A blog by the magazine's editors and contributors
Cathleen Kaveny November 8, 2009 - 12:41pm
A while ago I posted on Archbishop Burke's "father of lies" speech about the Kennedy funeral, and the prelates who defended it. Now the controversy has made Time magazine.
Time missed one interesting point. Burke is a member along with Law of the board that vets episcopal appointments. In the long run that may count for more than I would like to imagine.
Cathy, thanks for the heads-up. Seems like a decent summary of the situation -- at least as good as can be expected when no one will go on the record!This has nothing to do with the content of the article, but: I find the online presentation of news stories like this one -- with the links to "related" material embedded in the text -- totally distracting. You're reading along about Cardinal O'Malley: "He is a conservative on matters of doctrine, and for the past few years, he has been the face of the church's opposition to Massachusetts' gay-marriage law." And then you're interrupted by a link: "(See pictures of the gay rights movement.)" Thanks, I think I'll pass! My favorite from this story: "The audience gave Burke a prolonged standing ovation. (See the top 10 Jesus films of all time.)"
Does anyone know, specifically,what it means when a Bishop concludes that a Catholic funeral Mass is not appropriate for an individual? Is it the same as saying the deceased was not in communion with the Catholic Church? Does Canon Law speak to the issue?
F.Y.I: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/nov/09110703.html http://www.ncregister.com/daily/bernardine_vs._obama ( I believe HT originally goes to Mollie for the Cardinal Bernardine interview)and I am wondering why Cardinal O'Malley has not yet responded to this:http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,556002.00.html
How many people have ever been led astray by contemplating the known facts of Senator Kennedy's life? And how many are now being actively scandalized by Archbishop Burke's argument that persons whose dispositions he has no way of knowing should be refused communion and funeral rites?
We are all guilty of posting on the last thing we read or saw on TV, but isn't time to let this old horse go to the glue factory?
I guess we find ourselves watching different races. I think this is very important--how it shakes out will say a lot about how the church approaches questions of collegiality, and whose view of American political life is dominant in Rome. Furthermore, the fact that it made Time magazine strikes me as significant. It's national, middlebrow news now, affecting how the millions of people going to doctors' office waiting rooms see the church.
oops, regarding Cardinal Bernardin and President Obama, that should read:http://www.ncregister.com/daily/bernardin_vs._obamaand Cardinal O'Malley's silence regarding this:http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,556002,00.htmlRather than watch from the sidelines, we should all "join in the Dance".
There seems to be the inevitable tension in terms of how bishops see their role:a) bishop is the defender of the faith - thus, Burke outraged over Kennedy's funeral. Defines his role as one of setting boundaries;b) bishop walks with the faithful; supports healing, forgiveness, does not judge, reachs out to the lost, builds up community.What bothered me about Burke's comments (and my own pastor who took a negative shot at Kennedy in his Sunday homily which is printed in the diocesan paper)is that his stance sells the gospel short; it is the opposite of what I was taught as the core of catholicism with a big or little "c". The church has come a long way in its history in dealing with "sin"; its handling of suicide, public sin, etc. realizing that its strength is offering healing not judgment.Remeber what the nuns taught me repeatedly in terms of not judging; how can one know another's conscience; the right of all to their good name; the right of all to have a change of heart right up to their time of death. Burke negates this - sacrifices Kennedy because he feels the church must make an example of him. Again, my memories of grade/high school religion classes would have placed Burke and statements in the category of slander; denying a catholic forgiveness (no one has that right); placing oneself in the position of God him/herself; condemning another human being (no one again has that right); rejecting the power of the sacraments to change the person and the community. It is really a lack of hope (cardinal virtue); lack of spirit; and condemns both the person, family, and community.
CK: Yup...we probably do watch different races--and read different magazines. So....there we are.I think the collegiality race is over and has been since Ratzinger's dismissal of national conferences way back when we had another pope. Now he's pope...and as a knowledgable cleric of my acquaintance opined recently "Benedict is the worst pope since Pius X." Only the historians know how bad Pius X was, but rumor has it that he was pretty bad.My point: the Burke phenom and its persistent re-broadcast only makes Catholics, right, left, and center do what they have become so good at: pick their scabs.
