Archbishop Burke in the News

I thought about marking this under humor, but it really isn’t that funny.  Archbishop Burke recently stepped down from the board of Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital because they were using abortion and embryonic stem-cell supporter, Sheryl Crow, at a fundraiser.  The archbishop wanted to avoid the scandal of having such a public supporter of a horrible evil to be involved in such an event.

Unfortunately, this has created what my mom called a firestorm in St. Louis.  Every ignorant blockhead and his dog feels entitled to their poorly formed opinion.  I have too much of a life to have read all of the 550+ comments that were posted, but the quality of the comments were so low, and the discussion so irrational, that you might be led to believe that Aristotle was wrong in saying rationality is essential to human nature.  Here’re some samples: 

Comment 48: The Church is supposed to love sinners, but not letting Crow speak is not liking sinners.  Therefore, Archbishop Burke does not love sinners, contra Jesus’ teachings.

(Comment 55) “One has to wonder what St. Louis, who has a large Catholic population, and has always been conprised of what was thought of as good Catholics, has done to the Vatican to send us Burke. Is there perhaps a church policy similar to transferring sexual deviates from parish to parish, also a church policy to transfer bigoted crazy priests.We seem to have
gotten the the number one nut.

You do have to give him credit for taking a stand, no matter how outlandish and prejudiced it is. I think the question is this: Should we listen to our hearts and help the sick and dying little children of the St. Louis area or listen to another tirade from the man who should be in a hospital himself?”

Contra 48:  Of course, if a notorious Klu Klux Klan member was invited to speak, we would be so morally outraged that we would run him out of town.  But what ever happened to loving the sinner?  Perhaps there is a distinction between loving the sinner and hating the sin.  Or perhaps was can just choose to get outraged when it is politically correct to do so.

Contra 55:  Of course, we all know that Archbishop Burke is crazy.  As a matter of fact, the last time I saw him he was eating babies and lighting kittens on fire.  And as if that weren’t enough, then he resigned from a hospital’s fundraising board for…moral considerations.  Yup, that last one definately makes him crazy.

Read through the rest of the comments if you want.  You aren’t missing much if you don’t, however.  So I’ll conclude:  if Archbishop Burke is crazy, I’ll take his insanity over the insanity of my beloved hometown any day of the week. 

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19 Comments on “Archbishop Burke in the News”

  1. jh Says:

    THose comments are just unreal

  2. Joel Says:

    They are unreal, but in all fairness I must say the issue has such an emotional charge for someone who holds hope for a loved one in need or in treatment in such a case that it makes it hard to see the issue clearly. I also read a lot of good statements defending the Faith and the Archbishop, which I agree with. The Apostles prayed for boldness, and that is what Archbishop Burke has received. To me the good news is that the Pope did not have to tell him to make his stand and it gives me hope that he is instilling the Faith he received into the flock under his charge with truth, wholeness and holiness.


  3. Joel, I’m sure that people who have loved ones in treatment would want to do anything to get them aid, or money towards such an end. However, I have no idea how Archbishop Burke’s resignation did anything to take funding away from these children. Granted, if Sheryl Crow were not allowed to come, perhaps the donations at the charity event wouldn’t have been as big. If I were thinking as a consequentialist, this would be a bad thing, and Archbishop Burke would have done something wrong. However, herein lies one of the problems with consequentialism: I’ll bet a small sum of money that so many people were outraged at what Burke did to “poor” Sheryl Crow that they gave even more at the charity event. Hence, from the consequentialist perspective, Archbishop Burke wound up doing the right thing because his actions got more money for these loved ones.

    However, for one I am not a consequentialist, and secondly Sherly Crow was allowed to attend the event. Therefore, nothing that Archbishop Burke did took funding away from these children, nor did he do anything to adversely effect their treatment.

