This weekend we have a bit of a flashback to an earlier posting about Cardinal Raymond Burke. One of my readers, a good friend in London, suggested that I re-post an earlier piece about the former Archbishop of Saint Louis and  recently-removed Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.

Cardinal Burke has become a strong critic of theologians, like Cardinal Walter Kasper, who would argue that change has been and must be an important part of Catholic belief and practice. Burke is in fact a strong defender of what I would call “flashback Catholicism”……..more anchored in the late medieval past than the third millennium.

Flashback Catholicism is at the heart of the storm, now blowing through the Vatican — and certain foreign outposts with flashback archbishops like Philadelphia — as “progressives” battle “conservatives;” and people like Cardinal Raymond Burke accuse the Pope Francis of fostering confusion about church teaching.

Catholic chaos? A Catholic crisis? Or just maybe Catholicism at an historic crossroad? The challenges are there and they are very real. Writing in the New York Times this week, James Carroll phrased it this way: “The joyful new pope has quickened the affection even of the disaffected, including me, but, oddly, I sense the coming of a strange reversal in the Francis effect. The more universal the appeal of his spacious witness, the more cramped and afraid most of his colleagues in the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church have come to seem.”

Carroll’s solution is, I suspect, the only real solution for the growing Catholic dilemma: “…(a) Such retrieval of the centrality of Jesus can restore a long-lost simplicity of faith, which makes Catholic identity — or the faith of any other church — only a means to a larger communion not just with fellow Jesus people, but with humans everywhere. All dogmas, ordinances and accretions of tradition must be measured against the example of the man who, acting wholly as a son of Israel, eschewed power, exuded kindness, pointed to one whom he called Father, and invited those bent over in the shadowy back to come forward to his table.”

But now…….another kind of Burkean flashback:

Looking Sharp for Jesus

Best Dressed Cardinal in Rome for 2011

Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke

February is World Fashion Month. It is with feelings of great emotion that I announce that Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke — born and raised in Wisconsin, USA — has won the 2011 “Look Sharp for Jesus Award.” The judges found him one of the best dressed members of the Roman Pontifical Court. There is of course no cash connected with this award because — well — we just don’t think he needs it after what his threads cost all of us in the church.

Raymond Leo Burke — “Ray” to most of us — was born June 30, 1948. Heck,  John Greenleaf was already riding his tricycle when little Ray was in diapers…… Ray is the current Cardinal Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. That’s a big job for a big man.  Ray previously served as Archbishop of St. Louis (2003–2008) and Bishop of La Crosse (1994–2003).

Aside from his judicial expertise and his great fondness for the medieval liturgy of the Council of Trent, Ray is quite the party boy in Rome. Wherever he goes, people stand in awe at his expertly crafted and tailored episcopal dress.

Various young ecclesiastics around the world — and no small number of seminarians at the Pontifical North American College in Rome — are saving their pennies to “dress like Ray when I become a bishop.”

Here is a  quick consumers guide:

You need a big hat — called a mitre. Ray has quite a collection.

This colorful head cover is one of Ray’s favorites. “THE hat” for special occasions, like going out with the Pope. It cost Ray only $8,340.

On less formal, but certainly still very  important occasions, the Cardinal Prefect prefers his simple gold bonnet. This one below was a great buy at $1,042.

But a mitre does not make a bishop…or a cardinal…..Pontifical GLOVES do the real trick.

These beauties — great in a suddenly unexpected  Roman snow storm or for shoveling snow back in Wisconsin — were a great buy at $1,390.

5 thoughts on “A Burkean Flashback : Flashback Catholicism

  1. Crossroads? Other than a change in “tone” what change do you anticipate willnow occur? Betty 

    1. The challenge is for the institution to think contemporary or continue to implode. Right now I fear greater implosion, which will reduce the RCC to a much smaller reactionary sect. I really hope this does not happen……..

  2. The Church will not implode….Jesus himself told us the “gates of Hell would not prevail against it”. There have been many storms over the centuries and the Church will survive it…..I believe in Jesus’ promise

  3. With leaders like this, who needs anti-Catholic detractors??
    They are shooting themselves in the foot!

Leave a Reply