Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
--Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation I

Home » Archives » February 2005 » Archbishop Raymond Burke: Thief and Asshole....

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02/08/2005: Archbishop Raymond Burke: Thief and Asshole....

Somebody had better remind Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis that the Middle Ages ended a long, long time ago.

According to a story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Archbishop Burke (you may remember, he was one of the pricks in the Catholic hierarchy who publicly said he'd deny communion to Senator John Kerry if Kerry ever showed up in the St. Louis Archdiocese) has decided to subject the parish board of St. Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Church in St. Louis. Burke has, pretty much since his arrival in St. Louis from the diocese of LaCrosse, Wisconsin, been in a very public pissing contest with the parish board of St. Stanislaus.

Some background is in order, of course. Most Catholic Churches are governed by the diocese in which they are located, and therefore the diocese controls the parish property and assets. St. Stanislaus, however, in accordance with an agreement entered into by Burke's predecessors in episcopal office, is self-governing. That means that a parish board composed of laypersons controls the parish property and assets.

Burke, seeing himself as a medieval prince instead of a 21st century American churchman, thinks that he can abrogate that agreement and seize control of the church and its assets. Forget that the agreement between Burke's predecessors and the predecessors of the parish board is legal and binding. He wants the parish's money and property. And in order to steal it (for that's what it is, theft pure and simple; Burke wants to take what's not rightfully his), he's stooping so low as to play power games with the Sacraments.

So as a result, he's ordered an interdict: a formal order against the six members of the St. Stanislaus parish board which forbids them to receive the sacraments until they knuckle under to Burke's power grab. Sort of a "mini-excommunication", according to a professor of canon law quoted by the Post article. Very rare. Interdicts were popular in the Middle Ages, back when the masses took the Church more seriously than they do now.

I can't see how any Catholic with a conscience can stand for Burke's actions.

I hope that the St. Stanislaus board stands firm, and if Burke doesn't give in, that they take their church and its assets, and leave the Roman Catholic Church for some more friendly (and legitimate) church. Like maybe this one. I'm sure they'd fit right in.

Len on 02.08.05 @ 07:38 PM CST

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