I think it's not a dead horse since the Burke power grows apace and he will be a major figure in Episcopal appointments.While I think BXVI, in his lurch right, continues to widen the divide, and fueled by the likes of Burke, the impact on drift/walk away/implosion of good long standing catholics will also continue apace -and that's more than "picking at scabs."When good bishops like Sulivan are banned from speaking, when there are continuing occrences of long faithful ministers being removed because they spoke up, the issues at the top of rightous catholicism, I'd submit, still sits very much on the front burner.
For a balanced account of Pius X I recommend Owen Chadwick's History of the Popes 1830-1914, ch. 5. When thinking about the present incumbent I often recall Pius X and even more so the long, long reign of Pius IX. What was it like? Consider that Newman, once considered a very disreputable character, is now about to be canonized. And consider the bizarreries of the rites controversy and the undoing of Matteo Ricci's patient efforts at evangelization in China. Yet Pius XII moved in the right direction on that, and his Diuino afflante Spiritu was a remarkable intervention against the most extreme foolishness. The Spirit's ways are not our ways.
According to Patrick Jordans review of his latest book, I guess John Allen would agree with Margaret that the game is over and everything has been decided. And we should stop complaining and kiss the rod. But doing that would mean abandoning everyone who is still struggling for a better, more responsive and collegial church. And Bob Nunz is right. There are real people out there being hurt and threatened. Its not over till its over. And it isnt over, by a long shot.Joe points out above the long view to take. And he's right, too; the Spirit's ways are not our ways. But we can honor the efforts of people like Newman by patiently persisting even though we happen to live at an unfortunate moment in history. After all, we've been put here now for some reason.
Susan Gannon... perhaps my "picking scabs" metaphor was over the top and incomprehensible. So let me try this: We (ordinary Catholics, including all lay people and most priests) have no ability to alter the behaviors of the popes and bishops of this world. From time to time, we would all try to persuade them of our views if we were locked up with them on a desert island. In the meantime, we can all act and speak like we are Catholic Christians; we can behave collegially; we can honor true saints and love our fellow sinners, etc. My unseemly metaphor was meant to convey what seems to me an unalterable (in the short run) fact, Bishop Burke is going to go on saying and doing foolish things (along with some of his peers) and our running on at the mouth about this and annoying each other about our inability to zip his mouth, will only...well go on annoying us. I have no complaint about our knowing what an a-- he is, but that said, let's get on with other more important matters.So yes, it's not over till it's over, but what exactly is going to be over? Bad bishops. Not bloody likely. I will take the occasion to note that we had a sermon this morning that was well put together and made the point that the first and third readings pointed out the heroic ministry of women. You could feel a sigh of satisfaction in the congregation at the acknowledgement by our celebrant that this is so very true, apart from whether women will ever be ordained (which I would guess everyone in the church favors though none of us can do a thing about it).
Well, part of what it means to me to move along is to call attention to bad behavior. If the behavior seems (a) to give aid and comfort to some ; and (b) not to bother anyone else too much, it seems that it is more likely to continue.So I think it's good that Time magazine writes about this.
When Burke takes his comments beyond US politics, he might deserve some attention. Has he called on Chilean Cardinal Medina to repudiate Pinochet? What has been his stance on Rwandan bishops who supported the genocide in that country? Is he an advocate for the beatification of Abp Romero for his opposition to the political leaders in El Salvador?But as long as his remarks are limited to the US political scene, he his words sound hollow.Does anyone really think that Cardinal McCarrick did not have at least BXVI's permission to present the Pope's letter to Kennedy at the senator's internment? I suspect it was a papal request, but even if it was McCarrick's idea, I cannot imagine he did without presenting it to the Pope.
