Thursday, August 22, 2019

It's not that I don't like him ...

Cardinal Burke - T. Nelson

I just think he's kind of a ...

I'm talking about Cardinal Burke.  I don't mean to be disrespectful, but in his apostolate of bringing back the Extraordinary Form of Mass, and all of the accoutrements which accompany it, he bolsters a strange resistance movement to the Pope and Post-Conciliar Church.  (I'm against classifying the Church as post conciliar, but I use the term as a convenience here.)

I don't really think the Cardinal is a ditz, yet he is always and apparently everywhere dressed as a Medieval prelate, making the rounds, blessing and celebrating 'at the Throne'. It's a wonderful patrimony we Catholics have, and we treasure it, and Pope Benedict opened the treasury to all Catholics, in the hope it would enrich the Church's Ordinary Form.  The problems arose before that, but escalated after Summorum Pontificum, used by some to force a counter reformation and as a means to denigrate the OF Mass.  Many claiming one is more sacred than the other, and God is more pleased with the EF than the OF - while insisting the increase of vocations is proof of that.

Cappa Magna Americano - T. Nelson

That's the tip of iceberg, as it were.

As Cardinal Burke travels about, his appearances seem to emphasize the differences, which are used to disparage the Ordinary Form.  Maybe he doesn't actually say that - but the impression is given, and the EF contingent play it that way.  So my point is, you can't say the 'new' Mass is a bad Mass, and you can't say Vatican II was a bad council - but that is exactly what 'they' are saying.

Cardinal Burke maybe doesn't say it outright - but he does imply it, repeating all the usual points as to what was wrong in the interpretation of the 'spirit of the council', along with pointing out all the liturgical abuses, which developed along the way.  That's not a bad thing, BTW - that is exactly how the Council bears fruit, and it is his job, so to speak.

That said, what is hard for me with Cardinal Burke, is not that he leads the devout who love the Traditional Liturgy, but the fact he is used by many to represent a rad-trad element which existed since Vatican II.  Included among the movement, many are also deeply influenced by a hardcore, right-wing political element.  Yes, the Cardinal has disassociated himself from Bannon, but there are plenty of his ilk in the mix.

Cardinal Burke also seems to accept the notion that the requests made by Our Lady of Fatima weren't properly implemented, the Consecration of Russia done negligently, and so on.  This echoes Fr. Gruner and those I refer to as Fatimists.  He seems to believe and is apprehensive that the fulfillment of other mystical dooms-day prophecies, especially as they apply to the crisis in the Church and Her liturgy, are enacted now.  What I'm saying is, he strikes me as one deeply influenced by the far-right, conspiracy theories, and dubious revelations and prophecies, which have been used to discredit the popes and magisterium.  Many of these prophecies were linked to fake apparition sites in the late 1960' -'70's, such as Necedah and Bayside.   They are all reformulated and repeated today in sensationalized books such as Taylor Marshall's 'Infiltration'.  Again - Burke doesn't officially, explicitly make clear statements to the fact, but one picks it up when his online followers and fans write articles or agree with him in com-boxes on social media sites.

Blognic in an Egg - T. Nelson

Don't mention the cappa, I did, but I think I got away with it.

So, this is kind of a can of worms and I'm simply trying to clarify what I meant in another post referencing the Cardinal.  To be fair, in his interview with Patrick Coffin, Burke didn't actually call into question the election of Pope Francis, he simply discussed the issue in his response to questions in the interview.  The interview touched on points others have used to cast doubt on the legitimacy of Pope Francis, e.g. the St. Gallen mafia conspiracy, as well as the infiltration theories contained in Taylor Marshall's book. The upshot being Burke concluded there's no way to prove this stuff without a corroborating eye witness.   Yet right there is how he feeds those who ardently believe these theories are fact.  Rod Dreher just wrote an article about stuff like that.

Yeah but - and many will defend him and support him, despite the fact his evident pearl-clutching exacerbates the suspicions and doubts of ordinary Catholics, who, despite the sexual abuse cover-up crisis, have all they can do to have the proper respect due to the office of bishop.  I might remind readers that Burke once gave permission for a transgender woman to live as a nun.  When reported to Rome, he expressed his displeasure towards the Catholic woman who reported him.  So he knows the good, bad and ugly of religious intrigue and back-biting involved in the infiltration paranoia.  He's maybe sought to protect his reputation more often than we know.

Finally, the amazing thing to me is how Cardinal Burke's supporters, followers-fans, become so defensive if anyone criticizes him, yet they willing and eagerly pick apart the Franciscan papacy, and make the most audacious claims against the Holy Father and his curia. To date, I've heard these people claim Francis is nuts, possessed, the Antichrist, or an anti-pope, and so on. Faithful Catholics say that crap publicly.  Cardinal Burke doesn't help dispel such nonsense - especially when he seems to be discussing it seriously in pod casts and at banquets.

Otherwise, I really like Cardinal Burke.  What?

My opinion doesn't matter.


