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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Cardinal Burke, Doctor of Souls

Cardinal Raymond Burke, a lion when it comes to defending the faith, is often portrayed as rigid and lacking in compassion. As a matter of fact, anyone who stands against the tsunami of progressivism in the Church is portrayed as a pharisee clinking to the rule book laying burdens on poor, suffering humanity. But are the progressives truly the compassionate ones?

What would you think of a surgeon who refused to operate to remove a child's diseased appendix because the operation would cause pain to the patient?

"But my child will die if you don't operate!" you cry.
 "No, no," he replies. "I don't want the little one to suffer."

Of course, by not performing the necessary surgery which would cause temporary pain, the doctor would allow the permanent death of the child.

Isn't that what false "mercy" does to the spiritually sick? The patient has a serious spiritual disease and the "doctor of the Church" replies, "I don't want you to suffer. Of course, return to the sacraments. The Lord is rich in kindness and mercy. I'm sure you'll gradually get better."

Will the patient suffering from spiritual illness "gradually get better" or will the illness progress to permanent spiritual death and an eternity in hell? Only God knows, but the doctor of souls is guilty of malpractice.

But back to Cardinal Burke. One "patient," Eric Hess, a homosexual activist angry at the Church rejected his Catholic faith. He tells his story here and the influence Cardinal Burke had on his conversion. Here's the central portion of the story:
I told my “partner” that I couldn’t go [to Mass] 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. 
Indeed, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit never gave up on me. Within a few years, I spoke to a good priest, who intensely added to Bishop Burke’s prayers every day in August 1998. 
On August 14, the feast of Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe and the vigil of our Blessed Mother’s Assumption, divine mercy penetrated my soul at a Chinese restaurant—of all places. Little did I know as I entered that restaurant with my “companion” of over eight years that the Lord would seize me that very afternoon and bring me to another place outside of Sodom, to the very judgment seat of His healing mercy, the holy Sacrament of Penance. 
The priest I had consulted was there. As I gazed across the room at him, an inner voice spoke to my heart. It was gentle, radiant and clear inside my soul. The voice told me, “This priest is an image of what you can still become, if you will only return to Me.”
On the way home, I solemnly told my companion, “I need to return to the Catholic Church.” Although he was tearful, he lovingly responded, “Eric, I’ve known that for a long time. Do what you need to do in order to be happy. I knew all along that this day would come.” 
Next, I called Bishop Burke’s office. His secretary knew me well by then, so I told her that I wanted Bishop Burke to be the first to know that I was returning to the Church—that I was preparing for the Sacrament of Penance. She asked me to hold. When she returned, she announced that Bishop Burke wanted to schedule a meeting.
I hope you'll read the entire story which is inspiring and reveals, not only the power of prayer, but the power of the truth. Cardinal Burke didn't tickle Eric's ears like some clerics did. He spoke the truth in love. Like Jesus, who watched many disciples leave because they found the doctrine of the Eucharist hard to take, Cardinal Burke watched with sadness while Eric walked away. And then he prayed and waited for his return. He did not coddle him in his sin, but treated him with kindness and stood with open arms for the time of repentance and welcome home.

God bless Cardinal Burke!

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