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Archbishop Burke to Rome

A Roman Catholic is chief justice of the highest court in America. And now, an American is "chief justice" of the highest court in Roman Catholicism. (Too bad we can't design a moot court that would allow them both to sit!)What does Archbishop Burke's promotion mean for the Church in the U.S.?

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Cathleen Kaveny is the Darald and Juliet Libby Professor in the Theology Department and Law School at Boston College.



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Burke failed in ever establishing a pastoral rapport with the Catholic community. His weekly articles in the Archdiocesan newspaper -- an extraordinary opportunity for a pastor of souls to address those entrusted to his care -- were lengthy and complicated treatises on the various encyclical letters of Benedict XVI or his predecessor, John Paul II. Burke never sought or considered it important to forge a bond of trust and friendship with the very people he was called to serve. Instead, he used the forum of the office of Archbishop of St. Louis to advance a agenda of returning the theology and praxis of the Catholic community to a time prior to the reforms of Vatican II. He traveled extensively and focused his energies on things such as being the national chaplain for "consecrated virgins"; certain other special groups and societies, etc.Burke rejects any notion of collegiality or subsidiarity; by his actions questions the authenticity of the Novus Ordo Mass which allowed the celebration of the Mass and Sacraments in the language of the people and place where they are celebrated. Burke's style of governance is archaic and monarchical. His idea of consultation is to receive affirmation for decisions which he has already reached. One works for Burke, never with him!But this is not the reasson for his REMOVAL from office. He introduced division within the Bishops' Conference. Last year, Burke snubbed the Annual USCCB meeting of the Bishops because the Conference had decided not to introduce or entertain discussion of Canon 915, the provision of Canon Law which Burke had used to justify their bizarre remedy of addressing Catholic politicos who had supported or even reluctantly voted for abortion legislation or federal funding of abortion programs.While the Bishops met in Washington, Burke was basking in the Roman sunshine having delivered a lengthy essay on the application of Canon 915 at the Pontifical Gregorian University. In that essay, he declared that bishops who did not apply this Canon in the exact same way that he had were failing in their episcopal obligations and responsibilities.When Burke snubbed his brother bishops, he crossed the line. There can be no doubt that this came to the attention of Benedict XVI; if not prior to, then during his visit to the USA. At that moment, Burke's REMOVAL was a certitude.It is stunning that Burke was REMOVED from his office as Archbishop IMMEDIATELY. This is remarkable and unique in the tradition of announcing appointments.Vatican watchers clearly see Burke's fate as another example of promoting to an office to remove an incompetent or malfeasant adminstrator or pastor of souls from his assignment.Not matter what the spin, this appointment is a REMOVAL from office. The people of the Archdiocese and the Bishops' Conference can breath a sigh of relief. Impact on the US Church - who knows? - if my comments above are close to the truth; we might be seeing the first inklings of the national US bishops conference (or is it Pietro Sambio) pushing back on the Curia. Burke's immediate position would only impact US bishops if a laicization case was not resolved in that court and came to him. Given his history with sexual abuse laws in the US, he could create issues with the current US policy that he does not agree with. See link: Shortcut to:

First of all the title is obnoxious and not even remotely scriptural and completely Roman (pagan): "prefect of the Apostolic Signatura." Nowhere is this kind of title present in the church before the empire took over the hierarchy. In a church that is much in need of reform, maybe we should insist that the trappings like cardinal gown, miters, red hats, croziers etc., be abolished. In addition bishops should be placed on a strict budget and mandated charitable acts to assure that they will live up to their braggadocio: "Servants of the servants of the Lord."On the regal church level, this is a case of "promoveatur ut moveatur." (You are promoted so we can move you {where you are a nuisance}).Not that this is not suitable to report on but isn't there a way that we can report on the real church? Are we enabling this pontifical pea-cocking when 90% of our comments are about men in floor length dresses?

From what I've been able to glean from media reports since Archbishop Burke's promotion, the Apostolic Signatura does not appear to be a court that exercises much in the way of power or influence over lay Catholics in general. Its jurisdiction seems to be concentrated for the most part on procedural matters. And though it can find error in the judgments of the Rota, where the bread-and-butter issues such as annulments are decided, the most the AS can do is send the matter back to the Rota for another trial or determination. I'm sure I'm oversimplifying, but it would appear to me that Archbishop (and eventually Cardinal) Burke's exercise of authority in his new position would have little effect on the Church in the U.S., and especially on the day-to-day life of American Catholics. On the other hand, the exercise of authority by the other American prefect in Rome, Cardinal Levada of the CDF, certainly has the potential to affect the Church in the U.S.

So is this a real promotion or a punishment promotion? Bill DeHaas sees it as a removal but then links to a SNAP article that criticizes the move because it's a promotion ... I'm confusedc.And Bill M, don't knock regalia such as floor-lewngth robes, mitres, etc. ... soemtimes that's all that's left of an instuitution (see the British monarchy for a case in point)

This is a promoveatur ut moveatur and I agree with William Collier.The only benefit the Red Hat.

Not my intent to confuse folks. SNAP does significant work and should be commended. But, they also focus on perception and miss the nuance of Curia politics at times. Like Cardinal Law, on the surface this is a promotion. But, to those in the know, he may get a red hat but his career is effectively ended; his contact and impact on people is cut off; and he will never see another pastoral position. I do not see this "promotion" in the same way as Levada's position at the CDF. What is more interesting to me is who pushed the buttons to get Burke out of STL - are we really seeing some American bishops begin to raise personnel issues that involve their fellow bishops or was this purely a move by the pope based on information from his apostolic nuncio?

Thanks, Mary! WOW!! That's some "train" behind the cardinal's caboose ... I wonder if it doubles as a bounce for the kiddies?

Bill DeHaas, thank you for your observations. I think they are "right on" target.A fellow dotC blogger recently sent contacts (incl. me) a photo of B16 wearing an odd-looking hat: red velvet with white ermine lining. It reminded me of the style of cap my (then) toddler son wore on cold days --- except we could afford only cotton :) It covers not only the head but also the cheeks. Benedict is shown smiling while wearing this ridiculous cap.Seriously, if one didn't know any better, one might conclude it was of a mental case at a Xmas party!BTW, might Burke's future office by any chance be located in the bowels of the Vatican??? Wouldn't it be nice :)

Might Raymond's departure allow his successor the opportunity to undo the legalistic crap visited upon St. Stan's, the good sister who was interdicted, etc.?I can see it now: the new AB wipes away the crap, Burke declares the undoing illegal under canon law, and the successor tells Burke to go fly a kite!!! Subsidiarity. Bring it on!!!