    You see, I don’t think this has less to do with helping children and more to do with political correctness. Right now, it is not politically correct to oppose embryonic stem cell research so publically because, like abortion, the country is so greatly divided on the issue. Therefore, he cannot “force” his morality on other people by saying Sheryl Crow’s public support of such actions is morally wrong. In cases of political correctness, e.g. supporting contraception, opposing slavery, deploring rape and racism, etc, people don’t mind legislating morality; however, as soon as you oppose contraception or homosexuality, even staunch conservatives don’t mind pulling out the moral relativism card; and in cases of rape, etc, even staunch moral relativists become moral absolutists. For example, see Sean Hannity’s moral relativism here:

    http://fatherjoe.wordpress.com/2007/04/07/2447/

    And also, it is politically correct to hate Archbishop Burke.

  4. fma7 Says:

    Protect our children from the Catholic Church who slither and scurry to hide from their accountability for the 80,000 native aborigonal survivors after the church scandal in Canada documenting murder,rape, torture, sodomy, ritual abuse, child-sex for visiting church officals in Native Residental Schools .A Horrid and discusting Chtistian legacy. Religous leaders must
    stay away from our children. Multi-generational epidemics of sanctioned and church protected pedophilia proves religion and children should not mix

    Church officals stay out of our bedrooms. Work on correcting your own dysfunctional sexual urges

    Blogmaster’s EDIT: Normally I wouldn’t allow stuff like this on my blog, but since it proves my point, here it is for the whole world to see. I wonder what would happen if I began stereotyping, say, African Americans. Think of the backlash I would get!

  5. fma7 Says:

    Thankyou blogmaster for allowing ny post.
    backlash and stereotyping,,? a worldwide epidemic of catholic pedophilia is hardly stereotyping, its called accountability. Recent documented court records and survivor testemonies of 80,000 church run native residental expose systemic multigenerational abuse by catholic priests and bishops. Catholic lkeadership cover-up and vactican decrees supported and enabled the ause to continue as priests and church leaders took vovs of silence which muzzeled and forbid them to speak of these crimes.
    Church leaders spent fortubes on lawyers fees attempting to cover up their abuse instead of directly giving the moneys for healing the survivors.
    Unfortunately there are huge numbers of the abused not just here in Canada, but in Ireland, U.S.A. and other Catholic countries. and yes,
    Yes it’s here for the whole world to see. Forgive me but catholic bishops standing down to avoid scandal raises a big red flag for me.

  6. Katherine Says:

    It is asked “Of course, if a notorious Klu Klux Klan member was invited to speak, we would be so morally outraged that we would run him out of town. ”

    A rather silly point. Maybe not a KKK member, but of course, the hospital is named for a notorious segregationist, Cardinal Glennon.

    We also have to condemn the late Cardinal O’Connor who used pro-abortionists like Jeanne Kilpatrick and Ed Koch to fundraise for his archdiocese (unless its ok to use pro-abortionists if they are neo-cons).


  7. Sir, I allowed your comment because I see it as a prime example of what I was complaining about in my post. I did not allow your post because I have any desire to discuss this with you. Your post clearly violates several rules–my first principles of necessary for debate– that I posted in my Rule of Mount Carmel:

    https://phamilton.wordpress.com/2007/04/02/the-rule-of-mount-carmel/

    The act of projecting the sins of some men on the organization in which they belong is stereotyping, and it is bad logic. It is the fallacy of the undistributed middle term. It follows the same bad logic that the following argument does:

    1. Such and such an individual is a good person.
    2. Such and such a person is Catholic.
    3. Catholics are good people.

    Replace ‘good’ with ‘pedophile’ and you get your argument. Both are clearly invalid. I therefore don’t even need to address your assertions to refute your conclusion due to bad logic: the Catholic Church is not evil as a whole due to the sins of a few individuals.

    But I’m doing what I said I wouldn’t do. Sorry, I don’t debate with polemics. You have no desire for truth, but to push an agenda, even to the point of being irrational. I will delete any future post of yours that follows a similar form to your first two. If you are angry, and you think I am being unfair, you can blame it on my pent-up, repressed sexual desires for which I have no outlet, just like you say on your blog indiscriminantly about all priests (and seminarians, I presume, in conjunction).

  8. phamilton Says:

    Katherine, so is your point that just because not all public sin has been denounced, therefore no public sin can be denounced? Or that because certain bishops failed to act when they should have acted, that therefore no bishop should act in such a way?