Ms. Steinfels - understand and agree with your emotion but not your final conclusions. I also am frustrated with many bishops, Romanita, curia, etc. But, what bothers me more are the folks in the pew and our own pastors/priests who have just thrown in the towel waiting for some imaginery pleasant future.Yes, should spend more time on better topics; less complaining and attacking bishops, etc. But, when we as catholics in the pew ignore or become indifferent to the statements of our current "leaders" then we have joined that group that poets and great writers summarize as:"....the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for people (good men) to do nothing"May be Cardinal George was trying to make your same point abaout "picking at scabs" when he said we all should just ignore the bishops. So, my thought is per Dr. Phil - how has that worked for you? isn't that what happened and is happening with the church's dealing with sexual abuse? with financial scandals? with bishops who compromise their tax exempt status to encourage us all to be "Republican Catholics"? to allow the dynamic history of US sisters to be questionned? to watch our money go to fighting same sex marriage laws rather than the poor, the disadvantaged, the immigrant? watch our parishes get shuttered because we must have an all male clergy? watch our liturgies become latinized because a minority want it? watch B16 and his buddies implement a smaller but more orthodox church because that will fight secularism? (however you define orthodox and secularism)
Peggy Steinfels:You wrote,
We (ordinary Catholics, including all lay people and most priests) have no ability to alter the behaviors of the popes and bishops of this world.
Two thoughts:1)No ability at all? Im not convinced. If people hadnt complained and shouted and protested, maybe Cardinal Law would still be in Boston. True, we dont have as much ability to alter behavior as wed like to have and as we ought to have -- but I wouldnt say we have none at all.2)Even if we did have none at all, Id still say we have to speak out, cry out, denounce. It just wouldnt be right to stay silent. You say, Lets get on with other more important matters. Yes. But we can do both.You also say, Bishop Burke is going to go on saying and doing foolish things. But maybe, if theres a big enough outcry, hell say and do a few less foolish things if not because he decides this on his own, then because others above him far enough above him that they have the power to enforce their words will finally say to him, in exasperation, Knock it off! A book worth reading and which, indirectly, touches on this subject: Bernard Harings My Witness for the Church.
Peggy, you can't stop now though I can understand your frustrations. You should know that having gotten the attention of the Cardinal Newman Society you are certainly doing more than you realize about it. Success often comes when we seem near defeat.
I am not giving up on anything. I think the CWL blog has better things to do than waste our time, energy, and venom on Bishop Burke's unseemly remarks. I read the Time piece; it told me nothing I hadn't already read, mostly here. So let's move on to something more constructive.Let me quote myself: "So let me try this: We (ordinary Catholics, including all lay people and most priests) have no ability to alter the behaviors of the popes and bishops of this world. From time to time, we would all try to persuade them of our views if we were locked up with them on a desert island. In the meantime, we can all act and speak like we are Catholic Christians; we can behave collegially; we can honor true saints and love our fellow sinners, etc. My unseemly metaphor was meant to convey what seems to me an unalterable (in the short run) fact, Bishop Burke is going to go on saying and doing foolish things (along with some of his peers) and our running on at the mouth about this and annoying each other about our inability to zip his mouth, will onlywell go on annoying us. I have no complaint about our knowing what an a he is, but that said, lets get on with other more important matters."
I found a juicy heresy in the new translation of the Roman Canon, approved by the US Bishops in their distracted state (too much politicking, too little care for the faith and worship of the communities committed to their care). The text of the Roman Canon approved by the Bishops actually states that the Virgin Mary is the mother of Joseph her husband -- there is no other way to read the text! See josephsoleary.typepad.comWith Burke in charge we will see many more such embarrassments.
Ms Steinfels, I see what you mean. In the case of the liturgical translations the critics have made no dint in the bishops' fatuous and self-congratulatory attitude. But what happens next year when the faithful have these wretched translations thrust upon them? They will feel even more powerless than we do. And how will they react? Well, we already know that: they will vote with their feet. If one cares for the Church at all, one cannot throw in the towel, especially when one has at one's disposition mighty publishing organs.
Peggy, this is entirely new to my generation. I was raised in the 70's--none of this. Those of us who wanted to engage in a pattern of resourcement when I was in grad school weren't thinking of this. So, this is as new and strange to me as V2 was to you--a very different way of thinking about the Church.If this is a new pattern in the Church--John Allen thinks it is, I think it's worth thinking about. I think its worth noting--and that's all I did --how it plays out in the mainstream media. You don't--okay.Live and let live.No trees died in the creation of this post.
