Raymond Leo Burke
Raymond Leo Burke
|Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta|
|Appointed||November 8, 2014|
|Other posts||Cardinal-Deacon of S. Agata de’ Goti|
|Ordination||June 29, 1975
by Pope Paul VI
|Consecration||January 6, 1995
by Pope John Paul II
|Created Cardinal||November 20, 2010
by Pope Benedict XVI
June 30, 1948 |
Richland Center, Wisconsin
|Parents||Thomas and Marie Burke|
|Alma mater||Holy Cross Seminary
The Catholic University of America
North American College
|Motto||secundum cor tuum
(After your own heart)
|Coat of arms|
Raymond Leo Burke
|Reference style||His Eminence|
|Spoken style||Your Eminence|
|Ordination history of Raymond Leo Burke|
|Ordained by||Pope Paul VI|
|Date of ordination||29 June 1975|
|Principal consecrator||Pope John Paul II|
|Co-consecrators||Giovanni Battista Re (Subst. Gen. Aff.)
Jorge María Card. Mejía (Sec. Cong. Epis. & Sec. Coll. Card.)
|Date of consecration||January 6, 1995|
|Robert Finn||May 3, 2004|
|Philip Tartaglia||November 20, 2005|
|James Vann Johnston, Jr.||March 31, 2008|
Raymond Leo Burke (born June 30, 1948) is an American cardinal prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He serves as the patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, a position widely interpreted as a demotion from his previous position as Cardinal Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, which he held until November 2014.
Burke previously served as the archbishop of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Missouri (2003–2008) and as the bishop of the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin (1994–2003). He is a prominent canon lawyer and is often perceived as a voice of conservatism in the Roman Catholic Church and American politics.
- 1 Background
- 2 Priestly ministry
- 3 Episcopal ministry
- 4 Notable actions and statements
- 4.1 Politics, politicians, and abortion
- 4.2 Sheryl Crow concert
- 4.3 Saint Louis University staff
- 4.4 Role of women in the Church
- 4.5 Violations of liturgical norms
- 4.6 End-of-life palliative care and euthanasia
- 4.7 SSPX reintegration
- 4.8 Tridentine Mass
- 4.9 Antinomianism
- 4.10 Pope Francis's statements about abortion and marriage
- 4.11 Divorce
- 4.12 Homosexuality
- 4.13 Reaction to the 2014 Synod Relatio post disceptationem interim report
- 4.14 Priest shortage
- 5 Selected works
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Burke was born on June 30, 1948, in Richland Center, Wisconsin, the youngest of the six children of Thomas (died July 21, 1956) and Marie (died February 29, 1996) Burke. Burke went to St. Mary's Parish School in Richland Center from 1954 to 1959. In 2012, the new addition to St. Mary's Parish School was constructed and named in his honor: the Raymond Cardinal Burke Annex. The family later moved to Stratford, Wisconsin. A paternal great-grandfather came from County Tipperary, Ireland. From 1962 to 1968, he attended Holy Cross Seminary in La Crosse, Wisconsin. From 1968 to 1971, he studied at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. as a Basselin scholar and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1970 and a Master of Arts degree in 1971, both in philosophy. He completed studies for the priesthood at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome between 1971 and 1975, receiving a Bachelor of Sacred Theology degree and a Master of Arts, degree. Pope Paul VI ordained Burke to the priesthood on June 29, 1975, at Saint Peter's Basilica.
After his ordination to the priesthood, Burke was assigned as assistant rector of the Cathedral of St. Joseph the Workman in La Crosse, Wisconsin. He also taught religion at Aquinas High School in La Crosse (where the new addition the Bishop Burke Hall was named in his honor in 1997 and then in 2011 was renamed the Cardinal Burke Hall.) From 1980 to 1984, Burke studied canon law at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, where he received a licentiate in canon law in 1982 and a doctorate in canon law in 1984. He then returned to La Crosse where he was named the Moderator of the Curia and Vice Chancellor of the La Crosse diocese. In 1989, Pope John Paul II named Burke the first American Defender of the Bond of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the highest ecclesiastical court official in the Catholic Church apart from the Pope.
Bishop of La Crosse
On December 10, 1994, Pope John Paul II named Burke as Bishop of La Crosse, consecrating him to the episcopate on January 6, 1995, in St. Peter's Basilica. Burke took possession of the See of La Crosse on February 22, 1995.
