Francis on the Burke Kerfuffle

Francis on the Burke Kerfuffle December 8, 2014

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 dicastery head.” As the chaplain of Malta he wouldn’t have been able to be present. – Pope Francis on Cardinal Burke

Seems reasonable to me.

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  • Now won’t a lot of people feel silly?

    • HornOrSilk

      Sadly, they won’t. They will find a way to continue their spin

      • antigon

        Those basterds! On the other hand, think of the third-rate smugness we’d be denied without them!

      • Oddly enough, Fr. Z, who has fretting and agonizing with his comboxers over Burke’s “demotion” since September (or whenever the first rumors of his transfer started) has yet to publish a single line about the interview, though he linked in passing to a story in America which linked to it. He called the story “syncophantic slop.” No other comment whatsoever; he has written 3-4 posts since without any mention of the interview or Francis’s explanation of his action with Burke. Very strange. You’d think they’d be heaving sighs of relief because Francis has proved not to be the meanie they thought, wouldn’t you?

  • Pete the Greek

    …..Or, is that exactly what EEEEEVVVIIILLLLL Pope Franics WANTS you to think!?!??! 😛

    • irena mangone

      Don’t like your comment

      • Pete the Greek

        What ‘Evil Francis’ might look like…

        • irena mangone

          Yuck still not like Pope Francis is a nice loving person why make fun of him.

          • Irena, no one is making fun of Pope Francis; we are making fun of those who freaked out over Cdl. Burke’s new appointment, and think Pope Francis is somehow the enemy or evil or heretical because of it.

            • irena mangone

              Ah sorry. Got the wrong end of the stick. Yes they did get their underwear in a twist didn’t they. But I guess they would rant at Jesus because he was not an old fuddy duddy. Fundamentalist. I wonder if they realise they put everyone off . Doubt if they care Plus I can’t understand how we can sit in judgement of what the pope does or not do with his staff he can move or appoint dismiss or promote. Other popes did. It’s only now when we have all this modern communication that a person cannot sneeze without it be g said they are on the way out

              • Pete the Greek

                Well, in fairness, communication might not have been as fast way back when, but who the Holy Father moves to what post has ALWAYS been a point of controversy for some group, historically.

              • All very true. Happy to have cleared that up.

  • Dave P.

    Less administrative work, more time to write, travel, and celebrate the EF…what’s not to like?

  • Thibaud313

    I think this is a terrible interview, for the following reasons :

    1) the excuse does not stand at all for one simple reason : the Synod is not over. There is a second session coming next year and by demoting Cardinal Burke, the Pope has prevented him (as he himself recognizes) from participating in the rest of the Synod, even though he pretends he waited in order to avoid precisely that ;

    2) in the rest of the interview, Pope Francis calls Cardinal Burke a member of the “opposition” in the Synod (and expresses hopes that the Holy Spirit will “convert” Burke and other members of the “opposition” so that they will change their mind). That is simply a lie : Cardinal Burke was a member of the majority in the Synod. The majority, led by the African Bishops and generally members of other flourishing national churches, but also including members of Western churches (like Cardinals Burke, Vingt-Trois, etc) was opposed to changes to the 2000-year-old doctrine of the Church on matters of marriage and sexuality. The minority or opposition, led by Cardinals Kasper and Forte, and composed almost exclusively of representatives of quickly decaying, extremely rich national churches (especially Germany) was in favor of a complete reversal of the 2000-year-old doctrine of the Church on matters of marriage and sexuality (and therefore the end of the Catholic Church). The minority staged a coup with the intermediate report that claimed that the minority position was the majority position and vice-versa. The coup spectacularly backfired when the majority refused to accept this lie and Cardinal Kasper insulted African bishops, then lied about having insulted them and defamed an American journalist, then had the proof of his insult and lie made public. In the end, the final report, which expressed the opinion of the majority, said the complete opposite of what the intermediate report said.

