Cleansing Fire

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Lifesite News: Cardinal Burke on “too feminized” Church; liturgy

January 7th, 2015, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Cardinal Burke: Catholic Church has ‘become too influenced by radical feminism

“In a wide-ranging interview Cardinal Raymond Burke used frank language to express his grave concerns about the way in which the Catholic Church has been damaged by radical feminism. He also addressed, with a candor rarely heard from pastors, sexual immorality and liturgical abuse.”   See article here.


“The radical feminism which has assaulted the Church and society since the 1960s has left men very marginalized,” the cardinal told Matthew James Christoff, founder of ‘The New Emangelization’, an evangelizing mission focused on men.”

“’Unfortunately, the radical feminist movement strongly influenced the Church, leading the Church to constantly address women’s issues at the expense of addressing critical issues important to men; the importance of the father, whether in the union of marriage or not; the importance of a father to children; the importance of fatherhood for priests; the critical impact of a manly character; the emphasis on the particular gifts that God gives to men for the good of the whole society,’ said Cardinal Burke. ‘So much of this tradition of heralding the heroic nature of manhood has been lost in the Church today.’”

“‘The Church has become so ‘feminized,’ he said, that ‘men are often reluctant to become active in the Church.’ He explained: ‘The feminized environment and the lack of the Church’s effort to engage men has led many men to simply opt out.’”

“The introduction of girl servers also led many boys to abandon altar service,’ he added. While emphasizing that the practice of having exclusively boys as altar servers has nothing to do with inequality of women in the Church, Cardinal Burke said the introduction of altar girls ‘has contributed to a loss of priestly vocations.’”

“The problems men face that have been largely ignored by the Church are especially related to sexuality.  The cardinal decried the ‘very fluffy, superficial kind of catechetical approach to the question of human sexuality and the nature of the marital relationship.’ The problem was compounded by ‘an explosion of pornography’ in society, he said, ‘which is particularly corrosive for men because it terribly distorts the whole reality of human sexuality.’”

“Turning to liturgy, Cardinal Burke said, ‘There has been, and continues to be, serious liturgical abuses that turn men off.’  He suggested that the Traditional Latin Mass holds for men, especially young men, a great appeal.  ‘The Ordinary Form, if it’s celebrated very reverently with good music, can have the same strong positive effect on men,’ he added. ‘Men don’t go in for this kind of corny approach to the Mass when it becomes some kind of feel-good session, or where there is irreverence.'”

For the full interview see

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24 Responses to “Lifesite News: Cardinal Burke on “too feminized” Church; liturgy”

  1. Sid says:

    I’ve gotta like Cardinal Burke… a lot. Gadflies like he are so valuable provide essential checks against the Church slip-sliding further down the wrong path. Even when his offices are stripped from him, he’s not afraid to be a vocal point of focus.

    People might object to single issue litmus tests, but if the parish you belong to has “altar girls” and other elements of a feminized liturgy, it might be a sign you need to leave. Vote with your feet (and wallet) and support some place instead that is more in line with your own thinking. They are out there and their pastors need your support.

  2. militia says:

    I agree. Those churches are out there. Those pastors are out there. But lets keep telling people where they are. For example, Fr. Antinerelli at Our Lady of Victory downtown, and also Fr. Bonsignore at St. Thomas the Apostle in Irondequoit. Others?

  3. Ludwig says:

    @milita: The Fellowship of St. Alban – when they at last resume mass with their new priest – should have only male altar servers.

  4. y2kscotty says:

    I don’t know what our Bishop Matano “really” thinks about altar girls, but if his public comments are to be taken as honest and forthright, then it appears he has no problem with them. I have heard him praise the altar servers, both boys and girls, as staunch witnesses to the Faith.
    I think the more appropriate and respectful term should be “altar servers”, not “altar boys” or “altar girls”. Altar server is a ministry and not a recruitment tool for the priesthood. Back in the day when I was a young kid at Holy Cross (Charlotte) School, boys were invited to consider becoming altar servers and at no time over the years that I served, did I hear any of our priests take us aside to ask if we’d like to consider the seminary. As a married man and father of 4 I still look back on that time as a service “ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam.” It gave me joy and even now, I serve at daily Mass once a week during Lent and it “laetificat senectutem meam.”
    In other words, I see no virtue or advantage to denying the privilege to girls or older women. I hope that the Fellowship of St. Alban will encourage female altar servers – or does the Ordinariate absolutely forbid this?

