This blog started out as a companion piece to my book, Musings from the Christian Left (excerpts of which can be found in the July 2004 link) and to support a planned radio show. Now, its simply a long term writing project from a Christian Left Libertarian perspective (meaning I often argue for liberty within the (Catholic) Church, rather than liberty because the church takes care of a conservative view of morality.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Archbishop Burke added to Congregation of Bishops, converting Anglicans welcome in Ordinates

Just when I had writers block, the Vatican comes through with a few topics to write about.

First comes the announcement that Apostolic Signatura and former Kansas City Archbishop Raymond Burke has been named to the Congregation of Bishops. The congregation is the curial body which advises the Pope on the consecration of new bishops and their assignments. Many have been reading the tea leaves for the significance of this, especially regarding A/B Burke's practice of denying Eucharist to pro-choice Catholic politicians. At the time of his Excellency's new assignment, many regarded it as a repudiation of his views, so it is natural that some of his supporters would regard this new development as vindication. Not so fast! Membership in the Congregation is ex officio for the Signatura. Indeed, the fact that this has been delayed for a year does not speak well for the Archbishop, as his inclusion in the Congregation should have followed more quickly from his new assignment. We will see how well he can play well with others. Let's hope he can, since the last thing the Church needs is more turmoil.

Much of the turmoil on this issue comes from a misunderstanding of the difference between any politician's opinion on Roe v. Wade and the possible impact that opinion may have on securing rights for the unborn. This misunderstanding largely comes from a misunderstanding of what Roe does and does not do and the difference between legislatively enacted abortion liberalization and the Court's ruling that abortion restriction by the states is unconstitutional as long as the fetus enjoys no legal status (which can only be granted by the Congress, not the states). By focusing on overturning Roe (which is impossible given that four Catholic justices of the six on the Court view it as settled law), the Pro-Life movement continues to miss opportunities to deal with the status of the unborn in Congress. The President stated rather strongly that he would deal with this issue in the third debate, however many in the movement would rather demonize him for electoral advantage than put down the boxing gloves and work with him in this. A/B Burke is widely seen as one of the politicizers.

The second development this week is the announcement by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that Anglicans who have left their Communion can form "Ordinates" preserving their rites while joining with Rome. This is widely seen as a way to attract conservatives who have left the Communion over the ordination and consecration of women and gays. The Archbishops of Westminster and Canterbury have said that this is not an impediment to further ecumenical talks. One wonders, however, if this is not a form of Cafeteria Catholicism in the other direction. One would hope that if they are accommodating conservatives in this way, they might begin to also accommodate progressives in both the Catholic and Anglican communities who might find more in common with each other than with Rome.

Personally, I wonder whether both of these steps are part of either the Pope's or God's plan to eventually unify the Church, both in bringing home the Protestants and unifying the Eastern and Western Churches. This timing is apt, given the rapprochement between the Pope and Ecumenical Patriarch and the prophesies of St. Malachy, which name Benedict XVI as the Glory of the Olive (which may refer to his name - the Benedictines are called the Olivetians - or what he will accomplish). After Benedict comes Peter the Roman, who if Benedict is successful in uniting with the East, may be an anti-pope who refuses to go along with these changes. Could that be A/B Burke?

Let no one tell you we don't live in interesting times.

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