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Burke bumped * PK prosecutor * Looking up to Sagan: Monday’s Roundup

This was a big news weekend. High-or-low lights include a possible promotion, a definite demotion and an act of compassion afoul of the law.

Cardinal Raymond Burke no longer heads the Vatican's highest court. He was moved out on Nov. 8, 2014 to an honorary post as patron of the Order of the Knights of Malta. Photo by Cathy Lynn Grossman

Busy weekend! President Obama kicked it off with his Friday nomination for attorney general, PK (preacher’s kid) Loretta Lynch. Pope Francis kicked it up Saturday by bumping Cardinal Raymond Burke out of the curia. And, sadly, Sunday, renowned Pentecostal pastor Myles Munroe of the Bahamas was killed in a plane crash. A quick review:

Lynch, the veteran prosecutor Obama picked to succeed Eric Holder, learned social justice at her daddy’s church when she was a tot. Daughter of a 4th generation Baptist pastor, Lynch recalls riding on her father’s shoulders to church when he opened the doors to civil rights activists out to desegregate Greensboro, N.C.

For people who follow Vatican power plays, Saturday was big. Big as in good or horrible? That depends, as always in curial chess matches, on your point of view.

2012 photo

Cardinal Raymond Burke no longer leads the Vatican’s highest court. On Nov. 8, he was moved out to an honorary post, patron of the Order of the Knights of Malta. Photo by Cathy Lynn Grossman

Everyone agrees on one point: Kicking 66-year-old Cardinal Raymond Burke (a spring chicken in Vatican context) out of his post at the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican Supreme Court, and naming him to an honorary post as patron of the Order of the Knights of Malta, a job usually given to a retiree or even a layman, was “unprecedented.”

After that, commentary is all over the map:

Traditionalists at the Rorate Caeli blog tried irony, tweeting “Free at Last: Burke put in an honorific job at 66.” But a few days ago, the rage bled through a scathing post calling this “nothing short than a complete degradation and a clear punishment (for what?)”

Michael Sean Winters at NRC Online says it’s a demotion that’s “completely warranted” (and not surprising, given that Burke has been badmouthing Pope Francis’ every move for months).

Blogger Father Z (the Rev. John Zuhlsdorf), points out that Cardinal Burke, who battled any hint of “welcoming” gays or reconsidering how the church conducts annulments during last month’s synod, may not be at the synod’s concluding session in 2015. Since he’s no longer in the curia, he likely won’t be appointed, says Zuhlsdorf. “That does not mean he has been silenced.”

Sad news 

Author and business coach Pastor Myles Munroe, 60, of Bahamas Faith Ministries International and his wife Ruth and daughter Charisa, died Sunday when their private jet hit a construction crane near Grand Bahama Island airport. They were en route to his 2014 Global Leadership Forum  scheduled to start Monday (Nov., 10).

Department of ‘Are you kidding me?’

Two ministers and a 90-year-old advocate for the homeless were arrested in Fort Lauderdale for the crime of public compassion. Well, technically, they were charged with violating the city’s new ordinance barring feeding the homeless in public. At least the cops let them finish serving before arresting them.


A Mormon bishop in Los Angeles, Mark Peredes, blogged “good riddance” to fellow Mormon Harry Reid, the Mormon Senate Leader, calling him “embarrassment” for taking social stands runs contrary to church positions and questioning the seriousness of Reid’s faith.

Nah-ah, said LDS Church spokesman Dale Jones. Mormons can think and write what they please but “publishing such views while using a title of a church officer … is entirely inappropriate.” And Sunday, Peredes apologized for his “tone.”


The General Theological Seminary showdown, in which eight faculty members tangled with the board over their concerns with the Episcopal flagship seminary’s dean, has subsided — for now.  Seven will be allowed to return to teaching on a provisional basis until the end of the school year. Then what? Unclear.

Proposed legislation in Canada, the “Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act” would ban arranged marriages of minors and deport polygamists.

Somali Islamic militants, clerics and other extremist groups in Muslim majority countries are applying apostasy as a political tool, says Abdisaid Abdi Ismail, whose book on apostasy earned the scholar the nickname “Somalia’s Salman Rushdie.”

Point of View:


  • Carl Sagan

    Sunday was Carl Sagan Day.

    Sunday was Carl Sagan Day and the Faitheist blog explains why atheists follow his star.

  • Jana Riess, wrapping up a multi-post look at a book of reflections “The Crucible of Doubt” says Mormons should talk more — and honestly — about how often people face a dark night of the soul “…when God is silent.”
  • Eliel Cruz muses on the mixed messages that Methodists sent when the UMC hosted a panel on how to pastor to LGBTQ people — with none speaking on the panel. Include the LGBTQ, he writes: “We are the context for the conversation.”
  • Mark Silk finds a pun: If rejected Supreme Court nominees are “borked” like failed nominee Robert Bork, then “In the future, when the pope demotes a high-ranking prelate, we’ll say he’s been burked.”

Hidden theology alert

Sunday’s New York Times recounts how a team of artisans and conservators recreated a shattered marble statue of Adam. After the 15th century work by the Venetian Renaissance master Tullio Lombardo mysteriously toppled in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2002, Philippe de Montebello, then director of the museum, committed the staff to its repair.

He told the Times: “To leave it in a broken state would have been to choose its accident as its defining historical moment.”

Think on that, fellow sinners…

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