For Church wonks such as myself, the news that Wisconsin native Cardinal Raymond Burke will be removed as head of the Apostolic Signatura and made head of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta is an ecclesiastical earthquake! His current post is important. The post to which he reportedly will be transferred is a clear demotion.
Raymond Burke was born in Richland Center, Wisconsin on June 30, 1948. He is not the first Wisconsinite to become a Catholic Cardinal, but he has certainly risen to the highest position in the Catholic Church that any previous child of the Badger State ever did.
He came from humble rural Wisconsin beginnings, but his meteoric rise began shortly after Seminary. After receiving Bachelor and Master degrees from Catholic University in Washington, DC, he received Bachelor and Master degrees from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, and he was ordained a priest by Pope Paul VI himself. He received his doctorate in Canon Law and was consecrated as Bishop of La Crosse, Wisconsin by Pope John Paul II in 1995.
In 2003 he was transferred to the position of Archbishop of St. Louis, Missouri.
In 2010 Pope Benedict XVI appointed Burke as a Cardinal and he was moved to Rome to begin a series of positions leading to his current role as head of the Apostolic Signatura.
Cardinal Burke is his own man. And so, when the new Pope Francis stated that the Catholic Church needs to be less obsessed solely with issues such as abortion, Cardinal Burke seemed to chafe, stating to a media outlet, "But we can never talk enough about that."
Cardinal Burke has also seemed to flout the Pope's example of simplicity in ecclesiastical garb, sporting vestments of a high medieval style.
It seems that Pope Francis wants someone else in the position of Head of the Apostolic Signatura, especially in advance of his Extraordinary Synod on the Family next month, a meeting in which changes to Catholic practice regarding communion for divorced and remarried Catholics may be discussed.
At any rate, Wisconsin should be proud that one of our own rose to such a high post within his Church community. According to his conscience, he served to the best of his ability. May his continued ministry to the Christian Church be fruitful.
Keith Massey was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin. He has his doctorate
from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Biblical Hebrew, with a
minor in Arabic. After 9/11, he served as an Arabic linguist at the NSA.
He is currently a Latin teacher at a public high school in New Jersey.
Keith is the author of Intermediate Arabic for Dummies.
His fiction novels follow the adventures of Andrew Valquist, roughly
patterned after himself--a man born and raised in Wisconsin who gets
pulled into the world of international intrigue.
Keith's novels are A Place of Brightness, Amor Vincit Omnia: An Andrew Valquist Adventure, Next Stop: Spanish, and In Saecula Saeculorum.