The possible demotion of Card. Burke. Wherein Fr. Z rants.

Now that the cat is out of the bag, I’ll post this. I do not like the fact that Sandro Magister posted in this way, however.  I’ve been biting the inside of my mouth for a while now.  The optimist in me was saying that the official announcement would not be made until after the Synod of Bishops, or at least the beginning of the Synod.  Or at all.

It’s not good news.  At the time of this writing, it is still – officially – a rumor.  I believe it, however. I have been trying to get myself into a mental and spiritual place to see it for what it is and, more importantly, for what it is not, and to plot my own reaction and subsequent course.

Vatican Insider has posted that His Eminence Raymond Card. Burke will soon be demoted by Pope Francis from being Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura to the Patron of the Knights of Malta.

The move is not lateral.  That position is usually entrusted to older Cardinals.  The present Cardinal Patron is Card. Sardi, who is now 80.  Before him was Pio Card. Laghi.  The reassignment would be a demotion, for the Patron of the Knights is not nearly the equivalent of Prefect of a Roman dicastery.

I didn’t think that Card. Burke would be moved to Chicago, though I had a little fun with that idea. I thought he might be moved laterally to the Congregation for Causes of Saints to replace Card. Amato, who is over 75.  More on Saints, below.

There are a few points to make here, before the trads blow arteries and quite simply die and before liberals and dissidents, who suffer from Burke Derangement Syndrome, start their Lord of the Flies Dance.

First, it is possible that the three Roman tribunals (Penitentiary, Signatura, Rota), might be collapsed into a single dicastery for justice. I don’t know how that would work. I think it would be a really bad idea, but they didn’t ask me. If that is the case, the Signatura and the Penitentiary will not both need a Cardinal.

Second, according to a couple sources I have heard from, there is talk of collapsing the Congregation for Causes of Saints back into Divine Worship where, historically, it once belonged. Once upon a time the powerful Sacred Congregation of Rites had the brief for beatification and canonization. That would eliminate another cardinalatial chair in the Curia.

Furthermore, there is talk of collapsing minor curial offices, Councils and the like, into a Congregation for Laity. That could eliminate several other Cardinals in the Curia.

If you eliminate a position that has required a Cardinal, and that Cardinal is not 75 or 80, that is, ready for retirement, the Pope has to do something with him.  Burke is only 66.  What can the Pope do if there are no longer enough cardinalatial slots in the curia because he plans on eliminating them?  Well, you can send His Eminence off to be the bishop of some important see in his own country, right?  What if the Pope can’t do that because the Cardinal’s own countrymen have been drenching the same Cardinal in contumely?  Not enough curial chairs, not a good option back home?  Don’t forget that the Archbishop Secretaries of eliminated offices have to go somewhere too!  They might need those dioceses back in their native places.

So, what? You put the Cardinal in the best possible cardinalatial role you can find.  Some Cardinals who hit 75 and are at the end of service in a Congregation, are still useful.  They reside in Rome.  They can be on other Congregations until they are 80.  They could head up some office such as, once upon a time, the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”.  That’s been put under the CDF.  There are still, for example, Archpriests at the Major Basilicas.  But, there’s already an American at St. Paul’s outside-the-walls: Card. Harvey, 64, also from Wisconsin, just like Card. Burke. Two American sexagenarian Cardinals from Wisconsin as Archpriests of Papal Basilicas at the same time? Not likely. I suspect that if Francis eliminates a few offices, such as Cor Unum or Justice and Peace or the like which have men who are still of service age, one of them will go, say, to be Archpriest at St. Mary Major, where the present man, Card. Abril y Castelló, is about to turn 79. An Italian could wind up as the Delegate for the Basilica of St. Francis where Card. Nicora, 77, is now.

It is fair to imagine that Pope Francis – certainly at the instigation of a few close advisers – is purging the Curia of his predecessor’s influence.

It is also fair to imagine that Francis is pairing down the number of Cardinals and offices in the Curia.  It could be more about that than about Burke himself.  It could be a purge of Cardinals and not just of Burke.

It could be about both.  After all, Cardinals Piacenza and Cañizares were moved.

What I am wondering about is what might happen at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Will Card. Müller be moved out of the Curia to Berlin?

We could know more when and if Francis appoints Burke’s successor at an existing, unreformed Signatura.

NB: with the removal of Burke from the Signatura, there will be zero US Cardinals in the Roman Curia.  Is it likely that that is what Pope Francis wants?  No American Cardinals in the Roman Curia?  That’s a pretty big and influential country to snub.

QUAERITUR: Is Francis opening up a slot into which he would move another American Cardinal from these USA?  An American (or other) Cardinal into a key position for any reform of the tribunals who may agree with Card. Kasper’s views or be on side if it comes to trimming down the annulment process?

And then there is this.

Click to PRE-ORDER

This news has been leaked a couple weeks before the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops which will tackle, inter alia, the question of Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried.  However, Card. Burke will surely be a participant in the Synod.  Moreover, days before the Synod begins, a book will be released in five languages – in English, Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church, by Ignatius Press HERE – UK link HERE – in which Card. Burke has an essay (along with those of four other Cardinals) in defense of the Church’s traditional teaching and discipline.  Card. Burke has been a leading figure in the holding position against the really bad ideas of Walter Card. Kasper, the “tolerate but don’t accept” position that the liberals and dissidents are swooning over.  You will have noticed – or maybe not, for how many people read it, after all – that at Amerika Magazine, its 24/7 Kasperism.

“But Father! But Father!”, some of you are asking, “How could something like this take place?  Why would this take place?” Others are saying “Hah hah Fr. Z!  You hate Vatican II! Next we’re coming for you!”

In addition to the scenario of cutting back the curia I outlined, above, I  think that Card. Burke’s enemies, both in these USA and in Rome – at least occasionally, got the upper hand when advising Pope Francis.  It would be naïve in the extreme to think that there are lacking near Francis’s elbows those who have been sharpening their knives for Card. Burke and for anyone else associated closely with Pope Benedict.

This is millennial, clerical blood sport.

Sacerdos sacerdoti lupissimus.

No surprises here.  The sun rises at dawn.  Dog bites man.

Is there an upside to this?  Sure there is!

If this happens – and it is still not official yet – Card. Burke will not have so much on his plate. He is still young enough to have a good store of energy.  This move, if true, would mean that he would not be tethered to a desk full of nearly as much paperwork.  He will have more time to write.  He will have more opportunities to raise his voice and express his views.  He is already pretty forthright as a Prefect.  When he is off the leash, he will still act with the Romanitas and the gravitas of a Cardinal, but I’ll bet he’ll be even more vocal.

Another upside?  He will probably retain his membership in the Congregations to which he belongs.  Those appointments change from time to time.  We shall see.

Remember, this is not official until it is formally announced.  However, it seems likely.

I know Card. Burke a little.  I know him well enough to know that he is a man of deep spiritual resources.  He will be fine.  Do, however, say a prayer for him regularly.  Every Cardinal needs prayers!  Imagine how the Enemy targets Cardinals, especially real defenders of tradition.  It’s a terrifying prospect.

And then there’s this.  This is the part I direct at YOU, dear readers.

Many of you will be tempted to have a spittle-flecked nutty of sorrow and panic about this, directly proportioned to the spittle-flecked nutty of giddiness and schadenfreude that the catholic Left are about to throw.

Many of you will be tempted to run in circles squawking about Francis the Disaster, the cross between a Jesuit and South American Dictator.  At the same time the catholic Left will be running in the opposite direction squawking about Francis The Unjudgmental, the first Pope ever to smile or to kiss a baby, the most wonderfullest fluffiest Pope ehvurrr. He’s the only Pope ever to think about mercy!  In doing this, the Left will also manifest their trademark venom. Remember what foaming paroxysms they had when Burke was not reappointed as a member of the Congregation of Bishops?  When he was moved from St. Louis to Rome?  “Demotion!”, they cried. (Benedict moved him to Rome, by the way, not Francis, and it was a promotion.) So too with the Right!  Francis says something that is – admittedly – strange or impenetrable and trads freak out.

We have to breathe deeply and try to see this for what it is and what it isn’t.  And to continue the respiratory metaphor, some of us – I include myself – are going to have to hold our noses and swallow this bitter dose as if it had all the asafoetida that Dr. Maturin was accustomed to add to his draughts.  [That’s a Patrick O’Brian reference.]

Every pontificate has its good days and its bad days.  Which it ain’t always beer and skittles, is it, as Preserved Killick would put it?  [That’s another.]

There are many factors to consider in this move, consideration of which should take us beyond a simple and facile assumption that this is part of a Franciscan Night of the Long Knives.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Lavrans says:

    As Cardinal Burke hails from our home, he has always been very special to our family. I can’t really express how I feel without anger right now, so I will stick with sorrow instead. I love the man and will pray for him.

    Evil has its hour. God has His day.

    I’m looking for dawn. But its pretty dark yet.