In 2000 Burke convened the fifth diocesan synod for the Diocese of La Crosse, which resulted in the publication of Synod V, acts : celebrated June 11–14, 2000 in 2003. He was also named a Knight Commander with Star of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre in 1997 and received the Canon Law Society of America's Role of Law award in 2000. In 2002, he was influential in founding the Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem, an order of Augustinian canons dedicated to the traditional form of the liturgy.
During his tenure as Bishop of La Crosse, Burke constructed a shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas. He also installed a shrine to the Sacred Heart in the diocesan cathedral, reflecting his desire to encourage spiritual devotions.
Some priests in the Diocese of La Crosse have claimed that Burke's leadership there was divisive. The construction of the shrine, the diocese's withdrawal from Church World Service's annual Crop Walk, and his welcoming of traditional religious orders allegedly alienated some.
Archbishop of St. Louis
On December 2, 2003, Burke was named Archbishop of St. Louis, succeeding Cardinal Justin Francis Rigali (who had been appointed Archbishop of Philadelphia). He was installed on January 26, 2004 and was presented with the pallium on June 29, 2004 by Pope John Paul II. In St. Louis, Burke emphasized the promotion of vocations to the priesthood. He also published a column in the archdiocesan weekly newspaper, the Saint Louis Review. In both La Crosse and St. Louis, Burke established oratories for those who attend the Tridentine Rite. He invited the traditional Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest into his dioceses and ordained priests for the group both in the U.S. and abroad. His ordination of two traditionalist priests on June 15, 2007, was the first time in 40 years that the Tridentine rite of ordination had been used in the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. In July 2006, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Burke to the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the highest court in the Catholic Church. When an amendment to the Missouri Constitution that allows embryonic stem cell research was passed, he issued a statement opposing it.
During his tenure in Saint Louis, Burke was awarded two honorary doctorates in humane letters, one from Ave Maria University in 2005, the other from Christendom College in 2007. During his tenure, Burke was also involved in the beginning of a contest over the attempted closing of a church in the diocese, St. Stanislaus Kostka Church. After the Rev. Marek Bozek, then 37, led a Christmas Eve Mass in 2005, Burke "declare[d] that the church was in 'schism', a designation that led to the excommunication of Mr. Bozek and the church's lay board". In 2012, however, a state court agreed with the congregation, now an independent Catholic church, over the diocese on ownership of the parish's assets.
On May 6, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI named Burke to two Vatican offices. He was named a member of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, which authentically interprets canon law, and also became a member of the Congregation for the Clergy, which regulates the formation and training of diocesan priests and deacons.
Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura
On June 27, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Burke as Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. The Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura exercises final appellate jurisdiction for conflicts between two or more Vatican congregations and appeals of administrative decisions by diocesan bishops and Vatican congregations. Burke was the first non-European named to head the tribunal and became the second-highest ranking American prelate at the Vatican after Cardinal William Levada, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Burke's farewell Mass in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, held in the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis on August 17, 2008, was concelebrated by bishops George Joseph Lucas, Robert Joseph Hermann, John Joseph Leibrecht, John R. Gaydos, Robert W. Finn, Raymond James Boland, and Kevin William Vann.
On May 6, 2008, Burke was appointed a member of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, which authentically interprets canon law, and of the Congregation for the Clergy, which regulates the formation and training of diocesan priests and deacons; on October 17, 2009, of the Congregation for Bishops, the curial body that oversees the appointment of most Latin Church bishops outside mission territories; on July 6, 2010, of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments; on July 24, 2010, of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints; and on January 29, 2011, of the Council of Cardinals and Bishops of the Section for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State. On October 7, 2008, Burke was appointed President of the Commission for Advocates, which is responsible for admitting the world's qualified canon lawyers to a registry of those who may practice in the Vatican's courts, a sort of bar association.
On March 11, 2010, in the wake of the sexual abuse scandal that had come to light in Europe, Burke said that the Vatican needed to design a set of guidelines based in canon law that would guide bishops and tribunals worldwide in determining how to report the cases to the Holy See. Revisions would also be made to a policy formulated by Benedict that provided for high levels of secrecy in the process.
Elevation to the College of Cardinals and later roles
On November 20, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI elevated Burke to the cardinalate, as Cardinal-Deacon of Sant'Agata dei Goti, making Burke the fifth Archbishop of St. Louis to become a member of the College of Cardinals. On February 5, 2011, the memorial of St. Agatha, Burke took canonical possession of his titular church in Rome, Sant'Agata dei Goti.
