Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Robert Mickens on Disproportionate Influence of Cardinal Burke's Groupies: Tail Wagging Dog

Robert Mickens reports that, as he leaves his Curia post, Cardinal Raymond Burke continues to fan the flames: to be specific, he continues to speak of the possibility of schism in the Catholic church, if the leaders of the church do not choose to dance to his tune:

Pope Francis' transfer of Cardinal Raymond Burke on Saturday from being the Vatican's "chief justice" to a mere cardinal-protector of the Knights of Malta has intensified yet more irresponsible talk of schism within the Catholic church. 
And top prize for the person most responsible for being irresponsible goes to none other than the man wearing the long red train. Yes, to Burke himself. 
In an interview with the news site Breitbart.com just days before he was officially removed as prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the 66-year-old American cardinal again stoked the fires. He said if bishops, in the months leading to next year's second gathering of the Synod of Bishops on the family, were seen to move "contrary to the constant teaching and practice of the Church, there is a risk [of schism] because these are unchanging and unchangeable truths." 
In the same interview, he urged Catholics to "speak up and act."

As Mickens also notes, Burke's groupies are a tiny minority within the Catholic church, but have disproportionate influence in some sectors of the church — especially in the United States:

The cardinal's fan base is made up mainly of Tridendine Mass devotees and proponents of the so-called "reform of the reform" of the liturgy, as well as other socially conservative Catholics. They all march (though some seem to just sleepwalk) under the banner of the "hermeneutic of continuity," a phrase they mistakenly attribute to Benedict XVI. (The retired pope actually espoused a "hermeneutic of reform," defining it as "a combination of continuity and discontinuity at different levels" and "innovation in continuity.") 
Fortunately, the Burke groupies are a tiny minority within the much, much wider church. But, unfortunately, a good part of this minority seem to be seminarians (especially in English- and French-speaking areas), and a good number of priests ordained in the last five to 10 years. And then there are the bishops. Lamentably, there seem to be no lack of them. At least the loudest ones. And the United States would seem to have more than its fair share.

I'd add that Burke has disproprtionate sway within economic elites, particularly in the United States, who try in every way possible to influence the direction taken by the Catholic church at its top leadership level — to mute its teaching about socieconomic justice, and to use select culture-war issues, notably the abortion issue and the issue of same-sex marriage, to continue a politics of divide-and-conquer, reinforced by the religious right, that extends the political power and control of these elites.

Given Burke's power with these folks, I doubt by any means that we've heard the last of him.

The graphic: I find it at quite a few sites online, with no indicator of its original source.

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