Tuesday, November 28, 2023


This pope still hasn’t learned that you draw more flies with honey rather than vinegar. I’m not sure how this will heal any polarization that has developed between the pope and some members of the college of bishops and cardinals and the laity. But what the heck! This link is from the National Catholic Reporter:

Pope Francis to remove Cardinal Burke's Vatican apartment and salary, sources say

Pope Francis has punished one of his highest-ranking critics, Cardinal Raymond Burke, by yanking his right to a subsidized Vatican apartment and salary in the second such radical action against a conservative American prelate this month, according to two people briefed on the measures.

Francis told a meeting of the heads of Vatican offices last week that he was moving against Burke, because he was a source of "disunity" in the church, said one of the participants at the Nov. 20 meeting. The participant spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to reveal the contents of the encounter.

Francis said he was removing Burke's privileges of having a subsidized Vatican apartment and salary as a retired cardinal because he was using the privileges against the church, said another person who was subsequently briefed on the pope's measures. That person also spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to reveal the details.

Burke, a 75-year-old canon lawyer whom Francis had fired as the Vatican's high court justice in 2014, has become one of the most outspoken critics of the pope, his outreach to LGBTQ+ Catholics and his reform project to make the church more responsive to the needs of ordinary faithful.


rcg said...

FrAJM, you may be getting a roommate.

Unknown said...

The Pillar suggests that this may encourage the cardinals to be more mindful of who they elect in the next conclave. I'm no Vaticanista so I can't help but be skeptical that most cardinals will be disturbed by this--possibly, they view Card. Burke as a blade of grass who made himself taller than necessary. But if the Pillar's take is correct, it would tie into Fr. AJM's point in a comment from the post on Card. Parolin's letter to the German bishops that cardinals are starting to sit up and take notice of some of the more concerning aspects of how the Vatican is handling matters these days.


Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I can’t imagine that there has been anything similar to the spectacle of the pettiness of this pope in its public display. Could you imagine Pope Benedict, John Paul II and Paul VI let alone John XXIII publicly doing something like what Pope Francis is purported to do to Cardinal Burke. Maybe Burke deserves it, but in the past it would have been handled privately and yes, what Burke has been doing along with Mueller would have been handled privately. But Francis has changed that paridigm and created the horrible polarization that we are experiencing. He is the cause of it. I can’t imagine that any Cardinal that even Pope Francis has designated thinks that the public spectacle of a petty papacy is a good thing for the papacy or the Church. A lot of rebuilding will need to take place with the next pope. God bless the new pope. He’s out there somewhere!

rcg said...

Do you think Pope Francis is rubber stamping actions from some out of sight operative? Looking at his foolish appointment of Karadima, Rupnik, etc. his acquiescence to China. It wouldn’t surprise me if some apparatchiks saw a chance to bury Burke and the Pope just went along on trust. I hope so, or this is epic Charlie Sierra.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

As I have written before, I was in Rome on Sabbatical a few months after Pope Francis was elected. Theologians at that time were shocked by the circle of advisors the new pope was gathering around him and the bad advice they were giving him. But let’s face it, he surrounds himself with like minded people. Previous popes had been careful to have a variety of advisors and named cardinals of various theological background not always in sync with their own. That was healthy. What we have now is very narcissistic and unhealthy.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The first to report that Pope Francis was taking petty action against Cardinal Burke was Lifesite news. I thought it was hyperbole and perhaps fake news. But now it is widely reported with no push back from the Vatican that it is false news. But there is no confirmation, yet, from Vatican News.

Jerome Merwick said...

On a practical level, I doubt that this kind of move would have much of an effect upon good Cardinal Burke, IF THIS IS ACTUALLY MORE THAN A RUMOR.

I've visited another frequent residence of Cardinal Burke, his Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse. It is a magnificent shrine and it was paid for in full before the foundation was laid. Cardinal Burke has patrons and he will likely never want for such support.