  2. NBW says:

    I was hoping Cardinal Burke would be placed in the Chicago Archdiocese. I hope Cardinal Burke stays in the U.S.

  3. Brian K says:

    My two sons served Benediction for him in 2011 after a pro-life conference where he was the keynote speaker, and he was incredibly kind in his conversation with them. I spoke with him at that time and was deeply impressed by his humility and warmheartedness. I feel he is one of the best, most humble and faithful Cardinals in the entire Church.

    This is the single most disturbing piece of news I’ve read so far in this Pontificate.

  4. Lisa Graas says:

    No panic here, but my heart is broken.

  5. Mojoron says:

    You know, Fr. Z, we need priests out here in western Kansas! Cardinal Burke would be a good one. He might even enjoy the freezing winters and we would make sure he makes his appointed rounds on the weekends.

  6. Geoffrey says:

    Yikes. That’s all I can say. Yikes…

  7. Cavaliere says:

    As a Knight of Malta it is bittersweet news.

  8. greenlight says:

    I’ll have a hard time with your prescription for sober caution. I’m failing to see how this anything other than clarifying. The most prominent leaders in the Church right now, from the Pope to the bishops, seem pretty clear that they would rather not have me in their church. Am I wrong in this? [I think you are.] I’ll be struggling with bitterness for quite awhile, I suspect.

    [Struggle with it. For a while. Then let’s get on with being faithful and keeping our eye on the goal, which is not unobstructed happiness here in this life, but in the next.]

  9. Fern says:

    Cardinal Burke has been and remains on my daily prayer list as well as a certain Father whose name begins with Z. Faithful Catholics need to get really serious about daily (if possible) the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, regular Confession and Adoration. The battle is a spiritual one!!!

  10. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    Disconcerting as this news is, I have learned that God offers these crosses for reasons, even if we don’t understand them. I suspect that the Cardinal will have little to offer in terms of personal reflections about his move.

    In the “for what it’s worth” category, this news can’t drive from the headlines the sad, unexpected death of a friend of mine this morning. Sure, people like to get all upset (or elated) about this cardinal moving or that cardinal making noises, but there are still children to baptize, souls to rescue from sin, God to worship, and the dead to bury.

  11. Bressani56 says:

    Shortly after the election of Francis, I began hearing rumors Burke would go to Chicago (which would be awesome). However, I’ve heard less and less about this with each passing month. :-(

  12. Genesispete says:

    I look forward to Cardinal Burke serving the Church in whatever role he is handed. I love this man’s devotion to Holy Mother Church and will pray for him. I would look forward to the Cardinal’s continued contributions to the Faith in the event he has time to do so. At the end of the day, the Pope is still Catholic, and Cardinal Burke will still be part of the Church in whatever capacity the Pope deems fit. Good Cardinal Burke will always preach the Gospel and always be sought out for his defense of the Faith. He will continue to be part of the Church Militant. Deo Gratias !

  13. Allan S. says:

    As awful as this is, it’s a sideshow. The true challenge comes when we must all “fish or cut bait”. If (and yes, it’s an if technically at this time) the Pope, instead of handing on what was given to him, instead annuls and replaces a key magisterial teaching at the Synod – says that what is not true is true – then we have a far bigger problem. For the Burkes of this world will never demur, and pronounce 2 and 2 is now 5. We will have – for the second or third time in the Church – a massive, formal schism.

    I will, of course, pray for Cardinal Burke and Father Z and every faithful Catholic who, like me, converted to this Church because it was the last bastion of truth in a sick world. I believe the time will be here shortly, when we are told to say 2 and 2 are 5 – and I know I cannot do it.

    And the worst, most bitter part of all this is that it can all be laid at the feet of he who fled for fear of the wolves. I don’t know why, but I have always feared that God was greatly offended that His Grace was not enough for His Servant.

    And now, we shall all suffer. God help us.

  14. Matt R says:

    One consolation is that I know he will be fine. Another benefit is that he will in all likelihood have more time to travel for conferences and celebrations of the Pontifical Mass in the Extraordinary Form. I would like him to write another book.

    But I cannot imagine anyone else at the helm of the Signatura. No one else is as pastoral as he is, because he is an excellent canonist and holy priest. I recall Dr. Peters’s comments that he didn’t use a textbook example in dealing with women purporting to receive holy orders from another woman, because the then-archbishop of St. Louis wrote the textbook. I think any changes to the Rota, Penitentiary, and the Signatura would be rather disastrous.

    That all being said, in the end it is Burke’s view that will win out over Kasper’s, because the former is the one reconcilable to divine revelation and the deposit of faith. The latter…well, it really has problems.

  15. Cosmos says:

    It all seems like the parable of the Grand Inquisitor:

    The Church is obscuring the truth to a degree that the default position is ignorance, so that all may be saved by it.

    How fitting, from the Russian point of view, that our Pope is a Jesuit!

  16. Thorfinn says:

    We read a brief life of a saint each morning and clerics are often getting sent into actual exile and so forth. Well, I like and respect Cardinal Burke from all the things I’ve read, but he hasn’t even been imprisoned yet, nor canonized. Frankly it’s still hard to believe he was ever made a Cardinal! though that could also be said for some unsavory types.

    My resolution for some time (pre-Francis) has been not to worry about who is #winning – it’s too Charlie Sheen. Christ’s is the victory, the rest is how we live out our faith, come what may.

  17. Fr_Sotelo says:

    His Eminence is still a cardinal of the holy Roman Church. He realizes that this comes with the territory of being a Catholic priest; namely, we are not entitled to position and titles in the Church. We are called, we serve, and we leave–at the good pleasure of our superiors. Winds of change and fortune sweep through the Church like storms in the U.S. Midwest. True power is in a churchman’s life and witness. Traditionalists who are not shallow and superficial will not abandon the Cardinal simply because he is less politically connected. And as Fr. Z points out, if this happens, Burke will be free to write, travel, speak, give retreats, and officiate at many ordinations to the priesthood!

  18. Athelstan says:

    The Church survived Paul VI.

    It will survive this pontificate.

    And the difference now is: Tradition is much stronger than it was in the 70’s. We can see where the future is headed.

  19. drohan says:

    What if this is for the better? There are silver linings. What if we had a high profile Cardinal who was free to speak and teach and evangelize the true faith to all who wanted to listen? Perhaps Cardinal Burke is really in line for Chicago, after all.

    Also, if Pope Francis is cleaning out offices in the Vatican, how is that bad? I mean Cardinal Burke is a hero, but why can’t he be a hero in a more pastoral way? I know there are demotions, but why not rotate these Cardinals and make the run dioceses and shift the burden around a bit?

    Pope Francis is a Jesuit, so his oddities are to be expected. I have spent some time with Jesuits on Indian Reservations and can say that while they are mostly holy men, they are eccentric. But over-all, the liberal left-wingers will only be disappointed by Pope Francis. He is not in the capacity to reverse moral theology any more than anyone else. The left thinks the church is an NGO, we know it is the BODY OF CHRIST. And it will be to the end. And Pope Francis has not yet officially contradicted anything. So let’s pray together on our knees for Cardinal Burke, Pope Francis and the holy church.

    BTW: I like some of the little pastoral things that Pope Francis has done. Stopping to go to confession, as a reminder to all the faithful of the need of that sacrament is important. We have to remember that way too many people have been so poorly chatechized in this era that seeing the Pope live simply cannot help but to bring people back to the Lord.

    Why not give Card. Burke a column in the National Catholic Register and a semi-regular show on EWTN? He’ll get more done in that capacity than in just about any office in Rome.

  20. goodone121 says:

    I have an intuition this is for the second of the reasons you’ve outlined, but not the first. Why? He, in all likelihood, is still consulting BXVI; as such, the former is less likely to do something the latter strongly disapproves.

  21. stephen c says:

    Fr Z – this comment goes way beyond the topic of your post, so please feel free not to post it…. Cardinal Burke is no doubt a wonderful man, and everything I know about him makes me feel grateful to be his contemporary. But it is a blessing to be alive, isn’t it, for anyone who needs to improve? And if Cardinal Burke does not need to improve, how much more of a blessing is it for him to be alive? That being said, I have known one or two contemporary Jesuits and I do not expect much more from them, on a person to person basis, than I do from anyone else – intellectual goals can be so intoxicating and so misleading – and the sad thing is, I know how much each and every Jesuit has labored and sacrificed. Nevertheless, I like Francis enough to deeply believe he will not willingly change the church for the worse. I am “morally certain” (a technical term, not one that involves my morality) that He will be a better Pope on the question of access to the liturgy than Saint John Paul, John Paul I, or the Venerable Paul VI were, and I am morally certain that he will not try to change church teaching on the love and sacramental hope we must, if we are human, feel for ALL potentially uncontracepted children of human couples in Christian and non-Christian families , (that is, Humanae Vitae and Casti Connubii were not brave documents but simple statements of truth) and I am morally certain (again, a technical term) that he will continue to try and be a decent human being. Sure, several cardinals would have been better – or less bad -choices, but God gives us everything we need, without respect for persons. And really, who can say that a Pope Francis born the same year as. say, Pope John Paul, or Pope Paul, or Pope Leo, would not have avoided some of the tragic mistakes made by those Popes in their day?

