Raymond Leo Burke
Raymond Leo Burke (born June 30, 1948) is an American cardinal prelate of the Roman Catholic Church and a leader of its conservative wing. He is an archbishop and the patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. He served as the archbishop of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Missouri, from 2003 to 2008 and as the bishop of the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin, from 1995 to 2003.
Raymond Leo Burke
|Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta,
Archbishop Emeritus of St. Louis
|Appointed||November 8, 2014|
|Other posts||Cardinal-Deacon of S. Agata de' Goti|
|Ordination||June 29, 1975
by Pope Paul VI
|Consecration||January 6, 1995
by Pope John Paul II, Giovanni Battista Re, and Jorge María Mejía
|Created Cardinal||November 20, 2010
by Pope Benedict XVI
June 30, 1948 |
Richland Center, Wisconsin
|Parents||Thomas and Marie Burke|
|Alma mater||Holy Cross Seminary
The Catholic University of America
North American College
|Motto||Secundum cor tuum
(English: "After your own heart")
Raymond Leo Burke
|Reference style||His Eminence|
|Spoken style||Your Eminence|
|See||St. Louis (Emeritus)
Sant'Agata dei Goti (titular)
Ordination history of
Raymond Leo Burke
He was Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura from June 2008 until November 2014. He was reappointed by Pope Francis as a member of the Apostolic Signatura in September 2017.
As a prominent canon lawyer, Burke is often perceived as a voice of traditionalism and orthodoxy among prelates of the Catholic Church. In recent years he has publicly clashed with Pope Francis, stating the possible need to "formally correct" the Pope in relation to Amoris laetitia. On September 26, 2015, the Vatican announced that Burke had been reappointed to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, from which he had been removed in December 2013, but not to his more influential positions on the Congregation for Bishops and the Apostolic Signatura. In 2016, he was not reappointed as a member of the Congregation for Divine Worship.
In February 6, 2017, Burke was sidelined as the Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta when Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu as his special delegate to the Order with exclusive responsibility for the duties normally exercised by the Patron. On February 21 2017, Albrecht von Boeselager, the Order's Grand Chancellor, announced that this meant Burke was "de facto suspended" from the Patronage.
Burke was born on June 30, 1948, in Richland Center, Wisconsin, the youngest of the six children of Thomas F. and Marie B. Burke He is of Irish heritage with ancestors from Cork and Tipperary. Burke attended St. Mary's Parish School in Richland Center from 1954 to 1959. In 2012, an addition to the school was named the Raymond Cardinal Burke Annex in his honor. The family later moved to Stratford, Wisconsin. From 1962 to 1968, he attended Holy Cross Seminary in La Crosse, Wisconsin. From 1968 to 1971, he studied at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. as a Basselin scholar, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1970 and a Master of Arts degree in 1971, both in philosophy. He completed studies for the priesthood at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome between 1971 and 1975, receiving a Bachelor of Sacred Theology degree and a Master of Arts degree. Pope Paul VI ordained Burke to the priesthood on June 29, 1975, at Saint Peter's Basilica.
After his ordination to the priesthood, Burke was assigned as assistant rector of the Cathedral of St. Joseph the Workman in La Crosse, Wisconsin. He also taught religion at Aquinas High School in La Crosse (where the new addition the Bishop Burke Hall was named in his honor in 1997 and then in 2011 was renamed the Cardinal Burke Hall). From 1980 to 1984, Burke studied canon law at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, where he received a licentiate in canon law in 1982 and a doctorate in canon law in 1984. He then returned to La Crosse where he was named the Moderator of the Curia and Vice Chancellor of the La Crosse diocese. In 1989, Pope John Paul II named Burke the first American Defender of the Bond of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the highest ecclesiastical court in the Catholic Church.
Bishop of La CrosseEdit
On December 10, 1994, Pope John Paul II named Burke Bishop of the Diocese of La Crosse and consecrated him on January 6, 1995, in St. Peter's Basilica. Burke took possession of the See of La Crosse on February 22, 1995.
In 2000 Burke convened the fifth diocesan synod for the Diocese of La Crosse, which resulted in the publication of Synod V, acts: celebrated June 11–14, 2000 in 2003. In 2002, he was influential in founding the Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem, an order of Augustinian canons dedicated to the traditional form of the liturgy.
While Bishop of La Crosse, Burke constructed a shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas. He also installed a shrine to the Sacred Heart in the diocesan cathedral, reflecting his desire to encourage spiritual devotions.
Some priests in the Diocese of La Crosse have claimed that Burke's leadership there was divisive. The construction of the shrine, the diocese's withdrawal from Church World Service's annual Crop Walk, and his welcoming of traditional religious orders allegedly alienated some.