Any handicapping on who Archbishop Burke's successor might be? I have no insider knowledge (if I did, I'd have my own blog, like "Whispers in the Loggia"), but I'm going to let 3 Our Fathers and 2 Hail Marys ride on Bishop William Lori of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut. He's a former auxilairy bishop of the Archdiocese of Washington, DC, chair of the board of trustees at Catholic University of America, and the Supreme Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus. And though Bridgeport is a relatively small diocese, it was the springboard for Bishop Edward Egan's promotion to head the Archdiocese of New York and to be named a cardinal. Bishop Lori also seemed to be in BXVI's very near vicinity at various times during the Pope's recent visit to NYC.

John XXIII in the camauro: fact, he's still wearing it - if you go to St. Peter's Basilica, you'll see him, under glass, with it atop his head.

Do you think that good Bp. Doran knows about this! He may not want to leave beautiful downtown Rockford anytime soon ......

For those who are squeamish about this stuff, I offer that this is effective and necessary ridicule. Somehow we have to at least rid our church of this "intimidation by apparel." Talking about substantial issues does not seem to move Rome. So maybe "accidentals" might move them better. Better yet let's have some ideas on proper apparel for those who purport to be "servants of the servants of the Lord." Maybe the face of the 100 million children who are in the world and not nourished nor medicated properly. For openers.

I didn't expect much love for His Grace here at Commonweal, to be sure.But:1. The SNAP allegations - thrown out without any exploration also in the Post_Dispatch editorial this week - require serious unpacking if they're to be bandied about any longer. There's been no such previous allegations along these lines. God knows it's hard to resist the temptation to assume the worst of any given bishop when it comes to sex scandals, but - let us not impune the name of others without at least minimal proof.2. Mr. Jaglowicz urges that the canonical actions against St. Stans and Sr. Lears. We should all hope for reconciliation of our brothers and sisters. But will both or either renounce their support for the impossibility of women's ordination? If they don't, what unity can we have?If there's been divisiveness, it has been brought about by the small minority of activists who continue to press for this unprecedented redefinition of the priesthood. Ask the Anglicans how that project is working out for them.

"If theres been divisiveness, it has been brought about by the small minority of activists who continue to press for this unprecedented redefinition of the priesthood. Ask the Anglicans how that project is working out for them."Comparisons limp and the above one hardly makes it to that. If you want to know about the priesthood, note how there were no priests at the Eucharist at Corinthians. And the "unprecedented redefinition" of the priesthood came in the fourth century when the emperor was calling the shots.At any rate, R.M, I welcome the dialogue if you are willing. But give us a break with the "His Grace" stuff.

Hello Bill,1. "His Grace" is his title. If it bugs you I can drop to the colloquial "Burke."2. If there was a Eucharist in Corinthians, there was a priesthood - the priesthood and the sacrifice of the mass are reciprocal terms (Council of Trent, Session XXIII, cap. i). If there is a Eucharist there is necessarily a priesthood - at least in the view of the Church, East and West. Certainly there is an alternative view of the priesthood as a later, gradual accretion, according to a formidable pile of historical critical scholarship; but this is not the view of the Catholic Church (or the Orthodox), and (I would argue) for very good reason. The question of women's ordination was settled definitively by Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, or should I say the settlement was simply affirmed, since the dubium simply confirmed what had been held everywhere, at all time, by all authorities in the Church, East and West. Archbishop Burke was well within his rights - indeed, his obligations - to simply enforce this. Is it your position that he should have been more pastoral in his canonical actions? Or simply surrendered? In either case, one would think the subsequent distintegration of the Anglican communion in the wake of the refusal to discipline Bishop Pike would suggest the dangers of abandoning any attempt to discipline violations of the Church's teaching and discipline: before long, you don't have much of a church at all. No one has broken out the rack or the comfy chair yet.Some argue that there should have been "dialogue" with the excommunicated women instead. I'm not opposed to dialogue per se, but to what end would this dialogue be directed? In the end, it always seems to have as its telos winning the dissenting position; anything less is unacceptable. "We will talk and talk and talk until you see things my way." I'm not sure this is any more open-minded than the presumed authoritarian excesses of the Church in ages past. But the conversation at hand is about Burke, not women's ordination, and if there is a difficulty in our continuing any dialogue about Burke, I suspect we will have to overcome the radically different perspectives we each have on the very nature of the Church. Otherwise we're just two trains passing in the night.

Hello all, let's not pick on Apb. Burke's past. Let's look at the future. He was a big voice in the 2004 elections. Do you think his absence from the American scene in the 2008 election will change the national tone of Catholic discussion? Or is it a moot point since no Catholic is a presidential candidate?

R.M.,"I suspect we will have to overcome the radically different perspectives we each have on the very nature of the Church."You will agree that our perspectives should be scripturally based. Vatican II revised the traditions of the first three centuries which were ignored when the Empire started interfering. In fact John XXIII cited secular government interference in the church as a problem which for the first time, the church was able to be truly independent of it. You might take a look at: "The Church" which Kung wrote after the Council. Perhaps no one confronted Peter so successfully more than Kung since Paul did it over the dietary laws. Paradoxically, many of the practices we follow today have been as a result of Kung's work.As far as Pedophilia is concerned it is always risky to challenge David Clohessy's facts. He has been right to many times. "The national director of the group Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, David Clohessy, cautioned that sexual abuse settlements did not represent any fundamental challenge to the churchs longstanding patterns of recklessness and secrecy that got us into this mess to begin with. Such settlements, he noted, enabled church officials to avoid testifying in open court. "

RML - the information from SNAP was offered with a caution - see my f/u e-mail. But, like Bill, I could have inserted additional links that drill down and cast an even darker shadow on Burke's stonewalling, use of legal game playing, intimidating victims, etc. Like CK, let's look to the future. Burke will not, hopefully, play any part in our 2008 election cycle; he will no longer be able to stop the movement to rescind statues of limitation on sexual abuse victims; hopefully, he will be replaced by a "pastoral" bishop who values meeting with victims, not using insurance companies and their legal devices to stop dialogue and healing (I think B16 called for that recently in the USA visit). Unfortunately, in the states of Wisconsin, Colorado, and Kentucky, state legislatures almost unanimously voted to change SOL laws but these motions were squashed at the last minute behind closed doors. We have documented proof that Catholic bishops supported and spent tens of thousands of dollars to stop these legal changes. So, my intent is not to impugn but your style of warning/accusation can also be used to stop sincere, effective, and transparent questioning. I leave you with one question - did Burke ever meet with one victim of sexual abuse?