  5. Ben Anderson says:

    Concerning the Use of Female Altar Servers (Prot. 2451/00/L)
    July 27, 2001

    Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments

    In accord with the above cited instructions of the Holy See such an authorization may not, in any way, exclude men or, in particular, boys from service at the altar, nor require that priests of the diocese would make use of female altar servers, since “it will always be very appropriate to follow the noble tradition of having boys serve at the altar” (Circular Letter to the Presidents of the Episcopal Conferences, MArch 15, 1994, no. 2). Indeed, the obligation to support groups of altar boys will always remain, not least of all due to the well known assistance that such programs have provided since time immemorial in encouraging future priestly vocations (cf. ibid.).

    With respect to whether the practice of women serving at the altar would truly be of pastoral advantage in the local pastoral situation, it is perhaps helpful to recall that the non-ordained faithful do not have a right to service at the altar, rather they are capable of being admitted to such service by the Sacred Pastors (cf. Circular Letter to the Presidents of the Episcopal Conferences, March 15, 1994, no. 4, cf. also can. 228, s.1, Interdicasterial Instruction Ecclesiae de mysterio, August 15, 1997, no. 4, see Notitiae 34 [1998] 9-42). Therefore, in the event that Your Excellency found it opportune to authorize service of women at the altar, it would remain important to explain clearly to the faithful the nature of this innovation, lest confusion might be introduced, thereby hampering the development of priestly vocations.

    With every good wish and kind regard, I am,
    Sincerely yours in Christ,
    Jorge A. Card. Medina Estevez,

  6. Beans123 says:

    I am a mother of a son that was an altar boy in Virginia. There were no girl altar servers. My son felt like he was part of something very special. He took this service very serious, watching intently as the Priest prepared the Eucharist. I 100% believe that this brings boys closer to the thought of vocations. Not all, but certainly being up there with the Priest the thought crosses their mind a lot more than those sitting in the pews. What better way to plant the seed than involve these boys directly. I don’t believe our Bishop is in favor with girl altar servers, but what a PR nightmare he would face if he said girls could no longer serve. Once you give it it’s very difficult to take that away.

  7. raymondfrice says:

    This is the Cardinal Burk that you are quoting??

    “‘The Church has become so ‘feminized,’ he said, that ‘men are often reluctant to become active in the Church.’ He explained: ‘The feminized environment and the lack of the Church’s effort to engage men has led many men to simply opt out.’”

  8. raymondfrice says:

    And if you need more!!

  9. BigE says:

    That’s in part why he was demoted. He is exactly the type of Bishop Pope Francis denounced in his Christmas Homily. Point #7 I believe: “When the appearance, the color of vestments and honors become the first objectives of life … it is the disease that leads us to become false men and women, living a false ‘mysticism.’”

  10. Ben Anderson says:

    BigE, that’s quite a stretch to use those words against someone for simply wearing a cappa magna. I can think of a few things that might motivate Cardinal Burke to wear it, but I don’t think honoring himself is one of them. Quite honestly, I tend to think that there is more danger to succumb to bad motives in actions that are apparently humble (and the world fawns over) than ones that the majority of the world mocks.

  11. BigE says:

    It’s not simply a cappa magna – it’s a cappa magna with a 30 foot long satin train! I mean really?
    And I’m not the only one thinking that:
    “Cardinal Burke’s preference for the long train of billowing red silk known as cappa magna, and other such vestments, has, however, made him seem out of step with Francis, who has made it clear through example that he prefers more humble attire.”
    “This, even more than the sheer spectacle of the thing, is what confounds me the most. What I’m looking at here is a photograph of a man who, at some basic level, has accepted this calculus: Jesus, therefore 30-feet of flowing red satin and lace. I imagine there must be many steps involved in that “therefore.” I do not know what all those steps might be, but I am certain of this much: many of them were bad steps — steps in a wrong direction. Or, at best, steps in a very odd direction.”