  22. Ceile De says:

    Good days? Hmm.
    Anyway, let’s see but I think this is about canon law – His Holiness does not seem to rate “law” highly. Latin America is not known for prizing the rule of law. But law does not only restrict and proscribe – it gives rights and protects. We should be careful of moving away from an objective system of law treating all alike to a subjective one which depends on the judge’s personal mood, views or connections. On the bright side, if only because it is a sin to despair, I really look forward, if the rumours, leaked no doubt to destroy the Cardinal’s standing at the synod, are true to having him in the Order of Malta.

  23. VexillaRegis says:

    I think the Knights of Malta will be happy and that Card. Burke will perfect for them!

  24. Phil_NL says:

    I’d say it’s bad news only insofar the current pontificate is concerned. Francis may – very slowly, I might add, as very little has been done in the past year and a half – be reforming the curia and while doing so advance men who do not really fit the profile most of us here would like to see. Presumably, he prefers bishops of a mould closer to his own preferences. That may produce some results that are problematic while Francis reigns (and granted, maybe a rare pleasant suprise on occasion), but on the other hand it is unlikely to do damage that is long-lasting.

    The crucial point is however, that His Holiness will be unlikely to complete meaningful curial reform. I reckon he can sweep a lot out, tear down entrenched positions, but building something new that works somewhat takes time, and His Holiness isn’t a young man, and indicates he might follow in BXVI’s footsteps at some point. Certainly at the glacial pace we’re seeing now, that means Francis will do the demolishing (hopefully that will at least get done), his successor will be doing the building.

    And in such a situation, Card Burke would be very well placed if he’s in Rome, but with a light workload. Not that canon law isn’t important, but I believe the great minds of the Church hierarchy are better employed right now if they think and write on how to build, once that phase can start. It might even mean that such a person can do a substatial part of the building himself – which would be much harder if one was actively involved in the demolition phase.

    Maybe none of this will come to pass. But even the probability has some value, and it might exceed the benefits for the Church at large in the direct work the good cardinal is doing right now.

  25. Imrahil says:

    Panic? no. Sorrow? Rather.

    I don’t (yet) think that the Holy Father must be consciously purging the Curia… it seems beyond reasonable doubt, though, that he does not make an effort to have the traditional party represented. Up to know, they have for a time kept their positions, but none (to my knowledge) has been promoted and some have been demoted.

    Which is a pity.

    That said, while I’d of course proudly profess to any Protestant that I am a Papist – still there is something that could perhaps be also expressed with “Papism” which really is wrong. We respect and obey the Pope for what he is: a bishop, the supreme authority in Christ’s Church, who is the final court of appeals, whose dogmas are infallible, whose other teaching are to be submitted to outside really pressing and checked cases of conscience, and, practically speaking, who does a lot of the Church-organising (personally or through legates). That’s quite something indeed, but that’s it; Catholicism never was about having on all possible questions the same opinion as the Pope and changing it with the Pope.

    Thus the question the dear greenlight posed is pointless. Whether or not the Church superiors want you or me in Church, they are not in a position to want us out of it. The Lord and His bride want us in, and that’s what counts.

    Some other observations:

    Cardinal Burke could possibly become President of Interpretation of Legislative Texts, which might then even be made look like a promotion. Card. Coccopalmerio is 77.

    The Holy Father seems to take that thing seriously which Fr Sotelo mentioned. Only outside the religious life, the Church hitherto has practically sticked to the old rule of officialdom that you get promoted for aptness, achievements and ability, slowly on the ladder, but only get demoted for serious disciplinary offenses. And maybe that was for the good of the Church too.

    I would not consider it a snub of a country if she is not represented in the Curia. It might be a snub if she is not represented in the College of Cardinals, but what place these Cardinals occupy? And, of course, Patron of Knights of Malta is officially a Curial position. It is not a dicastery – but then (if I’m not misinformed) the Signature wasn’t officially a dicastery either. These things tend to get complicated.

    Card. Müller, who was raised to the Cardinalate by the present Holy Father himself, will either stay at the CDF or go to a really important Curial place elsewhere (even the latter would be a demotion, technically, but you can’t indeed expect a Pope to keep only one Cardinal at the CDF until he turns 80). One thing he won’t is occupy a diocese in Germany, much less a little one in the diaspora where the center of Germany’s political (and thus also opinional) class is.

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  27. Vincent says:

    Your article, Father, reminds me of one of the messages of Our Lady of Good Success, which I have taken the liberty of quoting below:

    “There will be holy ministers of the altar, hidden and beautiful souls, in whom my Most Holy Son and I will take our delight, finding them to be excellent flowers and fruits of heroic sanctity.

    The impious ones will rage a cruel war against them, letting fall on them vituperations, calumnies and vexations in order to impede the fulfillment of their ministry. But they, like firm columns, will remain unswerving and will confront everything with that spirit of humility and sacrifice with which they will be vested, by virtue of the infinite merits of my Most Holy Son, Who loves them as the innermost fibers of His most holy and tender Heart.”

    It seems to me that these words are particularly apt – I’m sure that whatever trials Cardinal Burke now faces he will treat with characteristic humility. He shines as a beacon for those of us ‘traditionalists’ who have a depressing view of the modern Church. In the end it is the humiliation of those who champion the orthodoxy of the Church who will provide the graces that God uses to lift up the Church in all its beauty.

    Humiliation, when accepted, is far more useful to the Church in gaining graces than Cardinal Dolan’s flaunting of disobedience to God’s teachings.

  28. incredulous says:

    Always be aware that a classic psyops tactic an invading force uses when invading is to state “you are not under attack.” Just that statement alone disarms many who would resist even in the light of an obvious assault.

    Two years ago I wouldn’t even have known there was a traditionalist movement or a heretical movement trying to Protestant-ize the Church. It’s funny that I see Father Z constantly referring to a “spittle-flecked nutty” directed at traditionalists and at the same time a repeated theme of tolerance of beating up on (more liberal) EMHCs in the combox. Apparently there is no right road and I don’t really know where I fit into the spectrum except as being in love with Christ and His Bride. However, this apparent evil which would allow a Cardinal to MC an event which idolizes sodomy and punishes a pro life presence as well as taking out traditionalist priests and Cardinals (even Fulton Sheen many years after his death) needs to be confronted. We are the Church Militant and we are to fight evil and Satan as we wear the armor of God.

    Rome is a bed of festering corruption from the banking system all the way down. The only thing necessary for evil to succeed if for good men to do nothing. The Lord blessed us with discernment and the ability to effect change on earth. While it may be two thousand year old blood sport for the insiders, it’s sickening to me and very un Christian. It’s a defilement of the Bride and where are the good men defending her? We are not worthy men if we don’t.

    In the end, the laity holds the key: the collection plate. The bloodless war against evil can be fought there.

  29. HeatherPA says:

    The Holy Spirit is in charge, ultimately. I remind myself daily that absolutely nothing happens without God’s say so. It is hard to remind my fallen self that everything happening is part of the divine plan, to be sure, especially the past year or so.
    I agree that it is time for those who have ears to hear- get serious about your faith if you are not.
    And if you are, double your effort.
    Lastly, go to Confession.

  30. frjim4321 says:

    Per my sources Archbishop Broglio is going to Chitown.

    [His name has been in the mix for a while now, along with Sartain and a couple others.]

  31. GordonB says:

    I bet there’s something about this event in the book of Revelation.

  32. It might be well to remember that this feared thing has not happened yet. Won’t those who are getting terribly upset feel a little foolish if it never happens? How many nights’ sleep do you want to lose? Wait and see.

    Another point. From my experience handling personnel, I can say this: there have been many times when a decision I was a party to was termed “inexplicable!” “horrible!” and could “only be explained one way!” by those not privy to all the facts. And they were mistaken — precisely because they were not privy to all the facts. And they were never going to get all the facts, out of consideration for the privacy of the person they were concerned for.

    I am not suggesting anything amiss about Cardinal Burke. Nor am I saying you have to be happy about…whatever eventually happens that makes you unhappy. (See point one.) But not having all the facts is a terribly meaningful thing, once ego gets out of the way.

    Yes, ego. What else explains the imperative to be angry now? To be hurt, now? What is the need?

  33. bposullivan says:

    Ceile De,

    Are you saying there’s aa canon law issue with removing Cardinal Burke from office? If so, what is that issue? What’s the canon law issue? Since Pope Francis never confirmed Cardinal Burke in office (as he confirmed most other discastery heads), the Cardinal currently has no set term in office, right?

  34. wmeyer says:

    This almost news is not altogether surprising. Cardinal Burke is a treasure, but he is a man who was formed by doctrine and tradition, things that some in Rome may find stuffy and confining.