In October 2012, Burke was appointed the President of the Commission for Controversies at the 13th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. On December 16, 2013, Burke was replaced by Cardinal Donald Wuerl on the Congregation for Bishops, the church body that selects new bishops.
In honor of Burke, St. Louis' archbishop, Robert James Carlson, created the Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke Chair in Canon Law at St. Louis's Kenrick-Glennon Seminary. In May 2011, Burke was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Steubenville, Ohio.
Removal from the Apostolic Signatura
On November 8, 2014, an expected demotion was confirmed and Burke was removed as prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, the final court of appeal for any ecclesiastical judgement. Burke was replaced at the Apostolic Signatura by Dominique Mamberti and was then appointed as Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, which is largely a ceremonial post usually given to a retired cardinal or as a secondary job to an active one.
This demotion was alleged to be related to his criticism of the Pope's leadership and proposals for reform. Notably, Burke said about the church under Pope Francis, "There is a strong sense that the church is like a ship without a rudder." Sources differ whether the move will likely strengthen or weaken Francis.
Pope Francis has denied that removing Burke as head of the Vatican’s highest court was a “punishment” for his outspoken conservative views at the 2014 synod, saying instead that he wanted a “smart American” to serve as patron of the Order of Malta. The pontiff said that the move was part of a broader restructuring of the Vatican bureaucracy that had been decided well before the October 5–19 synod of bishops on the family. The reason he waited until after the synod to make it official, he said, was so that Burke could still participate in the meeting as the head of a Vatican department.
Notable actions and statements
Politics, politicians, and abortion
During the 2004 presidential election, Burke stated that he would not give the Eucharist to John Kerry or other Catholic politicians who publicly support legalized abortion. He also wrote a pastoral letter saying Catholics should not vote for politicians who support abortion or other "anti-life" practices. Burke later clarified his position, stating that one could vote for a pro-choice politician and not commit a mortal sin, if one believed there was a more significant moral issue than abortion at hand, but he also stated that he could not think of any sort of issue that would qualify.
In March 2009, Burke called on American bishops to withhold the Eucharist from Catholic politicians who support legalized abortion. The bishops' failure to do so, Burke said, "is weakening the faith of everyone. It's giving the impression that it must be morally correct to support procured abortion." He also said that any president who promotes and implements "anti-life" legislation could be an "agent of death". Burke later said that he made his remarks not as Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, head of the Vatican's highest court, but simply as an American bishop.
In a September 2008 interview, Burke said that "the Democratic Party risks transforming itself definitively into a 'party of death', because of its choices on bioethical questions", especially elective abortion.
In May 2009, Burke stated, "Since President Obama clearly announced, during the election campaign, his anti-life and anti-family agenda, a Catholic who knew his agenda regarding, for example, procured abortion, embryonic-stem-cell research, and same-sex marriage, could not have voted for him with a clear conscience."
Sheryl Crow concert
When Sheryl Crow, an abortion rights advocate, was scheduled to perform at a benefit concert for the Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital, Burke stated that to have the hospital host Crow would give "the impression that the Church is somehow inconsistent in its teaching." He asked that her invitation be privately removed, and resigned from the board on April 25, 2007 when Crow's performance was confirmed.
Saint Louis University staff
In 2008, Burke urged Saint Louis University to take disciplinary action against its head basketball coach, Rick Majerus, after Majerus publicly supported abortion and embryonic stem cell research at a campaign event for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. Burke stated that "When you take a position in a Catholic university, you don't have to embrace everything the Catholic Church teaches. But you can't make statements which call into question the identity and mission of the Catholic Church." St. Louis University supported Majerus's right to publicly expound on his own personal views when made at an event he did not attend as a university representative.
Role of women in the Church
In June 2008, Burke applied an interdict, which excludes a person from church ministries and the sacraments, to a Sister of Charity, Louise Lears, judging her guilty of three grave canonical offenses against the Catholic Church's faith and teachings. Lears, a pastoral worker and educator, had publicly stated her belief that all of the church's ministries, including the priesthood, should be open to women. Lears received the interdict after attending an ordination ceremony, which the Church considers invalid, of a woman to the priesthood at a Jewish synagogue by the WomenPriests movement.
In January 2015, Burke gave an interview in which he criticized what he saw as the excessive role of "radical feminism" in the church. He specifically criticized the introduction of altar girls as an unwelcome sign of the "feminization" of the Church and a disincentive to boys to serve at the altar and start on the path to ordination.
