The Holy Father today named 24 new Cardinals of the Church, including two Americans: Archbishop Raymond Burke (formally of the diocese of La Crosse) and Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C.
The cardinal-designates will be formally installed in a special consistory on November 20 by Pope Benedict XVI.
Archbishop Burke, as many of you may know, was a native of Richland Center, Wisconsin in the diocese of La Crosse. Richland Center is only a short driving distance from my home on the Minnesota side of the Mississippi River. He was a priest of the La Crosse diocese, later becoming its bishop only to be elevated to the archdiocese of St. Louis, Missouri for a number of years. Since then, he has held various Vatican posts and currently lives in Rome
Archbishop Burke founded the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe just outside of La Crosse. It is a beautiful place for reflection, retreat and worship.
I think it is fair to say Archbishop Burke is a very orthodox prelate. Many locals had a hard time with what they perceived to be his style of governing and his willingness to stake out positions with regional politicians who identified themselves as Catholic but advocated moral positions contrary to the teachings of the Church. Many others in the local area were and are grateful for his leadership.
Those who know him says he has a great sense of humor. I sense that is true, despite his serious and deliberate manner of speaking publicly.
May he be a true instrument of God’s will. Let us pray for him.