    My hope is that–however difficult it may be for us to comprehend–this is a move which was discussed with our Pope Emeritus, and one which that most worthy man endorses. The Church generally takes the long view, and we mortals tend to impatience.

    I would be delighted were Cardinal Burke to return to service in these United States. Chicago would benefit, though it is not only the second city, in my view, which needs a new cardinal.

    I pray for our pope, and for all our bishops and priests. We live in disturbing times. Secular hedonism is on the rise, and so many listen only to the father of lies.

    For my part, I can only do so much, and I anticipate moving to a new parish soon, where the pastor is traditional, as is his vicar, and the people of the parish reflect that. I have labored for too long in a very modern parish, where I have been unable to engage the pastor even once in any meaningful conversation. It will be better for my own spiritual health and growth to make this move, and I pray I may be worthy of this new parish.

    I shall pray especially today for Cardinal Burke, though I know he is a strong man and true, and a man whose faith dwarfs my own.

  35. Long-Skirts says:

    Fr Z:
    “Is there an upside to this? Sure there is!”


    Join me in a game
    Of Twister,
    Come on brother,
    Come on sister!

    Shift your hips
    Bend your knees,
    Now all stay calm
    Let’s try to please.

    Go to blue…
    Switch red, no, yellow,
    “Get off my back!”
    Screams one fine fellow.

    “Tsk, tsk, tsk,
    I know we’re tangled
    But must comply
    With schemes new-fangled,

    Keep it nice
    You pile of sheep.”
    Authentic, tame…
    A spineless-heap!

  36. dtallerico5252 says:

    I am old enough to remember the transition from the Latin Mass to the “New Mass.” I remember our parish priest assuring us that everything was going to be so much better. I remember going off to college and being introduced to guitars at Mass and singing “Blowing in the Wind.” I remember my first years of teaching when I implemented the new religion text books that took the place of the Baltimore catechism. Through all this, I obediently followed the others and prayed that we were doing the “right” thing. I don’t have to elaborate here on how badly things deteriorated over the next forty years!

    In the past couple of years, I’ve witnessed the dismissal of my priest who sits in limbo while our Bishop decides what will happen to him. I’ve witnessed the rare “retirement” of Our Holy Father in Rome. Now, it appears, if rumors are correct, Cardinal Burke, who remained as a “last hope” for the Catholic Church in America, has been moved to Malta in what some are calling “exile.”

    I have been taking deep breaths since the 1960s. It’s only made me dizzy.

    God help us!

  37. djc says:

    @stephen c,

    To put it simply, your post made me feel good after reading it.


  38. Liz says:

    Even though this causes me anger and sorrow, I’m glad to be reminded to pray for Cardinal Burke. I think of the sweet little boy crying to him because he wanted to receive our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. I guess we need to be like that little boy and keep our minds and hearts on heaven. God bless Cardinal Burke, and may his reward be great in heaven.

  39. paladin says:

    Cardinal Burke was once the bishop of my diocese, and I had the pleasure to meet him several times… as well as the chance to see him in action many times. Rarely have I met a more humble, soft-spoken, kind, prayerful man (a priest friend said that Cardinal Burke reminded him of what St. Robert Bellarmine must have been like, and I agree)… uncannily in spirit like the gentle, patient and kind Pope (Emeritus) Benedict XVI. Many friends of mine have articles which were blessed (and touched) by Cardinal Burke, and they’re keeping a death-grip on them, convinced that they’re third-class relics (I agree).

    One story stands out very clearly, above the others. When he was very early in his tenure bishop of this diocese (which has its share of heterodox Catholics in positions of power–including curial offices, important committees, etc.), he was present at some sort of meeting at which laity were welcome to observe and make comments. During the meeting, one of the laity stood up and questioned how he (and the diocese) could claim to support “life” when several members of key Diocesan committees were publicly “pro-choice” with their votes and their comments. Bishop Burke paused with a slightly furrowed brow, and then said, “Give me their names, and they’ll be off the committees, tomorrow.” And he was as good as his word.

    How often do we see such clarity from successors of the Apostles… and delivered with such gentleness, fairness, mildness and compassion that opponents are forced to make up stories about “meanness and cruelty” out of whole cloth?

    Pope Francis is, by all appearances, a lovely, loving man of great personal holiness; he’s also a man who seems to be very badly formed in key areas of the Faith, and who’s currently under fierce attack by the evil one. The Devil knows the weak points of Pope Francis, and he’s playing on them with ferocity… and (forgive me for saying this) the Holy Father is showing multiple signs of collapsing under the assault. This is why we need to pray for Pope Francis, and not revile him… no matter how much destruction may result from his actions, inactions, capitulations, comments, etc. He’s a poor man under a horrifyingly strong attack, and every time we snarl at him (and withhold our sincere prayers for him–and by that, I don’t just mean the sarcasm-laden prayers for his quick abdication, etc.!), we give the devil another load of ammo with which to shoot the Holy Father, and overhwhelm him more.

    Honestly (and I speak for myself, specifically–since I’ve been fiercely angry at some of the things which Pope Francis has said, done, not said, not done, allowed, and disallowed… especially today, with the potential news about Cardinal Burke)… it sometimes seems as though we’ve never seen anyone fall before a spiritual attack, before! (I have, too many times to count.) My position is this: I will grant (as opposed to some relentless Pope Francis apologists) that Pope Francis has done (and allowed) many bad things–many scandalous, some disastrous. I will therefore redirect my anger away from Pope Francis and toward praying to Our Lord (and His Saints–especially St. Michael) that Pope Francis may not continue to be beaten down by an assault which he might not even recognize.

  40. Gregg the Obscure says:

    A man of his faith and talents can do great good wherever he is. It’s worth remembering that, for all the hoopla, the current Holy Father is just that: the current Holy Father. His day will pass and after him will come another. It’s happened 265 times. There’s virtually no risk of Pope Francis being another Leo X, Sergius III or Alexander VI, and Holy Church survived even them. I pray that the poisoned cup of accommodation to modernism be taken away, but that prayer has not yet been granted.

  41. Sonshine135 says:

    I am actually surprised that Card. Burke’s demotion would be surprising to anyone. Maybe it isn’t. Maybe there was hope it wouldn’t be that way or maybe there was denial.

    I am first and foremost God’s adopted son, and I am a member of His church on Earth. I think something I have said many times before needs repeating: Pope Francis has a large umbrella and his focus is not on the older forms of church liturgy. His focal point has been to bring sheep into the fold by reflecting the merciful church. For him, this means a central focus on outreach to the poor, imprisoned and destitute. Liturgy, to Pope Francis, has been the last thing on the list. In the meantime, Summorum Pontificum remains in effect.

    But….do we stop believing that the Holy Spirit is guiding the church? Absolutely not! It is obvious that the Holy Spirit is leading the church towards a greater concern for those who are least among us. While we believe that the best vehicle for this is restoring the Mass, it is not that way for the Holy See and therefore the Spirit. Trust in God extends to believing that He knows what is best for His church on Earth, and in the meantime, Summorum Pontificum remains in effect.

    I have some predictions about the upcoming family synod. I have stayed out of the back and forth on this for awhile, but I have a strong sense as to what will happen: It is not a stretch of the imagination to see that Canon Law won’t change, and the church’s official position won’t change, but it would be foolish to believe that Rome will not look the other way when individual Priests and Diocese relax restrictions on irregular relationships. This was telegraphed to us by the Pope’s move this weekend to marry those who are in irregular relationships. I also believe that the annulment process will become expedited in some way. I do not see this as a denial of applying the medicine to cure the problem, rather I see it as a difference in medical opinion. We may want to apply chemotherapy to the problem, and we are convinced this is the best route. Pope Francis, on the other hand, wants to use radiation. We may disagree with how the medicine is applied to these irregular situations, but both may be valid cures. In the meantime, Summorum Pontificum remains in effect.

    So, no rant from me, but we would be foolish not to read the signs of the times. Have I mentioned that in the meantime, Summorum Pontificum remains in effect?

  42. LarryW2LJ says:

    I tire of “fundamental transformations”, whether they be of my Nation or attempts by anyone to try and change the Church (for the bad).

    I would hope this would not be a political move just to ease the push-through of an agenda, i.e exile the dissenters.

  43. Eugene says:

    If this is true, I am having a very very hard time thinking anything charitable or kind about our current Pope and our Emeritus Pope ( for resigning and allowing the new regime to take hold), the Curia or most of the Vatican right now.
    This greatest of the Church’s princes cannot be treated like this, he is holy, he is kind, he has the smell of the sheep, eg. of all the curial Cardinals in Rome he was the ONLY one to march with pro lifers, he defends the Church’s teachings at great personal cost. Why promote a man of this calibre to a position of leadership? By all means lets keep in authority those who do the exact opposite of this great man and I can think of a lot of princes right now, but I wont name them.
    God have mercy on us all! God have mercy on me for my anger and please let me see what your purpose is in all this, because I am in darkness with regards to YOUR church.

