Will Roman appointments affect Archbp. Burke?

The Holy Father made an interesting appointment this week. 

For a long time there have been strong rumors that one of Rome’s auxiliary bishops, His Excellency Rino Fisichella, Rector of the Lateran University and one of the real go to guys for the Italian media, would be made Secretary of the CDF.  That would mean that the present Secretary, Archbishop Angelo Amato would be moving up to head one of the posts requiring a Cardinal, perhaps the Congregation for Causes of Saints.

However, Pope Benedict has named Bp. Fisichella as President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, making him an archbishop.  He replaces Bp. Elio Sgreccia, who at 80 years old must retire for reasons of age. 

I believe (now) Archbp. Fisichella will remain Rector of the Lateran.  At least I haven’t seen anything to the contrary.  Nor have my friends on the inside heard that he won’t be Rector any longer.

BTW… this is a bigger slap down than when Archbp. Piero Marini was moved to head up the offices for Eucharistic Congresses.  Furthermore, L’Osservatore Romano also had a little note to explain how important it is to have an Archbishop!  (Insult to injury.) So, it looks like Archbp. Fisichella is still at the Lateran, but now he has far less influence in the Vicariate. 

At the same time, the very important Camillo Card. Ruini will be stepping aside as Vicar for the Diocese of Rome.  Card. Ruini runs the day to day stuff for the Pope’s diocese for him while Pope Benedict is doing his Pope things.

The strong candidate to take over the post of Vicar of Rome is Agostino Card. Vallini, who is presently the head of the Apostolic Signatura, which is the Church’s "Supreme Court", which handles appeals from the Rota and other civil and criminal cases which arise in the Vatican City State.

Were Card. Vallini to be moved to the Vicariate of Rome, that would leave a gap at the top of the Church’s judicial ladder.

It would not surprise me at all were His Holiness to choose His Excellency Raymond Burke, Archbishop of St. Louis.  Pope John Pail II and Pope Benedict highly respected Archbp. Burke as a canonist.  Burke spent a long time in Rome and was the Defend of the Bond for Holy Roman Church.  He has been appointed to many positions on dicasteries.  There are few canonists who rival him for clarity of thought and expertise.

It would be a tremendous loss for the Church in the United States, but a great gain for the Universal Church.

In the meantime, we are also waiting to see what will happen with the appointment of Archbp. Amato to another dicastery, perhaps to a cardinal’s chair.  Last week another name, also rumored before, started getting stronger: the Sardinian born Bishop Ignazio Sanna, who was himself once at the Lateran University (back in my days there) as Dean of the Theology Faculty.  

Furthermore, I think many of us are holding our breath as we pray that His Excellency Archbp. Malcolm Ranjith will be made Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship if His Holiness decides to allow the great Cardinal Arinze (titular Cardinal of my Suburbicarian Diocese) to have a little rest after all these years of service.

We are getting to the point in the calendar year when many changes are made to the Curia.  Perhaps we shall see a flurry of appointments before the summer break.

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37 Responses to Will Roman appointments affect Archbp. Burke?

  1. The Pledger says:

    As much as I think Archbishop Burke is emminently qualified for the position, and I would love to see a great churchman move up the latter, I would be devistated to lose him from the United States, and particularly from Diocesan work.

  2. Diane says:

    Fr. Guy Selvester posted several days ago that rumors were in high gear in the Eternal City about Abp Burke likely heading the Apostolic Signatura.

    I know many here in the US were disappointed with the thought of his loss. He is on so many boards, committees and the like he would not be missed only at the diocesan level. However, after pausing for a moment to ponder it all, it would be selfish for us to want to hold him back for things we deem important (as important as they may be), when God has other plans in mind manifested through an assignment such as this, should it come to pass.

    He is a brilliant canonist, and the Church would be well served. Our loss is definitely the Church’s gain.

  3. Fabrizio says:

    there is an old saying in Rome: “Si Ddio sera ‘na porta, opre ‘n portone” (if God shuts a door, he will then open a front gate) to say that what seems a problem now will eventually result in a much bigger grace, just trust the Lord.

    I guess we could use a WDTPRS prayer storm for the next appointments. And, do we really think that Benedict doesn’t know about the accomplishments in St. Louis? He won’t let that go wasted.