If I may suggest a spinoff discussion: does the weakening of the centralized authority of the bishops' conferences inevitably signal a decrease in collegiality? Does episcopal collegiality mean accountability solely at the national level? Doesn't the principle of subsidiarity suggest a preference for regional and local authority, such as the metropolitan province?
Kathy, that's a Joe K discussion. Where is Joe K, anyway?
Farming, last I heard!Btw, someone will want to post on this: http://188.8.131.52/news_services/bulletin/news/24626.php?index=24626&la...
Yes, and of late the chickens are more productive of eggs than I am of insights
I'm glad that you're not still grappling with bubble wrap!
I'll just add that when things are coming apart, it's hard to be constructive.Strikes me that many are keeping their heads down and not rocking the boat, but those who apeak up get nowhere.And that last point, that they are not heard is what's problematic -so they just drift on or out.Let's see what Baltimore brings -the acceptance of the new liturgical translations such as they are and the "wonderful" marriage pastoral- if they seem terrible, let's not waste time -we knew they were coming - just grit your teeth and keep on going (but where?)
For what it's worth, I have just confirmed the bizarrerie that Joseph S O Leary noted in the new translation of the Canon.
Yesterday's gospel spoke of and to Burke:Mark 12: 38-4038 In the course of his teaching he said, "Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and accept greetings in the marketplaces, 39 seats of honor in synagogues, and places of honor at banquets. 40 They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext, recite lengthy prayers. They will receive a very severe condemnation."
Joseph O'Leary, that is juicy! I wonder if that translation bolsters or undercuts the debate over the James Ossuary...
Anent Archbishop Burke and the Kennedy funeral: it would be interesting to know what the Archbp. and his cohort might have to say about the funeral of of Francois Mitterrand, the former Socialist President of France on 12 Jan 1996. There was a requiem Mass at Ntre-Dame (that's in Paris, not in South Bend, for those concerned for the good name of the institution that honored Obama). The celebrant was Jean-Marie Cardinal Lustiger, and the music, for what it's worth, was Durufl's Requiem (me, I'd have chosen Mozart or Michael Haydn, but of course they weren't French). That was for foreign dignitaries and such. The actual funeral and burial took place in the church of St.-Pierre in the little town of Jarnac, and was attended by, among others, Danelle Mitterrand, the president's widow, as well as his mistress and their son.Of course we all know about the French, don't we? But were there any curial eyebrows raised in Rome at the time? or any episcopal eyebrows among the American bishops? It is true that President Clinton did not attend the requiem in Paris (and took some flak for his absence). Was that because, unlike Henry IV in 1593, he thought Paris not worth a Mass? Or was it because he, unlike the more tolerant bishops, wanted to show his disapproval of the agnostic Mitterrand receiving a Catholic burial? (He sent VP Gore in his stead).
Here's a piece from NCR three days ago. John Allen opines on the likely influence of Archbishop Burke. Though the current nuncio, Pietro Sambi, is thought to be very influential in the process of selecting American Bishops, and may have some reservations about Burke, Burke has a distinct advantage in future influence because of his age. Allen says:"(Members of the Congregation can serve until they are 80.Hes by far the youngest of the current crop of Americans on the congregation (the next youngest, Levada, is 73, and Rigali is 74). Since appointments are for five-year terms and may be renewed until a prelate reaches the age of 80, Burke could be involved in bishops appointments for the next two decades. At some point he may well become the senior American in the process, with a correspondingly greater impact.Whatever happens, one thing seems clear. If anyone suspected that the decision to bring Burke to Rome last year was a way of muzzling him, or limiting his influence in the United States, it certainly doesnt seem to be playing out that way."For more:http://ncronline.org/news/vatican/burkes-influence-set-grow
I'm sorry, but I take exception to Margaret O'Brien Steinfels' comment, when she stated "Bishop Burke is going to go on saying and doing foolish things (along with some of his peers) and our running on at the mouth about this and annoying each other about our inability to zip his mouth, will onlywell go on annoying us. I have no complaint about our knowing what an a he is, but that said, lets get on with other more important matters.Burke, has everything to say about who and who will not become a bishop in our dioceses. And those bishops have everything to say about what and what will not occur in diocesan parishes. THAT DOES CONCERN US IMMENSELY and it is A VERY IMPORTANT MATTER! I can't think of too many other issues that effect Catholics in America. Bishops have the power to change