In my last video, I mentioned a lengthy interview of Cardinal Raymond Burke on the topic of manly men, or the lack thereof. I’ve linked it below so you can read it for yourself.
The problem with the interview concerns not so much what is said, but what is not said – or better stated – what is deliberately avoided.
To begin the discussion, Cardinal Burke was asked to describe the state of men in the Catholic Church today. He responded:
“I think there has been a great confusion with regard to the specific vocation of men in marriage and of men in general in the Church during the past 50 years or so.”
“It’s due to a number of factors, but the radical feminism which has assaulted the Church and society since the 1960s has left men very marginalized.”
Fair enough. Radical feminism has indeed claimed no small number of victories over the last fifty or so years, but if you’re waiting for Cardinal Burke to identify those “factors” that allowed the feminist assault on the Catholic Church to succeed, and to persist, you can forget about it.
Now, ask yourself:
Could it possibly be that Cardinal Burke has never managed to connect the dots between the 1960’s – which he himself pegs as that moment in time when the man crisis began – and the single most impactful event of the entire century; an event that just so happened to take place in that very same decade?
I’m speaking, of course, about Vatican Council II…
This is the same council, by the way, that refused to offer even one meaningful (much less manful) condemnation of the many falsehoods, errors, and outright attacks leveled against Our Blessed Lord, His Holy Catholic Church, and His Blessed Mother, in favor of soft, ambiguous and flowery prose that includes nearly fifty calls for dialogue.
Reading the interview, if you didn’t know any better, you’d walk away convinced that the Almighty Council had nothing whatsoever to do with the current Catholic man crisis, or crisis in the Church in general.
Incidentally, it’s worth noting that churchmen of old – since they actually shepherded like men – weren’t afraid to acknowledge that it is the Church – pastored by clerics who have what St. Pius X described as “full and perfect powers for ruling, teaching and judging … and the right and authority for promoting the end of the society” that guides the direction of said society; not vice versa.
By contrast, Cardinal Burke laments the current situation, saying:
“Sadly, the Church has not effectively reacted to these destructive cultural forces; instead the Church has become too influenced by radical feminism.”
It sure sounds to me as if he’s playing the victim card, which is odd, isn’t it? He speaks as if he hasn’t a clue that the windows of the Church were opened to the world in 1962, but let’s be honest – we know that he knows better.
Later in the interview, Cardinal Burke makes some observations that make it clear that the root of the problem is staring him right in the face – he sees it – and yet he can’t bring himself to address it .
“The crisis between man and woman has been made much worse by a complete collapse of catechesis in the Church … Aspects of the Church’s life that emphasized the man‑like character of devotion and sacrifice have been deemphasized.”
No kidding? Everyone with half a brain can see this. What we really need to know from our father, Cardinal Burke, is who, and when, and how these things came to be deemphasized.
Tiptoeing right up to the very edge of the truth, he says:
“After Vatican II, that great call to love by confronting sin was lost.”
Go figure: The Church gives us Vatican Council II – with all of its weak, dialogical and inviting language – and boom! The wheels come off the man cart. What an amazing coincidence, eh?
Look, if it’s not clear enough already, the problem with Cardinal Burke waxing on about how men need to be men, is that he isn’t man enough to confront the fire that has been burning in the Catholic Church, the House of God, his family’s house, for more than 50 years now!
Sure, Cardinal Burke offers traditional sound bites here and there that temporarily energize us, but that’s not enough.
Last week, he called for Catholics to commit to praying the Rosary, and based on the reaction of some you would think he single-handedly conquered ISIS. He’s a Prince of the Catholic Church for crying out loud!
How much lower can our expectations go?
Enough already! It’s time for Cardinal Burke and every other sober minded prelate in the Church today – if in fact there are any – to man up and speak up; loud and clear.
And please, don’t tell me that Cardinal Burke doesn’t recognize the problem any better than he’s willing to say. He most certainly does. He continues::
“There has been, and continues to be, serious liturgical abuses that turn men off … In many places the Mass became very priest‑centered … Men are drawn to the mystery of Christ’s sacrifice.”
But just as it might appear as if he’s actually going to stand up in defense of his children, he says:
“The rampant liturgical experimentation after Vatican II, much of which was not sanctioned by Vatican II, stripped the Rite of the Mass of much of its careful articulation of the Sacred Mysteries that had been developed over centuries.”
Notice a couple of things here: First, Cardinal Burke is ever so careful not to go too far in speaking the truth. In fact, he makes it a point to pay his respects to the company line out of Rome.
That is, the line that must be held by all who wish to enjoy “full communion;” namely, the utterly laughable suggestion that the Council is blameless with respect to our present day difficulties – be they liturgical, doctrinal or otherwise.
At the same time, however, he also makes it very plain that he sees at least one aspect of the problem that he is addressing. He lets it be known that the Rite of Mass, such as it is “ordinarily” celebrated in our day is “stripped” – that’s his word – it has been stripped.
He says, “Stripped of the careful articulation” that is the hallmark of the pre-conciliar rite.
Pay very close attention, my friends: He’s talking about the Roman Missal for the Novus Ordo Missae. He’s tipping his hand here. He knows that the problem isn’t just about abuses or deviations from the official text, but rather the problem lies within the rite itself.
And yet, he is content to join others in perpetrating the greatest lie ever told; namely, that the stripped down rite known as the Novus Ordo Missae is as much the one Roman Rite as the Mass of Ages.
He knows better. And he also knows very well that this lie is destroying his family. If he were ignorant of this truth, we could perhaps give him a pass for being stupid, but I’m afraid he doesn’t deserve it.
He even goes on to say:
“It is also clear that many men will respond to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, the rite celebrated before the Vatican II Council reforms.”
But then he very quickly qualifies his remarks by saying:
“This is not because the Extraordinary Form is more valid than the Novus Ordo … The Ordinary Form, if it’s celebrated very reverently with good music, can have the same strong positive effect on men.”
First, validity isn’t the question, so don’t be distracted by this comment; rather, focus on the glaring contradiction in Cardinal Burke’s words.
At this, one is compelled to ask, which is it Eminence? What do you really believe?
Do you believe that Catholic men have been negatively impacted by the Novus Ordo, “stripped” as it is of the “careful articulation of the Sacred Mysteries” that is the hallmark of the traditional Mass?
Or, do you believe that both rites have – and I quote – “the same strong positive effect on men?”
He said both. So which is it?
It’s rather obvious what is going on here. Cardinal Raymond Burke, for all of his praiseworthy sound bites, is unwilling to lead the family entrusted to him like a real man.
He is perhaps even more culpable than others. He sees and understands the nature of the problem, perhaps not entirely, but certainly far better than most, and far more than he’s willing to say.
And yet, he isn’t willing to stand up in defense of the truth by plainly pointing these problems out; condemning unequivocally the dangers that are threatening his entire family.
Perhaps he simply isn’t willing to invite the persecution that most certainly awaits him if he does. I don’t really know why he feels compelled to tiptoe through these tulips, but I do know this:
Until he’s willing to do otherwise, he has no business doling out advice on Catholic manliness.