  4. If the Church need his talents in Rome, then so be it. But the promotion of Archbishop Raymond Burke to a position in the Curia would, I agree, be a devastating loss to the church in the USA.

    Unless his replacement at St. Louis was already well known for his conservatism, it could also send entirely the wrong signal to the USCB at a crucial time.

  5. Iosephus says:

    But I think that there would, in time, be an advantage for the American church: he would be made a cardinal, a cause for rejoicing both among American conservatives and conservatives in Rome. He would be another highly placed friend of the Old Mass in Rome, too. Methinks that he might be able to do more for tradition and American Catholics, in the long run, there in Rome than in St. Louis, no?

  6. thetimman says:

    This rumor has been making the rounds for some time. There doesn’t seem to be anything new to cause greater speculation.

  7. Jason in San Antonio says:

    Plus, His Excellency might get to be pope someday . . .

  8. Meanwhile, the northernmost diocese in the Netherlands has finally got a new bishop, six months after Mgr. Eijk became Archbishop of Utrecht.
    I don’t know if many readers of wdtprs can understand Dutch, but Katholiek Nederland at the moment is pretty much all about our new bishop, Mgr. de Korte.

    Please keep our diocese in your prayers.

  9. Craigmaddie says:

    America’s loss would be the world’s gain!

  10. sigil7 says:

    …who was himself once at the Lateran University back in my days there as Dean of the Theology Faculty.

    Wow, Father, you were the Lateran’s Dean of the Theological faculty? ;)

  11. Matt Q says:

    Iosephus wrote:

    “But I think that there would, in time, be an advantage for the American church: he would be made a cardinal, a cause for rejoicing both among American conservatives and conservatives in Rome. He would be another highly placed friend of the Old Mass in Rome, too. Methinks that he might be able to do more for tradition and American Catholics, in the long run, there in Rome than in St. Louis, no?”

    )(

    No, more than likely. The position he would fill in Rome would have less of an impact on the goings-on here than the other Dicasteries, I believe. Even though he is a great advocate of the Tridentine Mass and its implementation, his position would practically confine him to the legalities of the Church although he can encourage others, but I think we have a few of those already in Rome.

    I wouldn’t want to lose him here, and Burke going to Rome would be a loss to the United States and to his diocese. Who knows what flake would take over and undo every good thing he’s got off the ground. I had a far-fetched hope he would be given Los Angeles in 2011, but… I pray The Lord has not deigned us to wander longer in the desert ( –oops, the US bishops think that’s a hard, non-P.C. word–un-irrigated land– ).

    ======

    Jason in San Antonio wrote:

    “Plus, His Excellency might get to be pope someday…”

    )(

    Perhaps not, Jason. I’ve heard from many different circles there is a wariness of an American being Pope because his own feelings and sentiment would be too tied to US policy in form or another and the rest of the Hierarchy is not keen on that. Well, as we have seen these past forty, who knows.

    ======

    Fabrizio wrote:

    “There is an old saying in Rome: “Si Dio sera ‘na porta, opre ‘n portone” (if God shuts a door, he will then open a front gate) to say that what seems a problem now will eventually result in a much bigger grace, just trust the Lord.

    I guess we could use a WDTPRS prayer storm for the next appointments. And, do we really think that Benedict doesn’t know about the accomplishments in St. Louis? He won’t let that go wasted.”

    )(

    I think we should all keep that saying in mind in our daily lives. Trust in God.

    A prayer storm would be a very good idea. Yes, we’re certain the Holy Father knows exactly what is going on in Saint Louis. At the same time, we’re certain he knows what is going in here in Los Angeles also, and look, still stuck with a stinking mess, and not even a hint of a cleaning crew. There again, though… TRUST IN GOD.

