Reality check: Burke’s star will shine on

The knives are out for Cardinal Burke this morning. He’s on the next plane out of Rome after Pope Francis sacked him and summarily ended all of his duties this morning.

Oh wait, that’s not what happened. Actually, Pope Francis simply chose not to renew his membership on the Congregation for Bishops, the body that helps select bishops for the United States and around the world. Still, this was enough for noted Burke-haters here in America to proclaim this is the end of Burke’s episcopal career.

Even the normally sober-minded John Allen cited this recent EWTN interview given by Cardinal Burke on “The World Over” where the cardinal said “we can never talk enough about the defense of human life” as some sort of example that Pope Francis wants to move away from the Cardinal’s “aggressive line” on the culture wars — please! As if Pope Francis has nothing better to do than monitor what gets said on EWTN every night.

Let me pour some cold water on this hyperventilating speculation.

First, Pope Francis has not hid his intention of making the curia more efficient. He appointed Cardinal Wuerl as a new addition to the Congregation for Bishops, someone whom Pope Benedict had already placed trust in when he appointed Cardinal Wuerl as the U.S. guardian of the Anglican Ordinariate. If you asked me to pick who has a better working knowledge of the makeup, demands and expectations of the American episcopate right now I would say the state-side Cardinal Wuerl, not Cardinal Burke who has been in Rome for half a decade at this point. So from one aspect, this is a move towards efficiency.


And poor Cardinal Burke, after today’s move, he will have so little to occupy himself. In addition to being the Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, a member of the College of Cardinals, a member of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, a member of the Congregation for Clergy, a member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, a member of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and President of the Commission for Advocates, and a frequent speaker to select Catholic causes and organizations, I’m not sure what he’ll be doing with all of this new free time.

Back to the anti-Burke speculation: the real reason some are trying to make a big deal of this news is because a) they are trying to create the perception that there is a rift between Pope Francis and conservatives, and b) because they hope Burke’s absence from the congregation will yield more liberal episcopal appointments here in America.

Let me pour more cold water on both of these futile hopes.

There is absolutely no sign the Congregation for Bishops is about to reverse the 70 or 80 streak of conservative Episcopal appointments to U.S. dioceses we witnessed under the reign of Pope Benedict.  This massive swell of young conservative bishops is already having a huge impact on the Catholic Church in America.

It was these bishops who upset precedent and elected Cardinal Dolan over Bishop Kicanas for USCCB President, and just elected Archbishop Kurtz.

If we want to see anything significant in today’s news, it should be that Pope Francis confirmed Cardinal Marc Oullet as the Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops! A more conservative Cardinal you couldn’t ask for.

If liberal Vatican-watchers want to read tea leaves, they should wake up and smell what’s brewing!

And as for this false meme that Pope Francis doesn’t like conservatives, well, the pope’s interview with La Stampa just poured more cold water on that than I could ever hope to.

So let nothing you dismay. Cardinal Burke’s star will shine on in the Eternal City for another 10 years at least. American liberal Catholics should go take a cold bath. Orthodoxy is here to stay.


Categories:American Papist Church News Pope Francis Vatican

  • Conor Foran

    I keep hearing all of these hate-mongers spewing lies about Cardinal Burke. “He should be more pastoral.” “He should be sent to a parish,” etc. – and these are only the kindest comments.

    I bet not a one of these individuals has met Cardinal Burke in person.

    I have known Cardinal Burke for more than half of my (admittedly short) life. I served for him as an altar server, I sang for him as a part of the Archdiocesan Choir of St. Louis. It was Cardinal Burke who helped inspire me to become a seminarian.

    By the second day of Cardinal Burke’s installation as Archbishop of St. Louis, he knew my name and face. By the third, he knew the names of my mother and father – this after seeing thousands upon thousands of people during his first days in St. Louis. None of us were movers and shakers – just ordinary Catholic folks.

    Cardinal Burke is always tired. He is always the last to bed and the first to rise in the morning. Every time I saw him in St. Louis – often as frequently as once or twice a week – he was always stopping to enquire after one person or another, to talk to the members of the flock under his care. Msgr. Briar, his secretary, was always, always at his elbow, trying to get him to move along – to his next appointment, to his next meeting, to bed at three or four in the morning so that he could be up for holy hour at five. But Cardinal Burke would never leave until he had spoken with every person there.

    I cried when Cardinal Burke left St. Louis, even as I was happy that he was moving up in the hierarchy of the Church. But Cardinal Burke has never really left – he has been back to St. Louis four or more times a year, every year, out of pastoral care for his flock. Every single time he has been back to St. Louis, I have done my best to greet him face to face, and more often then not succeeded. Every time I have seen him, his face has lit up in a big smile, and he has asked after me and my family – is my father still alright, is his alzheimer’s getting worse? Every time.

    I love Raymond Cardinal Burke. How could anyone not love him?

    For those who continue to rage and hate the truly, truly good Cardinal, who slander him with faceless, baseless accusations – have you ever met the man? What happened to charity, and forgiveness? What happened to your own doctrine of respecting different opinions, even when they disagree with yours?

    If any of Cardinal Burke’s opponents – if any of us – can grow to be half, no a quarter of the gracious, wise, holy man he is – we will be truly blessed.

  • Jack

    Cardinal Burke should be stripped of all duties at the vatican and given a new assignment as a Parish Priest. His current duties as the head of the vatican court not sure if he should be there. Being he likes to break the law / commandment.l who checks if he really knows cannon law ???..seems to me the wrong place to be is in the court. He can write the law as he see’s fit ??

  • Cheryl

    You sound just as smug and snotty as the people you’re bashing. What a load of crap “conservatives” and “liberals” choose to focus on. I just wasted five minutes of my life reading this childish nonsense.

  • Paul

    I second Debbie Lawson’s comments. I am a former catholic. Having left disgusted with the church, I have to say that Pope Francis is the closest thing to christ that this church has seen in decades. Here is one walking the walk instead of just talking the talk.

  • Claude Bisson

    The man if full of hate and intolerance . The church no longer has any place for these individuals who have become radicalized by the right……………………….

  • Jason

    Burke is a Jesus-despising servant of the Prince of Lies. All of you who stroke yourselves like this over his hateful words should repent of your love of sin.



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