  44. Blas says:

    “I’ll bet he’ll be even more vocal.”

    Probably, and them will say “He speaks in that way because he was demoted” .

  45. SPWang says:

    Annibale Bugnini was exiled for a time….And look what he achieved!
    Seriously, who in their right mind would want to be in the curia right now?

    [BTW… this isn’t Twitter.]

  46. ChristoetEcclesiae says:

    I am blessed to know Cardinal Burke a very little. Not surprisingly, his manner toward me has been consistently fatherly, pastoral, and priestly. I shall continue to pray for this true Prince of the Church who has played no small part in my own vocation. We are blessed to have him.

    In the history of Holy Mother Church, we often see her most faithful disciples go through a kind of purgation by ordeal, only to emerge later in roles that the Church most needs at the time. If this change comes to pass, I agree with Fr. Z. Cardinal Burke will be fine. I also believe that God will use this for good, in ways we have yet to imagine.

    Mary, Mother of Priests, pray for us.

  47. Scoutsout says:

    I’m part of the nutty Left you so graciously and kindly refer to throughout the blog post….so, of course, I’m cheering as the Church suffers, tradition is ignored, and good men are exiled to the periphery. I’m holding the door for liberals, atheists, and other like-minded Satan pawns. But I digress.

    However, referring to your post, I prefer to see Pope Francis, duly elected under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, as our Lord’s point man in perhaps guiding the Church in a direction God might actually favor. Hard as it might be for some to accept, it may be that moving Cardinal Burke (a man with whom I often disagree but who I’m sure is a good, sincere man and a loyal son of the Church) to a less influential position is something the Spirit wants. Maybe not something the “trads” (I like that) want, but something that God wants. God’s view does not always = Traditionalist view (or even Liberals’ views, I’m distressed to say.)

    [Right. It’s the Holy Spirit that wants this.]

  48. kpoterack says:

    “However, Card. Burke will surely be a participant in the Synod. ”

    Definitely! He’s on the list.

  49. Pingback: Malta’d Burke? * Wednesday’s Roundup | Malta’d Burke? * Wednesday’s Roundup | Social Dashboard

  50. Robbie says:

    When advisors delivered bad news to President Ronald Reagan, he would often respond with a saying that went something like this. “You’ve shown me the manure, now show me the pony.” The saying spoke to his optimism that even in bad situations, something good can always be found. Well, it’s been 18 months and I’m still hoping to find the pony.

  51. marcelus says:

    And if none of this happens??

  52. Giuseppe says:

    San Diego sadly lost their new bishop at a young age and after a rapid decline this week. I know it is not high up on the dioceses, but what a blessing it would be to them if Cardinal Burke were to spend some time as the pope’s representative to a diocese in sorrow and mourning. (Plus an autumn-winter in San Diego would be a wonderful restorative to a fine priest.)

  53. Johannes de Silentio says:

    Is it any surprise that a prelate who actually believes in the indissolubility of marriage is now seen as unfit for the prefecture of the Apostolic Signatura? [You are making an assumption, namely, that he is seen as “unfit”. I don’t think that, so far, that can be sustained by anything we know.] More positively, is it any surprise that so transparently holy a man should create many enemies simply by fidelity to the faith?

    I’d wager that nobody is happier about this potential move than Cardinal Burke, who surely wants no part in implementing the Gospel according to Kasper, should such a thing come to pass.

  54. JesusFreak84 says:

    *Headdesk* Either the Holy Father directly wants this or he’s entirely too trusting of wolf advisers who convinced him that this is a good idea. I’m trying to remind myself that there’ll be many more Popes in my lifetime after this… (St. Malechy {sp?} nuts not withstanding, but after this Pope, they’ll have to lose any wind that was left in their sails.)

  55. Konichiwa says:

    Cardinal Burke; he’s a man whom I admire, and one whom I wish I to meet. Even if he were to be demoted, I believe that he will continue to do great things.

  56. Suburbanbanshee says:

    You know, folks, I’m really worried about how willing people are to assume that the worst will occur, and indeed the rush to assume that there’s schism and doom and evil.

    You’ve heard it before, but if you want a sense of perspective you should study church history. And although we’re used to hearing about saints done wrong by some smallminded superior, there’s also been a lot of saints done wrong by other saints. For example, there’s the way St. Boniface, Apostle to the Germans (or at least large rural parts of Germany, as opposed to the Romanized bits) went after the reputation and teaching position of St. Virgilius, telling the Pope at the time that Virgilius was teaching heresy and scientific untruth (whereas actually it was all a big misunderstanding and personality clash). And if you had Boniface gunning for you, you had his entire English family of saintly nuns and brothers gunning for you too. But then, St. Virgilius had all his Irish saintly friends and relatives, too.

    Holy people who have nothing on their minds and hearts but serving God and neighbor can still clash. You can talk about this with pretty names like “virtue sharpens virtue,” but the truth of the matter is that it’s bound to hurt.

    Holy people can also have a hard time finding a place for even the most able, congenial co-workers. God did not come down and tell St. Francis or St. Dominic or St. Teresa what they should do about administrative matters. Jesus Christ Himself, for his own reasons, hired a friend who betrayed Him and an enemy who became His servant and explicator.

    Let’s pray for prudence and patience for everybody involved, and not make so many unkind assumptions that just make us more upset. Praying is useful; assumptions are not.

  57. Hornblower says:

    The reason I am Catholic is that Christ established His Church upon Peter (a regular, fallible guy) and promised to be with it always and send the Holy Spirit to guide and protect it. The Lord through His Church has the words of everlasting life — where else could I go?

    It is also said that God writes straight with crooked lines. With examples like St. Padre Pio and St. Thomas Aquinas and the injustices that they endured, Cardinal Burke’s career is mysteriously in God’s hands as is the Church. It is my hope and prayer that the pastors endeavor faithfully to do the Lord’s will. It’s too easy (and heresy) to see the Chancery or the Holy See merely as a human corporation — God is intimately involved, too.

  58. Gerard Plourde says:

    @ Suburbanbanshee,

    Thanks for a thoughtful and insightful post.

    I have a thought – Given Cardinal Burke’s acknowledged expertise in Canon Law, I can’t help wondering if he could be in line for some kind of new position, i.e. heading up a tribunal charged with following through on the thorny issue of sexual abuse by clergy and religious which Pope Emeritus Benedict sought to remedy and whose work Pope Francis is continuing through the commission headed by Cardinal O’Malley. Remember that the former Nuncio to the Dominican Republic has been credibly found to have engaged in these acts, has been laicized and is now awaiting trial by a Vatican court. To have someone of Cardinal Burke’s stature at the helm of such a tribunal to set precedent would be as fortuitous as having John Marshall as Chief Justice of the nascent U.S. Supreme Court.

  59. Supertradmum says:

    Europeans I talk with this morning says it is not a rumor.

    One light in the darkness, most of the Knights support the TLM.

  60. Supertradmum says:

    oopsie say–in a huge hurry

  61. YoungLatinMassGuy says:

    I’m not entirely happy.

    But at the same time, I know Church history. The Church has weathered worse than having a single Cardinal being demoted, and come out battered and beaten, but it has come through on the other side. I myself am not too invested in Cardinal Burke to be honest. Burke is great, no argument on that point. But he is still just one man.

    I’m still thinking “long-term”. This is just one minor setback, another Pope will, sooner or later, come along, and another one after that one.

  62. alexandra88 says:

    Goodness gracious me. Topics like this simply confirm why I avoid catholic blogs altogether. Am I the only one here who seriously doesn’t care?? I’m a massive Cardinal Burke fan but honestly, lamenting about rumours of the promotion/demotion of cardinals is the ultimate first-world catholic problem. I have FAR more pressing things on my mind to pray about, like, praying that the Pope doesn’t get assassinated in Albania this weekend by ISIS or whether or not my country (Scotland) will be an independent nation. Y’know, things that matter.

  63. Angelika says:

    May I have my German Shepherd back, please?

  64. Robbie: “You’ve shown me the manure, now show me the pony.”

    Ok, let’s take a look through rose-colored glasses. In the rumored new position, might Card. Burke have more time and opportunity to celebrate high-profile TLMs in locations throughout the world, and to promote traditional positions more effectively and widely? Might this even be the Pope’s intent, to free Card. Burke for more visible TLM evangelization? Indeed, could this be the first concrete step toward the “new evanglelization” that we’ve heard so much about (but seen so little of)?

  65. kpoterack says:

    First, I second Fr. Fox. We really don’t know if this rumor is true – although I suppose it is good to mentally prepare for it.

    Second, even if there is truth to it, it may not be fully true. Even first rate Vaticanisti don’t always get the full truth. I remember hearing it reported both in late June 2013 and September 2013 that Piero Marini would be appointed head of the CDW – AND that it was only a matter of DAYS before the announcement would be made. The first time, it was the respected Cindy Woolen who reported this. Over a year later and it still hasn’t happened. Now, with Card. Canizares’ departure, theoretically it could come true (although I am still dubious about this), but the point is that THAT part of the rumor (the immanence of his appointment) was wrong.