    Read more:

  12. Ben Anderson says:

    I’m not saying that the Pope doesn’t have his sights set on those who are unabashedly traditional (I hope it’s not true, but it sure seems like it is). I was just saying that your quote of the Pope ought not be attributed to Cardinal Burke. If he is really all about honoring himself and climbing the ladder, he would’ve blown with the wind as have so many bishops and cardinals who are now accepting the idea of communion for re-“married” couples. Instead he has sacrificed his “career” to stand up for truth.

    And honestly answer this – which priestly character do you think is more abhorrent to a man? This one in Raymond’s links above or this one?

  13. militia says:

    If Cardinals are getting fired because of their wearing what has been liturgically acceptable for decades (centuries?), things are even in a worse state than I feared. You mean it is really all about A WARDROBE MALFUNCTION?

    And today was yet another day of explaining away what was said to the press on an airplane. The explainers seem to be only a few inches away from saying “Don’t pay any attention to what he (the Holy Father) said!” Would I be too far out of line to say that it seems like something isn’t quite healthy or normal in this entire situation?

  14. BigE says:

    You doing a comparison to, and really want me to comment on a SNL skit?

  15. raymondfrice says:

    Question: What is Cardinal Dolan wearing here?

    Answer: A smaller cape he probably borrowed from Cardinal Burke. It still does not make him look thinner!!

    One important point: Cardinal Burke does not seem to trim his cape to match the fashion of the times. (St. Thomas More??)

  16. Nerina says:

    Seriously, BigE? You cite both the NYT and a protestant, baptist blogger and then assert “others are thinking the same as you” as if they are other Catholics criticizing the magna cappa? I wouldn’t expect anyone from a non-liturgical faith tradition to understand vestments. I wonder, though, do you understand the symbolism? Do you understand why the magna cappa is stripped from the celebrant before the congregation? The cappa represents worldly power and prestige which is then removed from the priest. He is humbled imitating the way Christ humbled himself for us. Vestments mean something. They matter. They help us to appreciate what is taking place in the liturgy.

  17. raymondfrice says:

    “You mean it is really all about A WARDROBE MALFUNCTION? ”

    ANS: No!! It is the mentality behind the wardrobe. While a bishop, Bishop Sheen was once asked why he did not rise above the position of bishop in the Church. He replied that it was because he refused to play at Church politics!! Are you so naive that you think they are promoted on their ascetic lifestyle??

    “Do you understand why the magna cappa is stripped from the celebrant before the congregation?”

    ANS: Probably so he can move around without tripping and falling on his face!! And if he puts it back on for the recessional, does it mean he is re-assuming his power and prestige??

  18. militia says:

    Raymond wrote: “Are you so naive that you think they are promoted on their ascetic lifestyle??”

    Militia replies: “No; are you so naive that you think the Bishop of Bling wasn’t removed because of his affluent life style?”

  19. militia says:

    Oh, Bummer. The Liberal Media bemoans that the end doesn’t justify the means. Who knew?

  20. Ben Anderson says:

    You doing a comparison to, and really want me to comment on a SNL skit?

    Yes. Comedy is funny because it hits close to reality. I found the skit to be fairly accurate.

    btw – not sure anyone has linked to this from CF yet, but Crisis (and Esolen as usual) nails it:

  21. Diane Harris says:

    Thanks, Ben. This Crisis article is spot-on! Hope everybody gets to read it.

  22. Nerina says:

    Here’s what’s so frustrating about this exchange, Raymond. I give you an explanation for the cappa magna, and then you reply with….an attempted joke? As I said before, the vestments do mean something. You may wish to ignore the meaning or make light of it, but the significance remains.

    The article by Anthony Esolen is stellar.

  23. raymondfrice says:

    When we have been discussing the cappa magna, I think we are talking about the connotation and denotation of the item in question. You have been alluding to its denotation and I have been referring to its connotation. You are correct, in a historical sense, that it represents a long history of hierarchical supremacy and aristocratic standing as well as other “lofty” conditions. As far as it’s connotation goes, to a more modern and more progressive Roman Catholic society in touch with the current papal thinking, it is merely a theatrical costume that has lost its contemporary relevance and at best is tolerated and at its worst is ridiculed for its extravagant and feminized characterisitics. ,

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