From Italian journalist Marco Tosati on the Vatican Insider of the Italian daily La Stampa comes this.
Raymond Leo Burke, the “great puppeteer” of American appointees
The appointment of Chaput to the Diocese of Philadelphia confirms Burke’s role as the Pope’s trusted man in the US
The nomination of Charles Chaput, Native American bishop from Denver, to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia confirms Raymond Leo Burke, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, as Benedict XVI’s top advisor in the United States. One of the first signs of his role as a bridge between the influential United States Conference of Bishops and the pontifical apartment was the appointment of Timothy Michael Dolan as successor to Cardinal Edward Egan in New York.
Dolan, who is currently conducting a vigorous and efficient battle against the increasingly anti-Catholic positions of the New York Times (which a few months ago refused to publish his reply to a polemical article against the Church) is certainly in sympathy with Burke, and with the American bishops who must face new initiatives from the Obama presidency every day. [“Efficient” is perhaps more a more optimistic adjective than I would have chosen.]
Raymond Leo Burke tried to warn anyone in the Vatican who wanted to listen (as well as those who turned a deaf ear) that Obama would be a disaster for traditional values – family, marriage, abortion, and so on – but no one believed him. [That seems to be the case.] Bertone was optimistic, and L’Osservatore Romano, the voice of the Secretary of State’s office (and, especially at this time, the Secretary of State himself), had given an impressive welcome to the first African-American President.
Burke, a man accustomed to calling things as he sees them, and “saying” more than “praying,” [I don’t believe that is an accurate characterization. in the first place. Moreover, in the Italian original we find “abituato a dire pane al pane”, which is part of a saying “dire pane al pane e vino al vino”, which is like saying “call a spade a spade”.] showed no hesitation in expressing his opinions, to the point where the Secretary of State received [beware] a courteous request to stop releasing interviews that were negative and critical toward the new President. [I don’t know who did this translation but it is not great. The Italian says that a request arrived from the Secretariate of State. Rather different, no?]
Perhaps someone will start to believe Burke, now that the American ambassador to Rome (just like his colleagues around the world) has, at Washington’s behest, become a promoter of gay parades and other events – even in Pakistan – where Benedict XVI is represented in a vulgar and offensive manner.
But someone (or Someone with a capital “S”) in the Vatican holds the frankness and clarity of vision of the head of the Vatican Supreme Court, in high esteem.
Someone knows – and benefits from – his deep knowledge of people and things overseas, and his ability to identify solutions in terms of candidates for dioceses that are gradually freeing themselves [sigh… liberersi… “fall vacant”, not “freeing themselves”…], in a Church still shaken by the financial and public relations aftershocks of the paedophilia scandal.
Charles Chaput was initially supposed to be appointed as Archbishop of Chicago, [Oh?] replacing the ill Cardinal George in the great lakeside diocese. But fortunately, the head of the diocese still feels able to manage his role with dignity and efficiency, when his illness is not acting up. Thus it is not at all certain when he will need to be replaced.
This uncertainty has not escaped many in the Curia: it is believed, especially by Burke, that Chaput will shortly be assured a diocese that will rather rapidly (some sources say a Consistory will be held at the end of this year or the beginning of the next) [I’ll believe it when I see it.] win him the cardinal’s berretta. [How does a cardinal’s berretta or beretta differ from that of an ordinary priest or bishop? For proper liturgical use of the beretta, try this.]
According to rumours flying around, behind the Leonine Wall during John Paul II’s pontificate, and in the first years of Benedict XVI’s pontificate, one of the great “puppeteers” of the appointment of overseas bishops was the current prefect of the Pontifical Household, Archbishop James Michael Harvey. He seems to still be hanging onto the role, but – if one believes certain sources – it has been greatly reduced with the arrival of Raymond Leo Burke. The next few months brings a deadline for many American bishops; then we will see what influence the new prefect for bishops – Canadian Marc Ouellette – and Burke himself will have in changing the episcopal face of the Stars and Stripes.
This chatty Italian style doesn’t transfer well into English, unless you are 16. And in many points – I pointed to a few – the translation was just plain wrong. But the essential message is clear. Marco Tosati believes that Card. Burke is guiding the important appointments for the USA.
I direct you back to two proposals I made about the appointment of bishops.
PROPOSAL 1: Stop, now, and say a prayer to the guardian angels of those who must make these decisions.
PROPOSAL 2: If your diocese is presently “sede vacante“, for each minute of gossip and even of speculation – which will go on anyway – spend 10 in prayer.
These are difficult times. The devil is abroad and has great wrath. The appointment of bishops is always important and difficult.
The bigger the see, the more important the choice, as we have seen to our great consternation.