The issue, as you so cogently point out Father McDonald, is the public perception this creates and the word you chose can't be improved upon: Pettiness. It's hard to believe that anyone with an office like a pope could be so lacking in self-awareness that he could fail to grasp how terribly petty this would make him look.

monkmcg said...

Desperation - and it will backfire. Taking away so little and sending a signal to the rest of the electors "don't elect another tin-pot dictator".

TJM said...

Holy, holy, holy!!

Mark Thomas said...

From: Where Peter Is. Commentary by Austen Ivereigh. November 29, 2023 A.D.

-- What Pope Francis said about Cardinal Burke


"The question most Catholics have in response to the decision of Pope Francis to remove the Vatican privileges of Cardinal Raymond Burke will not be, “why did he do this?” but “what on earth took him so long?”

"The Pope is an astonishingly patient man...Anyone who has followed the activities, speeches, and shenanigans of the traditionalist American cardinal this past decade will have been amazed at how Burke has been allowed constantly to undermine the pope’s authority, setting himself against the papacy as a counter-magisterium, and building a lucrative career portraying himself as the true guardian of the tradition."

"But while the Pope’s patience personally is virtually limitless, there is a point where he must act: in justice, and for the good of the Church."

"Burke’s antics at the start of the synod assembly in Rome to promote a traditionalist tract denouncing the synod as a heretical conspiracy were arguably of a piece with previous outrages."

"I met with Pope Francis on the afternoon of November 27th. In the course of our conversation, Francis told me he had decided to remove Cardinal Burke’s cardinal privileges — his apartment and salary — because he had been using those privileges against the Church."

"He told me that while the decision wasn’t a secret, he didn’t intend a public announcement but earlier that day (Monday) it had been leaked."

"...I found it on a traditionalist news website, La Bussola Quotidiana...the leaker is motivated by animus against the Pope. Their story reported that at a meeting on November 20 with heads of the dicasteries, the Pope had told them...“Cardinal Burke is my enemy, so I am taking away his apartment and stipend”.

"I knew this quote was pure fiction. On Tuesday evening I had a note back from the Pope. “I never used the word ‘enemy’ nor the pronoun ‘my.’ I simply announced the fact at the meeting of the dicastery heads, without giving specific explanations.”

"He thanked me for making this clear."


It is a shame that Cardinal Burke has not learned from holy, first-class example that, as Emeritus, Pope Benedict XVI had, for the sake of the Church, set for us as it pertained to the treatment of the Vicar of Christ.

That will change should Cardinal Burke embrace the merciful correction that he has received.


Mark Thomas

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I am glad that Pope Francis had a man to man, or bishop to bishop in person talk with him to correct Cardinal Burke and inform him privately of the punishments the cardinal would receive. Pope Francis clearly wanted to spare the cardinal from hearing it second hand. Certainly, I appreciate all the warnings Pope Francis personally offered the Cardinal in the pope magnanimous patience. Is all that correct MT?

Jerome Merwick said...

The popes of my lifetime:

John XXIII "Good Pope John"

Paul VI "Hamlet"

John Paul I "The September Pope"

John Paul II "The Great"

Benedict XVI "The Pope of Christian Unity"

Francis "The Pope of Punitive Revenge"

Mark Thomas said...

Father McDonald said..."Could you imagine Pope Benedict, John Paul II and Paul VI let alone John XXIII publicly doing something like what Pope Francis is purported to do to Cardinal Burke."

In 1983 A.D., Father Cardenal had, in humble fashion, knelt to kiss Pope Saint John Paul II's ring. In turn, Pope Saint John Paul II, in public, scolded Father Cardenal, as he (Pope Saint John Paul II) wagged a finger at Father Cardenal.

Would Pope Benedict XVI, for example, have subjected Father Cardenal to such public treatment as that?


I am not sure that there is much point to project as to how this, or that, Pope would have reacted in this, or that situation.


Mark Thomas

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

JP 2 did it to Cardenal but he was no Curial Cardinal!

rcg said...