    And now, Pope Francis not only repeated the lie that the majority Burkian position (not destroying the Church) was the “opposition” but aslo quite explicitely explained that he himself supports the minority Kasperian position (the destruction of the Church), even though he is not supposed to reveal his own opinion before the end of the Synod since the Synod is precisely meant to advice the Pope and help him form his opinion.

    • Allan B

      It is just me, or does anybody else think it may be a sin to publicly accuse someone (never mind a church leader) of lying, without any evidence to back it up (note I said evidence, not speculation)?

      • Jonk

        Didn’t Kaspar say “I didn’t say that,” only to have the journalist prove he said it?

        • Allan B

          I didn’t mean Kaspar (although that might apply too, as things could have been lost in translation); I was referring to the Pope. Thibaud has no way of knowing the Pope’s motivation for transferring Burke. It could have been as simple as the fact that Burke’s term was done and it was time to make a change. I believe it is a grave sin to publicly accuse someone of lying while having no proof of a lie, only biased speculation.

          • Jonk

            Ah, gotcha. Thanks for the clarification.

      • Mike Blackadder

        I agree that calling this a lie is uncharitable. Francis may himself be uniformed of the general opinion of the bishops or maybe is referring to those who oppose his particular vision as ‘the opposition’. Still I think Thibaud raises some legitimate questions about the Pope’s comments.

      • Tom Hanson

        To put it delicately, it does seem to partake of the disordered.

    • Thibaud, I think you have misread the Pope’s words badly and misunderstood the Synod process he was talking about.

      In regard to 1) and next year’s Synod, I believe it is possible for the Pope to appoint Burke as a special delegate, that is, the Pope can name a certain number of delegates of his own. For this year’s Synod, perhaps the Pope had already named his quota of delegates. There’s some possibility he could name Burke a delegate next year. At any rate, I don’t see any evidence that the Pope was deliberately arranging things so Burke would be kept out of the Synod. If he wanted to, he could have kept Burke out of this year’s too by moving him before the Synod.

      In regard to 2), can you please quote any words from the interview that “explicitly” name Burke as part of an “opposition” coalition that was against Pope Francis, or where the Pope “explicitly” said he supported Cardinal Kasper’s position? Because I see nothing like that. In fact, I’ve read that portion of the interview twice, in both Spanish and English , and I don’t even see the word “opposition” anywhere, at least not in this section.

      And the point of what Francis said about Kasper was not that he made any explicit proposal, just that he wanted to get the ball rolling and open a dialog; he did not say that a few people were opposing Kasper’s position, but that some were resisting the work of the Spirit, who wanted to lead them to consider solutions. He didn’t name anyone. Nor did I hear him give his own opinion as such. And the Synod IS over; next year’s is another, different Synod. So I think you are exaggerating quite a bit.

  • jay

    I think Pope Francis is just not comfortable with Cardinal Burke. Since becoming Pope, Francis has complained of “airport bishops”; and he has complained more than once of “bishops who parade about as peacocks”. That Francis demoted Burke is no surprise to me.

    • Elmwood

      can you explain how Burke is either an “airport” or “peacock” bishop?

      • irena mangone

        May be because he is partial to extremely long pieces of red fabric which are so out of date he is not a reinaissance prince. Even f he thinks he may be by his old fashioned attire which does not gel with a church for the poor. And don’t tell me it’s tradition when did you see Jesus wearing g costly lace and red silk. It’s to make the poor and uneducated gasp in awe. It has nothing to do with faith in Jesus

