"You're a big supporter of Burke?" So runs the query that I saw on social media a few days ago accompanied by a link to the National Catholic Reporter's summary of an interview with recently reinstated Knights of Malta grand chancellor Albrecht von Boeselager, who basically implies that Cardinal Burke lied about the wishes of the Holy Father. Well, yes, I suppose that I am a "big supporter of Burke," even if that's not exactly the way I would put it--think 1 Cor 3:4: "Whenever one of you says, 'I belong to Paul,' and another, 'I belong to Apollos,' are you not merely human?" Nonetheless, I will stand up and say that Cardinal Burke is a good and saintly priest, and a humble prelate with an abiding love for Christ and His Church. Fact needs to be separated from fiction as regards the controversy that currently swirls around him in his official position as cardinal-patron of the Knights of Malta, the millennium-old religious order that has the status of a sovereign state, and that today operates mainly as a charitable organization.continue at Garlic and Sapphires
What follows is, therefore, a narrative of the facts, not just in regard to the Knights of Malta, but in regard to all the controversies that have surrounded Cardinal Burke since the election of Pope Francis. I have separated these as best I could from the fiction, hyperbole, and sensationalism. This labor comes in response to a multitude of articles like the one above, which nearly universally paint Cardinal Burke as a Vatican "hard-liner," an insider "at odds" with Pope Francis, someone bent on "stoking papal tensions." It is intended for anybody who is utterly bewildered by the barrage of events and the caricature that the media have created of this humble, diminutive prelate who hails from the dairy state. So, read on if such an account may be helpful for you.