Archbishop Raymond Burke, former Bishop of La Crosse, currently Archbishop of St. Louis, was appointed this morning to the position of the Prefect of the Apostolic Signature, the Vatican's highest judicial court. He will most certainly become a Cardinal at the next consistory.
This position ordinarily carries a promotion to Cardinal as well, which is of some solace to those His Grace leaves behind in St. Louis.
It is certainly a bittersweet announcement for those in St. Louis and around the world who have rejoiced in the Archbishop's stalwart defense of orthodoxy, his courage, his perseverance, and his wise and faithful pastoral care. He has been a shining example of how a Bishop should guide and govern.
A word of warning-- brace yourself for the unrestrained glee of the so-called progressive crowd who will not be able to contain themselves. The press will interview every disaffected self-described "Catholic" who ever sought out a guitar Mass. They will say this is a repudiation of the just discipline he has dealt to schismatics. That it is a repudiation of his position that Canon 915 requires that pro-abortion "Catholic" politicians must be denied Holy Communion. That it is a way to get him out of the way.
Midwestern Catholics who were looking forward to Archbishop Clayton Nienstedt joining Archbishop Burke, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, Michael Sheridan of Colorado Springs, Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix, Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, NE, Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City, MO, Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, KS, Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo, Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison as the midwest leaders of the conservative American Church will have a large vacant chair at their Round Table.
Pray for St. Louis that they get another great shepherd to lead them.
Dr. Ed Peters, Canon Lawyer, has some thoughts:
Friday, June 27, 2008
First thoughts on Abp. Burke's promotion to the Signatura
Abp. Burke, as head of the Signatura, will undoubtedly be made a cardinal (my guess, at the very next consistory) and so will be eligible to vote for the next pope. He is also sure to be named as a voting member to several other key Roman dicasteries (likely Bishops, Clergy, and Legislative Texts, probably CDF and Education, among others) making him the most influential American in Rome. James Cdl. Stafford (formerly of Denver) also serves on several dicasteries, but his main work on the Apostolic Penitentiary is by its nature not high-profile.
I am frankly a little sad at this one. Abp. Burke is a vital presence in the Church in America; but if the pope says that his abilities are needed at the universal level, then who can complain? Let's just pray that a worthy successor in St. Louis is named quickly.