  9. fma7 Says:

    Deleted, as promised. The blogmaster giveth, the blogmaster taketh away.

    It’s possible to be upset about the sins of priests without calling all priests pedophiles, especially because they are all sexually frustrated. I never called you irrational for being angry, but for blaming the sins of many on the sins of the few.

  10. Katherine Says:

    No, that is not my point. The Archbishop has denounced the sin of abortion, to his credit. Ms. Crow’s act of donating her time and talent to raise money for Glennon Hospital was not a sin. It was a charitable act. And of course, since our faith teaches us that we are all sinners, then even every virtuous act is committed by a sinner.

  11. phamilton Says:

    Katherine,

    Then what about that silly example that I gave? If a notorious Klu Klux Klan member was going to give a talk somewhere, would you allow him to speak, granted that everyone knows his unwavering support for such a thing? Sure, his act of donating his time is a virtuous thing; but when his name is so attached to a disordered opinion, granting him speaking time is like granting support to the position. For another example, the very thought of Peter Singer brings thoughts of bestiality to my mind, and to the minds of many. Allowing him to speak, even for a charitable cause, is scandalous. Scandal must be avoided. If the Klan member had publically renounced his disordered thoughts, or Singer, etc, there would be no cause for scandal. It’s possible to be a sinner while still denouncing all sin. If it is not, then we are saying nothing meaningful when we make our act of Contrition during Confession

    Now, if you want to have a debate over whether the very thought of Sheryl Crow brings up thoughts of abortion and ESR, I’d be willing to do that. In fact, the public may have a good reason to think that Crow is more famous for other things, and her support of ESR and abortion do not even come to mind when her name is brought up. However, look at what I am criticizing in this thread: no one in St. Louis is having a discussion over whether Sheryl Crow’s name along brings thoughts of abortion advocacy to mind. Everyone is making slams on Burke’s character, his ugliness, his beady eyes, his conservativism, his being judgemental, his intolerance, etc. In fact, the only thing that is not being discussed is whether Crow is such a public advocate of sin that letting her speak would be analogous in some way to letting Peter Singer speak.

    I wasn’t in St. Louis while the battle over the Stem Cell Ammendment was going on, so I didn’t see the commercials, etc. I hear that Crow was in ads supporting the initiative, but I have no idea how often or supportive they were. Therefore, I am not in a position to judge whether her very name invokes thoughts of abortion and stem-cell research. Nor would I be the person to ask, anyway: I am so ignorant of singers and the hollywood types that I actually had to look up Sheryl Crow’s name to find out if she is a singer or not. But considering that her support was so public and so recent, and it was unrepentantly supporting heinous sins (which is the difference between Crow and the masses of Christians who hopefully acknowledge their own sinfulness), the connection between Crow and ESR/abortion was very clear in Burke’s mind, especially since the man slept hardly at all to devote all of his time trying to defeat that ammendment. He is very upset over what he perceives is his failure to do enough against such an unjust law.

    If St. Louis wants to refute Archbishop Burke on that point, or asking when public support for a sin becomes scandalous, they are certainly welcome. I think both are interesting questions, neither of which have simple solutions. However, neither question is being asked. All I am seeing is irrational smears against his character and accusations of bigotry. Even staunch conservatives don’t mind pulling out the relativism card on this one, just like Sean Hannity was not slow to play the card when he was found to be in dissent to the Church’s teachings on contraception: suddenly, we weren’t talking in terms of good vs. evil, but of tolerance vs. judgementalism.

  12. fma7 Says:

    Blogmaster’s Edit: No, I do not secretly know you are right. Rather, I am ignoring you because I want to have as many opportunities as possible to show the following SBEmail:

    http://www.homestarrunner.com/sbemail20.html

  13. James Says:

    I would make a couple of points:

    The first of them is that the archbishop really had very little choice in the matter. The board put him in a position where he was forced to choose between the City of God and the City of Man— or to use different terms— between the crozier and the stage.