Violations of liturgical norms
On March 2, 2011, Burke declared that liturgical abuses damage the faith of Catholics: "If we err by thinking we are the center of the liturgy, the Mass will lead to a loss of faith. Unfortunately, too many priests and bishops treat violations of liturgical norms as something that is unimportant, when, in fact, they are serious abuses."
End-of-life palliative care and euthanasia
At a July 23, 2011, conference on end-of-life care sponsored by the St. Gianna Physician's Guild, Burke said that suffering does not cause a person to have less meaning in his life, nor does it give the government the right to decide if that person should live or die: "No matter how much a life is diminished, no matter what suffering the person is undergoing, that life demands the greatest respect and care. It's never right to snuff out a life because it's in some way under heavy burden."
In a July 2007 apostolic letter "Summorum Pontificum", Pope Benedict XVI authorized wider use of the older Tridentine Mass. Restoration of some parts of the traditional Mass has been supported by Burke as part of a "reform of the reform", modifying what he sees as deficiencies of the liturgy introduced under Pope Paul VI.
The 2012 Synod of Bishops meeting focused on "The New Evangelization". In written comments to the synod, Burke criticized "antinomianism"- the belief that grace exempts Christians from obedience to moral law, stating that it is "among the most serious wounds of society today," and is responsible for the legalization of "intrinsically evil" actions such as abortion, embryonic stem-cell research, euthanasia, and same-sex marriage.
Pope Francis's statements about abortion and marriage
Shortly after Pope Francis did not re-appoint him to the Congregation of Bishops, Burke said, "One gets the impression, or it's interpreted this way in the media, that he thinks we're talking too much about abortion, too much about the integrity of marriage as between one man and one woman. But we can never talk enough about that."
Burke has denied media perceptions that the Pope planned to change the Catholic Church's teaching on moral issues. He said that people "hardened against the truth" would claim that the Pope wants to change church teachings that today's secularized culture rejects. He also said their "false praise" mocks the fact that Pope Francis is the Successor of Peter and that the Pope "rejects the acceptance and praise of the world".
Burke has opposed any change of church practice that would permit civically divorced Catholics to remarry or receive the Eucharist once they have entered into a second civil marriage. In 2013 he co-authored a book with cardinals Gerhard Ludwig Mueller and George Pell on the subject. He has vowed to "resist" if the pontiff moves to allow divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion.
Burke is a critic of liberal bishops' moves to soften the church's attitudes toward homosexual activity. In an interview in October 2014, Burke referred to gay relationships as "profoundly disordered and harmful", also suggesting that parents should not allow their children to have contact with sexually active gay people and should discourage them from attending family gatherings such as celebrations at Christmas. Burke said in an interview with LifeSiteNews, a US-based web service focused on battling abortion and promoting other conservative causes, that the situations of gay couples and divorced and remarried Catholics who are trying to live good and faithful lives are analogous to the situation of “the person who murders someone and yet is kind to other people,” in that good acts do not mitigate the sinfulness of other acts.
After the May 2015 Marriage equality referendum in Ireland, Burke, speaking in Oxford said that he struggled to understand “any nation redefining marriage”. Visibly moved, he went on: “I mean, this is a defiance of God. It’s just incredible. Pagans may have tolerated homosexual behaviours, they never dared to say this was marriage.” A total of 1.2 million people voted in favour of amending the constitution to allow same-sex couples to marry, with 734,300 against the proposal, making Ireland the first country to introduce gay marriage by popular vote.
Reaction to the 2014 Synod Relatio post disceptationem interim report
Burke, during the 2014 Synod has expressed disagreements with the content of this 2014 report. His concerns were shared by Voice of the Family, a coalition of 15 groups that identify as pro-life and pro-family, who called the Pirolas intervention “damaging”. “The unqualified welcome of homosexual couples into family and parish environments in fact damages everybody, by serving to normalise the disorder of homosexuality”, said Voice of the Family spokesman Maria Madise.
Burke said that the interim document - which softened the Catholic Church's language on gays, contraception and divorced and civilly remarried people - showed that "a great number of the Synod Fathers found it objectionable". In an interview with Catholic World Report, Burke said the document "lacks a solid foundation in the Sacred Scriptures and the Magisterium (the teaching authority of the Catholic Church) and gives the impression of inventing a totally new, what one member of the Synod called ‘revolutionary’, teaching on marriage and the family." Burke went to say, in an interview with BuzzFeed, that if "Pope Francis had selected certain cardinals to steer the meeting to advance his personal views on matters like divorce and the treatment of LGBT people", he would not be observing his mandate as the leader of the Catholic Church.
