I kind of knew this was coming, but it took me a couple days to get around to reading it. Now that I have, I have to say it was far more entertaining than I thought it would be.
Two prominent and sometimes controversial cardinals, both seen as conservatives, recently have drawn stinging criticism in one case and a stirring defense in another, and both have come from extremely high-ranking sources.
American Cardinal Raymond Burke was recently dismissed as a “disappointed man” upset over the loss of his power by fellow Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras, coordinator of Pope Francis’s “C9” council of cardinal advisers.”
OK, this made me chuckle. If Cardinal Burke is such a sad, disappointed, pretty much retired guy – basically a has-been in the Catholic world (all Maradiaga’s insinuation, not mine) – why is Maradiaga talking about him every five seconds? I mean, look at the people I write about. Do I do so because they are inconsequential? Some are but some are very influential, and that is a big problem. I’ve got to give Cardinal Maradiaga points for attempting to verbally pat Cardinal Burke on the head, but I think he picked the wrong guy. Cardinal Burke is the mouthpiece for millions of Catholics around the world, especially the ones who actually attend Mass regularly. Maradiaga, Cupich, Marx, etc.? They’re the ones who represent the Catholics who follow the Church’s teachings only when it’s comfortable to do so.
Meanwhile, Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea, head of the Vatican’s liturgy department, was praised by Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI as someone with whom the liturgy is in “good hands.”
Do you think Maradiaga’s going to try getting away with patting Cardinal Sarah on the head, too?
<snip because we all know about the dubia by now>
In the new interview, Maradiaga comes out swinging.
“That cardinal who sustains this,” Maradiaga said, referring to the criticism of Amoris, “is a disappointed man, in that he wanted power and lost it. He thought he was the maximum authority in the United States.”
Seriously?! Cardinal Burke is from Wisconsin. I realize that readers outside of the country might not have a clue about Wisconsin, but it’s not really known for power-hungry, maniacal people. It’s WISCONSIN, for goodness sake! I know a lot of people who know him personally, and he sounds like he’s exactly what you’d expect from Wisconsin. He’s a kind and compassionate man who will take time to talk to anyone and everyone he can. People always seemed to be amazed that he remembers them from brief encounters, and they’ll all swear he’s a deeply caring man who cares about the Church, the faithful, and people in general. He’s truly a fatherly type of guy.
“He’s not the magisterium,” Maradiaga said, referring to the authority to issue official teaching. “The Holy Father is the magisterium, and he’s the one who teaches the whole Church. This other [person] speaks only his own thoughts, which don’t merit further comment.
“They are the words,” Maradiaga said, “of a poor man.”
Maradiaga also criticized conservative schools of thought in Catholicism, of which Burke is often seen as a symbol.
“These currents of the Catholic right are persons who seek power and not the truth, and the truth is one,” he said. “If they claim to find some ‘heresy’ in the words of Francis, they’re making a big mistake, because they’re thinking only like men and not as the Lord wants.”
Irk. Let’s just stop right here, Cardinal Maradiaga. I’m reasonably sure you know quite well, despite your innuendos, that Cardinal Burke has never declared Pope Francis a heretic. Let’s just look at this to put an end to the silliness:
CWR: Some critics say you are implicitly accusing the Pope of heresy.
Cardinal Burke: No, that’s not what we have implied at all. We have simply asked him, as the Supreme Pastor of the Church, to clarify these five points that are confused; these five, very serious and fundamental points. We’re not accusing him of heresy, but just asking him to answer these questions for us as the Supreme Pastor of the Church.
<snip rest of lengthy q&a>
CWR: Just to clarify again, are you saying that Pope Francis is in heresy or is close to it?
Cardinal Burke: No, I am not saying that Pope Francis is in heresy. I have never said that. Neither have I stated that he is close to being in heresy.
What the what? But Cardinal Maradiaga said…
Now, let’s just juxtapose these two gentlemen, shall we?
First, you’ve got Cardinal Maradiaga, who seems rather fond of making fun of people who are in the “Catholic right.” He makes his fellow Catholics and fellow Cardinals to be rather pathetic. He’s a huge fan of talking about all these people who are always so mean (even though he probably can’t back it up with fact). I’m glad he knows so much about what the Lord wants for those of us in the Catholic right. I mean, thank you, Cardinal Maradiaga, because I really thought it was to follow and defend the faith of the Catholic Church. Silly us.
Last time I checked (as shown just a smidge above), Cardinal Burke said he finds no heresy in the Pope and the Pope says he doesn’t see Cardinal Burke as an enemy, yet Cardinal Maradiaga stands right in the middle intent on stirring the pot of uninformed Catholics spreading rumors and falsehoods.
Then you’ve got Cardinal Burke, who could likely spew volumes on the likes of Cardinal Maradiaga but does not (clearly a better person than I). He has not made one personal attack on him, the Holy Father, or any of his other critics. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Cardinal Burke utter Cardinal Maradiaga’s name. He goes straight to the issues every time, and nobody anywhere can point to something that would lead us to believe that he is not well within his right and duty to present a dubia to the Holy Father.
“What sense does it have to publish writings against the pope, which don’t damage him but ordinary people? What does a right-wing closed on certain points accomplish? Nothing!”
Writings against the Pope? When did “Holy Father, we ask you to clarify a teaching” become a hit piece??? Oh, the horrors. And really, again, if these people are just has-beens why are they on your lips every other sentence? I mean, shouldn’t you just let them wander off into oblivion? The answer is, they’re not. They are very important to the faithful and I think what they do is to stymie the liberal spin on Catholic teaching.
