, he would welcome me back with open arms....
A month after my reconciliation to God and the Church, I went to Bishop Burke’s office, where he embraced me. He asked if I remembered the belongings I had turned over to him with my letter of renunciation. Of course I remembered and Bishop Burke had saved them in the diocesan archives because he believed that I would return. - Finish reading here.

Matt's account ends with an anecdote not so edifying.  The author, Eric Hess mentions a priest who attempted to convince him that 'gay is good':

Despite the blessing of Archbishop Burke and priests like him, I want to stress that there are others who lead souls away from eternal life and happiness.
For example, when I recently went to confession, a priest told me something that is both a contradistinction from and a contradiction of the truth that Archbishop Burke taught me.
The apostate priest told me: You’re gay and the Church calls us to accept our sexuality. I am an ethicist—a scholar. And the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is very close to this position—and this is the position—am I going too fast for you? If you are attracted to members of the same sex, that is natural for you. And for you to deny that and resist that is to go against natural law. I believe, as an ethicist, that you can have a male roommate and be intimate—of course without genital expression. But if you do slip in that regard, it would not be a mortal sin. - Badger Catholic

I've often heard similar things in and out of the confessional over the years.

Matt commented that he wasn't sure that it was true that the USCCB is really all that close to the position cited by Hess, but I suspect it could be true for many involved in the organization.  I actually think it is priests and activists like the priest Hess describes who really have it in for Cardinal Burke.  It should be no surprise that not a few gay Catholics reject the 'language' Cardinal Burke uses when speaking of same sex attraction and family - which conforms exactly to Catholic teaching BTW.  Opponents say the 'language' is harsh and therefore a 'language barrier' to those who already feel 'unwelcome' by the Church.

Cardinal Burke's actions, his genuine pastoral care, contradicts those who seek to discredit him.

*I know a few guys who did the exact same thing.  This story sustains my hope they will one day return.


  1. The second part makes no sense; if I, a single Catholic woman, have sex with a man, it's a mortal sin, but for those who are same sex attracted to act on that attraction it isn't a sin. Talk about double standard!

    Cardinal Burke is lovely.

  2. Thank you for this, Terry.

  3. I hope everyone follows the link and reads the rest of this great story. Divine providence and mercy in a chinese restaurant. Loved it!

  4. Wow. If you desire to have sex with children, that is natural for you. If you desire ten wives, that is natural for you. If you desire to strangle people during sex, that is natural for you. What a perversion of the priciples of Natural Law.

  5. Thank you for sharing this, Terry - I love Cardinal Burke and will defend him to the hilt just as I do Fr. Harvey.

    1. Same here - I will always stand by Fr. Harvey.

  6. They'd rather think he's cranky.

  7. It seems like they feel they can't say he's "wrong"(at least publicly) so they have to find some other color to paint him.

  8. Nice story about Burke Terry.

    He was more patient with the "outspoken gay activist," then I would have been, as this "Eric Hess," seems to be a drama queen on an epic scale...boxing your his bibles and his crucifixes,,and writing a letter to the bishop "renouncing," his faith (oh, okay, who are you ?) then when he writes him back bitching that he is "harassing," him? ( I love the response to the bishop with a letter, to tell him not to write a letter back..probably followed up with a phone call and several emails just so he got the point. oh by the way this is my new address...)

    He does however hit all the points the right like to hear....the mean, drunk dad "creating," his gayness (Eric, a lot of people have mean drunks and they aren't gay..the only thing he left out was the over protective mother) his putting partner in quotes to diminish that relationship (hey Eric, you picked him...) and ending with the anonymous priest who encouraged him to continue being gay...) Interesting..I would like to know more about this guys "outspoken gay activist," background. I hope he has found the peace and the validation he seems very desperate to find.

    As I said, Burke had more then enough patience with this one.

    1. I know of another guy who did the same thing - pack up all his religious books and sacramentals - but I think he took them to a thrift store. He was protesting some scandal he discovered regarding a priest and he just shucked it all and returned to 'active duty'.

      It's a common story among Catholics trying to force themselves to be chaste. Eventually the bough breaks and the cradle falls. I think of it has part of the process, the conversion process. It happens with other people as well - I know a woman who boxed up all her stuff and dropped it at a Church rummage sale - then she went back to her former life - which wasn't all that different, except it was Wiccan - so she was back in control.

      This stuff happens. I think Burke actually demonstrated exactly what Pope Francis calls 'accompaniment' - and I know he's done it in one other case I know of.

      Accompaniment involves prayer and understanding and allowing the person to go through the struggle - esp. the hard stuff. But that's another post.

      In Hess' case, Burke was like a dad, I think.

      Anyway - you always see the humorous side and I like that. We all take ourselves much too seriously. ;)


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