His demotion of Cardinal Burke, a loyal but eloquent critic, could turn out to be his greatest mistake.
What does this apparently inter-ecclesiastical dispute matter to the wider world? In the first place, it shows how the only large global institution that represents what might be called the traditional view of the family and society is divided, and that division is clearly bad for those who care about the future of the family and civil society. On a more positive note: This could mark the last rally of a certain Sixties mentality in rapid decline. Unless they are weathervanes tilting with the wind of ambition, the priests and bishops ordained since Saint John Paul II and Pope Benedict have nothing in common with the bell-bottomed theology that, at least for a season, has been revived in Rome.
There is one possible final irony. Some have speculated that Pope Francis, who turns 78 next month, will follow the example of his predecessor and eventually step down from the Petrine office, perhaps at age 80. In any case, Raymond Burke will likely be a significant figure at the conclave to elect his successor, and already some observers are predicting that the courtiers’ foe will end up as the next king.
— Father Benedict Kiely is pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Stowe, Vt., and director of continuing education for clergy in the Diocese of Burlington. He is the founder of Nasarean