Archbishop of St. LouisEdit
On December 2, 2003, Burke was named Archbishop of St. Louis, succeeding Cardinal Justin Francis Rigali (who had been appointed Archbishop of Philadelphia). He was installed on January 26, 2004 and was presented with the pallium on June 29, 2004 by Pope John Paul II. In St. Louis, Burke emphasized the promotion of vocations to the priesthood. He also published a column in the archdiocesan weekly newspaper, the Saint Louis Review. In both La Crosse and St. Louis, Burke established oratories for those desiring to worship according to the Tridentine Rite. He invited the traditional Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest into his dioceses and ordained priests for the group both in the U.S. and abroad. His ordination of two traditionalist priests on June 15, 2007, in the Solemn Pontifical High Mass was the first time in 40 years that the Tridentine rite of ordination had been used in the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. In 2006, when Missouri voters narrowly approved an amendment to the state constitution permitting embryonic stem cell research, he said it meant that "our tiniest brothers and sisters ... will be made legally the subjects, the slaves, of those who wish to manipulate and destroy their lives for the sake of supposed scientific and technological progress".
During his tenure, Burke was involved in the beginning of a contest over the attempted closing of a church in the diocese, St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, and the ownership of its assets. After the Rev. Marek Bozek led a Christmas Eve Mass in 2005, Burke "declare[d] that the church was in 'schism', a designation that led to the excommunication of Mr. Bozek and the church's lay board". In 2012, a state court ruled against the diocese and sided with the congregation, now an independent Catholic church, and awarded it ownership of the parish assets.
On May 6, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI gave Burke two Vatican assignments. He was named a member of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, which interprets canon law and a member of the Congregation for the Clergy. In July 2006, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Burke to the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the highest court in the Catholic Church.
Burke's farewell Mass in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, held in the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis on August 17, 2008, was concelebrated by bishops George Joseph Lucas, Robert Joseph Hermann, John Joseph Leibrecht, John R. Gaydos, Robert W. Finn, Raymond James Boland, and Kevin William Vann.
Prefect of the Apostolic SignaturaEdit
On June 27, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Burke Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, which exercises final appellate jurisdiction for conflicts between Vatican congregations and appeals of administrative decisions by diocesan bishops and Vatican congregations. Burke was the first non-European named to head the tribunal and became the second-highest ranking American prelate at the Vatican after Cardinal William Levada, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Burke was appointed a member of several dicasteries of the Roman Curia: on May 6, 2008, of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, which authoritatively interprets canon law, and of the Congregation for the Clergy, which regulates the formation and training of diocesan priests and deacons; on October 17, 2009, of the Congregation for Bishops, which oversees the appointment of most Latin Church bishops outside mission territories; on July 6, 2010, of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments; on July 24, 2010, of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints; and on January 29, 2011, of the Council of Cardinals and Bishops of the Section for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State. On October 7, 2008, Burke was appointed President of the Commission for Advocates, which is responsible for admitting qualified canon lawyers to a registry of those who may practice in the Vatican's courts.
On March 11, 2010, in the wake of the sexual abuse scandal that had come to light in Europe, Burke said that the Vatican needed to prepare a document that outlined a set of explicit guidelines rooted in Canon Law that would guide bishops and their local tribunals worldwide in determining how to report the cases to the Holy See, so as to speed up the process by which justice is done for the victims. Changes would also be made to a policy that provided for high levels of secrecy in the process.
College of CardinalsEdit
On November 20, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI made Burke Cardinal-Deacon of Sant'Agata dei Goti, the fifth Archbishop of St. Louis to become a member of the College of Cardinals. On February 5, 2011, the memorial of St. Agatha, Burke took canonical possession of his titular church in Rome.
On December 16, 2013, when Pope Francis made extensive changes to the Congregation for Bishops, the Vatican department that helps select candidates for consecration and assignment as bishops, and Burke was not reappointed as a member. Burke appeared to be slighted in this realignment of that Congregation's U.S. membership as three other Americans representing different approaches were affected. Among the more conservative, Cardinal William Levada was reappointed and Cardinal Justin Rigali, who was 78 years old and retired, was not. Among the more liberal, Cardinal Donald Wuerl was named a new member.
Apostolic Signatura and Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of MaltaEdit
On November 8, 2014, Pope Francis removed Burke as prefect of the Apostolic Signatura and named him Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, a largely ceremonial post usually given to a retired cardinal or as a secondary job to an active one.
This demotion was said to be related to his criticism of Pope Francis's leadership and proposals for reform. He had complained that: "There is a strong sense that the church is like a ship without a rudder."
