Wednesday, 6 December 2017



Not Forgetting Cardinal Burke as Philadelphia Story Unfolds: Making the Connections



When I wrote about Cardinal Raymond Burke and Fr. Andrew Hamilton two days ago, John Shuster posted a valuable comment in response to my analysis.  Shuster writes,


When Burke was in St. Louis, he welcomed publicly-identified predator priests from around the country to live in his archdiocese.  Prendergast in Ottawa has the same track record.  We feel that Sartain in Seattle will do the same given his recent ordination of the troubled Father Flores who is now doing hard time for child rape in an Illinois pen.  What is it about high ranking prelates who so brazenly take those who commit sex crimes against children unto themselves?  Richard Sipe's website has pictures of Burke's extensive clerical wardrobe with details on how much it all costs.  And then there's Jesus...




As we look at Burke in his resplendent (and exceedingly expensive) clerical costumes, it's important to remember his history of dealing with priests abusing minors.  When John Paul II promoted Burke to the position of prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the highest court within the Catholic church, which hears cases of bishops accused of malfeasance, Peter Isely of SNAP noted that, in his years as bishop of La Crosse, Wisconsin, Burke had "cleared" a higher percentage of priests accused of abuse than any other bishop in the nation.  His rate of "clearing" accused priests in La Crosse was six times higher than the national average.

One of his own priests, Fr. James Connell of Milwaukee, sought to blow the whistle on Burke by noting that Burke created standards in La Crosse that effectively abolished the norms of the Dallas Charter of 2002, by raising the bar to a level that made it exceptionally difficult to prove that an accused priest had abused a minor.  In Connell's view, Burke's behavior placed children at risk.  

And this pattern of "clearing" abused priests is, of course, right at the heart of the Philadelphia story now, where it appears diocesan officials may have deliberately withheld pertinent information from members of the diocesan review board, resulting in decisions to keep priests in ministry when abuse charges made against  them were credible--decisions the review board may have made on the basis of skewed and partial evidence.  It is not without pertinence to note that Burke came to St. Louis to succeed Cardinal Justin Rigali as Rigali went to Philadelphia.  St. Louis was the only single diocese in the U.S. that John Paul II visited during his papal tenure, a privilege granted to St. Louis that, this document on the St. Louis archdiocesan website boasts, was given to that diocese because of John Paul's friendship with Rigali, who previously worked in Rome and helped select bishops--something Rigali's friend Burke now does, as a kingmaker for U.S. bishops in Rome.

Burke's behavior as an overlord who has no obligation to account to the underlings whose money clothes him in his resplendent regal garments does have a human price, however.  In 2004, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of a priest of the La Crosse diocese, Brenda, spoke about this human price to a reporter in La Crosse.  This survivor, Brenda, noted that, when she went public with her story of having been repeatedly raped by Father Raymond Bornbach when she was a nine-year-old girl, she asked to see Burke, then the bishop of La Crosse, to discuss what had happened to her.

He refused to meet her face to face.  Finally, two weeks before he was to leave to take the position of bishop of St. Louis, he granted her an audience.  Brenda asked that Bornbach's case is reviewed by the review board of the La Crosse diocese and his name be made public.  Burke told her he would get back to her about this before he left for St. Louis.

He left two weeks later and she did not hear from him.  She never heard from Burke again.  Burke left La Crosse with a policy in place that did not permit the release of names of credibly accused priests to the public.  Bornbach did eventually face the diocesan review board, which found Brenda's allegations credible.

What the princes of the church like Cardinal Burke do as pastors, while robing themselves in splendor, has a human price.  For those who are interested, the full story of that human price, in the case of the Brendas of the world, is well told by Malcolm Gay in this 2004 Riverfront Times [St. Louis] article entitled "Immaculate Deception" reviewing Burke's sordid history as a pastor in La Crosse, vis-a-vis handling of abuse cases (and see this overview, as well).