A question here is did Burke's "promotion" occur because he wasn't pastoral enough or because he bucked the big guys in USCCB?While many here are happy to see him go, the proof of a more independent American cathollic hierarchy will be in the pudding.Personally, I maintain that top leadership there is still "out of touch" with many Catholics, hence continued drift and individual spirituality moves.As to sex abuse issues, the entire SOL question continues to be critical in the furture -sse today's Denver Post story on the settlement in Colorado.Bishops who are really "pastoral" will put child safety ahead of institutional and personal protection!

"....the entire SOL question continues to be critical in the future.....please see link. This SOL issue in Colorado is very complicated. No story completely captures the evolution of this debate nor state decisions. Early on, Chaput fought any and all changes to the current SOL; then, he came up with a legal delay - accepting SOL changes but only if it applied to both private and government entities e.g. school districts. Although his point may have been correct, the perception and result was to continue to delay changes and ignore victims (put yourself in the shoes of a victim reading about these legal/legislative moves). This settlement came about only because a judge ruled in favor of the victims and suspended the current SOL interpreting the 6 year period as still valid because the church covered up information and the victims did not allege abuse but cover-up. Shortcut to:

Bill D,The judge did not suspend the SOL, he simply started the clock based on when the plaintiff's "knew" about the alleged negligence rather than when the abuse occurred.The SOL in relation to this issue is one of the most misunderstood and misinterpreted things I have ever seen. Is it possible that enforcing an SOL will possibly let someone avoid responsibility? It is not only possible, it's likely. We have always known this. Now that the Church is in the crosshairs, this long accepted legal mechanism, is suspect. Absolutely nothing has changed other than it is the Catholic Church that the lawyers are after. The principals underlying a SOL apply to the abuse situation exactly the same as any other.This ought to disturb everyone, and Catholics especially. What other laws can they change to get at the Church, or any other group?

"Absolutely nothing has changed other than it is the Catholic Church that the lawyers are after."Sean, Can you recall any other time in American history that not only Catholic clergy sexual abuse has been so well known, but also child sex abuse of teachers and other religious ministers of all faiths. Is that not change? I know you are not a flippant person so maybe you can explain this further. Secondly, are you aware that practically in every state capital in the country the Church is the most visible force in preventing the statute of limitations. I doubt if any of us want the church to pay damages unjustly. Do you think the claims of the abused children (at the time) are unjust?

R.M. Lender, why should St. Stan's or Sr. Lears renounce their support for women's ordination??? Based on the evidence offered by those in support, I have concluded that Rome to date has offered only excuses, not genuine reasons, in opposition. No one has been able to convince me that the female ordinations to date are invalid. These women are Catholic priests, if not "Roman Catholic" priests.The Christian (and later Catholic) Church has experienced "divisiveness" from the very beginning. Conflict/disagreement is a sign of a healthy institution. God knows we need it (and He does). Just as change is a part of life in general, it is part and parcel of the church in particular. It may not be comfortable, but it's real.Burke's acceptance of the title "His Grace" is a contemporary disgrace. Most folks would agree there's been nothing "graceful" about his resort to threats, intimidation, interdict, excommunication, legalism, ad nauseum. Burke is his own worst enemy. He has no one to blame but himself. Thank God he's leaving. Let's pray he doesn't come back!Regarding the priesthood, I suggest you read Robert Egan's recent article in Commonweal, "Why Not?", that details how the church --- the Catholic Church, btw --- did not have a "priesthood" for roughly the first 200 years of its life. Our ancestors had "presiders," not "priests." In addition, I can recommend PRIESTHOOD: A HISTORY OF ORDAINED MINISTRY IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, a book that details what is known about the gradual development --- i.e., over time --- of a Christian priesthood. Jesus, of course, knew only the Jewish priesthood, which disappeared with the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 AD. History can certainly present us with "inconvenient truths" when we decide to look at it!You make unsubstantiated characterizations about how Sacrosanctum Concilium somehow settled the issue of women's ordination --- or simply reaffirmed what the bishops have always taught, etc. over the centuries. Even the pope's own biblical commission said scripture could not be used to support or oppose female ordination to the priesthood. To date, the bishops have been unable to offer solid reasons in favor of the prohibition. In time, we will see Rome acknowledge the validity of women's ordination. Frankly, I could care less about what is occurring in the Anglican Communion. Change: bring it on!!! The church is a living entity. If it should fossilize (as hoped for by so-called "conservatives"), then it no longer will serve to propagate effectively the Christian message.Finally, if you share Burke's understanding of church, it is a perspective that is fast dying with the winds of change --- that is, the wind of the Holy Spirit. (And we know the Holy Spirit always wins in the long term.)

It appears to me that the RC Church could be a leader in addressing the worldwide issue of child sexual abuse. Instead, it chooses to use legal systems, insurance companies, etc. to ignore victims. It is my hope that the church will ultimately wake up and be an advocate for all victims and their famillies - this issue strikes at all churchs, schools, neighborhoods, families and is truly a pro-life issue. Two recent experts have suggested changes that could benefit all peoples:a) Cardinal Levada has hinted at changing canon law to eliminate SOLs in church cases;b) Marci Hamilton, foremost expert on this issue, has a new book out - see link:Shortcut to:

Bill,I don't know whether the problem is worse or just that it is getting more attention. But that wasn't my point. A statute of limitations serves many purposes - preventing stale claims, detrioration of evidence and lost witnesses, and repose within the legal system, and preventing fraud, among others. It is always known that a limitation period is somewhat arbitrary and can, in deed will, result in some otherwise meritorious claims being rejected. That has always been the case. SOLs are based on a balancing of interests. Nothing has changed in that regard.Many of the reasons for SOL's are at play in this crisis and are being ignored. In some of these cases, virtually every witness who could support the Church's positioin are dead. Another reason that we have SOLs is so that people and institutions can move on productively without having the threat of massive claims arising from the distant past. It is very damaging to any institution to have unknown liabilities lurking from 20-30-40 and even 50 years ago. How can it make prudent decisions about resources? How can it meet its current obligations?Do I think some cliams are unjust? I know some are from talking to people within my archdicese who know. (that is who have been involved in the investigation and settlement of them) but certainly many are meritorious. But that misses the point. As I said, an SOL is expected to eliminate some "just" claims for the sake of other interets. I have been involved in criminal cases where the accused walked (actually was never charged formally) because the SOL had run on his crime. In some cases, the evidence was very strong, but that's how SOL's work. My two objections to the SOL discussion have been 1) that it is focussed almost exclusively on the Church and often excludes state actors - keep in mind that the state has its own immunity, and is often protected not only by an SOL (often shorter than for private entities) but by procedural requirements and dollar liability limits, and 2) no one is discussing it in terms of the other interests served by a limitation period are damaged by the change. If changing the law would bankrupt a local school district or hospitals, I think we would have this discussion, but since its the Church - not so much.

