Cardinal Ray Burke has been critical of the Pope lately.
Certainly there are different ways in which one might celebrate the beautiful history and riches of our faith, and think and teach about the Church.
For example, while I love Vatican II and the “New Pentecost” that is happening in the Church today, I also appreciate the celebration of the Mass in the ancient Latin, a tradition of almost two millennia.
There is no reason that we cannot celebrate both the old and the new, if we are truly celebrating authentic realities of the Church.
The “ancient” certainly has its treasures. For example, priests who are authentic exorcists have noted that the use of Latin in the Rite of Exorcism is quite effective, and that the demons seem to be genuinely dislodged by it. The Latin hits them hard. Perhaps this is because the Latin liturgy was the sole liturgical language for 1500 years. That is a lot of positive spiritual history. How many millions upon millions of prayers, psalms, songs, and Gospel proclamations have been wonderfully proclaimed by the Church in Latin? This is a great contribution to our human evolution in the Holy Spirit. Plus, the demons hate it.
However, Latin is not the only way. The great ancient monks of Egypt, who spoke mostly Coptic and Greek, also have immensely helped our spiritual evolution forward and have removed many demons from human history. And the monks of Mount Athos. And the monks of Russia. And the monks of South Korea. And every lay person, every member of our Living Church of the last 2000 years. They too, and all of us, are a huge part of the immense legacy of good that is our Beloved Tradition.
How grateful we can be to the Church. Gratitude, yes, for all of the Church’s languages and peoples.
However, in his misguided attacks on Pope Francis, Burke resorts to strange tactics and funny partners.
As we know, one of the great things that our current Pontiff has done is to remind the world of our ancient and immediate need to care for the poor.
Why does Pope Francis preach this?
Because, first, the poor are noble beings in themselves. Jesus identifies with the poor. (See the Gospel of Matthew, 25:31-46.)
Second: Because caring for the poor unites our community in the most profound ways. A community that is truly caring for the most outcast is a community that is vigorously strong, a community that is living in charity and thinking of fellowship. A community that is as alive as it can be. Psalm 72 notes how the idyllic leader of israel is most concerned about helping those in society who are the most hurting.
Because then, the living intelligent earth will know that we, who are, as St. Paul says, earthen vessels with the Holy Spirit within us, yes, the earth will respond joyfully when the human community is living in harmony, when the least are cared for. When the most underprivileged in the community are finally loved and given their place, then, the community will actually be at its very best. In fact, even in ancient Hebrew, we people can all be considered to be “adam,” that is, human. We spring from the “adamah,” which is the earth. We, “adam,” are all connected to the earth, “adamah.” We are all earthlings. With a special indwelling of God’s Spirit within us.
Today, with our advances, we can finally stop hunger and poverty, globally. And the Earth, the physical planet itself, will rejoice when we have done so. (This is also how deeper forms of Koinonia may obtain on earth.)
So why is Cardinal Burke courting an alliance with someone who praises Satan, that is, Steve Bannon?
Now, I understand that Cardinal Burke doesn’t have many friends in the Church any more, because they recognize that Pope Francis is so good and is in harmony with the Holy Spirit so deeply and clearly.
True, Pope Francis does not wear as many rings as Cardinal Burke, nor does Pope Francis have little people behind him carrying his miters and meters of silken liturgical vestments, as Cardinal Burke does.
But the entire Catholic Church, and the World, love Pope Francis.
He is good. He is holy. This is clear to see.
His goodness and his holiness spring largely from his decades of self-giving service to the poorest of the poor in the barrios (slums, ghettoes) of Buenos Aires.
He is simply authentic.
He is true.
Pope Francis is alive with the Holy Spirit of God.
Back to Cardinal Burke. In his quest to topple the Pope, who is a gift from God, the Cardinal has had to search outside the Church. And one of his apparent new allies is Steve Bannon, who would like nothing better than to start World War III, a war which could end all life on planet Earth.
And recently, in November, Steve Bannon expressed his admiration for Satan. And Dick Cheney was included in his homage too. (Doubtless, Cardinal Burke, you remember Dick Cheney; he led us into the God-Awful War Upon the Human Beings of Iraq. All was not lost, however, in that evil conflict—happily, Halliburton turned a nice profit.)
Here is the link to the CNN coverage of Bannon’s praise of Satan: http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/18/politics/steve-bannon-donald-trump-hollywood-reporter-interview/index.html
And here is the link to Business Insider’s article reporting this: http://www.businessinsider.com/steve-bannon-donald-trump-satan-darth-vader-2016-11
In conclusion, I gently offer a reminder to Cardinal Burke, that Satan is not who we are supposed to worship. No. We want to avoid such evil. Instead, the Church teaches us to do what is good. We Catholics worship God.
Cardinal Burke, you are a canon lawyer. Do your law books and codices agree with this? I stand confident in my faith in God. But if you peruse your rule books for reassurance, I’m hopeful that you’ll find in them that we worship God, not Satan.
And it is the Love of God that we Catholics then strive to share with all of our brothers and sisters, of all authentic religions and ways, in every land. And in our efforts to do precisely this, Pope Francis has been a wonderful shepherd and teacher for all of us, a true gift of God.