Rorate Caeli

The Church of Dialogue humiliates Cardinal Burke: Mass behind closed doors

Andrea Zambrano

La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana

February 16, 2020

Behold the Church of bridges and mercy, open and outreaching! Cardinal Burke is forced to annul  a Mass in Ostuni: the parish priest had demanded the celebration be held behind closed doors as his arrival in Brindisi displeased the high levels of the diocese.  The newspapers attacked him as an enemy of the Pope. The Bishop of Ostuni however, will tomorrow meet with the Waldensians in church to talk about immigration. 

Here we see the Church of mercy, the Church of open ports and the Church of out-reach.  So open, so merciful and so out-reaching, that clandestine Masses are reserved for troublesome Cardinals.  It is happening in Ostuni, Puglia as in China, where, according to the Vatican Chancellor, Sorondo,  the Social Doctrine of the Church is applied.

The latest Brindisian newspapers present us with a very disturbing sign concerning Cardinal Leo Burke, who was politely shown the door in that sordid and humiliating way only the prevailing clericalism is capable of. “The conservative Cardinal is not welcomed by the priests”,  were yesterday’s headlines in the Quotidiano di Puglia: Annulled the American high-prelate’s Mass scheduled in the Cathedral. The parish-priests had expressed embarrassment after his position against Pope Francis.

So then, what is true in the article’s claim ? A lot, but not everything. Some information is missing, perhaps because the journalist relied only on one source - for sure the Curia - that armed him. For sure it is true that Cardinal Burke is not welcome in the diocese of  Brindisi, in Ostuni to be precise, where he was supposed to have celebrated a Mass in the Extraordinary Form yesterday in the city’s cathedral.  But not by all of the priests council, just those priests – at the most two or three – who are always able - from a minority position - to strike the match that sets the blaze alight.

For sure it is true that some priests intervened to prevent that celebration.

But what the local papers didn’t write is that the decision to suspend the Mass, not annul it, was made by Cardinal Burke himself. As the Nuova BQ was able to piece together from sources close to the American Cardinal, it was Burke who decided to cancel that meeting in the Città bianca del Salento, organized at the invitation of some business men.  The motive? The parish-priest of the Cathedral after conceding the use of the church, communicated the condition sine qua non to have the Cardinal’s Latin Mass held privately. This meant that only the organizers would have been able to attend. That is to say – a Mass behind closed doors. Or if you like  – a clandestine Mass. At that point Burke ruled it out.

In the agitated undergrowth of telephone calls and curial activity in fact, when they knew of the arrival of Burke and that the prelate, in addition, would be celebrating the Mass in the Extraordinary Form, panic broke out. The “dreaded” and “dangerous” Latin Mass, the same Mass that bothers greatly the local Bishop, Domenico Caliandro, who has opposed Tradition with all his might and the local movements that had wanted to celebrate the Mass according to the Motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum. So the parish priest opposed his veto, certain of the benediction from the offices  in the Episcopal Palace. A veto,  however, that Burke, who is not infected by leprosy or the Coronavirus, decided not to accept.

The Curia tried to justify the attempt at stopping (the Mass) with the absence of the official request for the so-called nihil obstat of the bishop.  When a bishop arrives in a Diocese, it is the non-binding custom that the Secretariat of the Ordinary be sent a request or communication of the prelate’s arrival. This didn’t happen and that may be imputed to the inexperience of “clerical things” by the organizers, nonetheless surmountable with a little bit of good will. This has become the latch created to block the Cardinal.  It should be said though that this does not apply to cardinals who are completely exempt from this norm, even if it would  always be good praxis among brothers in the episcopate to talk to each other.

But faced with the block, Burke was able to respond evangelically by shaking the dust of his shoes, so as not to foster controversies in a place where he was not welcome, seeing the treatment that had been reserved for him. He would never have envisaged that the day after, the newspapers would have depicted his refusal as a victory for the priests who had stopped him.

This episode throws a sinister light on the increasingly political way things are run in the Church. Cardinal Leo Burke is not impeded canonically; he travels the world for conferences and moments of spirituality; he celebrates Masses, is involved in pastoral activities; he leads moments of prayer between the United States (where he was recently for the March for Life) and Italy. He was even a guest recently for the Nuova BQ Day. The idea that a priest, supported certainly by a bishop, can close the doors on him, is an indication of how grave the situation not only in the Church has become, but also of the restricted freedom those men of the Church, that the mainstream doesn’t like, are subjected to, because they are considered enemies. Is this the communion they want to impose by dint of dialogue?  Are these the shepherds with the odour of the sheep and a knife between their teeth?

In the meantime however, the Bishop of Brindisi- Ostuni, tomorrow, opens the doors of the Church of San Luigi Gonzaga to the Valdese to discuss immigration. Naturally it is a public event, warmly recommended to all the faithful.

Translation: Contributor Francesca Romana