The Newest St. Louis Cardinal?

In today’s Gospel, Our Lord says to those who would follow Him that “foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest His head.”

This verse carries more meaning to me today as I reflect upon the announcement last week that Archbishop Raymond Burke has been named the new prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, the Church’s highest judicial body. This appointment will entail his moving to Rome, where he will be missed by all of us here in the States, especially here in the heartland.

Already he has had to leave rural Wisconsin, where he faithfully served as priest and bishop for many years prior to being named the Archbishop of St. Louis. Now his immense pastoral and canonical gifts will be put to the service of the universal Church.

St. Louis certainly put Archbishop Burke’s canonical training to the test, as in just a few years he’s had to deal with just about everything under the sun, from renegade parishes to the “ordination” of women. But what brought him national attention was his principled refusal to give Holy Communion to Sen. John Kerrythe outspokenly “pro-choice” Catholic presidential candidate in 2004. Some bishops followed Archbishop Burke’s lead in all this, but many American bishops and canonists disagreed with Archbishop Burke’s interpretation of what appears (to the layman’s eyes, at least) to be the clear meaning of canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law, which spells out the Church’s discipline regarding the denial of Holy Communion to those who obstinately persevere in manifest grave sin. I suppose his current appointment to the highest judicial office in the Church affords him and those of us who supported him with some measure of vindication.

Archbishop Burke has been a wonderful supporter of Catholics United for the Faith for many years, and for over a decade has been an active member of our episcopal advisor council. I am grateful for the personal solicitude he has shown me through the years, and all my family (including his namesame, three-year-old Raymond Leon Suprenant) wish him the very best in Rome and pledge to remember him frequently in our prayers.

And how can I not mention that all his friends at Catholics United for the Faith this day wish him a very happy and blessed 60th birthday.

And who knows, if he stays in Rome long enough, he may become the most popular Cardinal since Albert Pujols!  

12 responses

  1. This is great news that Archbishop Burke will now be able to serve the church in such a far-reaching manner. His faithful leadership has been a great witness, and I’m sure will continue to be. May Our Lord forever gift him the fortitude and wisdom to serve and guide. My prayers are with him. And prayers for a very happy birthday, also.

  2. Indeed, this is great news for Acbp. Burke and the Church. But it’s perhaps not such great news for American Catholics. With Acbp. Burke gone, who is to lead the discussion on life issues in the upcoming election? With the archbishop’s departure, Gov. Sibelius’ stock just went up with the Obama VP search team (I’m less concerned with who Mr. Obama picks as VP, and more concerned with the state of Gov. Sibelius’ soul. She needs to hear the truth.) I just finished reading George Weigel’s 2002 book, The Courage to be Catholic and it’s clear that Acpb. Burke is the kind of bishop Mr. Weigel says we need in the American church at this time in history. God bless Acbp. Burke and best wishes to him on his birthday.

  3. Leon,

    Wow! This is such great news for the Church, both Universal and American, and such positive statements in the news and expectations (statements like, “He might be the first American Pope”) from even those who disagree with Archbishop Burke (and the Church) on many basic issues. Imagine how those loyal to the Church feel about this appointment. This should be a really strong signal to many of our American bishops as well, especially those who appear to be fence-riders on basic issues.

    I have had the privilege of knowing Archbishop Burke for over six years and attending his annual catechist formation retreats. He is the epitome of authentic Catholicism in both his personal life and in his Episcopal leadership and, in fact, articulates nothing but the actual teachings of our Holy Mother Church. His appointment is a statement by the Pope of just that fact and of what the Holy Father expects of American Catholics (priests and laity)regardless of the fears to the contrary of some of our internal spinsters.

    Archbishop Burke has asked his Marian Catechists, and any others who would be so generous, to pray one Memorare for him each day that he may continue to do the will of God in all his duties. Please join us in this daily intercessory prayer for him and for all Church leaders.

    Mike Mohr, Consecrated Marian Catechist

  4. The news of Archbishop Burke’s becoming Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura is assuredly a welcome acknowledgment of his outstanding service to the Church as the Ordinary of St. Louis where he fearlessly upheld the doctrine and discipline of the Church with various excommunications of those who set themselves against Catholic teachings. He assuredly deserves the Cardinal’s hat which his new post will probably bring. I had thought that he would have been so honored if he had continued as Archbishop of St. Louis since that See had not had a Cardinal since the death of Cardinal Carberry who was a great lover of Our Lady and a great friend of CUF. I hope that Archbishop Burke will still be able to attend CUF’s 40th Anniversary Conference at the Pittsburg Hilton October 10-12 where he is scheduled to speak at the Banquet on Friday October 10. Wouldn’t it be great if he appeared as Cardinal Burke!

