Cardinal Burke and the New Emangelicals: A Superfan’s Thoughts


Twitter can sometimes tell us when we first felt something, if it is the sort of thing we note on Twitter. This is my first report on Cardinal Burke. I knew of His Eminence before this day, but I had never really looked at him.

Who know why the heart wants what it wants? Something about his 30-foot trains and array of color-coordinated minions tickled me. Here was an outrageously bold cosplayer, I thought. His grumpy face and elaborate, gilded regalia filled me with delight.  As a proud Burquette, I defended him with every last ounce of my strength.

When Pope Francis, with his simple robes and relaxed attitudes towards such the Burke bugaboos as homosexuality and divorced people, was elected, clearly Burke’s days as the head of the Vatican court were numbered. As such, he was demoted to be the Patron of the Knights of Malta, whose lay members tend to wear mind-boggling garb and represent at Catholic society events. One might interpret Burke’s reassignment as a thoughtful accommodation or possibly a bit of sly commentary. Either way, the Cardinal can rest assured that his garb is safe and he will still have minions, even if they are laypeople.

Burke has also found some new allies in the New Emangelization movement and come right out and endorsed them. The New Emangelicals are concerned about the Man Crisis in the Catholic Church. In sum: radical feminists and gays are ruining the franchise for everyone, but particularly Men.

Cardinal B. has a lot to say about manliness and sin and how women and gays have messed everything up. As far as Burke’s comments about proper manly dress go…as one person on Facebook noted, “he has a fairly transgressive notion of menswear.” Which is, obviously, my favorite thing about him, so I’m going to admit right here that my fandom is shallow and head-in-the-sand-y, but I feel that Burke’s fashion choices are a major clue that there’s a lot of fun inside the Grumpy Cardinal that wants to get out. It’s an obstinate majesty you have, dear Cardinal. What is troubling you? Whatever it is: we’ll get through it together.

Emangelicals: it’s a great idea for guys to have man time! Go on and kill animals and chant Latin together to your hearts’ content. Play foosball in the multipurpose room! But here’s the thing: if heterosexual men don’t want to volunteer for things like lectoring or communion-giving because women are doing them — women clearly are Gollum-like prestige-removers — maybe manly men should hold their breath, coat themselves in Scotchgard, and volunteer to do those jobs anyway. Then the sanctuary wouldn’t be filled with those creatures! It’s not a total victory but it’s a start.

Same goes for the kids: boys obviously don’t want to be anywhere near girls, but if they can think of Jesus while snuffing out a candle alongside one of them, that would be a great sacrifice for the Church. Indeed, the future of the priesthood depends on courageous young lads who can withstand the humiliation of  serving Mass next to girls. Today’s martyrs, tomorrow’s saints, I always say.

As far as gay (and feminine heterosexual!) priests repelling manly heterosexuals from the vocation, there have always been gay priests and always will be gay priests, just as they are and always will be gay lawyers, mail carriers, war heroes, etc. Don’t pin the child-rape epidemic on gay priests. Scapegoating is cowardly. Why not just show up at the seminary and be the best manly priests you can be?

Manly men, God has shown you the most favor by making you heterosexual men. Has it ever occurred to y’all that because you are so obviously God’s favorites, you might have to suffer a little bit more than everyone else? God thought so. That’s why He created women and gay people.

Mary Valle lives in Baltimore and is the author of Cancer Doesn't Give a Shit About Your Stupid Attitude: Reflections on Cancer and Catholicism. She blogs on KtB as The Communicant. For more Mary, check out her blog or follow her on Twitter.