  1. I find the good Cardinal interesting, eccentric and I think bearing a grudge for his demotion in the Curia under Francis. We have a priest at a local parish ( I have five within my new geographical location) who has been known to wear the cassock and cap with a pom pom on top, sorry but the name escapes me, around town. I remember it well from my youth and from Going My Way. It has nothing but good memories for me. It is, I think a statement on his part like the Cardinal's mega cape. I long have felt there is plenty of room for both the OF and EF, for the old rites and rituals decorations, art etc. it is more important to me that the priest, staff and fellow parishioners are kind, welcoming and sincere in seeking to live a Christian life.

    1. PS. Nice portrait Terry. First one is very flattering and the second humorous without being disrespectful. I like them both!

    2. I totally agree with you. And thanks for the compliment on the paintings of the Cardinal. I find him fascinating - and as you noted, a bit eccentric.

  2. So many TLM proponents, including our friend Fr. Z, in their fervor for promoting the TLM, have insulted and disparaged the Novus Ordo Mass and those who attend it in a most condescending way. Which I find scandalous and damaging to the Church.

    I am a member of a reverent, well-run, monetarily poor, inner-city Novus Ordo parish. About 10 years ago, we merged with a smaller, far more conservative parish about a mile away. It didn't make sense to our bishop to use two pastors, with the shortage of priests, when we are so close. Thankfully, we had a very happy and successful merger. They adjusted to our many shortcomings charitably and pleasantly, and we did the same, and welcomed them with all our hearts. We knew we would never take the place their beloved parish and church had in their hearts, but we did our best to create a family out of it all, incorporating some of the furnishings and devotions from their church as we could, and they volunteered with the choir, K of C, and other parish organizations. We loved each other, and under the circumstances, I think we had an ideal merger.

    About two years after we merged, a group of 13 individuals who were members of the TLM community, which had met at our sister parish's church, petitioned the Vatican to reopen the parish. When the merger happened, these people moved on to a parish 3 miles away, had the same priests travel to them to say the TLM as at our sister parish, and even had the same time on Sunday for their Mass, which attracted about 60-75 people. It its wisdom, the Vatican reopened the parish. We were told that things are different in Italy, with not so much of a priest shortage, and that the Church is funded by the government, so they do not understand the need for parishes to close or merge as they sometimes must here in America and elsewhere.

    When our sister parish reopened, our pastor was entrusted with their care as well as ours, which increased his workload considerably. About 40 people returned to the reopened parish, the remainder staying at our parish. There is one Mass weekly on Sundays, which has maybe 50 people or less in attendance, and maybe 75 at Christmas and Easter.

    Our pastor, when questioned by the TLM community, said that there would be no Latin Mass at the reopened parish nor at our parish. With his increased responsibilities, (our parish is a Newman parish, serves the homeless daily, is a magnet parish for the Spanish community and offers a Spanish Mass on Sundays, and there is a grade school at the sister parish which never closed, in addition to his duties as chaplain at a hospital) Father had no time to learn the Latin Mass. It would be nearly impossible to fit it in with the Masses he was committed to on Sundays (one at our sister parish, and 4 at ours, including one in Spanish). Secondly, another parish 3 miles away was already offering a Latin Mass, so they were not deprived.

    Needless to say, these 13 people who insisted our sister parish needed to be reopened and petitioned the Vatican to do it, did not return to support our sister parish, and in fact, gleefully predicted to all who would listen that both parishes would fail. And, of course, that we are deficient and inferior because we do not offer a Latin Mass. Their prediction did not come to pass. My parish is thriving, and our sister parish will manage to carry on, at least until a bequest left by a deceased former pastor is depleted.

    As I understand it, both the TLM and the Novus Ordo Mass are equally valid and licit. There is no competition, and one is not superior to the other. It is merely a matter of preference for the faithful to attend one or the other. With this in mind, it is a scandal to me that anyone would condescendingly insist that one is "holier" or more valid than another, and that those who attend one or another are in some way superior to others.

    I apologize for the length of my comment, but this hits close to home for me.

    God bless and protect you, dear Terry, and all here. - Susan, OFS

    1. Thanks Susan - That is too bad - but that's my point. There is only one Roman Rite Mass with two forms, the EF and the OF. The OF is the Mass offered across the Latin rite world. I've so often heard people claim the OF is evil - it's astonishing they come to that conclusion.

  3. Interesting series of events. I suppose every Diocese in US has a similar story. Her in WNY the fights with parish closures and mergers is what will become of the stunningly beautiful Churches built by poor immigrants full of priceless art. Bishop Malone in Buffalo is currently in a fight with St Anne's, a masterpiece built by German immigrants over 120 years ago with declining membership. It is a stunning building full of Munich studio stain glass, frescos and other art. He closed it about 5 years ago. The parish and preservationists appealed to Rome to make it a shrine. The Bishop wants to strip it and sell off the property. It is on hold with fund raising now at a substantial level. Another German parish, St Gerard's, another masterpiece was seriously looked at to be dismantled and shipped south to a growing parish that wanted to save it. That plan proved too expensive and the Church was stripped and sold. It is a mosque today. Another, St Francis Xavier, a gem of Italian Lombard style was rescued by a non profit that opened a religious art museum to try and get all the art work the Bishop was selling off from the closed and stripped churches. It has been a battle royal which continues to be fought there. Many traditionalists are in the forefront of these fights. I go as often as I can to visit the remaining masterpieces you can still get into. My Diocese of Rochester has had different but similar struggles. The EF Mass has moved around over the years but for one reason or another, probably availability of priests who know Latin, it only stays a few years in one place. Meanwhile SSPX has a parish, a spin off of Franciscian Friars has a monastery that offers the Latin Mass. There is a whole network and some people travel many miles to attend. I admire their dedication to, as we said in the old days, "hear Mass." Our Bishop is trying to accommodate them all but it just does not seem to be working.