  5. I’m sure Archbishop Burke will be a Cardinal some day, and hope he is also a member of those who choose bishops. It is a loss for the church in the U.S. since he is one of the few heralds of truth in an otherwise quiet and ineffective episcopacy.

  6. Last week’s liturgical readings reminded me that the Church of the New Covenant has experienced its own Babylonian Captivity as did the Church of the Old Covenant. As we approach the 40th Anniversary of the captivity that was prepared for by the false prophets of the mid-Sixties who advocated and predicted the acceptance of contraception and then led the Great Dissent of 1968, we can empathize with the exiles who found they could not sing their traditional songs with joy. The reconstruction of Jerusalem was not done in a day, and the work of reconstruction within the Church will likewise take time–perhaps another 40 years. Above all, it will take leaders who have not only good heads and hearts but also have backbone. In Archbishop Burke, Pope Benedict XVI has found such a man of head and heart and backbone.
    Congratulations to the Pope and his advisors for their wisdom. Congratulations to Archbishop Burke for his selction based on the leadership he has demonstrated.
    John F. Kippley
    NFP International

  7. Isn’t it more than coincidence that this event would coincide with the “Year of St. Paul” proclaimed by the Holy Father? St. Paul actually proclaimed! He was bold and spoke out against the ills of the day. As he continued spreading the word, he did it so powerfully that it was believable. And, his actions were consistent with his words. Contrary to what some Americans think, we do have bishops that do the same. While some are investing in real estate and financial investment and known for that, others are proclaiming the word and are really making a mark for the actual faith! And they are known for that! While some celebrate the sacraments as a “party,” there are also those more consistent with the real contest of the Latin “celibratio” or “gathering in memory” as their task. While some are more intrested in “Catholic group therapy” in liturgy, others are encouraging worship of God. The “anemnesis” presented by this man is not confined to the “Blessed Sacrament.” He “makes the reality present” of the very Word of God in his boldness. He obviously doesn’t compromise with the world around as Israel and Judah did in the Old Testament, which brought about their very destruction. He is not “politically correct.” Justice is the “revelation of truth,” and this man seems to be the epitome of such and deals with it accordingly. It’s this remnant of faith that gives life to the Church and hope for its members.

  8. From far off New Zealand, CUF members send their congratulations to Archbishop Burke on his appointment. We desperately need good leaders today and here is one who lives what he preaches. We also send birthday greetings on his 60th birthday.

    Melda F Townsley
    National Director
    Conference of Chapters of Catholics United for the Faith New Zealand.

  9. Congratulations to you, Archbishop Burke! We in the Midwest have enjoyed your presence, your witness, and your counsel. Of course we are a little saddened to have you leave us for Rome, but we know that your counsel is very much needed there to help govern the English-speaking parts of the Church. Our prayers go with you in your new work and on your 60th birthday.

  10. On behalf of Our Lady of Guadalupe CUF Chapter in South Texas, we congratulate Archbishop Burke. While this is a loss for Catholics in the U.S., we will be well represented in Rome. We laity admire and appreciate the clergy and religious who stand up (and stand out) to defend life in public. May Our Lady of Guadalupe continue to give him courage in all his tasks.
    Rebecca Gonzales, CUF Chapter Chair

  11. If we believe,as I do of course,that Our Lord is present in the Eucharist and that His Eternal love flows from that incredible gift/Sacrament He instituted on Holy Thursday night at His last supper,,then NO ONE,,NO CLERGYMAN,,NO CHURCH
    can or even be so bold as to deny JESUS to any who approach His Eucharistic Table,, This dear friends is why so many become Episcopoalians as they have”open Communion” they are more concerned to save souls rather than quote dry ‘rulebooks’

  12. John W. Maher, please read what St. Paul says on this very topic. Those who support infanticide while partaking of the Body and Blood of our Blessed Lord Jesus are eating and drinking damnation to their very souls. Many are called, but few are choosen. I really hate it when liberals make out obedience to the Gospel and Holy Mother Church to be intolerable rules and prejudiced judgement. Well guess what, John, God IS prejudiced against sin. 1st Corinthians 11:27-32 states:

    Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. 12
    A person should examine himself, 13 and so eat the bread and drink the cup.
    For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment 14 on himself.
    That is why many among you are ill and infirm, and a considerable number are dying.
    If we discerned ourselves, we would not be under judgment;
    but since we are judged by (the) Lord, we are being disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

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