John Shuster's comment notes that Richard Sipe's website has a gallery of pictures of some of Burke's most outré costumes, with information about just how much these costumes cost.  At this link, you'll find links on Sipe's website both to a photo gallery of Burke's fabulous clerical couture, and an article by one "Huguccio Della Chiesa" entitled "The Cost of Looking Fabulous," with details about the price tags for the chic gloves, dazzling hats, resplendent lace and silk, and good, old-fashioned Catholic bling Burke enjoys sporting to impress us and remind us of his importance (and our obligation to obey) in Christ's scheme of things for church and world.

Hint: a family of five could eat--and well--for a month, with the price of those chic red gloves girlfriend His Eminence is rocking in the ecclesiastical fashion-plate snapshot of John Paul and Benedict's restorationist "reform of the reform" above.

But when I look at those gloves, in addition to thinking about their price, I keep thinking about Brenda, and that promise Burke made as her pastor, as the chief pastor of the flock of the La Crosse diocese, to do something about her pain and suffering, and about children who continued to be placed in harm's way by his policies designed to protect priests accused of abuse and not the children they were abusing.


And I can't help thinking, God help me, that the gloves are designed to hide dirty hands every bit as much as to display an overlord's power and glory.

PAT SAYS:

A good article giving an insight into the minds of the Burkes of the Church and the world.

These types of bishops regard victims as troublemakers for them, their priests and their Holy Mother the Church.

They have no real morality.

Their "morality" is Canon Law which is all about protecting the Catholic Church at any cost.

That's the mindset that gets them promoted to higher levels.

They are expert liars - in the end even believing their own lies.

I cannot believe they have any genuine Christian faith.

They certainly display a total lack of love, even fear. of God.

Maybe they are just cynical atheists who think that heaven is the power, authority, prestige, And the less intelligent laity and money they have in this world?

AND - the less intelligent - kiss their rings, admire their finery and hang on their every word!

If God is just - and there is a Hell - then these guys deserve the darkest and hottest hobs!

30 comments:

  1. Always intrigued by your analysis +Pat, you are right!It is the less intelligent who are the victims. Their vulnerability is being abused in order for abusers (both lay and ordained) in the Church to gain leverage for their own gain. I call upon Hildegard as inspiration - "We cannot live in a world that is not our own, in a world that is interpreted for us by others. An interpreted world is not a home. Part of the terror is to take back our own listening, to use our own voice, to see our own light." In conclusion +Pat, our mission is to reach those who have been blinded by tyrants in our church and empower them to see again for themselves...Open our eyes Lord. +

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  2. Say what you will, but ++ Burke does get more bang for thirty thousand bucks than the patriarch of Moscow with his fancy watch.

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  3. Men like Burke strengthen my conviction that blogs like this one (I wish there were many others) are vital for the well-being of the Church.

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  4. Many centuries ago the church was organised like a great kingly court which Im sure served the needs of the time. Now the model is outdated and for some reason attracts those who prefer to live in an alternate reality. As often has been said change has to come from the bottom up. Ditch the "flutes in suits" and get on with it.

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  5. I think wearing all that gear gives Burke a hard on.

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  6. At morning Mass on 5 December in Domus Sanctae Marthae, Pope Francis preached that 'humility without humiliation is not humility'. By this strange reckoning, Cardinal Burke, paradoxically, must be the most humble cleric on the planet, since he never ceases to humiliate himself...publicly and resplendently.

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    1. "It takes many humiliations to learn humility" St Bernadette Soubirous

      "No one was ever humble without having something to be humble about" Karl Rahner

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    2. 10:28, poor Bernadette Soubirous belonged in a time very different from ours, with a very different 'spirituality'. A motif of this 'spirituality' was self-hatred, which, most emphatically, true humility is not about.

      Karl Rahner comes much closer than poor Bernadette to the meaning of 'humility'.

      For a fuller understanding of humility, read and reflect on Paul: he recognised the moral (and other) weakness and vulnerability of his humanity, but ONLY as a springboard to the invincible strength of Christ himself.