        • antigon

          ‘his old fashioned attire which does not gel with a church for the poor.’
          Ms. Mangone:
          Perhaps, regarding attire as well as churches, His Eminence grasps what Bruce came to understand, that you have yet to…
          ‘I never used to understand why the [Catholic] churches in poor neighborhoods where so grandiose. I mean, I always thought, why not spend the money instead for the poor? All these poor people needing all these things and yet the church is a penthouse. Stupid. Stupid and wasteful and a monument to ego.
          ‘But than I also noticed something. These churches were always well-attended. Sometimes overflowing. And the actual poor people did not seem to mind the ostentatious churches. So I started to actually research it, look into it, ask the poor people about their church. And what I realized was something like this.
          ‘What is important in a church and a Mass is that people listen to the message: be better to others, honor God, etc. But, to get the message out to the people they must hear it. And to hear it they must come to the church. And people, especially poor people, will not come to church in a place that looks like a shithole. Their attitude is “Look i live in a shithole. Do I got to go to church in one too?’
          ‘For the actual poor people, the idea that for at least a short time in their life they could go to a place that looks fantastic, that they belong to, that is impressive to all, to be part of something that is so beautiful, that was a point of pride and joy to them. In the rest of their life, they really could not point to a beautiful house, a great car, an impressive bank account. But, their church was something all could take pride in, because even members not in their church would acknowledge the beauty of it.’ – Lenny Bruce

      • jay

        Pope Francis has recognized that Burke travels a lot. Francis has called these folks as “airport bishops”. He would prefer that they stay close to their jobs. As far as “peacocks”, I think irena, below, says it best. You won’t see Francis prancing about in costly silk and lace.

  • Cypressclimber

    The pope is entitled do as he wishes with Vatican assignments; but this explanation isn’t very explanatory.

  • Mike Blackadder

    This is a very good development. With all of the speculation and scandal associated with Burke’s reassignment and the impression of some kind of political bloodshed going on at the Vatican it was very important for the Pope to set the record straight. Francis has said many times that he is himself a humble man, a sinner and that he welcomes a lucid spirit filled discussion of important topics within the Church so that the Holy Spirit can accomplish what it will. This clarification and defense of Burke’s intellectual integrity demonstrates that he means what he says.

  • Na

    A better approach would have to been to make the Malta announcement indicating that it will take a effect after the synod, so that Burke could participate in the Synod.
    This would have achieved the Pope’s goal while reaching out to the more conservative wing.

    Of course, you can ask why the Pope couldn’t unilaterally admit Burke to the synod, like he did when he assigned a handful off bishops to the writing committee after the synod already started and the tone apparently need additional “guidance”.

  • MJD

    Well, Cardinal Burke would have been able to be present at the previous Synod, and will be able to be present at the upcoming Synod, at the personal appointment of the Pope (just as Cardinals Kasper, Scola and Caffarra, among others, were selected by the Pope to attend the Synod this time around). He need not be a dicastery head. So, if the Pope would like Cardinal Burke to partake in the upcoming Synod, there is nothing preventing that outcome. We’ll have to see.

  • Kurt 20008

    Speaking as a liberal Catholic, I thought it was a very wise to move Burke from the pastoral ministry as archbishop of St. Louis, for which I felt him very ill-suited, to an administrative post in the Vatican. I further felt it was appropriate for the Holy Father to remove him from the Congregation of Bishops, another task I believe he is ill suited for. But the final move from the Signatura to Malta was no big deal.

  • Suzy

    Could I interest you in a lovely piece of swampland in Florida, or perhaps a bridge for sale in Brooklyn at a cheap price…

  • CatholicJames##Scott+~

    Since Mark is on a tear bagging on “conservatives” I might as well join in. When he is right he is right. When he is wrong it is when he disagrees with me.
    But moving on…………..

    I don’t think I’ll ever trust the “conservative” Catholic media again after this Burke nonsense. I mean I expect the Trad media to be all conspiratorial and the liberal “Catholic” media I ignore but for months I have been hearing hysterical people ranting about Pope Francis changing doctrine or destroying the Faith & that he is out to get the loyal Trads & that this appointment is some sort of punishment.

    Yet he appoints two African Traditionalist Cardinals (how is that not a swipe at Kasper?) to two very important positions & he “punishes” Burke by giving him an Army.

    What did he ever give Kasper? An opening speech? Yeh like I’d choose the role suited for a two bit politician over being an Imperator!

    This reminds me of how a decade ago the usual suspects said Pope St John Paul was “rewarding” Cardinal Law for putting him charge of some old Church in Rome nobody ever heard of because it was “prestigious”.

    Nothing new under the sun,