A hero to many orthodox Catholics and an anathema to the progressives, Archbishop Burke is a big favorite here at All Hands on Deck! He has been a strong voice of clarity and truth during a confused and troubled time.
John Allen Jr. reports and provide analysis:
...Yet seen through American eyes, Burke -- who’s widely expected to become a cardinal in the next consistory, the event in which new cardinals are installed -- is hardly just another Vatican official.
As the bishop of La Crosse, Wis., from 1995 to 2003, and then as archbishop of St. Louis from 2004 to 2008, Burke earned a reputation as a strong conservative voice on matters of both faith and politics. During the 2004 election, Burke publicly said he would not administer Communion to Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, a Catholic and at the time the Democratic nominee for president. He also once blasted a benefit concert by pop singer Sheryl Crow for a Catholic children’s hospital in St. Louis because she’s pro-choice.
Since being called to Rome in 2008, Burke has hardly gone quiet. In a September 2008 interview with an Italian newspaper, Burke said that the U.S. Democratic Party risks becoming the “party of death” because of its positions on bioethical questions. He’s also insisted that nothing can justify voting for a candidate who’s “anti-life” and “anti-family.”
As a member of the Congregation for Bishops, Burke now has a seat at the table when possible new bishops are evaluated and proposed to the pope...
BREAK...When a diocese becomes vacant, it’s the job of the papal nuncio, or ambassador, in that country to solicit input on the needs of that diocese and to work with the local bishops and bishops’ conference to identify potential nominees. The nuncio prepares a terna, or list of three names, which is submitted to the Congregation for Bishops, along with extensive documentation on the candidates.
Members of the congregation are expected to carefully review all the documentation before meetings, and each is expected to offer an opinion about the candidates and the order in which they should be presented to the pope. Ultimately, it’s up to the pope to decide who’s named to any given diocese, but in most cases popes simply sign off on the recommendations made by the congregation.
To be sure, Burke’s nomination doesn’t mean he can single-handedly control who becomes a bishop, whether in the United States or anywhere else. For one thing, he’s simply one of five Americans on the congregation, and the least senior. At least initially, his input on American appointments is unlikely to be decisive.
Most observers say that aside from the pope himself, the two most powerful players in determining who becomes a bishop in the United States today are the current nuncio, Italian Archbishop Pietro Sambi, and Rigali of Philadelphia. (Rigali is a longtime veteran of Rome himself, and a close friend of Re.)
By itself, Burke’s appointment doesn’t alter that calculus. Sambi in particular is believed to have reservations about the pugnacious, and occasionally partisan, episcopal style that Burke came to symbolize.
On the other hand, Burke’s influence may grow with time.
He’s by far the youngest of the current crop of Americans on the congregation (the next youngest, Levada, is 73, and Rigali is 74). Since appointments are for five-year terms and may be renewed until a prelate reaches the age of 80, Burke could be involved in bishops’ appointments for the next two decades. At some point he may well become the senior American in the process, with a correspondingly greater impact.
Whatever happens, one thing seems clear. If anyone suspected that the decision to bring Burke to Rome last year was a way of muzzling him, or limiting his influence in the United States, it certainly doesn’t seem to be playing out that way. Source