The issue of SOL is not about the Church mainly or exclusively - in fact, the issue of abuse by parents is far greater, for example and with great danger for the abused!The issue is protecting children - not the Church - and the reason the Church has been in the "crosshairs" is that bishops have been in the forefront of oposing SOL law change.False accusationsc ar eminimal (Hamilton, I beleive, cites it as less than 5%/Many cases are still unreported and cannot be and predators can still easily walk about.Hamilton also discussed at length the bankruptcy issue and indicated it was fundamentally a tactic to keep bishops from being deposed (see timing question of when the issue was raised,)It is clear that Mr, Hannaway is much concerned for Church protection - not so much for child protection, however.

Your points are well made and were repeatedly raised in both the state of Colorado and the state of Ohio challenges to SOLs. By removing SOLs you may open the door to significant and large numbers of cases e.g. Los Angeles.....but, that is my point, without transparency and the historical record being made visible, the church will never move past this issue. In fact, legal cases will continue to be pressed and find a way around the SOLs. Guess I would hope for some type of USCCB "Truth and Reconciliation Commission" (South African example) that would protect the church from undue financial liability but allow victims to come forward, be heard, and receive support (financial with limits following the public financial guidelines). My issue with your second point is that the church is NOT a school district or hospital and is called to a higher purpose, ethic, and pastoral goal. 5 dioceses have already declared bankruptcy because the US Church did not have the courage to face this issue as pastoral leaders. Your arguments are well made but remain within the legal arena - my hope is to elevate this issue to the pastoral arena.

Hello Bill,I don't object to revisions to the law - even if removal of SOL's carries certain dangers, the advantages still seem to outweigh the disadvantages in this context.But there is no substitute for leadership. Not all the canon law in the world can protect us from worldly, clericalist or even corrupt bishops. We have had a lot of all three. The results are on display. Hello Bob,"A question here is did Burkes promotion occur because he wasnt pastoral enough or because he bucked the big guys in USCCB?"A good question. One we may never really know the answer to. Perhaps the answer may be a combination of factors?There is some evidence that Burke is well liked in Rome, or certain quarters thereof. Fifteen bishops were invited to Rome for final consultation before promulgation of Summorum Pontificum - only one without a red hat, and that was Burke. Perhaps we'll get a better clue when we learn who his successor is. If it's a Finn or a Perry, getting Burke out of Dodge fast before November probably wasn't a factor. If the new guy is more in the mold of, say, Rigali, then perhaps that's a clue the other way.

Hello Joseph,Of course I know that Commonweal is interested in continuing to explore the question of women's ordination, and it's apparent that you share that interest. I simply don't. Roma locuta est, finita causa, and that's good enough for me. But then so is Inter Insigniores, and the unchanged constant practice and teaching of the Church, in all of its ancient patriarchies and Fathers and Doctors, which is the necessary background for a papal document which was not intended to fully unpack the issue, merely put a heightened magisterial stamp on it. And for my part, I still find Sr. Butler's analysis the more persuasive. And again, if that weren't good enough, the deeply divisive and corrosive effect on churches which have given way to it should be a pragmatic warning against it as well. For goodness sake, the Anglicans *still* have a vocations shortage, even with both married and women priests. I concede that the Church has certainly has experienced divisiveness through the ages, but at the end of the day it's always been settled by a magisterial settlement. And we have one now. If anything is dying in the wind, I fear, it's not the support for the teaching, but the contrary obsession of a generation of clerics and laity entering deep into its autumn years. (I am not eagerly looking forward to anyone's death here; just making what seems to me to be an empirical observation). The trend in outlook in new diocesan and religious vocations is undeniable at this point. I didn't say anything about Sacrosanctum Concilium, by the way. On the main discussion point, perhaps Burke can be nicked for be insufficiently pastoral in how he went about the whole affair in each case, but otherwise it seems he's being damned here for acting like a Catholic bishop. If the teaching is to be changed - and I think that to be an impossibility - it can't be by a bishop suddenly deciding to be "prophetic." Otherwise his option might have been to do what many other bishops do, which is nothing at all. But that's not really fulfilling the job description he was given either, is it? For my part, I have found Burke to be an extraordinarily warm, gentle and holy man in personal interaction; if his tactical or pastoral judgment is to be faulted (perhaps this is something men and women of good will can differ on), I also think he was hobbled by a poor PR representative, and later by none at all. Obviously, of course, the buck still stops on his desk.

R.M. Lender, if you accept Rome's word as final in matters, so be it. As various writers have remarked, however, we ignore history at our peril. At age 60, I now take everything out of the Vatican or local chancery with a grain of salt!Regarding Butler's analysis refuted by Robert Egan, perhaps Commonweal might allow her the opportunity to address Egan's recent article?If you find reason for hope and optimism in the newer clerics, I again suggest we review church history to learn how official policy and practice gave rise to --- and enforced maintenance of --- the clerical culture. As I've said elsewhere on dotC, "Those who don't learn the lessons of history --- end up screwing the rest of us!""I didn't say anything about Sacrosanctum Concilium, by the way." Yes, you did. You used the correct name, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, and I later used the wrong name of the document dealing with women's ordination. Thank you for the correction. If you find reason for hope and optimism in the newer clerics, you are in a distinct minority. As Dean Hoge and other sociologists have pointed out, these priests are moving in one direction while the laity --- including the newer generations --- are moving in the opposite direction. Such being the case, there is no way these clerics are going to be of any real service to the People of God."I also think [Burke] was hobbled by a poor PR representative." Uh, no. This arrogant, legalistic, and imperious hierarch was "hobbled" by his own official behaviors, the very kind condemned by the Jesus of the gospels. Indeed, if Raymond Burke represents what is and should be true of Christianity, I would renounce my Christian/Catholic faith in a heartbeat!

CORRECTION: In the 4th paragraph of my last post, I should have noted, in part, "True, you used the correct name, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis..." Sorry for the confusion.

Since Cardinal Rigali is the only ex-bishop of St Louis who belongs to the Congregation for Bishops, I suspect he will have some influence in the selection of Burke's successor. (not to mention some influence in getting him promoted?)

Just a comment based on numerous friends in the STL Church arena - Burke came across almost in a szichoid fashion.....earlier comments about how gracious, kind, and gentle he was in one-one situations is confirmed; yet, later that same day, he would put on his archbishop hat and make some pronouncement that just shocked people with its force, coming out of left field, etc.Comment - bishops are not just rule enforcers or keepers of the orthodoxy. Bishops follow the apostles and are not just assistants to the pope. My expectation is that a bishop live and guide using pastoral leadership (which is not the same as quoting the Baltimore Catechism or the last revision of Canon Law). Burke's lived experience demonstrated an inability to separate his pastoral sense from his legal background and passion. That is unfortunate. Law is there for the church; not the other way around!In terms of his replacement, it is my hope that Pietro Sambi and B16 have the final decision and the Rigali's, Egan's, and Law's of this worled are not paid attention to.