    Thirdly, I second YoungLatinMassGuy and alexandra88. This is perhaps an exercise in gaining perspective.

  66. KateD says:

    Despite what men’s intentions may be, Our Lord has the best vantage point and still holds ultimate authority in His Church. It occurs to me, in reading the above, that it is good to be secure in a safe harbor well before a great storm hits. That way, after the destructive force has passed, one can emerge unscathed to continue one’s work.

  67. kpoterack says:

    Fr. Z,

    I have a question. Would it be a good idea to order copies of the book “Remaining in the Truth of Christ” for bishops at the Synod? And, if so, where would we send the copies? Casa Santa Marta? the Synod Hall?

  68. Papabile says:

    One of the commentors above used the words that he thought this potential move of H.E. Burke was “clarifying” about the papacy.

    I see it as clarifying in another way.

    There are a great many Bishops and Cardinals who blow with the winds of Rome, and one can see it quite clearly now.

    While they are the ones to worry about during a pontificate like this, it also reveals those who do not blow, remain firm and steadfast – on the orthodox/orthopraxitic sides and on the heterodox side.

    THAT is useful information to have in one’s hip-pocket.

  69. PA mom says:

    Ok, so I had to read up on who the Knight of Malta are.

    Looking at their history, I can see how this could actually be a critical position during our present times. To fight Islam, spiritually and physically as necessary, our world doesn’t need a retired, very elderly man, it needs a man in his prime, with his wisdom and holiness deep and wide, a willingness to be these things in ways which defy the current fashions, a singular clarity of expression and purpose. Is not Cardinal Burke a man of unique holiness and ability as expressed here?

    Likely, it is time and he is the man to bring these Knights of Malta out of ‘retirement’ and get them visible agin.

  70. Pingback: This is Shocking: Vatican Diary / Exile to Malta for Cardinal Burke / Fr. Z Rants | Deaconjohn1987's Blog

  71. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    Someone has to be Nathan-Come-To-Judgement.

    We who love the MEF need to ask ourselves some hard questions: [I think MEF means “Mass in the Extraordinary Form”. But nobody uses that abbrev.]

    – To what extent is this situation our own fault?
    – Have we done all that we could have done to win friends for the MEF?
    – Instead have we gotten into priests’ faces and alienated good people with incessant whining, ceaseless pugnacity, and dyspeptic rebuke?
    – Have we demonstrated that we’re never satisfied?
    – Have we wanted it all immediately and shown no patience in waiting?
    – Have we mindlessly played “It’s the tradition!” as a trump card to silence all argument, without offering reasons for the tradition? Are the reasons in the past still cogent reasons for today? Is it really the tradition anyway?
    – Have we rushed to judgement without first having all the facts?
    – When we are opposed, have we matched reasoned argument with reasoned argument? Or have we only displayed our emotions? Have we been deaf to reasoned argument altogether?
    – Have we, instead of Fraternal Correction, run for the stake, the lighter fluid, and the matches?
    – Have we demonstrated no knowledge of the Scriptural Revival, the Patristic Revival, scholarly Church history, and even worse, have we demonstrated that we don’t want to know?
    – Have we mindlessly opposed the entire Vatican Council across the board?
    – Have we mindlessly dismissed all of the liturgical reforms and ignored what is good in them? (For example, The lectionary, the LOTH).
    – Have we shown neither respect nor obedience to authority.
    — have we policed our fellow traditionalists when they’ve gotten out of line?
    – Have we given press to the heretical Sedevacantists, praised their publications, and thus made them seem respectable.
    – Have applauded the irregularity of the SSPX, ourselves having done nothing to advance their regularity?
    – Have we failed to turned our backs utterly on any and all anti-Semites, and have we failed to show them the door?
    – Have we strained the gnat and swallowed the camel? Are we the latter-day Pharisees?
    – By doing all the above, have we destroyed the chances for the very thing that we claim we love, the MEF?
    – Will Cardinal Burke be sent to Siberia because of our sins?
    – Do we ourselves need to go to Confession?
    – And should we accept the current situation as a penance?
    – Have we forgotten that the best penance is the penance that He sends us?

    Full disclosure: I too need to ask myself these questions.

  72. roseannesullivan says:

    Hmm. This may be related. I was wondering why Archbishop Cordileone celebrated the first Pontifical Mass in the San Francisco Archdiocese last Sunday evening (9/14/2014) since before the Second Vatican Council – without wearing a cappa magna. In answer to a question from me yesterday evening, a priest who shall remain nameless speculated that perhaps Archbishop Cordileone did not wear a cappa magna because some of his fellow clerics see red when they see one. Now I’m hearing rumors today that the only cappa magna-wearing cleric I’ve ever seen, Cardinal Burke, God bless him, will be demoted to an honorary position with no further influence on the church. Could there be a connection here? When Pope Francis was elected, the BBC reported that he turned down the red cape with ermine by saying: “No thank you, Monsignore. You put it on instead. Carnival time is over!” Is this part of a plan to get rid of those who see beautiful vestments as an honor to Christ, when worn by the priest in persona Christi?

  73. McCall1981 says:

    Well, here’s a little good news:
    Cardinal Pell rules out change on Communion for divorced, remarried.

  74. MattH says:

    An aside is that if this is true, it continue a strange trend of the leadership of the chivalric orders passing out of continental hands and into English-speaking hands. Currently, the Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem is Cardinal O’Brien, previously Archbishop of Baltimore and prior to that, Archbishop for the Military Services USA. Meanwhile, the current Grand Master of the Order of Malta is Matthew Festing, an Englishman.

  75. MWindsor says:

    Perhaps Cardinal Burke will give swords back to the Knights of St. John.

  76. Quas Primas says:

    I had the strangest thought when saying the Rosary for Cardinal Burke: is it possible that leaving his post at the Signatura may be consistent with his own wishes?

    May Cardinal Burke be reading the “signs of the times,” and the rising antinomian spirit, and discern that he may not be able to continue his work at the Signatura in accordance with his conscience? Not that doctrine or moral law itself would be changed, but if we gut its application in a misguided sense of mercy, Cardinal Burke would not want to be party to that.

    Moreover — should such a situation develop — having Cardinal Burke at the Signatura would actually give the progressive forces the perfect cover for what they want to do.

    If Cardinal Burke waited until things crystallized further in that direction, his departure would have appeared as an even bigger, more open breach.

    While I should probably dismiss this as a figment of my overwrought imagination, I’m curious, Fr. Z, what you and your knowledgeable guests might make of it!

  77. Robbie says:

    “Henry Edwards says: Robbie: Ok, let’s take a look through rose-colored glasses. Might this even be the Pope’s intent, to free Card. Burke for more visible TLM evangelization? Indeed, could this be the first concrete step toward the “new evanglelization” that we’ve heard so much about (but seen so little of)?”

    I certainly appreciate your attempts to see things through rose colored glasses. It never hurts. However, the pope, in the not too distant past, referred to the TLM as a “fad” when asked to explain the interest the young have for it.

    So rather than finding the pony Ronald Reagan always hoped to find, I think you’ve found a unicorn instead.

  78. Since there seems to be a lot of speculation, but very little confirmation, allow me to add something fun to the mix.

    What about the possibility that this rumored demotion (or transfer, or whatever you call it) is connected with the upcoming meeting between Card. Mueller and Bp. Fellay. The meeting would be omething along the lines of “Welcome Home, your Excellency. Please allow me to introduce Card. Burke. He will be handling all of the juridical details of this process.”

    I know it’s a flight of fancy, but were such a “re-integration” to happen, someone would have to work out the legal details, and standing of each and every priest in the society, no? Not to mention all of the baptism/marriage/death records. If it were given to me to pick someone for that job, I could think of no one better than Card. Burke.

  79. pannw says:

    I admit it, it is the gloating from his detractors that will bother me the most about this. Ugh… It really makes me angry, just as I get angry when people speak evil of beloved Benedict XVI. I have never had the pleasure of meeting Cardinal Burke, but I have been an admirer of his from a distance for a number of years, since he stood up to the pro-aborts at that hospital fundraiser with Sheryl Crow in St. Louis. I will pray for him.

    I will also pray for Pope Francis. I really want him to be a good pope, for our sake and for his. So many things he says and are said about him make me so uneasy, but I have grown to love him. Not the easy sort of love I feel for beloved Benedict, but just when he has me scared to death, he does something like go to confession or speak so boldly on life. Plus, I have had a feeling about him since he stepped out on the balcony that day. The look on his face, as if he knew something… Anyway, as far as anything this might mean at the synod, I do not think The Holy Spirit will permit the warping of Church Teaching. He allows poor performance and even wickedness in the leadership and even papacy, obviously from history, but I do not think He will allow complete corruption of the deposit of Faith. Jesus said on divorce, ‘from the beginning it was not so.’ I don’t think He will allow them or the Pope to change that. I just can’t believe it. If they do, I will be very sure we are about to witness TEOTWAWKI, and will be running to the nearest confessional.

