T FINALLY HAPPENED. After months of rumor, speculation, and innuendo, Cardinal Burke was removed from his position in the Apostolic Signatura, the Catholic Church’s equivalent of the supreme court. Much has been made of this move by both liberals and conservatives, some supporting Cardinal Burke for his faithful service and voice, and others criticizing him for his penchant for liturgical finery and perceived lack of mercy. Both Cardinal Burke and Pope Francis have been the subject of much discussion on the Catholic blogosphere for the last few days. But before I go giving my opinion of the whole thing, I’d like to ask a question:
What do I really know about this?
Very little, actually. I know a little bit about Cardinal Burke, and I know that his move from the Signatura was announced, at least unofficially, before the Synod (so his statements there had no impact on his removal). Other than that, I know next to nothing, and neither do you. We don’t know if he will be asked to do something else of importance down the line, we don’t know if he did a good job on the Apostolic Signatura (the most important factor in whether he stayed or went), heck, we don’t even know if he asked to be moved. I, for one, couldn’t name for you a single case that the court has ever heard, but in the last week we’ve all become Canon Law experts with strong opinions on the matter. So my opinion on this whole thing is that I shouldn’t even have one.
So what does all this have to do with music, art, and liturgy (you know, the focus of this blog)? Nothing. And that’s exactly my point. None of this has anything to do with me, directly or indirectly. This decision will not impact my ministry as a music director nor my vocation as a husband and father. Worse yet, every second we in the Church waste talking about Cardinal Burke or the Vatican People Magazine power dynamics, we’re not talking about Jesus, and we’re not keeping the focus where it belongs.
There are important issues facing the Church right now (as always), but no more important than the primary mission she has always had: the salvation of souls in Jesus Christ. We each have our part to play in this mission, and treating Vatican politics like a Western celebrity obsession isn’t helping. Chances are Cardinal Burke and Pope Francis have had more than one cup of coffee together, and don’t primarily communicate with one another through the media. Even if there is a shift in personality over there, our mission remains the same. Let’s not use this as one more opportunity to draw lines in the sand and divide a Church that should be united in her cause.
Let’s keep our eyes on our own papers. No one needs to hear this as much as me. Part of me wanted to sit down today and write a blog entry about my thoughts on the situation, and when I started to think and write, I realized that it matters not one little bit what I think and write about this. So let’s make a difference where we actually can, and let the dead bury their dead while we follow Christ.