Please see this link: Shortcut to: is an example of Burke's leadership - appears that he operates out of fear rather than dialogue, listening, affirmation in a personal need to please the Curia/Rome. I will take the dear sister's life and accomplishments over Burke's any day. Given this example, it is hard to see how Burke lives up to B16's encyclical on HOPE. Sr. Lears deserved a lighter hand in her support of the ordination of women. I, as a new Catholic was not prepared by my RCIA classes for this. As a former Anglican, I came to the Catholic Church because of my admiration for the rich history and spirituality offered as well as an excellent track record in service and dedication to the poor. I found the Catholic Church to be a church of the people rather than the elite "frozen chosen" standing around with cucumber sandwiches and sherry. That being said, I was not prepared for people like AB Burke and his followers. Blind following of tradition when it involves excluding 50% of the church from one of its sacraments, is folly. Young educated, secure Catholic women are questioning why such a low glass ceiling exists for them in the church. These women question why the issue of women's ordination cannot even be a topic for discussion.As more and more of these women leave, the church is in danger of losing its base. Women attend Mass and church functions far more often than men. If this base erodes, the pews will be emptier than they are now. The inclusiveness of the Anglican Church has a lot going for it in spite of the turmoil they are going through. Who knows, I may be back there soon if I am excommunicated for supporting Sr. Lears and the ordination of women.

John Allen's comments - link: Shortcut to:

Professor Kaveny, I agree with most of the commentators that Abp. Burke's promotion will not affect the American church much outside the political arena, but for very different reasons than those already proffered by the commentators.For starters, comparing Law's demotion to Burke's promotion is misplaced. Law went from a position of considerable canonical jurisdiction and pastoral responsibility to one with neither: Archpriest of St. Mary Major, a true sinecure. Burke only lost his pastoral jurisdiction and gained both considerable canonical jurisdiction and influence: he presides over the Church's highest court and sits on the council that issues binding interpretation of canon law.The jurisdiction of his new presidency does in fact influence Catholics in the pews. It goes beyond the ability to review Rotal decisions that Mr. Collier noted. It also, as head of the administrative law branch of the Church's judicial system, has the ability to confirm, modify, overturn, or substitute the decisions of all the executive authorities of the latin Church save that of the Pope. See CIC c. 1445 2; id. c. 1739.Several of these executive decisions would be considered important by the laity, among them being the dissolution of parishes and the punishment of ecclesiastical crimes. Dissolution is always an administrative matter, and when it comes to the laity, crimes are nearly always imposed administratively instead of judicially (e.g., St. Stainslaus' corporate board and Womenpriests). As long as the litigant is diligent, the Signatura would hear the petition for recourse, and their judgment in that matter would be final. See CIC c. 1629 ("No appeal is possible against: 1 a judgement of the Supreme Pontiff himself, or a judgement of the Apostolic Signatura.").The lack of affect on the American church from Abp. Burke's promotion does not stem from his position being a sinecure. He is president of a court with considerable power over matters that affect Catholics in the pews. Instead it would stem, if anything, from the probability that he has very little ideological difference from the other judges and would probably not steer the tribunal in a different direction.

Bill M said above: " Better yet lets have some ideas on proper apparel for those who purport to be 'servants of the servants of the Lord.' "My mother always claimed that nothing was more appropriate than basic black without pearls. It is time that those of our self-indulgent drag obsessed ecclesiastics learned that."His Grace" (and "My Lord") is an embarrassing relic of a time in the church best forgotten, and the sooner the better.R.M. Lender insists that women's ordination is an impossibility. I don't know how long he has been in this church, but I aver that NOTHING is an impossibility with it comes to the Church's position on almost anything that is not a core item of the faith. Ordination rules are man-made rules (and yes I mean "man') that I am sure God does not hold in the same esteem that male church ecclesiastics do.

Hello Joseph,Regarding Butlers analysis refuted by Robert Egan, perhaps Commonweal might allow her the opportunity to address Egans recent article?A capital idea.Whatever my views on the subject, I confess...that I'd be interested to follow an exchange between Egan and Butler, assuming Commonweal would offer the opportunity, and that both Egan and Butler would participate. If you find reason for hope and optimism in the newer clerics, I again suggest we review church history to learn how official policy and practice gave rise to and enforced maintenance of the clerical culture. As Ive said elsewhere on dotC, Those who dont learn the lessons of history end up screwing the rest of us! [snip] ...If you find reason for hope and optimism in the newer clerics, you are in a distinct minority. As Dean Hoge and other sociologists have pointed out, these priests are moving in one direction while the laity including the newer generations are moving in the opposite direction. Such being the case, there is no way these clerics are going to be of any real service to the People of God.Let me offer a few thoughts in response:1) I take your point about the dangers of clericalism and clerical culture, and I actually think it's a valid one - to a point.It's my belief that much of the erroneous thought informing the desire by some for women's ordination is a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the sacramental priesthood. Like all the sacraments, the priesthood has a distinct, defined form and matter. Women simply do not constitute the requisite matter, and they never can. They just can't. But more to the point, the priesthood must be understood as a vocation of service, of humility. And I agree with you that we cannot ignore history, alas - too often, those who have received orders have treated them as an opportunity for the exercise of power, not for service to the Lord and his flock. And because of this history, I can understand - to an exent - why some today likewise make the same mistake of viewing the priesthood as a power position, and see the exclusion of women from it as an occasion of injustice, just as the same was true of (say) corporate leadership or governmental positions.But the abuses of the past cannot alter the truth of what the priesthood is. Or the reality that Christ (who was so radical in so many ways during his earthly ministry) was a free actor in choosing his apostles solely among men. What must also attend this realization (but again, has too often not done so) is that this does not reflect any judgment that men are any holier than women - indeed, one can't help but feel the opposite is probably the case. I refuse to speculate on the population of heaven, but I wouldn't be surprised to see men in a marked minority there.2) Certainly I know about Hoge's surveys, and I don't deny that there's evidence that many American Catholics favor women's ordination. Frankly, it's hardly a surprise to me, given the relentless pressure to view all things through secular lenses. But:a) Truth, as a former Vatican II peritus once informed us, is not determined by a majority vote - Deo gratias.b) I think the numbers are considerably different if only regular, active mass-goers are surveyed. Among the other young, under-35 Catholics I know who are what I might term intentional Catholics - I concede that maybe I don't move in the right circles - I sense no outcry for women's ordination. What vocations interest I do sense - borne out by the numbers now - is in men's and women's orders (and dioceses) which are guided by more traditional views of religious life and its content. How many vocations does Sr. Lears' Sistsrs of Charity chapter currently attract? How does it compare to (say) the Nashville Dominicans?Faith has a content. That content is informed by love and also by truth. You cannot have one without the other. And while I make no judgments on anyone's soul, it is hard to expect the content of faith to be filled with much if you darken the church door a half dozen times per year or don't make any other active effort to grow in the life of faith. 3) With all due respect, I think it's unfair and a cheap shot to say that all of these more conservative young priests will not be of "any real service to the People of God." I would never say that of any generation or group of priests, not boomer priests, not Gen Xers, not millenials. They're all human, and that means always a mixed bag. And the Lord can put all variety of poor human instruments to his service in unexpected (and humanly impossible) ways.Finally, that Burke was poorly served in terms of public relations is not incompatible with your negative verdict on his own actions and decisions - both could be possible at the same time. For my part, I would observe that if a prelate is going to take up a more vigorous exercise of his teaching office than has been offered by his recent predecessors, a lot of education is going to have to go into informing the community of what it all means. Don't sweat the Ordinatio Sacerdotalis/Sacrosancum Concilium mixup. It happens.

