After a brief hiatus following the Extraordinary Synod debacle, the Cotton Candy Catholic Chorus has emerged from Lala Land to wax delirious over the pope’s recent comments concerning the reassignment of Cardinal Burke.
“See,” they say, “Pope Francis didn’t retaliate against Cardinal Burke; that’s just a spin job put forth by those negative traditionalists!”
I, however, take a more sober view of the Holy Father’s latest interview relative to Cardinal Burke.
Before we get to that, as a courtesy to those readers who may have expected Pope Francis to plainly address the friction that clearly exists between himself and Cardinal Burke, I would suggest that your time might be better spent watching Plim Plim the South American tree-hugging clown than reading any further; i.e., this article isn’t really… how do I say this… “age-appropriate” for you.
As for the adults still left in the room, most of us realize that plainspoken statements offered for public consumption as it concerns the relationship between a pope and a curial prelate isn’t exactly the Roman way.
It wasn’t that way when Pope Pius XII exercised the age-old option to “promoveatur ut removeatur” (that is, promote to remove) Giovanni Battista Montini, sending him packing for Milan in 1954, for example.
By contrast, our current Holy Father’s decision to move the sixty-six year old Cardinal Burke from the eminently powerful position of Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, at a time when canonical questions of great importance are being debated in the Church, to the figurehead post of Patron of the Order of Malta is refreshingly transparent by Roman standards!
As for why Cardinal Burke has been so reassigned, I’m reminded of a statement made by Pope Francis in his closing address to the Extraordinary Synod wherein he criticized those who might succumb to:
… a temptation to hostile inflexibility, that is, wanting to close oneself within the written word, (the letter) and not allowing oneself to be surprised by God, by the God of surprises, (the spirit); within the law…
When I first read this comment, I understood that the pope was poking yet another finger in the eye of tradition loving Catholics everywhere, of course, but I also considered that his very specific reference to “the law” was aimed directly at the Curia’s then chief canon lawyer, Raymond Leo Burke.
Now, let’s take a closer look at the Holy Father’s interview to see if he offered anything that might reasonably temper that suspicion.
Here is what Pope Francis had to say about Cardinal Burke’s reassignment:
Pope Francis: One day Cardinal Burke asked me what he would be doing as he had still not been confirmed in his position, in the juridical sector, but rather had been confirmed “donec alitur provideatur” (“until otherwise provided for”). And I answered “Give me a little time because we are thinking of a juridical restructuring in the G9.” I told him nothing had been done about it yet and that it was being considered.
After that the issue of the Order of Malta cropped up and we needed a smart American who would know how to get around and I thought of him for that position. I suggested this to him long before the synod. I said to him “This will take place after the synod because I want you to participate in the synod as a Dicastery Head.” As the chaplain of Malta he wouldn’t have been able to be present.
He thanked me in very good terms and accepted my offer, I even think he liked it. Because he is a man that gets around a lot, he does a lot of traveling and would surely be busy there. It is therefore not true that I removed him because of how he had behaved in the synod.
First, pay close attention to the first paragraph.
Notice that the starting point of the conversation is the fact that Cardinal Burke was left unconfirmed in his post for more than a year, as if we’re all supposed to accept that it’s simply a given that he would have to go.
Any interviewer worth a wooden nickel would have asked (just as any reasonable Catholic will certainly wonder) why the pope found it necessary to remove Cardinal Burke in the first place.
There is absolutely no indication whatsoever, from either the pope or the cardinal, that Burke himself desired a transfer; in fact, far from it.
Furthermore, just to be clear, if recent history is any indication, it’s certainly not standard procedure for a new pope to replace a sitting Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura with a man more to his liking:
– Cardinal Francesco Roberti was made Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura by Pope John XXIII in November of 1959. Paul VI confirmed him in that post where he remained until his retirement some ten years later.
– Cardinal Pericle Felici was appointed Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura by Pope Paul VI in August of 1977. Following his elevation to the papacy more than a year later, Pope John Paul II confirmed him in the position; one he continued to hold until his death in 1982.
– Cardinal Burke’s predecessor, Archbishop (later Cardinal) Agostino Vallini was appointed by Pope John Paul II in May of 2004, and was promptly reconfirmed in that position by Pope Benedict XVI less than month after ascending to the Chair of St. Peter in April of 2005. He remained in the post until Burke was made Prefect in 2008.
As for the comment, “we are thinking of a juridical restructuring in the G9,” don’t be distracted from the real question at hand; namely, why does Pope Francis find it necessary to remove Cardinal Burke from a post that he has filled faithfully and with great passion for many years, and clearly desires to maintain?
While the restructuring of the Curia may have played a hand in Burke’s extended “until otherwise provided for” status, it most certainly had nothing to do with the decision to reassign him.
In other words, it’s not as if the pope isn’t quite sure whether or not the Tribunal will retain its independent status and thus remain in need of a Prefect of its own. This much is obvious given the fact that a new Prefect, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, has just been appointed to replace Cardinal Burke.
To the delight of the papal excuse makers, Pope Francis went on to call Burke a “smart American,” and said that he deliberately waited to send the cardinal off on his extended vacation in Ceremonyland so he could be present at the Extraordinary Synod!
According to seasoned Vaticanista Robert Moynihan of Inside the Vatican, who is either suffering a nasty sugar overdose of his own or is perhaps just playing the “three-cheers-for-Francis” game as a matter of self-preservation (not that there’s all that much difference):
This is evidence that the decision to change Burke’s post had nothing to do with the conflict which emerged during the Synod itself.
Can you even stand the journalistic insight!
Let me guess… Next we’re going to be informed that the decision to yank Cardinal Burke from the Congregation for Bishops; replacing him with Cardinal Wuerl – a man who imagines a dichotomy between “doctrinal givens,” like the gravity of adultery, and “pastoral applications,” like offering Holy Communion to unrepentant adulterers – also had nothing to do with the Synod.
Anyone who has been paying even a modicum of attention knows very well that Cardinal Burke has been in Francis’ crosshairs for quite some time. (He was, after all, left unconfirmed all these many months for a reason.)
As for making sure that Cardinal Burke was present at the Synod; big deal.
Many bishops of a similar mind were there present to witness firsthand the pope’s machinations. The Holy Father clearly wasn’t concerned that the presence of one “smart American” was going to derail his plans for “making a mess.”
As it is, history will forever recall that Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke was there when Extraordinary Synod 2014 published its infamous interim report, the document of which Bishop Athanasius Schneider said:
This is the first time in Church history that such a heterodox text was actually published as a document of an official meeting of Catholic bishops under the guidance of a pope… It’s an indication to the extent that the spirit of the anti-Christian world has already penetrated such important levels of the life of the Church.
Incidentally, this abominable text remains available in multiple languages on the website of the Holy See for all to see.
As for the revelation that Cardinal Burke actually thanked the pope, accepted his “offer” and “even seemed to like it,” who would have expected anything less than a gracious response from this seasoned Curial prelate?
Moving on to the heart of the matter…
Those with eyes to see are being given a glimpse at just how crafty His Humbleness really is when he states, “He accepted my offer…”
You have to give credit where credit is due; Pope Francis is a master of subtlety!
Be not fooled, however, in no sense was Cardinal Burke’s then pending reassignment an “offer.”
Only the insipid (of which there are many, obviously) can imagine for even a moment that the Bishop of Rome and the lame duck Prefect were involved in some sort of consultative process concerning the latter’s future. This, however, is precisely the message deliberately implied.
At this, let us return to where we began; the Roman game, a veritable fencing match wherein seemingly innocuous commentary offered for publication is readily recognized by the initiated for the verbal public undressing it is intended to be.
“A smart American who would know how to get around… he is a man that gets around a lot, he does a lot of traveling…”
Please allow me to translate the pope’s words as read through the lens of Romanspeak; bearing in mind that they were not so much about Cardinal Burke as they were directed to Cardinal Burke in order to skewer him in the plain sight of his confreres; understanding that there is also a warning shot being fired therein for the benefit of every other prelate who just so happens to be cut from a similar cloth:
“So, Eminence, it would seem that you have a penchant for international travel, especially given your many journeys back to the United States where you so graciously offer the old Mass for those restorationists who, for whatever reason, are attached to that fashion… Perhaps you’d be better suited for a more ceremonial position that allows you the freedom to move about?”
In conclusion, Pope Francis didn’t downplay the tension that exists between himself and Cardinal Burke; on the contrary, he confirmed it.
Absolutely nailed it. I’ve noticed that although I disagree with you on the substantive issues, you see through BS as well as I do.
Now I wish the Holy Father would have reminded the reporter that he would have been completely within his rights as Vicar of Christ and Supreme Governor of the Church to remove Burke from the College of Cardinals. Perhaps that is a move we can hope for in the future.
“Incidentally, this abominable text remains available in multiple languages on the website of the Holy See for all to see.”
I would not hold your breath for its removal. The working document for the Synod in 2008 is still there, and includes the following statement (at #15; emphases added):
“c. In summary, the following can be said with certainty…
with regards to what might be inspired in the many parts of Sacred Scripture,
inerrancy applies only to ‘that truth which God wanted put into sacred writings for the sake of salvation’ (DV 11)”.
As far as I can tell, the outcome of the Synod vis-a-vis the above statement has been inconclusive. Fr. Brian Harrison, who in a blog post righty described the statement as “heterodox”, concludes a 2009 article on the subject as follows:
“We may well pray that the See of Peter does indeed soon ‘clarify’ this difficult issue effectively and authoritatively.”
I can find no such clarification under either Josef Ratzinger or Jorge Bergoglio.
Fr. Harrison’s blog post and article are here (links must be prefixed with “http:”):
As you say, another “stick in the eye”. The only people the Bishop of Rome seems to reserve his catty criticisms for are in fact serious Roman Catholics.
I agree with your reading, Lou.
No ppe has never been so nasty, dishonest and hypcritical; he’s a free-thinking liberal who hates all who actually have faith…
The Dec 7th report by “La Nacion” provided another good example of the Papal “word-games” you’ve demonstrated here. Pope Francis says he was puzzled when hearing that Cardinal Burke told a reporter (in the Spanish Catholic “Vida Nueva” Oct 30th), that the Catholic Church under Francis’ direction is a “ship without a rudder.”
“Those expressions strike me as odd”, the Pope said. “I am not aware of anybody using them.”The media quoted them.” “However, until I can ask the people involved, ‘Have you said this?’ I will have brotherly doubts.”
We’re apparently supposed to believe he was unable to “ask the people involved” during the entire 5 1/2 weeks between Burke’s interview and this one; despite how famous he’s become for telephoning people- whenever he actually wants to speak with them.
The interviewer ended with this classic line -which is every bit as nauseating as watching “Plim-Plim”: “In yet another display of his storied humility, Francis said that becoming pope was the last thing on his mind 21 months ago. “ From the start I said to myself, ‘Jorge, don’t change, just keep on being yourself, because to change at your age would be to make a fool of yourself.”
“That’s why I’ve always kept on doing what I used to do in Buenos Aires. Perhaps even making my old mistakes.”
THAT’s true. He’s still berating priests for following Church laws; promoting false ecumenism and delighting the Ark Community. But as for not making a fool of himself…
Louie: I’m surprised you didn’t mention this quote from Francis as reported regarding the interview:
“The pope admitted that he was puzzled a few weeks ago when U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke told a reporter that the Catholic Church under Francis’ direction is a ‘ship without a rudder.’
“Those expressions strike me as odd. I am not aware of anybody using them. The media quoted them. However, until I can ask the people involved, ‘Have you said this?’ I will have brotherly doubts,” he told the Argentinian newspaper La Nacion last week, in the first one-one-interview with a Latin American outlet.
Francis has “brotherly doubts”! Ain’t that one for the books?
As I’ve said before, unfortunately we are so desperate for a tradition-minded prelate to rally around, many look to Burke. But realize he is only another of the weak who will probably, when confronted by Francis, tell him it was not he, Burke, who said those awful things about the pretend pope, but people who were telling him their feelings.
After all, to keep his cardinal’s hat, he will confirm Francis’ “brotherly doubts.”
This all only solidifies our resolve to protect, defend and restore tradition. I also pray this sets His Eminence up to fall into the papacy during the next conclave.
Pope Francis might marginalize traditional and conservative bishops/ Cardinals, priests, religious and laity, but wait until he abdicates. Just as the liberals came out of the closet with the abdication of Pope Benedict, so will those who are tired of this time of confusion and games.
Pope Clement XIV, pray for us!
That is a most disgusting thing to say. You are an enemy of the Faith and all who uphold it according to their sacred mission.
The disgraceful interview published by La Nacion is being circulated by some very naive people as somehow showing the Pope wasn’t punishing Cardinal Burke and getting him out of a powerful position where he could continue to defend and uphold the doctrine of the Faith and the moral law in the face of the continual diabolic attacks from the Holy See administration and the episcopate.
When the door is opened to compromise with Satan, reason rushes out.
There is mass ignorance in response to the mass apostasy among our Church leaders. This farce of continuing to a loudly admire the naked Emperor’s fine clothing has gone on for a bizarrely-long time.
Dear Indignus Famulus, the whole “interview” was a farce. The question which contained a statement that the Pope was a very clear teacher reads as parody.
The “interview” is nothing but propaganda, and not very subtle propaganda. Anyone who accepts the statements of the Pope therein at face value is either extremely ignorant or colluding with a diabolic propaganda scheme.
Anyone who could read this interview and accept the pontiff’s statements as intellectually honest is, as Louie intimated, either in possession of the intellect of a child or has drunk deeply from the Fountain of Papalotry soaking the Church in the present day. It is such an obvious pile of pure hogwash. How utterly shameful.
I second Lynda’s comment: you are an unabashed, obstinate enemy of the faith who has forwarded objectively heretical positions in this space on multiple occasions. The most prominent example is probably your [repeated, adamant] assertion that Catholic doctrine can change substantially in meaning. That is the essence of modernism.
As for the pope’s “rights”, you have no understanding of the relationship of canon law to divine law nor of true vs. false obedience.
There is no “divine law” that prevents the Pope from removing Burke from the College of Cardinals. I’m sure you know that though.
As for the question of whether or not doctrine can change, I have an idea to offer the Holy Father.
Before the synod next year, I would appoint Cardinal Burke to chair a commission of theologians with one simple mandate. Did Vatican II’s Dignitatis Humanae change Church teaching on whether or not heretics can be executed by the state for their heresy?
In this age of ISIS, when neo-conservatives the world over talk endlessly about those barbaric muslims who execute people for the “crime” of insulting Muhammad or apostatizing from the muslim cult, seeing Burke squirm as he either upholds the traditional teaching that a Catholic state could execute heretics OR accept that V2 changed the teaching would be an absolute delight.
Of course you are right, Louie.
And it remains embarrassing that Pope Francis continues to set his course through these risible interviews.
On the good side, once has abdicated, we’ll laugh at his “style” of misgovernance.
Let’s pray that, in 78 and in dubious health, he retires soon to his beloved Argentina.
Divine Law and Natural Law encompass Natural Justice based on God-given natural reason. To penalise a person unjustly is against Divine Law. To remove an orthodox, good cardinal from the College would be to unjustly penalise him.
Every word coming from Bergoglio’s mouth is cunning and calculating. Louie has done a wonderful job of reading in between the lines. I never thought the day would come when I would be so distrustful of the man sitting on the Throne of Peter. Pope Humble I loves to use his authority to squash anything or anyone that is truly Catholic. Could we expect the next pope to be any different or perhaps even worse? The world needs a miracle and a future pope who is courageous and saintly. Let us pray for that day.
You’re so right, it was pure propaganda. We have wonder though, if even the Pope’s greatest sycophants won’t get a little nauseated trying to swallow the part where he says he actually thinks Burke LIKES his new assignment(/demotion) because he gets to travel more!
(insert cross-eyed grimace- face here)
Shouldn’t you be concerned about getting your wish here?
If Burke were to get such an appointment, he might be able to convince enough reasonable people- who understand that VII was left as pastoral (and purposely not declared dogmatic), that the novelties and softer “practices” it mistakenly engendered, like false ecumenism, and an end to capital punishment by fire? -should be abandoned in favor of the old more solid disciplines- which were designed in true Charity to value the soul above the body; protect the uncontaminated; and put all thinking men in mind of the gravity of burning in Hell for all eternity due to un-repented heresy.
– You might then end up becoming one of it’s first modern victims, if Isis doesn’t get to you first.
Good point Indignus! But, what I feel the world needs most now is CLARITY so I would be willing to take that chance.
Boy oh boy! Where’s the eldest Billy Goat Gruff when you need him?
He is absolutely shameless. He is smugly and triumphantly mocking Cardinal Burke.
If we had a pope that defended the Deposit of the Faith and the moral law, states and interstate governments would be vying to get their hands on him to torture and kill him.
There is none so blind as he who will not see.
You write: “the whole “interview” was a farce.”
With all due respect, far from it.
This interview is a watershed.
I think this is the first time that Francis has let his guard down, and has exposed for all to see just how banal, shallow, and what’s more, delusional he really is. Case in point: “proselytizm does not gain converts”.
But this is not the point that I want to make. The most important take away from this interview is the following exchange:
Question: As a Pope you are different because you speak with utmost clarity, you are completely straightforward, you don´t use euphemisms and don´t beat about the bush, the course of your papacy is extremely clear. Why do you think some sectors are disoriented, why do they say the ship is without a rudder, especially after the latest extraordinary synod of bishops on the challenges posed by the family?
Francis: Those expressions strike me as odd. I am not aware of anybody using them. The media quote them. However, until I can ask the people involved “have you said this?” I will have brotherly doubts. In general people don´t read about what is going on. Somebody did say to me once, “Of course, of course. Insight is so good for us but we need clearer things”. And I answered, “Look, I wrote an encyclical, true enough, it was a big job, and an Apostolic Exhortation, I´m permanently making statements, giving homilies; that´s teaching. That´s what I think, not what the media say that I think. Check it out, it´s very clear. Evangelii Gaudium is very clear”.
What is the most important aspect of the answer is that Francis IDENTIFIES his magisterium. He tells the world what his magisterium is comprised of and that is this:
“Look, I wrote an encyclical, true enough, it was a big job, and an Apostolic Exhortation, I´m permanently making statements, giving homilies; that´s teaching.”
Yes, that is Francis’s magisterium. And no Pollyanna going forward can ever say that what Francis says at the Ricca Hotel, or off the cuff comment is irrelevant.
Going further, the next pontiff can come along and easily prove that the stuff Francis said, didn’t matter since he wasn’t teaching ex cathedra… in fact, in reality he wasn’t even teaching since his formulations are not even logical or rational to begin with.
What’s happened is that all the calls for Francis to make a statement about his position have forced Francis to drop the euphemisms, or what Mr. V calls the “Pseudosacral homopoetic prose” and this in turn has shown the world that what in fact he is saying is nothing at all. It’s gibberish!!!!!!!
On a PS Think about what the “feeble minded” Benedict can do to the entirety of Francis’s work with just one letter to an editor.
The man more to ‘his’ disliking; everyone had favourites and those not so favourite. But as for vegeance. ‘It is mine’, saith the Lord.
“Bergoglio(more politely and falsely known as ‘Francis’) didn’t retaliate against Cardinal Burke” in a way that any right believing human Cristian could mistake, just the 99.99% of the flumoxed flaotsam and jetsam of post-‘Papal-authority’… Sad to say, on the surface, Cardinal Burke is just one such. If he truly believes that Bergoglio is ‘Christ’s Vicar on Earth’, then, ‘berogolio speed’ him, otherwise, he must know about the ‘crisis’, and know that his treatment is satan’s taunt, that he is Job, that God is God and that Bergogolio is, well, satan friends.
Excellent points, and we heartily agree.
– Just to clarify, we think what Lynda and we were referring to regarding the farcical and propaganda-like nature of the article, were the apparently intended and desired results – both by the author, and likely by Francis– to impress his adoring fans with more of his humility and sincerity, while attempting to get him “off the hook” about any retaliatory motives connected with his demotion of Cardinal Burke. The fact that the opposite came through loudly and clearly despite that, or even because of it, is a bonus (further blessing from God) to all of us, but one they obviously were not expecting or intending–would you agree?
Dear S Armaticus, I think you know what I mean. The “interview” is propaganda, and as you’ve identified, NOT subtle propaganda. He is so confident of his power and popularity, he thinks he can say what he wants even though to a reasonable, honest person it shows how disingenuous and shallow and cruel he is. This, like other statements by the Pope to his anti-Catholic “interviewers” exposes him to those who wish to see the truth. However, there are still many groups of Catholics who are circulating this interview by way of support for Pope Francis’s not penalising Cardinal Burke, not opposing doctrine of the Faith and moral law, etc.!!! I’m serious. People who acted like rational beings prior to Pope Francis are now acting like Emperor’s obsequious idiots, and standing reason on its head in their defence of the Naked Emperor.
I hold to this “interview” being a farce, in that it is false. It is a collusion to mislead those who want to be misled.
And I repeat, the question wherein the Pope is lauded as such a clear teacher, etc. (which you quoted, supra.) reads like parody. If one wanted to write a parody of the Pope’s interviews with anti-Catholic, adoring “journalists”, one couldn’t do better than this!! Black is white, white is black.
Well done on your worthy new Catholic blog.
Thank you for your kind words.
As to the interview, there are many different levels.
What you are seeing is Francis talking tough.
And here you are 100% correct.
But if you drill down deeper into what he is doing, he is in fact panicing. Read the last two answers in the interview about Kasper. Kasper is for all intents and purposes considered anethma in Rome now. And Francis is trying to bale the poor slob out. Recently a group of uber leftists calling themselves the Friends of Francis had an event at a Roman restaurant. Kasper was the guest speaker. There were less than 20 people at this function. And that included the organizers and the restaurant staff. Doesn’t sound like a victor riding into Rome.
I know this is a bit selfserving, but read my recent post titles “The Modernist’s Magic Words. It lays out my argumentation, and I haven’t even gotten to Kasper yet.
And like I tell others who communicate with me, don’t let appearances deceive you.
Once again thank you for your kind words, and God bless.
Yes, S Armaticus, I agree that the extreme sloppiness of, and even the decision to be “asked” (of course, questions generally determined by the Pope) and answer these questions about the Synod and Burke (scandals) show a desperation to have a certain version of events that can compete with the truthful version gaining some traction.
However, as I said there are still large swathes of people who are “active” in the Church, and who claim to accept its teachings, that are being taken in by him, or allowing themselves to be taken in by him. Many of them may private rely realise his excuses do not make sense, but because of their position, they will publicly go along with him, and just ignore the glaring evils and inconsistencies. Furthermore, those priests, bishops and cardinals who have determined not to acknowledge any opposition to Faith and morals by the Pope (a considerable number, because it includes not just modernists but many who uphold the Faith generally, but will not accept the fact of a pope doing grave evil due to various weaknesses or errors) will continue to encourage and admonish these naive or erring people to see the Pope as not intentionally doing anything against the Faith and morals.
I just wouldn’t be as optimistic as you are (or, apparently, Mundabor is) that this indicates a weakening of Pope Francis’s power in the Church, his power to continue doing grave damage to the Church, Faith and morals, countless souls through his words and actions (including persecution of the good prelates and religious, and promotion of the bad prelates, religious, etc., within the Church.
But I do hope your expectation is realised.
It’s a good idea to look at the bigger picture. Yes, it’s very unfair that Cardinal Burke has been demoted by Francis. It’s possible that our Lord is allowing Cardinal Burke to be tested, because He has bigger plans for him later. At the next conclave, the cardinals who are orthodox will remember how Cardinal Burke stood up for the true teachings of Christ and His Church. Cardinal Burke will still be with us after Francis has gone to his eternal reward, since the Pope is elderly. We just have to wait and be patient, and not allow every idiotic and un-Catholic thing that the Pope says and does to disturb our peace, since there isn’t much that we can really do about it (except to pray and offer sacrifices, because it does work to do these things, though it’s not as much fun as worrying about the bad things that the Pope does).
Your comment further illustrates your misunderstanding of divine vs. canon law and the relationship between the two.