We earn 8% in referral fees when you shop Amazon through our link. We make it easy! Click to learn how.
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Archbishop Burke recalls ‘rebelliousness’ he observed in seminary

Catholic World News - November 18, 2010

In an interview with Vatican Radio, Cardinal-designate Raymond Burke, prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, recalled that “discipline in the seminary practically evaporated” following 1968. The “rebelliousness” he observed was particularly manifest in “disregard” for canon law, but “by the grace of God, I persevered.”

The cardinal-designate was a college seminarian at Theological College (the national seminary of the Catholic University of America) from 1968 to 1971 and a seminarian at the Pontifical North American College from 1971 until his 1975 ordination to the priesthood.

“1968 was the symbolic year of the Paris student riots,” Archbishop Burke recalled, “but that whole rebellion against authority entered into the seminary too and in an unfortunate coincidence, coincided with the implementation of the reforms of the Second Vatican Council.”

“What happened in my judgment was more of this rebellion against authority,” he added, “than the actual reading and studying of the documents of the Council and following them.”

In contrast, Archbishop Burke had fonder memories of his years as a high school seminarian in the Diocese of La Crosse (Wisconsin) and of his graduate studies in canon law at the Pontifical Gregorian University.

The youngest of six children in what he warmly recalled as a “good Catholic family,” Archbishop Burke also recounted the influence that the Irish-born parish priest had upon his priestly vocation. As the archbishop’s father was dying of a brain tumor-- the future prelate was eight when his father died-- the parish priest would visit the home to hear his confession and give him Holy Communion before chatting with the children in a fatherly way.

Archbishop Burke also said that he did not choose to study canon law. As a young priest, he served as assistant rector of the cathedral and a theology teacher when the late Bishop Frederick Freking told him he would be sent to Rome to study canon law. When the future cardinal asked whether it might be prudent to delay the new assignment so that he could continue teaching a while longer, the bishop said, “I didn’t think I was asking you”-- thus teaching the future prelate a lesson in obedience he never forgot.

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Progress toward our March expenses ($29,119 to go):
$35,000.00 $5,880.70
83% 17%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 1 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Gil125 - Nov. 18, 2010 10:12 PM ET USA

    Would that God would send His Church more Bishop Frekings.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org
Shop Amazon

Recent Catholic Commentary

Opening Ourselves to Meaning and Purpose 3 hours ago
A thin-skinned Vatican spokesman harms his own standing 3 hours ago
Pope Francis prevails in Round I of battle for Vatican reform 11 hours ago
Social Media’s Vanity Fair: Danger on every side! March 4
The Ways of Evangelization March 3

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis to address Congress in joint session in September CWN - February 5