Hello Jimmy Mac,R.M. Lender insists that womens ordination is an impossibility. I dont know how long he has been in this church, but I aver that NOTHING is an impossibility with it comes to the Churchs position on almost anything that is not a core item of the faith. I've been in it long enough to appreciate there is a better chance of Old Scratch catching chilblains than in seeing women ordained as priests in my lifetime, which I hope and expect to last for another several decades. "Core item of faith." With all due respect, I can't help the feeling that this is an awfully, awfully tiny category for you. But then there's been a fair amount of that sort of thing going around the last few decades.

Dear Paul,Extremely helpful! You have learned a lot of canon law! Hope your summer is going well! What year are you going into in Law School now?Cathleen Kaveny

And now, as Paul Harvey would say, for the rest of the story on Sr. Louise vs. Burke: (anonymous source within the archdiocese of STL who is no fan of Burke):Here is a clear example of the press misleading in its reporting. The entire article is devoted to canonizing this woman (who might be all the positive things it says but who is also well known for being an angry peace and justice feminist) while vilifying Burke for taking action against her, and yet not once does the press give the reason for Burke's action. It merely alludes to it in passing by saying she believes ordination should be open to women. Then, of course, in journalistic deception, it moves on and resumes her canonization. This is the nun who offered not her church but the Archdiocese's church to the woman bishop who ordained the two women priests -- the same ceremony the St. Stanislaus priest attended and concelebrated, laying hands on the women. When word got out of her intent, she was told no, and the ceremony eventually was held at a synagogue. Then, to show her solidarity and with all kinds of press and media at her invite, she invited the women to celebrate their first masses at her church. Again, she was told no, and so she arranged for ceremonies to take place outside on the church lawn -- a clear snub to the bishop. The media article misinforms about the timing of all this, saying she first got word of her being in trouble the same time Burke got word of being appointed. Makes for a cute story. After she hosted the newly ordained women priests at the parish church (lawn), the archbishop summoned her, as he should have, to appear before him and give an explanation. She refused. He notified her she had to appear within a period of time and that she should bring legal counsel (a canon lawyer) to protect her own rights. When the deadline came and went, he issued a decree (as the law requires) outlining her offense and asking her to publicly indicate she accepts current church discipline. All this was weeks before his Roman appointment and was covered by the papers here extensively. When the second deadline came and went, he submitted the case to Rome and Rome gave its answer which coincidentally arrived the day before the announcement of his move. Do not like the public airing of all this and would have preferred the usual response of try, try, try as you keep extending so-called deadlines, letting it drag out till it's almost a moot point, and then finally issuing a decree. But, while personally prefering a slower approach, can't fault Burke for saying that Archdiocesan parish churches and their administrators should not host first masses of women priests; and when they host the women priests anyway, can't fault Burke for holding them accountable. All of us are hoping for a lower-profile next archbishop. All of this to say that I am not sure it answers Ms. Kaveny's original question - will this move to Rome impact the US Church? Not sure any of us really knows. But, what concerns me is the "bella figura" move that only adds another Red Hat to the Curia; a man who already demonstrates his desire for centrality vs. collegiality; authority vs. dialogue; and law vs. pastoral responses. Would agree with the comments in the last paragraph above. Why make this so public? No matter what your feelings are about ordination (married, female, etc); the sensus fidelium is looking for education, sensitivity, and dialogue not condemnation or more of the communion wars. Look at all of the recent and not so recent calls by "retired" bishops that the Curia be reformed. Without using the tired liberal vs. conservative labels, the trend seems to be for appointments of men that incline towards the communio church view vs. the kingdom church view.A number of you have done an excellent job of defining his new position vis-a-vis canon law - it appears that he will be basically in an appeals role but he will stay add his voice and thinking to the Curia.Allow me to paraphrase Gregory Baum: "The Gospel's radical view is that law imposed upon us from iwthout as the condiiton of our salvation has a harmful effect on lives and keeps us away from salvation for 3 reasons:a) such a law tempts us to identify holiness with the strict observance of the law. If observance and law = holiness, then we can make ourselves holy rather than God's action. thus, the law tends to encourage a compulsive view of human growth;b) law imposed as the condition of salvation leads us away from knowing ourselves and understanding another's view, people, cultures, etc. Law can become a screen behind which we may hide our true feelings and attitudes. As long as we conform to rules, we need not look at the speck in our own eye. It can become a platform on which we look down upon others;c) finally, the law imposed on us from without as a condition for salvation makes us look upon God as a divine judge in heaven who imposes his will, watches and judges from a far, rewarding and punishing. This warps our understanding of the divine. Jesus came to save us from the law!So, impact unknown but pattern is not appreciated.

Core items of faith: the Apostle's and Nicene creeds. None of them say anything about who can/cannot be ordained. Everything else in Catholicism is time-bound, man-made and subject to "interpretation", i.e., change. And when it comes to Papal Infallibility, I'm with Hans Kung on that one.So cast me into the everlasting fires of hell ..... I desire the eternal company of many of the prior popes.