      Sadly, people like poor Bernadette Soubirous stop at the point of recognising their weakness and sinfulness, and then, inevitably, become self-absorbed and self-hating to an unnecessary degree.

      Sincere humility goes much farther than this: it directs the person to look away from himself (ceases to allow him to wallow in self-effacement and self-debasement) and to look upward, to God himself, so that he, like Paul, can honestly and joyously proclaim: '...for when I am weak, then I am strong'!

      Humiliation makes no one humble, for true humility raises one UP, to the glory of God.

      God does not seek to crush us, or for us to crush ourselves. God wants you and me happy.

      A crushed humanity cannot love, for its gaze is ever inwards, away from others.

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    3. "He humbled Himself unto death, even to death on the Cross " Philipp's 2

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    4. And what do you, 13:24, believe this means, ontologically speaking? Doesn't it mean that Jesus took on our weak and vulnerable humanity...in order to raise it up? This, after all, is the meaning of 'redemption'.

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    5. What a superficial grasp you have of St Bernadette and, I do recall, on other occasions, you having the audacity to “criticise” St Paul. Go and learn the meaning of humility yourself and then there will be some chance of you being taken seriously.

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    6. 16:18, the subject wasn't Bernadette, but humility. Therefore I have no desire to have a 'grasp' of her, 'superficial' or otherwise.

      And I 'dare' to criticise Paul because he was human and, therefore, fallible. Paul makes reference to this very fact in his writings.

      As for learning the meaning of humility, are you braindead? That is what I have busily been explaining in my posts.

      How old are you?

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    7. I think what the poster meant, Magna, is how can you explain humility when you ain’t got none?

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  7. Couldn't resist this one. (Well, Oscar did wisely say that yielding to temptation is the only way to rid oneself of it.😆) That photo of Burke suggests massive self-relief from having just passed an extremely difficult motion.😅

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    1. Magna have you ever herd of a saying . May your next shite be a hedgehog . I think old Burke still has to get rid of a few prickles from his holy knickers

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    2. No, thank goodness , I hadn't heard of that crude saying.

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    3. No, had never heard that one. But Burke looks as if HE knows.😆

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  8. Here is a great personal sadness. Things have now got to a stage with the many exposures of clergy, nuns etc abusing children, power, money etc that every time I am in contact with a priest or bishop I ask myself the question “I wonder....?” The sadness being that there are many good, dedicated hardworking priests with that shadow cast over them as the result of these errant clerics.
    As for Burke and those of his elk ( the Irish born Campbell of Preston seems to have a flare for dressyuppy also) they have lost the concept of humility and following the simplicity of living espoused and enacted by Jesus and his apostles.

    Liverpool Lou

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    1. Don't worry about it.. They are probably standing there, regarding you and saying "I wonder.." as well.
      I know I would.

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  9. I hope some interesting posters return to the blog.. We need them..

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  10. And yet most of the vocations go to the traditional orders?

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    1. But why? Might it be because the traditional orders promote, well, the self?

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    2. Please! You modern Latins are so boring in comparison with the Greeks and Russians. Actually Burke ln all his glory looks less majestic than a garden-variety Greco-Russian minor prelate.

      The problem is that you’ve been fed on stercus, lo these many years, to wit, your polyester vestments, dummy translations and fugly architecture.

      The Greek messenger

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    3. You think it should all be about the trappings of outward appearance then @ poster 13.57..?
      Oh dear.. it certainly sounds like it!

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    4. Some entrants possibly think.. well, if you're going to do it, you might as well do it properly! Nobody wants to join a sinking ship.

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  11. Hello Bishop Pat,

    I sent you an email some days ago regarding a difficult situation involving an elderly priest friend of mine, but you never replied. I'm unsure if you received it?

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  12. Magna, with all your blathering why don't you begin a "magsblogasphere" - you'd never know what other maggies you'd attract....might be very interesting!

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  13. Richard Sipe is an ancient spoiled priest, who did a Martin Luther and ran off with a nun.

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  14. If a person is busy with one blog there's at least some hope that he mightn't have time for another..

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