2015 Ordinary Synod
In a interview in the German daily Die Welt on 24 April 2015, concerning the Fourteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, Burke renewed his criticism on Cardinal Kasper, whose “merciful” solution for remarried divorcees who wish to receive communion was discussed at the 2014 Extraordinary Synod. “We are bound by the Magisterium. But some Synod Fathers, above all Cardinal Kasper, want to change it. So I had to make myself very clear. Clashes at Synods, incidentally, are nothing unusual. Think of the early Councils, the Arian heresy, for instance, when Athanasius even became physically aggressive”, Burke recalled. He also described homosexuality as an “ailment” which was not genetic but largely depended on a person’s environment. He also recalled that Pope John Paul II had ruled out women’s ordination “once and for all”.
Burke gave an interview to an organisation called the New Emangelization Project. The group was formed to confront what it calls a “man crisis” in the Catholic Church. In the interview, Burke is sympathetic to the group’s concerns that men are being driven from the pews because of the “feminization” of the Catholic Church. In addition to decrying “radical feminism,” Burke criticizes the recent practice of allowing girls to serve as acolytes at Mass and other church ceremonies. “The introduction of girl servers also led many boys to abandon altar service,” Burke said. “Young boys don’t want to do things with girls. It’s just natural. The girls were also very good at altar service. So many boys drifted away over time.”
Burke adds that it requires a “certain manly discipline to serve as an altar boy in service at the side of a priest, and most priests have their first deep experiences of the liturgy as altar boys. If we are not training young men as altar boys, giving them an experience of serving God in the liturgy, we should not be surprised that vocations have fallen dramatically.”
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- Wooden, Cindy, "Vatican officials say bad Masses lead to weak faith", Catholic News Service, March 3, 2011.
- "Bad Mass = Weak Faith", National Catholic Register.[dead link]
- Cindy Wooden, "Cardinals: liturgical abuse weakens the faith", The Catholic Herald (UK), March 3, 2011.
- Medlin, Marianne, "Cardinal Burke: suffering does not rid life of purpose", Catholic News Agency, July 25, 2011.
- Rocca, Francis X., "Cardinal Burke optimistic on reconciliation with SSPX", Catholic News Service, June 15, 2012.
- Rocca, Francis X., "For Cardinal Burke, restoring tradition is a work in progress", Catholic News Service, July 06 2012.
- "Cardinal Burke: Vatican II betrayed by breakdown of church discipline", Catholic New Service, October 25, 2012.
- Distant, Daniel, "Cardinal Raymond Burke Replaced by Pope Francis: Conservatives Out, Moderates In", The Christian Post, December 18, 2013.
- Burke, Raymond Leo, "The Pope’s radical call to the new evangelization", L’Osservatore Romano, February 21, 2014.
- Pentin, Edward, "Cardinal Burke Praises Pope Francis' Efforts to Re-Christianize the West", National Catholic Register, February 25, 2014.
- Blumberg, Antonia, "Cardinal Raymond Burke Takes Break From Vatican Synod To Say Ugly Things About Gay Relationships", The Huffington Post, October 14, 2014. Retrieved 2014-11-09.
- Cardinal Burke: ‘I will resist’ the Pope should he contravene doctrine
- "Catholic Synod: Cardinal 'demoted' by Pope Francis". BBC. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
- huffingtonpost.com, 2014/10/10.
- Crux: Cardinal Burke: Gays, remarried Catholics, and murderers are all the same, 3. 27th, 2015
- David Berger in Gaystream: Kardinal Burke: „Homosexuelle sind wie Mörder, die nett tun“
- Burke: Gays, Remarried Catholics Are Just As Sinful As Murderers
- Ireland is worse than the pagans for legalising gay marriage, says senior cardinal
- Cardinal Burke renews attack on 'Pope's theologian' Kasper
- The Archdiocese of St. Louis – Biography of Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke
- Biography of Cardinal Burke
- Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis
- Roman Catholic Diocese of La Crosse
- Johnson, Kimberley, "Open Letter To Cardinal Who Blames ‘Radical Feminism’ For Pedophile Priests", Liberals Unite at samuel-warde.com, January 8, 2015.
|Catholic Church titles|
John Joseph Paul
|Roman Catholic Bishop of La Crosse
Jerome Edward Listecki
Justin Francis Rigali
|Roman Catholic Archbishop of St. Louis
Robert James Carlson
|Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura
|Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta
Tomáš Špidlík SJ
|Cardinal-Deacon of Sant’Agata de’ Goti