In a surprising move, Pope Francis dramatically changed the makeup of the Congregation for Bishops. This Congregation is responsible for advising the Holy Father on the appointment of bishops around the world, so you might say it’s kind of important. Given the power a bishop wields in his diocese, this is an extremely influential table of advisors. Cardinal Raymond Burke, the Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, a tireless defender of the unborn, a major proponent of liturgical tradition and protege of Benedict XVI, was dropped from the Congregation and replaced by the moderate, and not particularly inspiring, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington D.C. (One could argue whether or not this shake-up was all that “surprising”…) Both men have, over the past several years, clashed politely and indirectly over the question of reception of Communion by pro-abortion politicians.continue at Cream City Catholic
Cardinal Burke, the Church’s chief canon lawyer, arguing from Saint Paul, Canon Law and tradition, argues in favor of denying the Sacrament to public officials who are known to be complicit in grave sin. The integrity of the Sacrament should be protected from sacrilege, and the individual himself should be prevented from having that mortal blight on his soul. For his part, Cardinal Wuerl, apparently more concerned with being nice and liked by everyone (in other words “pastoral”) strongly disagrees with Burke, positing that Communion should not be withheld from politicians involved in scandal. It’s just mean, you see. All are welcome at the table of plenty. To clue in those in the dark, “pastoral” is one of the many bastardized words in our vocabulary. There is nothing wrong with being truly pastoral, but now, “pastoral” is simply code among many bishops for never saying or doing anything that might upset some easily offended special interest group living in Swaziland. If the interest group is left-of-center, that means never, ever offending it. If it’s a traditional group, then it’s open season. Fire away.
And if Burke’s departure wasn’t bad enough, also dropped from the Congregation was Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, another stellar protege of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. The decision to deep-six two outstanding prelates and genuine liturgists in favor of someone like Cardinal Wuerl is a hard one-two punch to the gut. I pride myself on being able to read silver linings in bad news, but this development is bleak, all around. And I’m far from the only one expressing dismay.
There’s no other way to interpret this move, folks. I don’t know who was responsible for advising the Holy Father on this one, but it’s a huge mistake, in my opinion. Cardinal Burke represents a vision of the Church which has inspired large swaths of young men to enter seminaries and traditional religious orders.
Yep, go read. I'd just add I'm not sure if this is a surprise move, more than it is a laying down of some of the cards that this papacy has as to this point been holding to his chest.
.... The Reform.... of the Reform of the Reform......