Tuesday, July 15, 2008

"...And They Called it Camelot"

With an encore of Cardinal Pell in cappa and the USCCB chief Cardinal Francis George of Chicago leading 20 decades of the Rosary, the festivities for neo-Tridentine-inclined WYD pilgrims might be getting underway later today in Sydney, but half a world away -- and fresh off his appointment as the church's "chief justice" -- it didn't take Archbishop Raymond Burke long to return to the mothership of his preferred 1962 Missal community, and with a hero's welcome to boot.

Having ordained two of its members last year in his now-former cathedral in St Louis, the new prefect of the Apostolic Signatura repeated the honors earlier this month for the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest at a Florentine church close by the group's main headquarters at Gricigliano.

Burke decamped for Italy within hours of being named to head the Vatican's top tribunal in late June; aside from the ordinations, the incoming head of the appellate body comprised of 18 cardinals and bishops from around the world met with the Signatura staff, on which he served prior to his 1994 appointment as bishop of his native LaCrosse. Later this month, Burke -- now effectively a cardinal-in-waiting given his new post -- will dedicate one of his cherished projects in the rural Wisconsin diocese: a multi-million dollar Renaissance-inspired shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe. The 60 year-old prelate will make his final departure for Rome in late August.

Widely believed to be one of Pope Benedict's top consultors in crafting the canonical aspects of Summorum Pontificum -- the pontiff's 2007 motu proprio granting wider permission for the celebration of the pre-Conciliar missal -- one untouched aspect in the significant buzz over the archbishop's transfer is the significant likelihood that, given his new base at the Vatican, his long ties to the communities attached to the "Old Rite," not to mention (much like the Signatura's docket) the issue's predominant concentration to the English-speaking world, the archbishop could just be named in due course to head the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei in succession to Colombian Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, who turned 79 in early July.

At the helm of the Vatican dicastery that oversees both the Holy See's care for the Tridentine-friendly faithful in communion with the church and its efforts to reconcile the various schismatic groups which broke away from Rome in the decades following the Second Vatican Council, Castrillon -- the former prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy -- remains immersed in a continuing conversation with the lead breakaway group, the Society of St Pius X, which has expressed its interest in more dialogue with the Vatican whilst turning back a June ultimatum from the Pope intended to regularize its status in an expedited manner. In recent days, however -- possibly portending some movement with the Swiss-based SSPX -- a group of monks with close ties to the society formally petitioned, and received, reconciliation with Rome, and its canonical sanctions were lifted.

And as for Burke's succession in St Louis, there's no shortage of talk going around in church circles... at least for now, however, it's just that -- talk.

PHOTO: Institute of Christ the King