Pope Francis denied that removing Burke as head of the Vatican’s highest court was a "punishment" for his outspoken conservative views at the 2014 Synod on the Family, saying that he wanted a "smart American" to serve as patron of the Order of Malta. The pontiff said that the move was part of a broader restructuring of the Vatican bureaucracy that had been decided well before the synod, but he had waited until after the synod to make it official so Burke could still participate in the meeting as the head of a Vatican department.
Other service in the Roman CuriaEdit
In November 2016, Pope Francis removed Burke from the membership of the Congregation for Divine Worship. This was seen to be in response to the dubia (Latin for doubts) submitted by him, together with three other cardinals, to elements of Amoris laetitia which appear to them to be at odds with Catholic moral teaching, notably with regard to the treatment of divorced persons. Burke had indicated that in the absence of a response to the dubia a “formal correction” of Pope Francis would probably follow.
Role of women in the ChurchEdit
In June 2008, Burke applied an interdict, which excludes a person from church ministries and the sacraments, to a Sister of Charity, Louise Lears, judging her guilty of three grave canonical offenses against the Catholic Church's faith and teachings. Lears, a pastoral worker and educator, had publicly stated her belief that all of the church's ministries, including the priesthood, should be open to women. Lears received the interdict after attending an ordination ceremony, which the Church considers invalid, of a woman to the priesthood at a Jewish synagogue by the WomenPriests movement.
In January 2015, Burke gave an interview in which he criticized what he saw as the excessive role of "radical feminism" in the church. He specifically criticized the introduction of female altar servers as an unwelcome sign of the "feminization" of the Church and a disincentive to boys to serve at the altar and start on the path to ordination.
Shortly after Pope Francis did not re-appoint him to the Congregation of Bishops, Burke said, "One gets the impression, or it's interpreted this way in the media, that he thinks we're talking too much about abortion, too much about the integrity of marriage as between one man and one woman. But we can never talk enough about that."
Burke has denied media perceptions that the Pope planned to change the Catholic Church's teaching on moral issues. He said that people "hardened against the truth" would claim that the Pope wants to change church teachings that today's secularized culture rejects. He also said their "false praise" mocks the fact that Pope Francis is the Successor of Peter and that the Pope "rejects the acceptance and praise of the world".
Burke is a strong critic of moves by certain bishops to soften the Church's attitudes toward people who are gay.
In a 2013 interview, Burke said that same-sex marriage "...is a work of deceit, a lie about the most fundamental aspect of our human nature, our human sexuality, which, after life itself, defines us. There is only one place these types of lies come from, namely Satan. It is a diabolical situation which is aimed at destroying individuals, families, and eventually our nation."
In an interview in October 2014, Burke referred to gay relationships as "profoundly disordered and harmful", also suggesting that parents should not allow their children to have contact with sexually active gay people and should discourage them from attending family gatherings such as celebrations at Christmas. He has described homosexuality as an “ailment” which is not genetic but largely depended on a person’s environment. In an interview with LifeSiteNews that the situations of gay couples and divorced and remarried Catholics are analogous to the situation of “the person who murders someone and yet is kind to other people,” in that good acts do not mitigate the "sinfulness" of other acts. David Gibson, writing in the National Catholic Reporter, suggested Burke's comparison is out of step with the more pastoral approach of Pope Francis.
Speaking in Oxford after the May 2015 same-sex marriage referendum in Ireland, Burke said that he struggled to understand "any nation redefining marriage... I mean, this is a defiance of God. It's just incredible. Pagans may have tolerated homosexual behaviours, they never dared to say this was marriage." Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh rebuked Burk and called his comments offensive and urged individuals "to try to be respectful and inoffensive in language" wherever possible.
In August 2017, Burke said that Cardinal Reinhard Marx's assertion that Germany's recent legalization of same-sex marriage should not be a major concern for the Catholic Church there showed how the Church lacked "the clarity and the courage to announce the Gospel of Life and Divine Love to the radically secularized culture". He alluded to diabolical errors spreading from society to church leaders raising concerns that the "end times" were nearing, and once again making clear that homosexuality is a "sinful act". He insisted that the correct approach would distinguish between the love for the person and the hatred Catholics "must always have for sinful acts".
Burke has opposed any hypothetical change of church doctrine that would permit civilly divorced Catholics who are validly married to remarry or receive the Eucharist once they have entered into a second civil marriage. In 2013, he co-authored a book with cardinals Gerhard Ludwig Müller and George Pell on the subject. In a 2015 interview, responding to a hypothetical question concerning the actions of Pope Francis, Burke vowed to "resist" if the pontiff moves to allow divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion.
Abortion and embryonic stem-cell researchEdit
During the 2004 presidential election, Burke stated that he would not give communion to John Kerry or other Catholic politicians who publicly support legalized abortion. He also wrote a pastoral letter saying Catholics should not vote for politicians who support abortion or other "anti-life" practices. Burke later clarified his position, stating that one could vote for a pro-choice politician and not commit a mortal sin, if one believed there was a more significant moral issue than abortion at hand, but he also stated that he could not think of any sort of issue that would qualify. In a September 2008 interview, Burke said that "the Democratic Party risks transforming itself definitively into a 'party of death', because of its choices on bioethical questions", especially elective abortion.
In 2008, Burke urged Saint Louis University to take disciplinary action against its head basketball coach, Rick Majerus, after Majerus publicly supported abortion and embryonic stem cell research at a campaign event for Democratic Senator and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Burke stated that "When you take a position in a Catholic university, you don't have to embrace everything the Catholic Church teaches. But you can't make statements which call into question the identity and mission of the Catholic Church." St. Louis University supported Majerus's right to publicly expound on his own personal views when made at an event he did not attend as a university representative.
In May 2009, Burke stated, "Since President Obama clearly announced, during the election campaign, his anti-life and anti-family agenda, a Catholic who knew his agenda regarding, for example, procured abortion, embryonic-stem-cell research, and same-sex marriage, could not have voted for him with a clear conscience."
When Sheryl Crow, an embryonic stem-cell research advocate, was scheduled to perform at a benefit concert for the Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital, Burke stated that to have the hospital host Crow would give "the impression that the Church is somehow inconsistent in its teaching." He asked that her invitation be privately removed, and resigned from the board on April 25, 2007, when Crow's performance was confirmed.
In March 2009, Burke called on American bishops to withhold the Eucharist from Catholic politicians who support legalized abortion. The bishops' failure to do so, Burke said, "is weakening the faith of everyone. It's giving the impression that it must be morally correct to support procured abortion." He also said that any president who promotes and implements "anti-life" legislation could be an "agent of death". Burke later said that he made his remarks not as Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, head of the Vatican's highest court, but simply as an American bishop.
Reaction to the 2014 Synod Relatio post disceptationem interim reportEdit
During the 2014 Synod Burke expressed disagreements with the content of this 2014 report. His concerns were shared by Voice of the Family, a coalition of 15 groups that identify as pro-life and pro-family, who called the Pirolas intervention “damaging”. “The unqualified welcome of homosexual couples into family and parish environments in fact damages everybody, by serving to normalise the disorder of homosexuality”, said Voice of the Family spokesman Maria Madise.
Burke said that the interim document - which softened the Catholic Church's language on gays, contraception and divorced and civilly remarried people - showed that "a great number of the Synod Fathers found it objectionable". In an interview with Catholic World Report, Burke said the document "lacks a solid foundation in the Sacred Scriptures and the Magisterium (the teaching authority of the Catholic Church) and gives the impression of inventing a totally new, what one member of the Synod called ‘revolutionary’, teaching on marriage and the family." Burke went on to say, in an interview with BuzzFeed, that if "Pope Francis had selected certain cardinals to steer the meeting so as to advance his personal views on matters like divorce and the treatment of LGBT people", he would not be observing his mandate as the leader of the Catholic Church.
In an interview in the German daily Die Welt on April 24, 2015, concerning the Fourteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, Burke renewed his criticism on German Cardinal Walter Kasper, whose “merciful” solution for remarried divorcees who wish to receive communion was discussed at the 2014 Extraordinary Synod. “We are bound by the Magisterium. But some Synod Fathers, above all Cardinal Kasper, want to change it. So I had to make myself very clear. Clashes at Synods, incidentally, are nothing unusual. Think of the early Councils, the Arian heresy, for instance, when Athanasius even became physically aggressive”, Burke recalled. He also recalled that Pope John Paul II had ruled out women’s ordination “once and for all”.
Burke, along with three other cardinals, has issued a set of dubia, or doubts, to Pope Francis, entitled "Seeking Clarity: A Plea to Untie the Knots in Amoris Laetitia," seeking clarification on various points of doctrine in the Pope's apostolic exhortation, Amoris laetitia. The first dubium is about the reception of the Eucharist by Catholics who are divorced and remarried. The other four ask about fundamental issues of the Christian life with reference Pope John Paul II's encyclical Veritatis splendor.
Palliative care and euthanasiaEdit
At a July 23, 2011, conference on end-of-life care sponsored by the St. Gianna Physician's Guild, Burke said that suffering does not cause a person to have less meaning in his life, nor does it give the government the right to decide if that person should live or die: "No matter how much a life is diminished, no matter what suffering the person is undergoing, that life demands the greatest respect and care. It's never right to snuff out a life because it's in some way under heavy burden."
On March 2, 2011, Burke said that too many priests and bishops treat violations of liturgical norms as something that is unimportant, when they are actually "serious abuses" that damage the faith of Catholics. He criticized the lack of reverence, stating "If we err by thinking we are the center of the liturgy, the Mass will lead to a loss of faith."
In 2012, during negotiations between the traditionalist Society of Saint Pius X and the Vatican, Burke expressed optimism that the Society's members would reconcile themselves with the Vatican. The talks eventually failed. He expressed a different view on SSPX in July 2017, saying that they were in "schism" and that it was "not legitimate to attend Mass or to receive the sacraments in a church" of theirs. He criticized Pope Francis openness towards SSPX, stating that "There is no canonical explanation for it, and it is simply an anomaly", because while they were not excommunicated, they also weren't in full communion with the Church. He also said that faithful Catholics should avoid SSPX liturgies.
In a July 2007 apostolic letter, Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict XVI authorized wider use of the older Tridentine Mass. Restoration of some parts of the traditional Mass has been supported by Burke as part of a "reform of the reform", modifying what he sees as deficiencies in the implementation of the liturgy introduced under Pope Paul VI.
The 2012 Synod of Bishops meeting focused on "The New Evangelization". In written comments to the synod, Burke criticized "antinomianism"- the belief that grace exempts Christians from obedience to moral law, stating that it is "among the most serious wounds of society today," and is responsible for the legalization of "intrinsically evil" actions such as abortion, embryonic stem-cell research, euthanasia, and same-sex marriage.
Burke gave an interview to an organization called the New Emangelization Project [sic]. The group was formed to confront what it calls a "man crisis" in the Catholic Church. In the interview, Burke is sympathetic to the group’s concerns that men are being driven from the pews because of the "feminization" of the Catholic Church. In addition to decrying "radical feminism", Burke criticizes the recent practice of allowing girls to serve as acolytes at Mass and other church ceremonies. "The introduction of girl servers also led many boys to abandon altar service", Burke said. "Young boys don't want to do things with girls. It’s just natural. The girls were also very good at altar service. So many boys drifted away over time."
Burke adds that it requires a "certain manly discipline to serve as an altar boy in service at the side of a priest, and most priests have their first deep experiences of the liturgy as altar boys. If we are not training young men as altar boys, giving them an experience of serving God in the liturgy, we should not be surprised that vocations have fallen dramatically."
Burke became the leader of the Holy League, officially launched on March 7, 2015, on the 444th anniversary of the Holy League called by Pope Saint Pius V against the Ottoman empire in 1571. The modern Holy League describes itself as a parish-based network of men united in devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.
Burke has said there is "no question that Islam wants to govern the world", and that Western societies should return to their Christian roots. Burke said that, for anyone "not at peace with the idea of being under an Islamic government", it was reasonable to be "afraid" of such a prospect. He was speaking ahead of the publication of a new book, Hope for the World: To Unite All Things in Christ. In the book, Burke says: "Islam is a religion that, according to its own interpretation, must also become the State. The Koran, and the authentic interpretations of it given by various experts in Koranic law, is destined to govern the world. “In reality, there is no place for other religions, even though they may be tolerated as long as Islam has not succeeded in establishing its sovereignty over the nations and over the world."
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin has said that comments by Cardinal Raymond Burke on Islam's desire to govern the world are unhelpful at a time when Europe reels in the aftermath of a spate of terror attacks.
After Donald Trump's victory in the 2016 presidential election, Burke said that he did not "think the new president will be inspired by hatred in his treatment of the issue of immigration." In 2017 Burke met with the right-wing Italian nationalist, Matteo Salvini, head of Italy's Northern League and an opponent of Pope Francis on immigration and dialogue with Muslims.
During his tenure in Saint Louis, Burke was awarded two honorary doctorates in humane letters by US Catholic universities, one from Ave Maria University in 2005 and the other from Christendom College in 2007.
Archbishop Robert James Carlson of St. Louis created the Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke Chair in Canon Law at St. Louis's Kenrick-Glennon Seminary. In May 2011, the Franciscan University of Steubenville awarded Burke an honorary doctorate.
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Cardinal Raymond Burke, seen as the leader of the pope’s conservative opposition.
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Cardinal Raymond Burke, an arch-conservative American canon lawyer.
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|— TITULAR —
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