the liturgy, change how sacraments will be received, who will be pastors of parishes,what kind and how many diocesan collections will be taken in parishes (my diocese now has what I call "a capital gains" collection up until Christmas for the next 5 years) and this will be followed by the annual Lenten Appeal. People are going around talking about 'taxation without representation." And you think that this is not important that this does not effect Catholics personally?If anything, Catholics who are upset should be encouraged to blog, write, phone, or use smoke signals-----any method of communication to let the Bishops know that they are not happy with the way the Burke (aka. the Jerk), the American Bishops, (the Vatican in general) are carrying on business.I agree completely with Bill DeHaas when he states "But, when we as catholics in the pew ignore or become indifferent to the statements of our current leaders then we have joined that group that poets and great writers summarize as:.the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for people (good men) to do nothing
I have written to Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori and suggested that the ECUSA address the issue of establishing a Roman Use Rite within the US for those of us who now see that the future is way too bleak to stick around as Roman Catholics. Lord knows, there are and would be more than enough current/former RC priests who would be able and most likely willing to minister to folks who decide(d) to swim the opposite way across the Tiber.The idea that layfolk would actually have a say in how their parish would be run is exhilirating! To be out from under the thumbs of the likes of Burke, Pell, Law, George, Cordileone, Malone ad nauseum would be a spiritual uplift currently unavailable within the chains of Rome.
Gene Palumbo recommends Haring's, Witness for the Church, and says we can do both: speak out and go about our business. I hope that is true, but keeping the balance is exhausting, and too often embarrassingly unsuccessful.Bill deHaas and Little Bear remind us of the importance of not ignoring leadership in the Church, and the implications in all our lives. I heartily agree.Jimmy Mac brought a real chuckle about a complementary rite for RC's in the ECUSA. Why not?The sense of dislocation in my church is profound. At what point does it become overwhelming, the sense of powerlessness so manifest, the frustration so pronounced that the unthinkable becomes possible? Options on a Monday morning...1) Adopt a benign neglect approach, ignore the Burke's, find an enclave somewhere, there's a spiritual life to live; 2) Keep visible advocacy a high priority, and settle for causing occasional episcopal heartburn (they never let you see them sweat), if that is even possible --- because your views count for less than nothing in the scheme of things, and there are millions of passive, deferential Catholics ready to throw incense no matter what 3) Some combination of the above, without the disorienting emotion4) Join in asking the ECUSA for a rescue, or start an IEC5) Pray, because at some level Catholic DNA can't be genetically altered. The Eucharist is the Eucharist. And CWL blogs provide sporadic relief, humorous and otherwise.Thank you for the discussion.
The double standard for Catholic politicians in Europe versus the United States arises simply because the hierarchy is being opportunistic. They know that meddling in European politics is likely to provoke a backlash greater than whatever influence they can bring, but the Americans tell them there is a realistic chance of advancing their conservative social agenda in the U.S. as long as the bishops show "total commitment". Bush notably complained to the Pope that not enough of the bishops were lining up behind him. Whether the appetite for conservative social policies is really that much different in the U.S. and whether the bishops throwing their weight around is actually more likely to be effective is debatable, but people such as Burke are too enticed by the possibility to not try.
That Time piece was complete nonsense. I commented on it at length on my blog: http://collegiatecatholic.blogspot.com/2009/11/comments-on-time-magazine..., in short, Amy Sullivan is trying to claim that there's a sharp division among the bishops that I just don't see out there. Cardinal O'Malley and Archbishop Burke certainly seem to have different personalities, and they might favor handling certain situations differently, but that doesn't mean that they disagree on the importance of promoting a strong, orthodox, Catholic identity.Sullivan also made her piece a laughing stock by implying, among other things, that Cardinal DiNardo is in the soft-on-dissent camp (if such a camp exists.) She had already noted the uproar over Obama's commencement speech at ND as evidence of the growing "hardline" position, and DiNardo was at the forefront of the criticism of ND's decision.Basically, her whole point is really contrived.
Cathleen Kaveny is the Darald and Juliet Libby Professor in the Theology Department and Law School at Boston College.
Tweets by @commonwealmag