  12. Prof. Basto says:

    How about that for an ordinary public consistory:

    1. – Albert Malcolm Ranjith;

    2. – Raymond Burke;

    3. – Angelo Amato;

    4. – Luigi de Magistris;

    5. – Tim Finigan :)

  13. SMJ says:

    Prof. Basto,

    You forgot the name of Fr. John Zuhlsdorf!! :-)

  14. The Pledger says:

    Would we wish the Cardinalate upon Father Z? What wrong has he ever done us? ;)

  15. Antonio says:

    In Spain there are many rumors that the next Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship will be Cardinal Cañizares.
    Anyway, we have already heard of many names, and still there is no news…

  16. Tim Ferguson says:

    I think Burke would be a fine man for the post at the Signatura, but I think there’s also another American candidate who could be a possibility – Cardinal Egan. He’s a former auditor on the Rota and a well-respected canonist in his own right. He’s just turned 75 and rumors are rife about possible replacements for him in New York. At the same time, he appears to be in good health and as a Cardinal, he won’t have to resign from his dicasterial work for another five years. I could see him going to Rome as head of the Signatura as sort of a “retirement” position for five years, which will get him out of the hair of his successor in New York.

  17. James says:

    Archbishop Burke would be a great choice for the Signatura. Maybe he can clean up the appalling situation of the scandalous annullment mills in the United States, since the bishops here seem to not care less about the terrible damage they are doing to souls and to the credibility of the immemorial Catholic teaching on marriage. I don’t know how many non-Catholics I’ve spoken to who think our Church is a sham and hypocritical for proclaiming the permanence of marriage on one hand and then turning around and ushering through tens of thousands of Catholic divorces every year. It’s an intolerable situation.

  18. James: That is the task of diocesan bishops, more than the Holy See.

  19. Jon says:

    Archbishop Burke would surely be missed here, but if a move to Rome would give him a red hat and a vote in the next conclave, then I say the sooner the better!

  20. johnr says:

    Matt Q said: I’ve heard from many different circles there is a wariness of an American being Pope because his own feelings and sentiment would be too tied to US policy in form or another and the rest of the Hierarchy is not keen on that. Well, as we have seen these past forty, who knows.

    I guess, echooing off your last sentence, (and not that I’m advocating for an American Pope in any way, but) while the cardinals may cast the paper ballots, it’s the Holy Spirit doing the actual voting isn’t it?

    The Cardinals never would have voted for that hardliner, that meanie, that old fashioned Cardinal Ratzinger for Pope would they. No we were being prepped for some forward looking progressive Cardinal to be elected.

    John

  21. Tim Ferguson says:

    With respect to the talk about the \”annulment mills\” in the United States, I would certainly expect that Catholics speaking to non-Catholics who are scandalized by the Church\’s teaching would take the time and energy required to provide them with the facts rather than muttering their agreement with such unfortunate and generally baseless accusations.

    The eminent canonist, Edward Peters, of the In the Light of the Law blog has written a good, solid article on the matter, Annulments in America, which appeared in Homiletic and Pastoral Review in 1996. He dispells a number of the rumors that circulate in non-Catholic (and, sadly, some Catholic) circles about the dedicated work of canonists and administrative staff in American Tribunals, of whom I am proud to consider myself a member.

  22. Tim Ferguson says:

    Links appear to have gone missing from my last comment -

    Dr. Peters’ blog is: http://www.canonlaw.info/blog.html
    and his article is: http://www.canonlaw.info/a_annulments.htm

  23. Ioannes Andreades says:

    Cardinal Egan is already over 76, so I would be surprised should he be moved over.

    Abp. Malcolm Ranjith would also make a fine replacement for Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, who is nearly 79. Any inside word on the replacement for Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos?

  24. David Cheney says:

    _If_ Archbishop Burke gets the new job in Rome, I suspect that Archbishop Naumann (Kansas City in Kansas) would be likely to head over to St. Louis.

  25. Bill says:

    Sadly, I just do not see Archbp. Burke being moved to Rome. He is, of course, eminently qualified, but I think his appointment would create more problems than it would solve.

  26. Sometimes it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the Church in America will be without one more orthodox bishop.

    However, I have been thinking that there are some very fine men, perhaps cut from the same cloth, awaiting the time of their elevation.

    I suspect there will be some very good appointments in the months and years ahead. Some of the best bishops we will see heading dioceses will be relatively unknown until they make their mark by taking a refreshing stand on some big issue.

    I have much hope looking forward. I’m sure the Holy Father will take care of St. Louis, and I’m sure Abp Burke will take care of those many activities to which he is currently attached.