Bill DeHaas, thanks for your last comments.I must speculate how Burke's paternalistic and legalistic temperament might have contributed to the women's ordination matter in the first place. I wonder, for example, if a moderate or progressive bishop's initial request to Sr. Lears might have nipped this controversy in the bud, so to speak. In other words, because the STL archbishop has managed to alienate many, many folks (and not just in St. Louis), might his "record" have contributed to this issue spiraling out of control? Not trying to relieve Lears of any responsibility for what happened. Perhaps a pastoral AB could have persuaded Sr. Lears of the reasonableness of his request to avoid any activity at St. Cronan's (?) and would have "looked the other way" at her attendance at the women's ordination. It seems like Burke's behavioral record "came home to roost."

I wonder how Sr. Louise and her Canon lawyers will deal with this. She is doing the right thing by not speaking to the media. Taking a leave from her Order and going home to take care of her parents is admirable. How would you react if you were served with a summons from your bishop for posting your support for women's ordination on the internet, a public arena? I think it would be enough to make me question what I was doing in such a punitive situation and consider moving on. If she was following her conscience on this, she was in reality following one of B16s admonitions. I know I couldn't receive communion last Sunday and am not sure what I will do about tomorrow. I'm sure my priest thinks I'm a bit hysterical about this whole thing but it is what it is and I am who I am.

John Allen doesn't seem to think this was a promotion to remove and he mentions that many in Rome highly esteem Archbishop Burke.

Tahnks to Bill for his update from St. Louis and, more so, for his ideas on Canon Law.It should be noted that NCR reported today that Sean Collins, Sr. Lear's co-pastoral associate with Fr. Kleba St. Cronan's has resigned stating he does not think he can work effectively for the diocese or its parisghes and that he wishes to tell the story of how Sr. Lear was mistreated - particularly, how they had sought dialogue often with Bishop Burke and were rebuffed.It seem like the relationship there has been perceived quite differently in some quarters.As to canon law, I always though tcanonical sanctions were supposed to be "medicinal:" the application of various sanctions i St. Louis seem more like "get out, you're fired."

Here is the link to what Bob Nunz mentions: Shortcut to: info from STL - Fr. Kleba is an elderly pastor who has served and worked with the poor for years; dedicated; and well respected. But, the parish is viewed as "advant-garde" if I may use that PC term. Like any parish, it has its non-conformists; may be a few more outspoken dissidents than usual; it does great work among the inner city poor and homeless. In some ways it reminds me of the brouhaha over Fr. Pleger and St. Sabina's in Chicago. Inner city parishes that have struggled to find their mission; often at odds with the diocesan authorities; fighting for respect and limited resources; and at times feeling like victims. Given their total commitment to the disadvantaged and marginalized, it makes sense that they would support recognizing women's roles in the church (even ordination); supporting gay rights; etc. Again, my point would be that you can not impose law on these folks and that respectful dialogue rather than legal threats would have been the preferred pastoral response.

Two more editorials from the "admittedly" liberal NCR:Shortcut to: to: that one of the newly ordained said his first mass using the "extraordinary" latin rite and facing east away from family and friends. Yes, this will really support the current and future needs of the archdiocese of STL.

See the following article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:Burke's efforts lead to biggest Catholic ordination class in decadesBill, you're right: These guys "will really support the current and future needs of the archdiocese of STL." Yeah, sure they will :((You'll have to search as I was unable to provide a link.)

More from NCR, from Sean Collins, on Lear's punsihment.Seems the archdiocese gave permission for someone to secretly video the women's ordination which several religious attended, but only Lears was singled out for punishment. He speculates that the two women ordained had been connected with St. Cronan's -hence Lear 9pastoral associatet here) had to be punished.The videos, per Colins, are in Lear's file at the archdiocesan office.Such is the m.o. .... Zenit must be feeling the fallout if they had to publish an article called "To Radical Feminism and Back."The gist of it is that a Catholic Feminist is an oxymoron. The petition in support of Sr. Lears has reached 1020 signatures.The fact that Sr. Lears was singled out among the many religiousin attendance may help the canon lawyers who are defending her.Abp Burke quote: Any Catholic, he wrote, who knowingly and deliberately assists risks the eternal salvation of their souls. Is he God?

Pamela, if behaviors are any indication, Burke apparently thinks he is God!

R.M. Lender, thank you for your comments from a few days ago. I do, though, want to question some of your assertions and apparent assumptions.1. Although you acknowledge "the dangers of clericalism and clerical culture," you add a confusing qualifier, to wit, "to a point."Why the qualifier? The dangers are either real or imagined. Wrongdoing, criminal or otherwise, occurs or does not. If you agree the church had --- and still has --- a clerical culture characterized by "ordained above" and "laity below," how can such stratification be inherently healthy or good for the church? If this arrangement is ordained of God, so to speak, what must be done to address the institutional roles, rules, norms, processes, and structures that have sustained the clerical culture? Just as important: Who is responsible for taking concrete action?When we look at the "fruits" of this culture, how do we reconcile the existing arrangement with the words of Jesus: "I have come to serve, not to be served;" "Whoever wantsto be first must place himself last of all and be the servant of all;" and "My kingdom is not of this world"?2. Each sacrament "has a distinct, defined form and matter. Women simply do not constitute the requisite matter, and they never can."Although I'm familiar with "form and matter" from my pre-Vatican II, Baltimore Catechism days, I cannot --- for the life of me --- find any specific reference to this language in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (the index, I think, leaves much to be desired).Please identify the underlying basis for the official view that women "do not constitute the requisite matter" for priestly ordination.As an aside, "form and matter" may be conceptually simple, but a recent dotC blog discussion on baptism would suggest that any concrete application of "form and matter" to specific cases can be anything but black-and-white.We know there was no "priesthood" in the church for about the first 200 years of its existence. Kenan Osborne, in his PRIESTHOOD: A HISTORY OF THE ORDAINED MINISTRY IN THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH (1988), writes: "Around 200, for the first time, sacerdos is applied to episkopos. Cyprian, in an indirect way, loosely extends sacerdotal to the presbyter as well....From roughly 350 to 500 sacerdos normally refers to the episkopos. The diversification process in which the presbyter takes on some of the liturgical functions which the episkopoi had been doing only begins in earnest between 400 and 500....In the eleventh century, sacerdos refers normally to priest." In other words, our church began without priests (sacerdos). It used presiders, a term brought back into use by Vatican II. Surely women can "preside" at worship. Why not the next step which our male presiders took, namely, to "priesthood?" Jesus was familiar only with the Jewish priesthood, which ended after the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 AD. 3. "[T]he priesthood must be understood as a vocation of service, of humility....[T]oo often, those who have received orders have treated them as an opportunity for the exercise of power...I can understand --- to an extent --- why some today likewise make the same mistake of viewing the priesthood as a power position, and see the exclusion of women from it as an occasion of injustice..."Are you suggesting that a women's pursuit of ordination means that she sees the priesthood as a position of power to which to aspire --- rather than as an opportunity to render humble service? We know that male clergy (not all, of course) have "treated [orders] as an opportunity for the exercise of power," but what evidence have you to date of even one female ordinand using her new position to exercise power over others rather than give humble service?Is gender determinative of a person's ability and desire to give humble service?