    And like I said earlier, just when I hear he has said or done something ‘awful’, he says something in a homily like, ““…I love you, and for this love I help you to become ever more a woman”; “I love you, and for this love I help you to become ever more a man”. Here we see the reciprocity of differences…” Fr. Z. keeps warning us that the left will turn on him, and that post about the Fishwrap article a little further down the page telling us we have to accept ‘gay’ relations…well that quote above convinces me that the SSM promoters are going to be disappointed. They will turn on Pope Francis and that gives me hope that he is on ‘our’ side. So I don’t know what to think about the move of Cardinal Burke, or the actions against traditionalist groups, but then the couples are on their knees receiving Our Lord on the tongue. It’s enough to make a woman dizzy!!!

    PA Mom, that is interesting, especially in light of Pope Francis’ recent remarks about the need to ‘stop the unjust aggressors’….

    Jesus, I trust in you.

  80. Juergensen says:

    “Da qualche fessura sia entrato il fumo di Satana nel tempio di Dio.”

    Pope Paul VI
    June 29, 1972

  81. Riki says:

    O dearest Mother, Lady of Sorrows
    crying for our todays and tomorrows
    ‘cause we, Your children don’t care
    to listen to Your warnings to prepare
    for the coming abomination
    and possible eternal damnation
    if we don’t return to the Lord
    and throw our Salvation overboard
    Even seeing You cry bloody tears
    does not make us change any gears
    but what else can one expect
    when Church leaders misdirect
     and transform a saintly Lucas
    into a devil possessed Judas
    betraying  Jesus as did Iscariot
    while they ride their fancy chariot
    not pulled by a donkey but by a jaguar
    using diversity and coexistence as an avatar
    The days are approaching that the real Church
    will  have to hide, away from the vicious smirch
    Jesus Your Son is being crucified again
    by the pride and the ingratitude of men
    I want to dry Your tears, my sweet Mother
    your pain and sufferings I want to smother
    by following Your Son our Savior
    through an obedient and docile  behavior

    Rita  Biesemans, September 15 2014
    Feast Day of Our Lady of Sorrows
    I love You so much, my Heavenly Mother

  82. Sword40 says:

    How many rodents must sneak into the house before somebody realizes that we have an infestation of unwanted critters? Our civilization has been corrupted and we will pay the price for not opposing it. All of Benedicts work is being slowly tossed aside. Perhaps we’ll be like 16th century England again. The liberals are now in control and they will try to purge the system. Pray, my friends, Pray.

  83. defend_us_in_battle says:

    Father, I don’t understand this. Everyday, it seems like there’s more bad news. What is happening in the Vatican?? My heart is breaking…

  84. Vecchio di Londra says:

    I wouldn’t (yet) draw any firm inferences from this move about how the synod might necessarily proceed. (Although the decisions made in the aftermath of any council/synod sometimes have a curious way of ignoring and even contradicting its agreed conclusions :-)

    But to see one of the few powerful advocates of the Traditional Latin Mass sidelined is a grave disappointment. And it does seem more than coincidence that his (doubtless) orthodox essay is about to appear as the synod gets under way…

  85. donato2 says:

    I think I have developed a trustworthy key (fancy word: hermeneutic) for reading Pope Francis. He is very much a political animal. (I remember shortly after Pope Francis’s election, on this blog an Argentinian described him as a “very cunning politician,” and I now think that is an apt description.) I have discerned that one of his operating political principles is to give something to both sides on an alternating basis– he gives something to the liberal, dissent oriented Catholics, and then he gives something to the orthodox Catholics. There is also some (but I admit not complete) consistency as to what he gives to the two sides. To the dissent oriented Catholics he gives mushy, ambiguous statements that often can be read as code for dissent, makes appointments that tend toward the sorts that are appealing to the dissenters, and makes public acts (the foot washing, marrying couples in irregular situations, etc.) that suggest disregard or lack of concern for Church law. To the orthodox Catholics he gives clear reaffirmation of Church teachings but does so in a very low key manner and has appeased them, though very slightly, with keeping papal liturgies dignified. Another thing that is clear is that Pope Francis is not the type of person who is horrified by the cultural blight that is the result of the sexual revolution.

    Given this pattern, I do not expect that Pope Francis will issue any papal document that would contradict Church teaching concerning marriage. He will however approve of “pastoral” practices that will as a practical matter will, as a practical matter, perpetuate the decline of marriage as an institution.

  86. Legisperitus says:

    I have pre-ordered the book.

    You’re a good man, C. B.

  87. acardnal says:

    Assuming the rumor comes to be a fact, there are at least two good points remaining in this unfortunate situation: Cdl. Burke will still be a very young voting member of the Consistory for the next Pope, and he could also BE our next Pope. . .I hope!

  88. Amateur Scholastic says:

    Pray, people, but don’t fret. The gates of hell will not prevail against the Church, so you don’t need to worry about that. You do, however, need to be concerned with your own salvation, which is not assured. Do you spend more time on that, or on stressing about ecclesial politics?

  89. Kathleen10 says:

    I guess the position of door porter wasn’t open.
    I’m sorry for everyone, it’s so confusing. I enjoyed the poetry and reading the comments are always edifying, because at least there is comfort to be found knowing we aren’t alone in our concerns.
    If Catholics talked about end times I’d say we look like we are in them. Aren’t we to expect the return of Jesus at some point? I often console myself with the thought it may be tomorrow, although I know it will be a terrifying day.

  90. fr. Jordan says:

    All I can say is:

    Parce Domine; parce populo tuo!!!


    Cardinal Burke will only be obedient! A real priest!!

  91. bposullivan says:

    If I counted right, the synod membership announcement lists 26 dicastery heads; and, even if Cardinsl Burke is replaced, 21 of the 26 will have been appointed to their current positions by Pope Benedict (all but Cardinals Parolin, Stella, Piacenza, and Pell–not exactly a group of flame-heaired radicals–and Cardinal Buirke’s replacement.) Is this really a purge? Aren’t popes more or less expected to replace some senior members of the curia?

  92. PA mom says:

    Pannw- what I read quoted Pope Francis as suggesting that there has been a “failure of two world wars” and that we are already ” fighting WWIII… Piecemeal.”. It was at a WWI memorial.

    Those seem like very serious words to my ears.

  93. Lin says:

    “[Struggle with it. For a while. Then let’s get on with being faithful and keeping our eye on the goal, which is not unobstructed happiness here in this life, but in the next.]”

    AMEN! This is why I read your blog everyday. There is a lot of struggling in the trenches right now but you help us keep our eye on the goal. My prayers are offered to you and all priests daily. Thank you!

  94. danhorse says:

    I doubt that Cardinal Burke is as up in arms as people here seem to be.
    Whatever the decision is, and at this point, we don’t even know, Christ will prevail and Cardinal Burke knows that. He would not be encouraging any dissent; this much I know.

  95. kpoterack says:

    bposullivan said:
    “. . . 21 of the 26 will have been appointed to their current positions by Pope Benedict (all but Cardinals Parolin, Stella, Piacenza, and Pell–not exactly a group of flame-heaired radicals–and Cardinal Buirke’s replacement.) Is this really a purge?”

    KP: Precisely, and of those five, Card. Piacenza was also appointed by Pope Benedict, but to Cong. for Clergy. Pope Francis transferred him within the Curia.

  96. Emilio says:

    I am quite disheartened by this unfortunate news and honestly I have no idea what is going on in our beloved Church. Today Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence RI (who I always considered very orthodox) published an unfortunate article in which he seems to be caving in to Team Kasper. He specifically refers to the prospect of admitting the divorced and remarried to a matter of “discipline” and NOT a matter of doctrine.
    And this after the horrible document by the Bishop of Antwerp a few days ago, in which he throws doctrine completely out the window. We really need to pray hard because I fear that we simply do not know what could happen at this October Synod. I don’t want to even think of it, but what if the Pope in fact attempts to “change” doctrine on this matter? Could that lead to a schism? What do faithful Catholics do? I am sorry for the negativity, but I have always done my best to defend Pope Francis and give him the benefit of the doubt. I have been banned from commenting on Rorate Caeli for doing so without exception in fact, but this week I am extremely upset and worried. I beg God that the world’s bishops won’t lead us astray, us and future generations of Catholics.

    Also, if there is really a purge happening within the Roman Curia, then I don’t even want to think WHO could be appointed to the Congregation for Divine Worship to succeed Cardinal Cañizares, the rumored prospect is to horrible to even mention here. I pray for the Holy Father and hope that he always remains open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Saint John Paul II, pray for us.

