Archbishop Burke’s Transfer to the Vatican

While many are decrying Pope Benedict’s decision to move Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis to head the Apostolic Signatura in Rome, it may be too early to judge the move. Admittedly, Burke has had a deplorable history of dealing with sexually abusive priests during his 5 year tenure in St. Louis. He’s not only been completely unwilling to act against such priests, he’s actually welcomed a few into the Archdiocese of St. Louis from other dioceses!
Yet, let me play devil’s advocate for a moment. As head of the Apostolic Signatura (the church’s highest court), Burke will no longer be able to wreck havoc in parishes and dioceses. Rather, he’ll be mediating disputes between lower church tribunals (courts) over matters of canon law. In other words, he’ll be in an ivory tower removed from dealing with pastoral issues. We all know that’s not the way most of us would deal with someone like Burke, but it’s very typical in the often shadowy world of the Vatican. Perhaps, the people of St. Louis will receive a caring, compassionate shepherd willing to deal with the problem of abusive priests as well as their survivors. Perhaps, this is a good move for the church in America, just a thought.