The "Anti-Bergolio-Cardinal": Cardinal Burke and the "Recommendations" from Santa Marta
(Rome) After the pope demanded the resignation of the Grand Master of the Order of Malta, which must be adopted by the Sovereign Council of the Order on Saturday, the Cardinal Patronus of the Order, Raymond Burke, is the focus of increased interest.
Since the beginning of Francis' pontificate, the Cardinal has been on a confrontation course with the Pope, who "came from a distance". On the Cardinal's side, the matter is formulated differently: the Cardinal defends the doctrine of the faith of the Church against those who are on a confrontational course with the teachings that were handed down.
In the first bishop's synod on the family in October 2014, he was raised to the role of the Synodal spokesman, as opposed to the "new mercy" of Cardinal Walter Kasper, supported by Francis. Cardinal Burke accused the Kasperians of betrayal of the Church, indignant at the machinations behind the scenes to manipulate the Synod.
Pope "Regulates" Legally Hopeless Conflict with a Battering ram
A few weeks after the end of the Synod the courageous cardinal was publicly punished Pope Francis. He made him resign as president of the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signatura and removed him from the Roman Curia. In that November 2014 Burke was appointed to the post of cardinal patron at Sovereign Order of Malta . A prestigious post, but without any influence on the church leadership. A post on which the brilliant lawyer of the Church could "do no harm", to the satisfaction of the papal clique.
Cardinal Burke accepted dismissal and humiliation without publicly speaking a word about it. In his new task, he soon found his way. With the grandmaster, Fra Matthew Festing, an Englishman, their collaboration was not only facilitated by a common mother tongue. It is therefore assumed that the jurist Burke stands behind the procedure and statements of the Grand Master in the Boeselager case. Legally, this soon became clear in the Vatican, as it was accomplished with few expectations . Even the best lawyer, however, is powerless when more powerful rules override the rules and accomplished facts, and Pope Francis is well known to distrust rules and to prefer informal paths. Reacting with a battering ram on Tuesday he was able to overcome a legally hopeless situation in less than half an hour by surprising the grandmaster, who hoped for an honest confrontation and "dialogue" with the Pope, with a hard-hitting resignation. Whether it was that Pope Francis was like an Ernest Hemingway in the pose of a triumphing huntsman, is not to be dismissed. Some things seem to indicate this. Perhaps he himself was astonished at the power which his office is able to exercise with those who take it seriously.
"The Anti-Bergoglio Cardinal"
Now Cardinal Burke is in the focus, because he has already crossed the Pope for the third time. Observers rightly assume that this has not escaped the Pope's notice. After the first time, Burke was mercilessly demoted. The second time is an ongoing conflict. Burke is one of the four signatories of the Dubia (doubts) to the controversial post-synodal Letter Amoris laetitia . Since September 19th, the date of filing, Francis refuses to respond to the five questions posed by the cardinals and bring the hoped and requested clarification on ambiguous points of Amoris laetitia . The refusal of a Pope to answer questions of faith would be difficult to sustain for a long time without harming the office.
Now, thirdly, the conflict with the Maltese rule has also come. The cardinal can do precious little. Francis had forced him into the role as ambassador to the Order. Burke, as he did, kept to the rules. He told the Vatican what was to be reported. There is no way for an ambassador to comment on things being seen differently. In the matter of Maltese Order, the Cardinal never spoke. As a cardinal patron, he also undertook his task to advise the Grand Master, if desired. That Boeselager, whom the Grand Master had set up as a Grand Chancellor, had so good personal contacts with the Vatican Secretariat of State, and thus also with the Pope, is written on another sheet of music. In the meantime, it is generally known that the German Freiherr can call himself the "friend of the pope".
The fact that Cardinal Burke also one of the traditional friendly Cardinals in the Church, who mostly celebrates in the traditional form of the Roman Rite, which accoring to Pope Francis, is a "just passing fashion," maintains that it is also "ideologically" motivated and " semi-Pelagian." The other conflicts appear to be a mere surrender. The context is not, however, accidental.
As always, when two are arguing, there are others that stoke things in the background, takes place not always out of declared motives. Since the outbreak of the conflict in the Maltese Order, there are those who are fomenting against Cardinal Burke. The fact is that the Pope has asked Burke to mediate, but he has still heated the conflict. Anyone could see an opportunity to send Cardinal Burke "into the desert". The Dean of the Roman Rota , Msgr. Pio Vito Pinto, a declared Pope's confidant, had already on November 28, 2016, because of Dubia, threatened the withdrawal of the cardinalatial dignity by Pope Francis. Pinto's zeal, however, had been more detrimental to the image of the pope, and he had to recant his statement shortly after. Cardinal Burke has had to make many statements since then. Yesterday, the Frankfurter Allgemeine wrote of "ultra conservative hardliners", today, while Il Messaggero described him as the "anti-Bergoglio Cardinal". The Cardinal has rejected the assignment of such a role.
"A step back for the good of the Church"
Since then, in any case, someone in Santa Marta knows that no degradation of Cardinal Burke would really happen. Offices and titles are irrelevant to the pope anyway. Cardinal Burke also, albeit in a very different way, and above all with the utmost respect for every office and dignity. But there is another point where Burke wants to get something. The lawyer is considered, which is the way at least it is seen in the papal entourage, as the main actor behind the Dubia. If one were to make him withdraw his signature, or otherwise to take a "step back" for "the good of the Church", it would make Dubia resistance collapse. Thus one thinks when he is closest to the pope. The Dubia are currently the biggest annoyance for Santa Marta. They are like a barb in the flank of this pontificate. The outcome of this conflict is uncertain, not least for Pope Francis. With a background report in the Rome's newspaper Il Messaggero whose editors traditionally hold good ecclesiastical contacts, Burke was sent this message today: "Burke, the anti-Bergoglio Cardinal could take a step back." That was the heading of the title. The subjunctive refers less to the Cardinal's considerations, but rather to a recommendation to him. Literally it says in the article: "Now it could be Francis who is waiting for Burke to take a step back for the good of the Church."
As far as the current wishes in the guest house of the Vatican, it seems, however, ruled that Cardinal Burke, just because Francis is mad at him, will give up the Dubia . The Franciscan sourness against the US Cardinal has been a permanent state since February 2014 at the latest. This has much more to do with Pope Francis than with Cardinal Burke. There is nothing to suggest that the Cardinal could make such "recommendations". Still, in the first half of the month, the farm boy from Wisconsin was reaffirmed in his determination because of the ambiguous formulations in Amoris laetitia, not about feelings, moods, whims or nuances, but fundamental questions that go to the heart of the Christian Faith. On January 8, Cardinal Burke said in a television interview: "A Brotherly rebuke will come if Francis' refusal continues." On January 11, he specified in a newspaper interview: "No ultimatum to the Pope, but the faith is in danger."
On a whole other hand, there is the suffering inscribed on another page, which the Cardinal is undergoing because of the inner-Church conflicts and because of the overall situation of the Church and the faith. But perhaps you will never know about it.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: Vatican. va/MiL/orderofmalta (screenshots)
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