    1. Yep - we've gone through that. Just this past week, one landmark church which was sold off was demolished by the organization who demolished it - a German immersion school. Neighbors and former parishioners demonized the city council and school owners for allowing the tear down - I kept reminding them the culprits were the former Archbishop and his appointed priests to select parishes for closure and sale. The archbishop and his priests are gone now - at least one left the priesthood and the prelate resigned in disgrace. These men betrayed the patrimony of the faithful, pillaged and robbed, altars sacked by bad bishops. My first communion church is now a mosque, other parishes wreckovated.

    2. Hi Susan,

      An interesting article regarding Burke and his penchant for stirring the pot despite himself.

      God bless your vibrant Catholic community, Susan!

  4. It seems to me you need to stop reading the NcR. You are echoing the false narrative and propaganda being spread by those who are unfaithful to the Church. You are assuming their narrative is actually correct. Have you ever met Cardinal Burke? Have you ever actually asked him about these things? Have you actually discussed with him why he does what he does? I have. I am blessed to call Cardinal Burke a friend and mentor. I have spent lots of time with him. I can assure you, the image of him you are promoting in this post is false. He is a gentle, holy, and courageous man. I am convinced one day he will be canonized, but it will have to wait till we are out from under the current crisis and string of bad Popes that are coming, beginning with Francis. I encourage you to stop listening to the people spreading these false narratives about Cardinal Burke. It's unbecoming of a Christian to spread this sort of libel and defamation.

  5. Personally I find Card Burke's smirking and simpering nauseating - not to mention the banality of the issues on which he deigns to speak out. (It does seem that such issues are mostly to do with the Sixth Commandment. It would seem that Burke's trying to form a grand alliance between latter-day traditionalists and the prudes and family values neocons of John Paul II's time, without any real inkling of quite how rickety such a coalition will be. And no, the "transgender nun" story does not surprise.) So good luck with that counter-reformation! I can't see the current Holy Father taking much interest in it, nor many of his likely successors. (Nor for that matter oafs like "Bannon", whose only real objection to the current Sovereign Pontiff is that he was Obama's Pope - just as Ratzinger was Dubya's, etc.)

    I would be interested to know though why one cardinal out of 214 touches such a raw nerve. And is Fatima "dubious"? Has it discredited the papacy and the magisterium? I'm not sure that it is, or has. In fact the only person who's really damaged the papacy in recent years has been the current successor of St Peter, who from time to time either treats the institution as so much pointless tedious mummery (because the papal tiara and palace are silly anachronisms, pontifical protocol is a waste of time, the Swiss Guard are beneath his contempt, as are the altar-boys in St Peter's, etc.) or uses it as a platform for irrelevant woke nonsense (Third-World immigration, climate change, etc.) that has absolutely nothing to do with the spiritual challenges facing Catholics in the world today. As for the magisterium, rather more damaging that anything Card Burke (or Dr Taylor Marshall) may have said or done is a Vicar of Christ who has been stonewalling (and I use the term advisedly) on some of the Church's most basic teachings. (His answers to the Burke's dubia have still to see the light of day.)

    Card Burke's also far from the only one peddling conspiracy theories about the "St Gallen Mafia" - the sources for which "theories" tend to have been the more outlandish claims of people like Austen Ivereigh and Catherine Pepinster. (Personally I consider them not so much theories as the idle boasts of a hubristic liberal clique, but there you are.) Yes, if the Church really has been "infiltrated" then it's been infiltrated by the likes of Card Dolan and Burke himself, not to mention you and me and millions of other bad Catholics going back to Judas Iscariot. But it's hard to blame the likes of Dr Marshall for seizing on such memes.

    Finally, you realise don't you that the "post-conciliar Church" and (presumably) the pre-conciliar one are one and the same. It's perfectly legitimate to think the Catholic Church took a wrong turn in the 1960s. (Ditto civil society, for that matter!) And obviously it's perfectly legitimate to suggest that whereas every Mass has the same intrinsic value some Masses will have more extrinsic value than others. So it's hardly illegitimate to hope that at some point good and holy men will arise who will lead the Catholic Church out of her current doldrums and into happier, saner times ahead.

  6. I chuckle at this post. I thought the same thing about Cardinal Burke, until I met him in person. It was at the Shrine of Out Lady of Guadalupe in Lacrosse, Wi. Cardinal Burke celebrated the Novus Order in Latin, ad orientem, in the appropriate vestments. I even had the opportunity to share a very brief conversation with him after mass. I met a very humble priest, not at all like the person I read about on various blogs.


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