    Much of the focus with all of this has been on giving scandal. This is in keeping with the idea that one of the spiritual works of mercy is to rebuke the sinner. What is often forgotten is that in additional to giving scandal, the archbishop would have been collaborating with grave evil. What needs to be kept in mind is that the archbishop was chairman of the board of the benevolent foundation. If he did nothing his name would top the masthead of letters regarding the concert and would be equally prominent on the concert program. He thus would be culpable for any sin or confusion resulting from that lack of clarity. So it can be argued that Bob Costas et al forced the archbishop to resign from the board because of their obstinacy. Apparently, he warned them in early March that the situation was not tenable and needed to be fixed. Because the board did nothing the assuage the problem, the archbishop was forced to resign. Burke made clear that the benevolent foundation was independent of the hospital and he had no truck with hospital. Logically, one could still donate directly to the hospital and avoid the middle man of the foundation and still receive a tax deduction.

    As to what Katherine said about Cardinal O’Connor and Jeanne Kirkpatrick et al: I think that it is important that Archbishop Burke did not oppose Miss Crow’s performance because of her beliefs. He opposed it because of her actions. Specifically, she has performed at Rock for Choice and was prominently featured in a pro-Amendment 2 commercial last fall. So it’s not just that Miss Crow is pro-choice; it is that she has actively aided and abetted those involved in procured abortion and ESCR and did so very clearly in the public eye. Again the standard here is not just “grave sin” but “manifest grave sin”. In this case, Miss Crow starred in TV commercials contra the commercials being sponsored by the archdiocese. I think this has everything to do with why other stars have been able to perform- whatever their stated positions, they do not cooperate with procured abortion and ESCR in the way that Miss Crow has. As I understand it, the issue was sparked not by the archbishop, but by the complaints of some pro-life Catholics who were much aggrieved and upset that Miss Crow would highlight a Catholic benefit concert given her stated opposition to the interests of the Catholic Church.

    The other thing that I would point out is that during the episcopate of Cardinal O’Connor, you did not have the USCCB statement “Catholics in Political Life” in place. This statement very clearly and decsively stated, “The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.”
    http://www.usccb.org/bishops/catholicsinpoliticallife.shtml

    As to the issue of Cardinal Glennon’s segregationism: Without resorting to relativism, an examination of the issue informed by the events of the past is most helpful. So something to keep in mind is that when Cardinal Glennon’s episcopate began, Catholics were a hated and persecuted group in America. There was fear among southern prelates that being too vocal about interracial issues would fuel the flames of anti-Catholicism. Glennon, who was an immigrant from Ireland was especially concerned about this. So I think that Glennon’s acquiescence to to segregationism results from a combination of two factors: a desire to fit in and a desire to comply with the civil laws.

    Does this justify Glennon’s support of segregationism? Absolutely not- it is vile despicable and evil. It can never be justified. However, this data gives us insight to believe that Cardinal Glennon’s support of segregationism resulted from the failure of the practical intellect, not malice toward Afro-Americans.

  14. James Says:

    Katherine,

    You might be suprised to find out that we are in agreement. Miss Crow did nothing sinful by performing at the concert.

    Culpability here lies with the Board of Directors of the Glennon Foundation. This for two reasons: (a) They invited Miss Crow to perform, in contravention of the USCCB guidlines, thus giving scandal and collaborating with evil (b) When faced with Archbishop Burke’s fraternal correction they were disobedient. The sin here stems from the fourth commandment. Traditional scholarship on the fourth commandment has it that the fourth commandment binds us to be obedient to all lawful authorities.

    This, in turn, is why Archbishop Burke had to resign. As chairman of the board of the Glennon Foundation, the archbishop was the board’s titular leader. Thus, as the archbishop, he could not remain the Archbishop of St. Louis and credibly cooperate with, let alone lead, an effort that was objectively sinful.

    I will state that I think that the archdiocesan communications office has handled the substance of this somewhat poorly. If you look at the materials on their website and the newspaper and TV articles, the archbishop’s resignation wrongly comes across in a way that makes it appear condescending or patronizing along the lines of “I did it for you”- the typical response being- “as if we didn’t know the Catholic Church was against abortion or ESCR. Does he think we’re dumb or what?”

