Reaction to Pope Francis' demotion of Raymond Cardinal Burke has produced further criticism of the Supreme Pontiff by writers and clergy who are considered conservative, but not necessarily traditional. The string of critiques, some even by bishops, archbishops and cardinals following the recent synod, was unthinkable a year and a half ago, when traditionalists were condemned for reporting news, direct quotes and reality.
The latest piece comes from the secular conservative American publication, National Review, whose website carries a column by the Reverend Father Benedict C. Kiely, pastor of Blessed Sacrament church in Stowe, Vermont, and director of continuing education for clergy in the Diocese of Burlington.
Here are some excerpts from Father Kiely's piece on Cardinal Burke. Note the striking conclusion.
Burke has been viewed by many as a spokesman for the “loyal opposition” to the somewhat frenetic leadership of the media’s darling, Pope Francis. After the recent synod on the family, when backroom attempts to force through dramatic changes in Church teaching and practice, seemingly with Francis’s tacit approval, were resisted by none other than Burke and the Australian “bruiser,” Cardinal George Pell, the understanding that Burke’s days were numbered was all but confirmed. His comments a few weeks later that the Church under Francis appeared to be like a “rudderless ship” were clearly the nail in this cardinal’s coffin.
Despite the image of Francis as a man of dialogue and compromise, he is regarded in Rome as the most authoritarian pope in decades. ...
His [Cardinal Burke's] crimes? Burke upholds traditional Biblical teaching on marriage and encourages devotion to the traditional Latin Mass. He is regularly seen in different countries celebrating a liturgy that Francis regards as a relic of the past, although the churches where these Masses are celebrated are usually filled with large young families, and they produce a wealth of vocations to the priesthood and religious life. (Buenos Aires was known to have hardly any vocations in the seminary during the time that Jorge Mario Bergoglio was archbishop.) But perhaps Cardinal Burke’s most glaring offense was that he declared that Catholic politicians who support abortion should be refused Communion. ...
There is one possible final irony. Some have speculated that Pope Francis, who turns 78 next month, will follow the example of his predecessor and eventually step down from the Petrine office, perhaps at age 80. In any case, Raymond Burke will likely be a significant figure at the conclave to elect his successor, and already some observers are predicting that the courtiers’ foe will end up as the next king.
King? Talk about making lemonade out of lemons.