  27. PMcGrath says:

    Egan for Signatura.
    Burke for New York.
    Talk about an impact appointment! Raymond Burke as “archbishop of the capital of the world”? Yeah, I can deal with that — especially as a resident of that archdiocese.

  28. Larry says:

    I like PMcGrath’s idea! For one thing it would be great for the Church in the US. Second, I don’t think the Pope will give another American a Prefecture as long as Cardinal Levada is at CDF. Perhaps most important, I think His Holiness will leave Card. Arinze in place to see the New Missal translated into English. If he is successful, this will be an incredible achievment considering the the utter disrespect the Cardinal has received from some of our diocese. With SP to fall back on Benedict has made certain that there will be options. Understand that these are the observaitons from way out west and we don’t even know who the players are in this contest, and maybe that is for the best.

    I like your attitude Father Z. I wish more priests had the insight. It would be nice though if after nearly 35 years we in the English speaking world could actually hear and pray in silence the prayers that we are supposed to be worshipping God with and not the common pablim with which we have be provided. (Peggy Lee’s ‘Is that all there is’ has always been my feeling). While I believe in the KISS principal in most areas of conversation I so believe that in addressing GOD Almighty we might be able to use the 25 cent words we seldom get to use. Yes, we do know how to use a dictionary if we need one. Off the thread so I’ll sign off.

  29. RBrown says:

    Talk about an impact appointment! Raymond Burke as “archbishop of the capital of the world”? Yeah, I can deal with that—especially as a resident of that archdiocese.
    Comment by PMcGrath

    NY isn’t even capital of the US–much less the world.

  30. Javier Ruiz Pérez says:

    Here, in Spain, the most important vaticanist, Francisco José Fernández de la Cigoña, a very well informed gentleman (he is never wrong about roman issues) said last Monday that the Primate of Spain, Antonio Cardinal Cañizares Llovera (he is called “the little Ratzinger”), is going to be the next Prefect of Divine Worship.
    About the Signatura there are two options: Archbishop Burke or Cardinal Sistach of Barcelona; both are canonists. I’d prefer Sistach in the Signatura (he is a disaster as archbishop) and Burke as Cardinal of Los Angeles (in order to clean the “bizarre things” of Californian Church)

  31. CPT Tom says:

    Archbishop Burke to New York would be great…AB of NY is the Metropolitan for the state and he could maybe project some influence on Rochester (where I am) and its sister loony-tune Diocese Albany. Some sound, orthodox, leadership with a spine and brains would be exceptional.

  32. Andrew says:

    I’m praying Abp. Burke will eventually go to Los Angeles so that LA can be rescued from the throes of hell. But the Holy Father (BXVI) knows best. It will be a tremendous blessing wherever he goes. Also I believe the days of hippie, unorthodox bishops’ appointments are over. They have only wrought confusion, dissent and unholiness on Holy Mother Church. Pope Benedict will see to it that before his pontificate is over, a great many holy, pious, faithfull and orthodox priests will become successors to the apostles. Indeed, there is great hope and rejoicing for us ahead! Dignum et justum est!

  33. techno_aesthete says:

    NY isn’t even capital of the US—much less the world.

    RBrown, take it up with JPII. Those were his words when he visited New York.

  34. RBrown says:

    NY isn’t even capital of the US—much less the world.

    RBrown, take it up with JPII. Those were his words when he visited New York.
    Comment by techno_aesthete

    Infallibility does not extend to geographic designation.

  35. Louis E. says:

    NY,as seat of the United Nations,is the closest thing to a capital the world has.(And it was the FIRST capital of the USA).

  36. Maureen says:

    It is official!! According to the St. Louis media-
    our dear Archbishop Burke will be heading off to Rome.
    They are jubilant to be rid of him and they (Media &CINOS) probably
    hope that Arch Flynn or Arch Mahoney come here. If that happens,
    I’ll be moving to Nebraska-Archbishop B or Kansas City
    which has Bishop Finn.

  37. Looks like my analysis was close to the mark.

    I also am guessing that Bp. Finn will move from Kansas City to St. Louis. In that case, St. Louis will be very fortunate.