    Of course Burke was correct in his actions. What I don’t think was clearly expressed was that he did it (a) for himself- to avoid grave sin, (b) for the particular church in St. Louis- to avoid giving scandal, and (c) for all- in exercising the teaching office of a bishop.

    Pax tecum.

    James

  15. Katherine Says:

    Sure, [the] act of [a racist] donating his time is a virtuous thing; but when his name is so attached to a disordered opinion, granting him speaking time is like granting support to the position.

    So is attaching the name of Cardinal Glennon to this hospital an endorsement of his disordered opinion regarding racism?

    However, look at what I am criticizing in this thread: no one in St. Louis is having a discussion over whether Sheryl Crow’s name along brings thoughts of abortion advocacy to mind. Everyone is making slams on Burke’s character, his ugliness, his beady eyes, his conservativism, his being judgemental, his intolerance, etc. In fact, the only thing that is not being discussed is whether Crow is such a public advocate of sin that letting her speak would be analogous in some way to letting Peter Singer speak.

    You help prove my point here. Scandal is what leads others to sin. It is the one point of moral theology that is somewhat subject to popular referendum as it is dependent on how the public responds to an action. You have admitted that “no one” is suggesting they can now go out and have an abortion with the approval of the Catholic Church because Ms. Crow was invited to sing. In fact, much of the public appears to be scandalized by the lack of charity and pastorality of Burke, as you seem to admit.

    …when public support for a sin becomes scandalous…

    There is no sin for Ms. Crow to donate her time at her profession to help the mission of Glennon Hospital. There is no sin in a group accepting her donation. Accepting a donation, be it from the trade or craft of a carpenter, singer, plumber, accountant, proofreader or hodcarrier is not a sin even if the persons in question are (as it will always be as we all are) sinners.

    We all know the Scripture about the Good Samaritan. By God’s grace (I believe) in the time of Cardinal Ritter of St. Louis (of blessed memory) this passage was often used in preaching against the grave sin of racism. All well and good. However, the Samaritans were not really racially distinct from the other Hebrews. The Jews disliked them because they were heretics. They did not accept all of the revelation that God had given to the Jewish people at that time. Christ did not counsel us to refuse the aid of the Samaritan.

    Msgr. George Higgins once told me “criticizing the Church is like spanking your children. It is not that you should never do it, but you should not do it if you enjoy doing it.” With that in mind, let me say, I take no pleasure is saying this. It pains me to do so. But Burke was a fool. He may have used this as a teaching moment (as the youngsters say today). He might have graciously thank Ms. Crow for her donation of her work and then noted that even among pro-choicers they have these internal contradictions.

  16. phamilton Says:

    Katherine,

    “So is attaching the name of Cardinal Glennon to this hospital an endorsement of his disordered opinion regarding racism? ”

    Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. I think so few people know anything about Cardinal Glennon to say whether his name invokes concepts of racism or not. But that’s my question: at what point does public, unrepentent support for a grave sin considered scandalous? Are the two coexstensive or not? Scandal is scandal is scandal: if it scandalizes the faithful, it should be avoided, whether it be Sheryl Crow, Cardinal Glennon, or politician x. And even if everyone determines that Glennon’s opinions do fall into the realm of scandal, that has nothing to do with Sheryl Crow. The rightness or wrongness of Burke’s actions in this case are entirely independent of his treatment of Glennon. If he’s wrong about not doing anything about Glennon, that does not mean that he must be wrong with how he responded to this situation.

    “You help prove my point here. Scandal is what leads others to sin. It is the one point of moral theology that is somewhat subject to popular referendum as it is dependent on how the public responds to an action. You have admitted that “no one” is suggesting they can now go out and have an abortion with the approval of the Catholic Church because Ms. Crow was invited to sing. In fact, much of the public appears to be scandalized by the lack of charity and pastorality of Burke, as you seem to admit.”

    I don’t follow your point on abortion. No where in the passage that you cited did I say explicitly or implicitly that Sheryl Crow’s performing at a concert would not cause people to go out and commit abortions. Which part of that quote gave you that impression?

