Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Cardinal Burke, a true spiritual father

Father Z (http://wdtprs.com/blog/) linked to a story on his blog yesterday (my, that priest can sure get a lot of blog posts up in a single day!)  from a former homosexual who left the Catholic Church when he chose his "gay" lifestyle but reverted some years later. I found the story very touching, especially his contact with Cardinal Burke.    

Cardinal Burke is regarded by some as too traditional, too "Catholic", too rule-oriented. I have never found him to be so. In fact, after hearing him in an interview, he reminded me of a dear priest whom many of you know. They both are sticklers on Catholic dogma, but they are able to hold their positions with great love, as they are always gentle with all those people who cross their paths. Those of you who live in Barry's Bay will know to whom I refer.

Back to the story of Eric Hess. Eric describes briefly his becoming homosexual; he traces it to his alcoholic father, with whom he wanted no association. He sought the affirmation he needed from other men and became the victim of a predator.
From 1990 to 1994, I went to Mass off and on. In 1995, I told my “partner” that I couldn’t go anymore because I was very angry with the Church. I boxed up all my crucifixes and Bibles and dropped them off at the office of the bishop of La Crosse, Wisconsin with a letter renouncing the Catholic faith.
 To my surprise, Bishop Raymond Burke replied with a kind letter expressing his sadness. He wrote that he would respect my decision and notify the parish where I had been baptized. Ever so gently, Bishop Burke said that he would pray for me and look forward to the time when I would reconcile with the Church.
 As one of Wisconsin’s most outspoken “gay” activists, I thought, “What arrogance!” Then I replied to Bishop Burke with a letter accusing him of harassment. I told him that his letters were unwelcome and I asked how he could dare to write to me.
 My efforts failed to put him off. Bishop Burke sent one more letter assuring me that he wouldn’t write again—but if I should want to reconcile with the Church, he would welcome me back with open arms.

Some time later, Eric found his way back to the Church, first through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. He wanted to let Cardinal Burke know that he had returned to the Catholic Church so he called the then Archbishop's office (Cardinal Burke was AB of Wisconsin at the time) and the secretary told him that the Cardinal wanted to meet with him.
A month after my reconciliation to God and the Church, I went to Bishop Burke’s office, where he embraced me. He asked if I remembered the belongings I had turned over to him with my letter of renunciation. Of course I remembered and Bishop Burke had saved them in the diocesan archives because he believed that I would return.

Eric Hess has nothing but kind things to say about Cardinal Burke, a man whom he hated viciously for a long time. Doesn't it remind you of the father of the prodigal son, welcoming home the wayward boy who spurned his father and family and later came to repent and seek forgiveness?
Ever since my mystical experience, I rejoice because of Raymond Burke, now the prelate of Saint Louis, Missouri. While some malign Archbishop Burke for his fidelity to God, Church and all souls, I say that he is a true shepherd of the faithful and a presentday Athanasius. I tell you that he remains a mentor and an inspiration to me. Although my own biological father rejected me, Archbishop Burke became my spiritual father by lovingly representing our Father in heaven. Like the Divine Persons of the Holy Trinity, Archbishop Burke was and is absolutely faithful to me.

Love is not always tolerant; love wishes the best for the other person. Cardinal Burke sincerely wanted this man's salvation and he prayed for that. How marvellous that he saw the day when this man returned to the Lord. This is the doctrine of the Catholic Church; salvation is there for those who acknowledge their sin and come to the foot of the Cross. It is only there that we can be saved. Anything else is cheap grace.


No comments: