Saturday, November 15, 2014

Fr. Dwight Longenecker on Cardinal Burke's reassignment

Fr. Dwight Longenecker, "Good Bye To Burke?" (Patheos, November 8, 2014):

Cardinal Burke’s transfer from being the Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura to be patron of the Knights of Malta is a startling move which will almost certainly prove to be disastrous for Pope Francis.
Whether he likes it or not, Cardinal Burke has emerged from the recent synod on the family as the figurehead for the conservative resistance to Pope Francis. Burke rejects the charge that he is anything but loyal to the Holy Father in this interview at Aleteia, but this is not the perception which either the media pundits on either the progressive or conservative sides are seeing. Burke has said the church seems to be “rudderless”. He has emerged as the most outspoken critic of the Kasperite modernizers and both Michael Sean Winters here and Fr Z. here agree that Cardinal Burke’s new, largely ceremonial role, rather than silencing him, actually frees Burke from real responsibility thus giving him the freedom to become the voice of resistance to what many perceive as an increasingly progressive agenda within the Vatican.
Burke will probably continue to criticize the “Kasperites” like Cardinal Baldisseri–the Secretary of the synod on the Family and the progressive Archbishop Bruno Forte, and his apparent demotion will give him the global megaphone and status as a media figure. The media loves a conflict and they love figureheads and personalities who represent a particular stance. Whether he likes it or not, and whether it is true or not, by transferring Burke in this way Pope Francis has created a media megaphone for his increasingly disillusioned conservative opponents.
Damian Thompson has written a particularly acerbic piece this week saying Watch Out Pope Francis the Catholic Civil War Has Begun while New York Times columnist Ross Douthat reports here on the chaos that took place in the synod and hints of rebellion in the ranks and a looming schism.
All of this is disastrous for the church’s mission, and by seeming to demote Cardinal Burke Pope Francis has not only given the conservatives a clear leader, but he has made Burke a cause celebre and a kind of martyr. Many conservatives who already see emeritus Pope Benedict as their “real pope” will rally around Cardinal Burke. There is nothing that unites a faction more than the sense of being persecuted, and there is little that rallies those who feel marginalized more than the idea that they are being persecuted by a cabal of shadowy figures behind the scenes who are conspiring against them. If it is a Vatican insider circle all the more tantalizing.
Whether this is what is actually happening or not is beside the point. Whether Cardinal Burke sees himself as a latter day Archbishop Lefevbre or not is beside the point. Whether Pope Francis and a gang of cronies really are secret progressives intent on destroying the Catholic Church from within or not–all this is irrelevant.
Burke’s transfer first from the Congregation of Bishops and now from the Apostolic Signatura will appear to be not only a demotion, but one which is very personal in nature. No one has suggested that he has done either job badly and there is no whiff of scandal or impropriety. Therefore people will conclude, rightly or wrongly, that Pope Francis didn’t like the guy so he fired him. Whether this is true or not, does not matter.
What matters is that this is how many conservative  Catholics will perceive what is happening, and it is this perception that will drive their reactions and future events in the Catholic Church.
Furthermore, this is also how the progressives will interpret the transfer. They will rejoice at Burke’s departure, and their chortles of triumph will add to the division in the church causing conservatives to circle the wagons and load their muskets.
In practical terms the actual effect of moving Cardinal Burke from the Apostolic Signatura may be insignificant.
However, the symbolic impact will be huge, and it is difficult to see how it can be anything but a disaster for both Pope Francis’ papacy, the reforms he wishes to introduce, and the church at large.
I may be wrong, and I do not profess to be any kind of expert in Vatican goings on, but if a good number of conservative Catholics do read the events in this way, then as Ross Douthat has observed, Pope Francis may find himself trying to shepherd not a flock of submissive sheep, but a herd of stubborn oxen–not just dumb oxen, but angry bulls with heads down, pawing the ground and ready to charge.


12 comments:








BenYachov

said...

Why Cardinal Burke cannot lead a 'loyal opposition'


http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/otn.cfm?id=1059

Still Six years longer than any of his predecessors since the 70's.

I am still suspicious that the so called "conservative" Catholic media has played me.
I don't like that I usually trust the "conservative" Catholic media & it's the liberals I don't give the time of day too.

It is bizarre.





BenYachov

said...

Some thoughts.

>Whether Cardinal Burke sees himself as a latter day Archbishop Lefevbre or not is beside the point.

More like not.

Lefevbre was disobedient & feckless. His actions forever tarnished love of traditional scholasticism, traditional Catholic philosophy, traditional liturgy and the love of beauty of all things born & renewed from the reforms of St Pius V.

Thanks to him "traditionalism" is sometimes a dirty word even when not qualified with phrases like "Radical", "Extremist", " Schismatic" or"Radtrad".

I can't image Cardinal Burke ever rebelling against the Holy Father threw rank disobedience like Lefevbe did. Burke gave the best example. He obeyed. God will reward him for it & it will only bless the Church.

>Pope Francis may find himself trying to shepherd not a flock of submissive sheep, but a herd of stubborn oxen–not just dumb oxen, but angry bulls with heads down, pawing the ground and ready to charge.

Just like every Pope before him starting with St Peter.

But trust in Divine Providence comforts me at this time.





Pertinacious Papist

said...

Ben,

You sound like you're ready to join Martin Luther who tossed onto his bonfire the books of canon law and works of scholastic theology along with the Papal Bull excommunicating him, and like you don't know much about Abp. Lefebvre (disobedient, yes; but "feckless"?? Please.)





Pertinacious Papist

said...

Ben,

Burke is the ONLY kind of man who can lead a "loyal opposition." The fact that Burke has no personal animus against the Holy Father and is an obedient subject doesn't mean that he "can't" lead a loyal opposition; it's what gives him the credentials to do so, just as he already has (and, yes: he has).

Josef Pieper has an essay in which he points out that the only credible critics of the Church are her loyal sons and daughters, those invested in love and loyalty toward her. Such is Cardinal Burke, and such are many of those you seem intent on impugning, I'm sorry to say.





BenYachov

said...

Yes we are going to have to strongly disagree here doc.

>You sound like you're ready to join Martin Luther who tossed onto his bonfire the books of canon law and works of scholastic theology along with the Papal Bull excommunicating him,

Yeh Doc that doesn’t make any sense to me. Luther rebelled against the Pope like Lefebvre. I will be loyal till death God willing & by His grace.

> and like you don't know much about Abp. Lefebvre (disobedient, yes; but "feckless"?? Please.)

I pretty much do I’ve been arguing with SSPX types since forever.

Trying to do evil so that good may come of it is feckless. Illicitly Consecrating Bishops especially Williamson who was only Catholic for about
5 years & was to put it mildly a nuter didn’t help advance love of the Old Mass or a restoration of Traditional liturgy or scholasticism. It has tainted Traditionalism.

Schism is intrinsically evil. That is the unanimous teaching of the Fathers. As Augustine said there is no excuse for schism even if it is admitted the Church is being ruled by wicked and sinful men.

I believe that with all my heart.

>Burke is the ONLY kind of man who can lead a "loyal opposition.” The fact that Burke has no personal animus against the Holy Father and is an obedient subject doesn't mean that he "can't" lead a loyal opposition; it's what gives him the credentials to do so, just as he already has (and, yes: he has).

Clearly he doesn’t want the job. Clearly he doesn’t see himself as the opposition. That is a good place to be since there has been since the reign of St John Paul enough reactionary knives out for the Pope.

>Josef Pieper has an essay in which he points out that the only credible critics of the Church are her loyal sons and daughters, those invested in love and loyalty toward her.

That he will speak out is his right as a Cardinal and is His duty. Like I said before that is the job of the Cardinals and Bishops & I am not against it. It’s not my job here in lay land to do his job. But I doubt he will put himself up as the head of an alternate Church in opposition to the Pope like the misguided french archbishop.

Bishops in priestly fraternities are meant to provide Holy Orders to their members not exercise jurisdiction. Yet the French Archbishop’s fab four did just that. I doubt very much Burke is going to do anything like Lefevre did or his followers because if he did God help us all he would contribute to the problem instead of being part of the solution.

>Such is Cardinal Burke, and such are many of those you seem intent on impugning, I'm sorry to say.

Well I am sure Cardinal Burke is happy to know you have mapped out his itinerary but I think you should check with him first. As for impugning people I don’t know what you are talking about. Other than bash Lefebvre I have impugned nobody on this thread.

If I have please tell me I am all ears.





Mighty Joe Young

said...

The tendency of far too many priests and reporters is to cram all ecclesiastical activities into political categories - conservative & progressive- and that tends to feed the very real problem of the dictatorship of relativism decried by Bishop Emeritus Ratzinger.

Conservatives and progressives are relative terms.

When to comes to matters of Faith, we ought to speak about truth and error and weren't we Catholics counseled to contend zealously for the Faith?





Anonymous

said...

"Schism is intrinsically evil."

So are indulged in fornication and homsexuality. But you would be hard pressed to hear clear articulations of this from clerical circles/ Meanwhile, someone please explain to me what dangerous teachings are coming from a man like Fellay, versus Kasper?





BenYachov

said...

@anon

>So are indulged in fornication and homsexuality.

Indeed but I still think there is some confusion here over the homosexual orientation which is merely objectively disordered and not morally evil in itself or even intrinsically evil but at worst evil in it's accidents.

Too many gays think, we think, they are evil for having a homosexual orientation.

But I believe the bulk of the Bishops merely wish to convey what Cardinal Burke himself tried to convey to the Mother of a Lesbian in a gay "marriage".

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/we-have-to-judge-acts-vaticans-cardinal-burke-dismantles-who-am-i-to-judge

QUOTE"“’No’, I said, ‘the acts which your daughter is committing are evil. Your daughter is not evil, but she needs to come to understand the truth about her situation.’”

"...The Vatican cardinal added that while we can judge acts as gravely sinful we can’t say that a particular person is in grave sin, since “perhaps you are committing them without even knowing that they are gravely sinful, or perhaps you are committing them without fully consenting, who knows?”


>But you would be hard pressed to hear clear articulations of this from clerical circles/ Meanwhile, someone please explain to me what dangerous teachings are coming from a man like Fellay, versus Kasper?

They are both dangerous. Thought Kasper at least for all his major faults has the good sense not to formally rebel.

Is it because of a conscience desire to subvert from within or does he have a legitimate fear of being lost if he goes outside the Church?

Let God judge Him. I am not involved.

On another post here there is some discussion on the PreV2 vs Post V2 view of those outside the visible communion of the Church.

It has been pointed out to me by the good Doc B that many in the Vatican don't see the SSPX as really schismatic or outside the Church.

Yes but here is the rub are they judging the SSPX by Pre V2 or Post V2 standards?

Because it seems to me by PreV2 standard they are found wanting.

This is not a judgement on their souls. That is for God alone. But their acts..........





Michael

said...

As much as I have enjoyed reading Fr. Longnecker, Dr. Taylor Marshall, and other like minded, former separated brethren received into full communion with the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church (one thinks of even more pertinacious men like Gerry Matatics and Robert Sungenis), increasingly I find their posts self referential projections that are reminiscent of an abiding, habitual protest-antism. Mr. Sungenis flew right through his reversion to the Church to a rad/trad organization. Mr. Matatics sailed right through his reception into full communion to the same. Dr. Taylor Marshall ran afoul of his ordinary after his reception into full communion with a latent 'traditionalist' bent. Now Fr. Longnecker is musing on so-called 'conservative' Catholics private hand wringing and public grumblings against St. Peter's successor as a result of perceived slights; or is it psychological projection?

I recently read John Allen Jr's series on Cardinal Francis George who, tomorrow, will retire. One would imagine alleged 'conservative' Catholics would be willing to hear what it is he has to say considering his unofficial title as the intellectual heavyweight of the USCCB. He has presciently reiterated that conservative / liberal and left / right monikers have no place in the Church. They actually grew out of the Jacobin French Revolution. When the egalitarian legislature convened the major factions sat either on the right (conservative: i. e. monarchists loyal to the Church) or the left (i. e. the radical Jacobins) of the presiding officer. Why people in the Church would even consider using language that grew out of the French Revolution is beyond me.

Is truth necessary? Absolutely. However, is love necessary? Absolutely. For people who take the Incarnation seriously, God is not either human or divine; but, rather, both human and divine. You cannot divorce one side of the coin (such as an abiding concern for the Church's orthodox teaching) from the other side (a concern for the poor, for social justice, for faith in action) without mutating the seamless garment that is the Church. The incarnational principle means that doctrinal orthodoxy and pastoral application are indispensable and really one in the same thing ('Caritas in veritate' - to plagiarize Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's title).

Dissent and discord and factionalism and lobbying is beneath the dignity of a faithful daughter or son of the Church ("We are Legion for we are many"). It is unity that Jesus Christ came to bring. Unity around the truth? Absolutely. But, it is by our love that the world will know that we are His disciples. The Pope, whether we like his policies or his manner of implementing them or the way he communicates, is the visible sign of unity in the Church.

A little more charity, please and a lot less factional lobbying - it is wordly and secular and protest-antish.





Charles

said...

Michael,

Just as Mr. Obama, the President of national unity, has foisted upon the nation a hitherto unimaginable polarization, so Pope Bergoglio, the Pope of world unity, has provoked within the Church a factionalism unprecedented. This pope is a divider, like Obama, and you can see it in all of his finger-wagging homilies.

As for me and my house, I will not be a partisan of Peter or Paul or Appollos or Bergoglio or Ratzinger or Wojtyla, but of Jesus Christ. Yes, the pope is the vicar of Christ; but this one has made the task of walking the razor's edge between love and truth doubly difficult. The cause of factionalism cannot be laid entirely at the feet of the faithful.





Pertinacious Papist

said...

Michael,

Thanks for your always-thoughtful remarks. You're a good man, just like the other Michael, Michael Voris, who is concerned to avoid seeming to criticize the Holy Father.

We live in an era whose technology has made it radically unlike previous ages of the Church. The Pope tweets his thoughts, and others tweet his off-the-cuff remarks around the globe. This had made things very messy.

Meanwhile, the church in the West is imploding, from Europe to South America to even the U.S. where the number of churches closed has been doubling every decade. I recently talked to someone from Canada who said that the number of Catholics in his province who believe and practice what the Church teaches has fallen to perhaps around 1000 people.

Love and truth go together, as you suggest; but finding the truth, not in the settled deposit of Faith but in public declarations by representatives of the Church, has become a difficult business, with off-the-cuff remarks to the press and tweets and subsequent revisions and denials abounding. It was probably easier when all we had were newspapers and rare encyclicals.

Furthermore, it's not as if the laity is without responsibility. You may have heard that the USCCB voted to accept a suggestion made your erstwhile friend, Robert Sungenis, which will result in a correction being made to future editions of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Oremus invicem.





BenYachov

said...

>Furthermore, it's not as if the laity is without responsibility. You may have heard that the USCCB voted to accept a suggestion made your erstwhile friend, Robert Sungenis, which will result in a correction being made to future editions of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Just curious? What corrections might that be coming from a man who not only plagiarized Neo-Nazi material but teaches "God has emotions" and can "change his mind"?

Also is he the actual instigator of the corrections or is it just a correlation without causality?

Just curious.