    And no, it is dead wrong to say that the way the public responds to an action has anything to do with whether Burke should have or shouldn’t have acted. Even if it can be argued that Burke’s decision was unwise, I don’t think anyone can make the case that it was immoral. a) He acted in a means fully within his power and rights as a bishop to his office with the intent of avoiding scandal. If we base the objective good or evil of an action based soley on how the public responds, we fall into consequentialism, nor does the charitableness or the lack of charity of an action have anything to do with whether the public perceives it as charitable or uncharitable. It’s the classic appearances-reality distinction.

    The difference being, of course, that Sheryl Crow’s support for abortion is clearly disordered. To call Archbishop Burke’s actions uncharitable is merely to beg the question against my position: isn’t the rightness or wrongness of his action (not the good or bad consequences!) what we are trying to determine in the first place?

    If Archbishop Burke did the wrong thing, then yes, it can be perceived as uncharitable, even if it is not objectively uncharitable. But from Burke’s point of view, he did an action that was completely in his right to do with the intent of performing a spiritual work of mercy. Besides, this issue has nothing to do with Sheryl Crow’s charitable donation, and everything to do with Burke’s conscience. But if her name really is infamous, as Burke thinks it is, then the grave sin would be Archbishop Burke’s, NOT Sheryl Crow’s, for allowing Crow to sing. Sheryl Crow could still be causing scandal, but if she has no knowledge that she is, then there is no mortal sin. But Burke does know the Church’s teaching, and if Sheryl Crow really is such a supporter of abortion and ESR that she is infamous for it, then Burke cannot let her speak. As Thomas Moore stated at his trial, silence means consent. If Burke let an infamous Klan member speak without saying a word, people may very well be led to believe he–and in conjunction the Church–supports such actions. The same rule applies here. Read paragraph 2285 of the Catechism, which talks about the duties of those people in office.

    By the way, there is a difference between loving the sinner and hating the sin. Just because the Jews were wrong to hate the Samaritans because they were heretics does not mean that they were right to hate the sin that they were committing.

    I’ll let you have the last word.

  17. Katherine Says:

    And no, it is dead wrong to say that the way the public responds to an action has anything to do with whether Burke should have or shouldn’t have acted.

    It does have to do if there is an issue of “scandal”. Would accepting Ms. Crow’s charity cause people to sin? If not, there is no scandal. Who is having an abortion because of this?

    Even if it can be argued that Burke’s decision was unwise, I don’t think anyone can make the case that it was immoral.

    Yes, one should be reserved about calling any person’s actions immoral. I think it would be too strong of a term for both Burke and Crow. Remember, Crow is not having an abortion, performing one or counseling anyone to abort. She has unwise and misguided views as to what the best public policy approach to abortion should be. Intent is a major factor in sinfullness.

    if Sheryl Crow really is such a supporter of abortion and ESR that she is infamous for it, then Burke cannot let her speak.

    She was donating the work of her trade for a charitable cause. There is no divine law that in colaborating with others for a good cause, all particpants must be perfect people.

    As Thomas Moore stated at his trial, silence means consent.

    St. Thomas More stated at his trial that the law requires his judges to presume consent from silence.

    If Burke let an infamous Klan member speak without saying a word, people may very well be led to believe he–and in conjunction the Church–supports such actions. The same rule applies here.

    No one was being led to believe that Burke and the Catholic Church have revised its teaching and is now approving of abortion because it accepted a donation from Ms. Crow. No one. Not a single soul.

    By the way, there is a difference between loving the sinner and hating the sin. Just because the Jews were wrong to hate the Samaritans because they were heretics does not mean that they were right to hate the sin that they were committing.

    And no one is wrong for objecting, even publicly, to Ms. Crow’s views on abortion public policy. But neither is anyone obligated to refuse her charity, just as our Lord approved of the acceptance of the Samaritan’s charity.

    I’ll let you have the last word.


  18. As my last word, I’d just like to thank you for keeping things civil. That is a rare quality in internet debate, and I’ve enjoyed it.

  19. Katherine Says:

    Thank you as well. I hope you find your time at TC rewarding. Feel free to come visit us at Sacred Heart Parish at 16th Street and Park Road, NW anytime!


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