One would have to wonder what Cardinal Maradiaga thinks of St. Paul. If he’s having this much trouble with four bishops asking questions for the pope to clarify then he really must have a problem with Saint “I Withstood Him to the Face!” Paul.
But when Cephas was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. (Galatians 2:11 for people who are unfamiliar.)
“Ordinary people are with the pope, this is completely clear,” Maradiaga said. “I see that everywhere.”
Uh, define “with the pope.” Define ordinary people. I am quite ordinary and I consider myself “with the pope,” but I still would like the clarifications made to save the likes of people like me who might be led astray by people like you who twist ambiguities into pretzels and feed them to the hungry. This doesn’t have anything to do with trying to take down a papacy. It has everything to do with my kids understanding clearly what is being taught.
“Those who are proud, arrogant, who believe they have a superior intellect … poor people! Pride is also a form of poverty,” he said.
I find it sooooo ironic that he’s saying this about Cardinal Burke and the “Catholic right.” Sometimes looking into a mirror might be helpful.
“The greatest problem, however, is the disorientation that’s created among people when they read affirmations of bishops and cardinals against the Holy Father,” he said.
Oh my gosh! Maradiaga is “Cardinal Disorientor of the Faithful,” not Cardinal Burke! I mean, that’s his standard method of operation! Why do you think he’s got trouble with someone askng for clarification on Amoris Laetitia?
Maradiaga called his fellow cardinals to loyalty.
“I think that one of the qualities we cardinals [should have] is loyalty,” he said. “Even if we don’t all think the same way, we still have to be loyal to Peter.”
The accusations are rampant!
Whoever doesn’t offer that loyalty, he said, “is just seeking attention.”
Again, where’s the disloyalty? And, really, just who is seeking attention?
While such public clashes between cardinals are rare, they’re not unprecedented.
During the Benedict years, for instance, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna publicly suggested that Italian Cardinal Angelo Sodano, who served as Secretary of State under St. John Paul II, had blocked an investigation of sex abuse charges against Schönborn’s predecessor, Cardinal Hans Hermann Gröer.
In that instance, Benedict called in both cardinals for a fence-mending session, among other things reminding them that “when accusations are made against a cardinal, competency falls exclusively to the pope.”
So, let me get this straight. When Cardinals are chastising other cardinals (please make a note, Cardinal Maradiaga!), the pope is the only competent judge??? And what did the pope already say again? Oh yeah, that he did not consider Cardinal Burke an enemy, so maybe, just maybe, it is you, Cardinal Maradiaga, who usurps a little too much authority.
Maradiaga also appeared to suggest that Burke may have been disappointed in the outcome of the conclave of March 2013 that elected Francis.
“The papal candidates others wanted remained in place, while the one the Lord wanted is the one who was elected,” he said, “so the dissent is logical and understandable, [because] we can’t all think the same way.
“However,” Maradiaga said, “it’s Peter who leads the Church, and therefore, if we have faith, we must respect the choices and the style of the pope who came from the end of the earth.”
Some days don’t you feel you’re seeing the high school rumor monger? How sad is this coming from a cardinal?
This is not the first time Maradiaga has attacked a fellow cardinal seen as being a conservative.
In 2014, he called on the head of the Vatican’s doctrine office, German Cardinal Gerhard Müller, to “be a bit more flexible” during an interview with Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger, a German newspaper.
Maradiaga said Müller “see things in black-and-white terms,” adding that “the world isn’t like that, my brother.” Maradiaga also accused the German cardinal of only listening to his group of advisors, not hearing “other voices.”
Well, in your world it might not be like that, but in the real world, the Truth is found in the teachings of the Church, not in your world of moral relativism.
Sarah, meanwhile, who was appointed by Francis as Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments in November 2014, has drawn fire in more progressive quarters for his fairly traditional views on the Church’s worship.
In April, for instance, Sarah gave a talk on the 10th anniversary of Benedict’s document Summorum Pontificum, authorizing regular celebration of the older Latin Mass, in which Sarah spoke of a “serious, profound crisis” in the Church caused in part by liturgical changes after the Second Vatican Council in the mid-1960s.
“Even today, a significant number of Church leaders underestimate the serious crisis that the Church is going through,” Sarah said, including “relativism in doctrinal, moral and disciplinary teaching, grave abuses, the desacralization and trivialization of the Sacred Liturgy, [and] a merely social and horizontal view of the Church’s mission.”
One liberal commentator derided Sarah for nostalgia for a bypassed “golden age.”
One person’s “nostalgia” is another’s reality of the Tradition of the Church.
“Yet in a new afterword to a book by Sarah, Benedict XVI says the liturgy is in “good hands” with the Guinean cardinal, and praises Sarah for his prayer life.
Sarah, Benedict writes, speaks “out of the depths of silence with the Lord, out of his interior union with him, and thus really has something to say to each one of us.
“We should be grateful to Pope Francis for appointing such a spiritual teacher as head of the congregation that is responsible for the celebration of the liturgy in the Church,” Benedict writes.
The afterword’s last line is, “With Cardinal Sarah, a master of silence and of interior prayer, the liturgy is in good hands.”
The book is The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise, published by Ignatius Press.
Benedict’s vote of confidence is all the more striking given that when he resigned the papacy in February 2013, Benedict vowed to remain “hidden from the world,” and has rarely broken his silence since. The fact that he chose to do so now, many observers believe, reflects both his passion for the liturgy and also his support for Sarah.
Despite this, I’m reasonably sure Cardinal Maradiaga will get around to publicly lambasting Cardinal Sarah at some point. Don’t think he’s likely gotten over Cardinal Sarah’s take on Caritas International: