Archbishop Raymond L. Burke, former archbishop of St. Louis and currently prefect of the Apostolic Signatura (the Vatican's highest court) has been named to the Congregation of Bishops, where he will have a great deal of say in who is chosen to become a bishop in the United States (along with Cardinal Bernard Law). Commentary on the appointment by Rocco Palmo and David Gibson. Palmo opines on Burke's potential influence in the Congregation. Gibson wonders if this, and other moves, show that the pope is "exorcising liberal demons" from the church.
Burke has been in the news of late speaking on a variety of topics--particularly in pro-life arena. After Senator Edward M. Kennedy's funeral, presided over by Cardinal Sean O'Malley and celebrated by J. Donald Monan, S.J., Burke noted that "One sees the hand of the Father of Lies at work in the disregard for the situation of scandal or in the ridicule and even censure of those who experience scandal." (It was, rightly or wrongly, taken as a strong rebuke of Cardinal O'Malley.) His 2004 article in America tackled the question of whether a Catholic politician who supports abortion rights can receive Communion. Today, CNS reported that in honor of the close of a conference on the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, which expanded permission of the use of the 1962 Roman Missal (commonly called the Tridentine Rite), Burke celebrated the Mass at St. Peter's using the rite. CNS reports: Cardinal Angelo Comastri, archpriest of St. Peter's Basilica, said in a statement Oct. 19, "The Mass represented an extraordinary event, an event authorized on the occasion of the conference." The cardinal declined further comment, but another Vatican official said the Mass probably was the first pontifical high Mass using the 1962 rite to be celebrated in St. Peter's Basilica in almost 40 years.