CONTINUED4. "Christ (who was so radical in so many ways during his earthly ministry) was a free actor in choosing his apostles solely among men."Really?To quote Robert Egan: "But the 'sovereign freedom' of Jesus from his contemporaries' prejudices and prohibitions doesn't necessarily mean he was 'free' to choose women as members of the Twelve 'if he had wanted to'...any more than he was 'free' to speak Chinese [or Latin] to his disciples 'if he had wanted to.'" In other words, by growing up in this part of the world and intermingling with the people, Jesus knew his audience. In human terms, Jesus was like us in all things but sin.In his teaching, Jesus had to consider the ability and willingness, among other things, of the people to listen (as opposed to hear) his message. See, for example, Mt 13:10-17 where the disciples ask Jesus, "Why do you speak to [the people] in parables?" Although various translations give what the modern ear might consider fairly convoluted, Jesus essentially says, I use parables because it's the only way I have any hope of reaching these folks because of their sinful and hard-hearted ways. As a former trainer, I know that one must consider the capabilities of the target audience in deciding the training design, i.e., what resources to use and when to use them. Jesus faced these same constraints.5. " not determined by majority vote."So the majority is inherently --- and always --- wrong??? Do you accept the idea of the "sense of the faithful" conveyed in Vatican II's "Lumen Gentium?" In applying "truth," are specific factors of a case irrelevant? How does acquisition of human knowledge fit into the equation here?6. "Among the other young, under-35 Catholics I know who are what I might term intentional Catholics...I sense no outcry for women's ordination."What does someone's personal preference have to do with this issue? While some Catholics may not want to see the ordination of women, many more Catholics --- "intentional Catholics," if you will --- think it's long overdue! They regard Vatican explanations so far as nothing more than excuses rather than as reasons.

7. "I think it's unfair and a cheap shot to say that all of these more conservative young priests will not be of 'any real service to the People of God.'"In all fairness, there are those newer clergy who do not fit the "JPII priest" mold, but reports suggest they are in a minority. And, of course, not all of our newer clergy are "young" (as in their 20s or 30s).Otherwise, we obviously disagree. These men have voiced beliefs/opinions and exhibited behaviors that, quite frankly, alienate not just the older/longer-term clergy but the laity, as well. Folks young and old are not going to tolerate the arrogance and paternalism of pre-Vatican II. "If you want respect, give respect." People who "pay the bills" (and we're not talkin' the ordained here) are not going to kowtow to a decisionmaker simply because he (or she) wears a Roman collar.8. "Finally, that Burke was poorly served in terms of public relations is not incompatible with your negative verdict on his own actions and decisions --- both could be possible at the same time."I doubt it. This archbishop did not incur (good word choice here) widespread condemnation because of poor PR or crisis management! Raymond Burke demonstrated marked pastoral insensitivity/inability and a predilection for legalism. Truly, without exception, this guy stood out in the crowd --- and in a negative way!Burke was unsuited for his role in St. Louis (or any other local church for that matter). What you saw as a "vigorous exercise of his teaching office" was seen by others as the clear manifestation of unChristlike behavior: demands, threats, intimidation, legalism, paternalism. Burke was the contemporary version of the benevolent despot: Do as I say, and I will let my favor rest upon you (or at least leave you alone), but cross me, and I'll isolate you and make you rue the day!Burke may very well have been quite friendly and cordial in one-on-one situations with friends and well-wishers, but his downfall was not due to his ability in interpersonal relationships. No, it can be attributed to his dictatorial and legalistic management style. Nothing more, nothing less.

Joseph, your comments have made my day! Your articulation of the issue closest to my heart is stunning.May I quote you? I was referred to Commonweal by a wonderful Dominican who appreciates the level of discourse here. I hope that the fallout from the Edict of May 30 and the actions of Abp Burke will have enough force to wake up the faithful from their dream so that an honest and thorough discussion of this issue can take place. If polls show that 70% of the faithful agree with you then it behooves them to get involved so that we don't have flocks of women jumping into the Tiber and swimming to the Anglicans or groups of men and women forming an underground church where these newly ordained women can exercise their ministry "... women do not constitute the requisite matter for priestly ordination." Is this ' requisite matter' referring to flesh and a small appendage that during the Mass is conveniently tucked away where it can not cause any trouble. It appears that this "requisite matter" has caused more trouble for the church recently than they ever bargained for.

The discussion of the vidoetaping at a VOTF website has been labelled "Shades of the KGB."One poster there says that Bishops regularly use Opus Dei members to infiltrate leftist meetings to report on any malfeasance.Is this true?If it is, what does this say about our leadership?

Articulate response from Joe - some added thoughts and clarifications:a) "majority vote comment" - trying to find it in Kaiser's book about the first session of Vatican II but am fairly sure that this quote came from Cardinal Ottaviani who was against any and all decision made during Vatican II. It also does not take into account the sensus fidelium concept;b) JP II newly ordained - it is always unsafe to make generalizations but a clear, concise study of the 2008 ordinations across all US dioceses would reveal a number of broad trends - for example, Chicago Archdiocese - not one ordinand was born in the US; most are older candidates; more than 50% came from a seminary sub-division, the Polish American Seminary; many dioceses match this trend - older candidates switching careers, large number of 1st generation immigrants, candidates where english is not their first language, etc. None of this disqualifies them but it sheds more light on the newly ordained and their readiness to meet the needs of the modern American parish;c) link from SNAP on the taping incident: Shortcut to: trying to drill down on the Opus Dei comment - remember, many US bishops do not favor or support Opus Dei but are aware of its favored position/support from Rome/Curia. appears that the NCR is incurring the displeasure of a few in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.St Louis Today.Com says:"On Thursday, the archdiocese issued a statement saying it never asked anyone to conduct surveillance video-taping as written in the article, and that the affidavit, which NCR maintains gave permission for such a taping, is actually a witness statement from someone who witnessed the attempted ordinationIt said the video evidence in Learss file came from images widely available on the Internet after the ordinations, including those on TV news stations websites.""The archdiocese also sent NCR a letter to Fox, signed by Bishop Robert Hermann, the archdioceses administrator until Pope Benedict names Burkes successor, and Msgr. John Shamleffer, the archdioceses judicial vicar, citing a dozen complaints of either factual error or journalistic malfeasance in his story."The article can be read in its entirety at the above posted website.

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