Much quoted St. Louis archbishop to head top Vatican court

burke.jpgSt. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke, who has become a major player on the national Catholic scene because of his outspoken opposition to giving Communion to pro-choice Catholic pols, is getting a promotion of sorts.

He’s leaving St. Louis — and the country — to head the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican’s highest court. The court generally operates out of public view, but has been busy in recent years dealing with sex-abuse cases, particularly those that involve the defrocking of a priest.

In a message on the archdiocese’s website, Burke says:

I am deeply humbled by the trust which His Holiness has placed in me, and, in priestly obedience, I have pledged to serve our Holy Father to the best of my abilities. Although you will no longer pray for me as your archbishop, especially during the celebration of the Holy Mass, I ask your prayers for me, that I may faithfully and generously cooperate with God’s grace in fulfilling my new responsibilities.

No doubt, many will see the pope’s choice of Burke to head the court as a blessing for his position on denying Communion to John Kerry four years ago.

The Rev. Thomas Reese, the oft-quoted Jesuit and church analyst, said in a statement: “The appointment should make pro-choice Catholic politicians very nervous. He will be a strong voice in the Vatican for cracking down on pro-choice politicians.”

On another matter…Looking at the calendar, I see it’s June 27.

I’ve heard countless rumors through the past two months about when the pope might accept Cardinal Egan’s retirement (several times I heard it was imminent). But you have to figure that if it doesn’t happen soon, before things slow down for the summer, the cardinal will still be here for football season (that’s what I call autumn).

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.