  97. Maxiemom says:

    I realize that those Catholics who prefer the Latin rite are disappointed in this decision. [Do NOT make the mistake of thinking that this is merely about liturgical preferences.] Me, I’m the “radical post Vatican II” fan who reads this blog to see the opinions of the more, for lack of a better word, “conservative” Catholics. Whatever our opinions are, he must go where his bishop tells him to go. Obedience to his bishop is first and foremost. I feel certain that Pope Francis feels [rather than “thinks”?] that he will better serve in another post.

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  99. drohan says:

    There are those on this blog who worry what the leftist dominated media will say about Cardinal Burke! What nonsense is that? I am certain that Burke probably has a wherewithal and the deep faith of a truly holy prelate to handle everything.

    As an orthodox Catholic, I don’t let anything the robots at The Fishwrap or Amerika affect me one bit. Pope Francis isn’t taking away Christmas or Easter, or denying the Blessed Mother. This is a political move, so be it. Recall the hymn Faith of Our Fathers: “In spite of dungeon, fire and sword…” And those fathers had real rack and rope to fear. We need to stay faithful. We can stay liturgically sound.

    How many half-way, lefty Catholics are there lurking in the Catacombs anyway? Most of the youth in our parish are strong orthodox traditionalists. They like what makes us authentically Catholic. One Tuesday night a month our priest comes and has benediction with the Blessed Sacrament. We get lots of High School kids to come. Their parents not so much. I think we are slowly winning this battle for the Church. And no reshuffle in the curia is going to do anything about that.

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  102. JPK says:

    “Many of you will be tempted to have a spittle-flecked nutty of sorrow and panic about this, directly proportioned to the spittle-flecked nutty of giddiness and schadenfreude that the catholic Left are about to throw.”

    Perhaps my first reaction. But, then again this might turn-out in hindsight to be a brilliant move. The Holy Father did promise to “reform” the curia. What was the over-used, but popular aphorism from the Godfather II? “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer?” The politics of the Vatican are bloodsport. To me the politics seem to be on par with that of the old Politburo of the USSR. Or is it Game of Thrones?

    All kidding aside, this is serious business, and Pope Francis is our Pope. Before withdrawing into a emotional shell and preparing for the worst, we should consider that Pope Francis realizes his time at the Chair of Peter will more than likely be short rather than long (he is close to 80) and he must choose his battles wisely. Nothing he says or does is an accident. I am reminded of what Christ advised, “Be as wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”

    We can only hope and pray.

  103. robtbrown says:

    acardnal says:
    Assuming the rumor comes to be a fact, there are at least two good points remaining in this unfortunate situation: Cdl. Burke will still be a very young voting member of the Consistory for the next Pope, and he could also BE our next Pope. . .I hope!

    I’ve never really thought of him as papabile. Still don’t. Pell, yes. Also Ranjith, who wouldn’t be liked by the liberals but who could possibly attract electors of various stripes.

  104. robtbrown says:

    The Burke rumor was leaked now for the same reason that the book on marriages was published: An attempt to influence what is happening in Rome, including the Synod.

  105. Greenbean950 says:

    Perhaps church authority less like that which the sons of Zebedee wanted would help solve this conundrum. [Does anyone know what that means?]

  106. jbosco88 says:

    I would pray more for the Pope…

    But we all know he dislikes people that count prayers.

  107. marcelus says:

    danhorse says:
    17 September 2014 at 9:29 pm
    I doubt that Cardinal Burke is as up in arms as people here seem to be.
    Whatever the decision is, and at this point, we don’t even know, Christ will prevail and Cardinal Burke knows that. He would not be encouraging any dissent; this much I know.


    THis rumor better be true. For , it will leave traditional catholics directly at odds with the Holy Father,.The things that have been expressed here and in other Trad pages , directly or undirectly, kindly put, hoping for a change of Popes, speculating on Francis life duration and replacement and so.

    As of today.. all because of a rumor.

    I’m sorry to say, all it will wind up doing is alienating this sector of the Church and maybe driving it into schism? or the arms of the SSPX. Sad.

  108. Bosco says:

    I agree with your linkage of the book release vis-a-vis the Synod and the (apparent) reassignment of Cardinal Burke.

    Perhaps, Father Z., your generous kudos and broad promotion of the book done the Cardinal in? (kidding)

  109. Siculum says:

    What if they stick Burke in CDW (or its re-grouped successor)?

  110. KateD says:

    According to Wikipedia the Sovereign Military Order of Malta “…retains claims of sovereignty under international law and has been granted permanent observer status at the UN……[and] is notable for issuing it’s own international passports for travel…”

    Isn’t the synod on the family partially in response to demands from the UN? It would be good to have a friendly face in the crowd.

    Several of the goals of the order seem to answer issues relating to ISIS and the Ebola outbreak.

    They were a military order during the crusades but now their goal is to “assist the elderly, handicapped, REFUGEED, children, homeless, those with terminal illness and leprosy in all parts of the world WITHOUT DISTINCTION OF RACE OR RELIGION. In several countries they provide first aid training, first aid services and EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES. This order is engaged to AID VICTIMS of natural disasters, EPIDEMICS and ARMED CONFLICTS. ”

    Perhaps this is not a set aside, but simply a matter of putting the right guy in the right place to get an arduous job done.

    Things that make you go hmmmmmm……

  111. Greenbean950 says:

    sons of Zebedee – they wanted temporal power rather than what Jesus had to offer. The Burke “problem” goes away in a church that gives up its temporal/state power. [You see, that doesn’t apply to Card. Burke. He hasn’t sought advancement. Of all the prelates I know, he is the least like the “careerist” types. I’ve know a lot of them, btw.]

  112. bposullivan says:


    The only thing is that the Cardinal Patronus isn’t the Order’s CEO or U.N. Representative, but more of a chaplain and a liaison with the Church. But, still, I guess it’s true that he could be in a position to help them move in a certain direction in their diplomacy, refugee work, or anything the pope wants to focus on.

    Anyway, he’d still presumably be based in Rome, because that’s where the Order is based, and that would make it easy for him (in theory) to be an active member of various dicasteries and other church bodies. It seems like some of the heat about this on the internet is being generated by people who might be taking “exile” a bit literally. (Poor Malta may be getting a bum rap, too. Even if he were being sent there, I’m sure it’s no Siberia. :) )

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  116. joan ellen says:

    Going to a computer may help. Patience is a virtue.

  117. joan ellen says:

    Hearing about the move for Cardinal Burke saddened me. Catholics on the internet, including here, helped me to think of the words…pray and sacrifice…as an answer. I, wrongly, thought those words were my answer to my prayer for the correct attitude for this rumor/news about Cardinal Burke. I was wrong. They are important of course. But they are not my attitude. My attitude is being formed by the comments being made here. They are most helpful. I now consider my attitude as: The Holy Spirit is in charge; this could be the most wonderful move for the Church, the Holy Father, and Cardinal Burke; this could mean it is not the most wonderful move. Thanks to Fr. Z for the post and all of the commentors for helping me in this search for an attitude.

  118. TWF says:

    Exactly. While Cardinal Burke, in this position, would certainly have influence over the Order, he would not be “running” it. The Order is headed by the Grand Master, who while a Professed Knight in solemn vows, and thus a consecrated religious, is not a cleric, but by Church tradition ranks immediately after the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church – currently:
    His Most Eminent Highness Fra’ Matthew Festing, Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta, Most Humble Guardian of the Poor of Jesus Christ.

  119. Gerhard says:

    Under Pope Benedict XVI I was confident that right would prevail, because of Pope Benedict XVI, although he often appeared to be a lone sentinel holding the fort. Now I have to remind myself, and am confident, that right will prevail, because it is Our Lord’s Church and He has promised it will always be protected. God has a propensity for turning tables in his own good time and way… and we must gird ourselves to help Him particularly with our prayers and penances.

  120. robtbrown says:

    bposullivan says,

    (Poor Malta may be getting a bum rap, too. Even if he were being sent there, I’m sure it’s no Siberia. :) )

    Malta would be my kind of exile. A beautiful island that a few years ago had the highest national percentage of daily communicants.

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  122. frahobbit says:

    Remembering Fr Z’s words helped me keep my cool yesterday at a conference in Dolce Hotel on Weed Rd in Norwalk, CT. A few participants, while at the luncheon table, were doing the Lord of the Flies dance and the spittle flecked nutty over the change for Cardinal Burke, joyously proclaiming how exciting the times are and how Pope Francis is a breath of fresh air. They vengefully recounted how Cardinal Burke criticized Pope Francis! No one said what the criticism was about. I was a little shocked at the downright meanness of their attitude. I couldn’t think of anything intelligent to say and just held my peace. Fr. Anthony Ciorra said that ‘Vatican II’ has been hidden away for the last 30 years, and now it’s being revived. I thought Pope St. John Paul II was all for implementing the growth of the effects of the council, so what’s up with that?

  123. Giuseppe says:

    Is the new Abp of Chicago friendly toward TLM? Is Chicago friendly toward TLM? (I’m heading there in December – brrrr – for work, so if there are any good church recommendations, please share them.)

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