@FrAJM 😂😂

Many people don’t realize that Pope JPIi wasn’t just wagging his finger at Cardenal, poking him in the eye, making it roughly the equivalent of throwing a cardinal out on the street.

Seriously, Cardinal Burke strongly criticized what Pope Francis was doing. I’ll need to go back and look at a few to see if they were attacking the ideas or the man. As far as the German Sin-nod it seems Cardinal Burke was prescient, if not prophetic. So what’s the problem? Souls were at stake. I used to keep a Hurt Feelings Report on my desk as part the feedback cycle. When you’re talking life and death feelings need to be kept in a box back home.

Mark Thomas said...

Father McDonald said..."JP 2 did it to Cardenal but he was no Curial Cardinal!"

Father Cardenal was created in God's image. In God's eyes, was not Father Cardenal not of equal dignity to that of any Curial Cardinal?


Would Good Pope John XXIII have subjected a priest to such treatment in public? Would our Smiling Pope, Blessed John Paul I, have done such a thing to a priest?

Anyway, Pope Saint John Paul II believed that he had acted properly in having subjected Father Cardenal to such treatment in public. Pope Francis believes that he has treated Cardinal Burke in proper fashion.


Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas said...

Father McDonald said..."JP 2 did it to Cardenal but he was no Curial Cardinal!"

To look at it that way: Then one may note that Jorge Bergoglio is not just any person. Jorge Bergoglio is the Pope — the Pope who has, for years, been subjected to Cardinal Burke's nonsense.


Mark Thomas

rcg said...

Just occurred to me that it would be hilarious if they ended up unpacking Cardinal Burk’s stuff at the Palazzo.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

MT, please address all the times that Pope Francis either called, met or wrote Cardinal Burke to express his dismay with the Cardinal. Also, do you think Pope Francis really did not mean that cardinals and bishops should express themselves with pharressia, that is directness and frankness?

Seamus Malone said...

Hey Father AMCD,

I remember Father Cardenas. If ever a clergyman deserved a little public rebuke, it was he.

He was an open advocate of Liberation Theology, which I guess means Francis would make him a cardinal, but back in those days, that was heresy. And he had the nerve to try to softpeddle that stuff in front of a pope who stood up to the communists for years. Huh?

Pope John Paul reminded priests and religious to dress appropriately, but this priest was more often seen dressed like a layman. Huh?

Cardenas accepted the political appointment of "Ministry of Culture" in that great cesspool of leftist Latin America, Nicaragua. Huh?

John Paul the II gave him a well-deserved finger wagging and eventually had to suspend him for his disobedience.

I supposed some of those with limited Catholic literacy might try comparing this guy to Cardinal Burke and it's easy to understand why. Cardinal Burke has repeatedly affirmed his support for Francis as our pope. His two dubia were submitted using the most careful and polite language. He has consistently separated his differences with Francis by emphasizing they are about ideas and he has never made any kind of public rebuke or public disobedience to the pope, but merely stated his grave concerns about Francis' ideas. And those dubia--there have been too many dubia submitted over the years by Cardinals, bishops, and bishop's conferences to count.

Gotta hand it to you, Father. You let some really foolish stuff pass through these comment boxes. But it's great comedy, if you have the stomach.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Pope John Paul II directly and publicly dressed down that priest and I think I saw it live on TV because it made the secular and religious news. There was no talking about him behind his back in order to let gossip slip out and this priest to hear it second hand or to have the pope’s negative assessment communicated to him by a reporter to who the pope had spoken and wrote a note. This whole thing with Burke is beyond scandalous in terms of how the pope has handled him. Yes, Burke might have crossed the line but he may have done it for moral purposes knowing that he would be defenestrated by the pope. In that sense, Burke is like MLK Jr. Dr. King knew that he would be arrested and derided for his moral principles which conflicted with secular law and that he could be sent to prison or be assassinated, yet, he made moral choices regardless of what might happen to him. That is the highest form of moral development.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Mark Thomas make me think of the Vicar of Bray.