Archbishop Burke, who is 60 on Monday, was Bishop of La Crosse from 1995 until he was named as Archbishop of St Louis in 2003 to replace Archbishop Rigali. He has established oratories for those who attend the Traditional Latin Mass and has invited the Institute of Christ the King into his diocese. Last year, he ordained two of their priests in the traditional rite in the Cathedral Basilica of St Louis.
During the run-up to the 2004 presidential election, he publicly stated that pro-abortion politicians should not receive Holy Communion (obviously intending to include John Kerry).
When questioned during another controversy about his firm and uncompromising defence the sanctity of life, he said:
"Is there something unusual about a bishop saying that it’s wrong to be in favor of procured abortion? I’m a Roman Catholic priest and bishop. What else would you expect me to say?"The Vatican appointment was made with immediate affect at 12noon today and the Diocesan website for St Louis has been most efficiently updated.
It noteworthy that the front page of the website carries a news item and links concerning the "Decree of Extra-Judicial Adjudication in the Matter of Sr. Louise Lears, S.C." Upshot: Sr Louise assisted in attempted female ordinations, won't repent, so has been placed under interdict.
Archbishop Burke will very likely be created a Cardinal and will therefore participate in future conclaves. However, his being a Cardinal will mean more than that: he will be a major contributor to the formation of policy in various fields. I bet there are some very happy people in Rome today.
St Louis Catholic has a good report on today's appointment and understandably has mixed feelings. I have no doubt that he is right that there will be unrestrained glee among the sandalistas, "catholic" pro-aborts and womynpriests. Spare a prayer for the Diocese of St Louis to be granted another courageous and orthodox pastoral leader.