Have You Heard the Latest About Cardinal Burke?
I haven't. I also haven't heard the next-to-latest, or the thing before that, or the rumors that were circulating about the possible repercussions of what might happen if the rumors that had been previously circulating turned out to be true-ish.
I don't know, and I don't care.
And it's been a deliberate decision not to care, and a deliberate decision not to know what's going on. I've seen the headlines saying that this is proof that Francis the Freethinker is finally cracking down on the moldy old trads eagerly fomenting schism. I've also seen the headlines saying that this is proof that Francis the Slaughterer is squelching the one true voice that still dares to sing out its hymn of Faith. I've seen the headlines speculating, refuting, predicting, reassuring, warning, and celebrating. And I haven't read any of them.
Why not? Because it's not important to me. Me, as a layman with a job and a family and a personal conscience that keeps me busy enough all by itself. And if you were honest, you'd admit that it really isn't important to you, either -- not unless you work directly for Burke, or are his personal friend and will miss him when he moves to sunny Malta, the lucky son of a gun. It only seems important if you are addicted to following all the ins and outs of a 24-hour religious news cycle that has about as much to do with the Gospel as the schematics for the HVAC system at the Metropolitan Opera House has to do with music.
At least clericalism in the Church is understandable. If I were a priest, I would totally be pushing to become a monsignor or whatever it is that you can become, because prestige is appealing. The fancy hat, both figurative and literal, makes us feel special. If you get to be a Bishop or a Cardinal, you will be treated better, get better food. Your pillows will be fluffy from now on. Probably someone matches your socks for you, and your retirement plan is probably pretty sweet. So yeah, you're a man of God, sure sure, but it's understandable why that kind of thing is appealing -- and it's understandable why priests and other clerics would get caught up in those pursuits. You get a little bit of power, and it's hard as heck not to abuse it.
What is less understandable is why laymen get caught up in it, when they have no power, have no career in the Church, have no title to be sought after, vainly or not. Armchair clericalism, where we tear each other to shreds to claim our little crumb of inside knowledge? Folks, that is just weird. It would be weird if you constantly followed the every last move a CEO makes when he decides to hire and fire and make changes in an organization that you don't work for, and it's weird when you do it to the Pope. And I'm talking to people on both sides here, people who adore Francis' every move, and those who rue his every breath.
If you feel personally attacked or personally vindicated by something that is happening to Cardinal Burke, then guess what? You're imagining it. Nobody's doing that to you. You're doing it to yourself, by insterting your fears or desires into something you can't possibly have any inside knowledge about.
You, with the subscription to Whimpers in Blogvillia! You, with your Blackberry set to play "Dies Irae" every time Four Lattes Daily resets their Novus Ordo End Times Ticker. You, with the Lady Cardinal robes in your closet, still in the dry cleaner bags, waiting to be whipped out the moment it Finally Happens. You, with your all your personal clocks set to Central European Time, so you don't miss a moment before you weep or break out the Chateau de Schutte '79 every time the doorman at the Roman Curia unlocks the front door, sweeps off the doormat, and chases the homeless cats away in preparation for another day of things that never do and never could have any affect on your personal life.
You, just ask yourself:
What does it matter? What does it really matter? What does it change in your relationship with God? What does it do to the sacraments that you receive? What do you gain by sleeping with one eye open? Would you still care this much if you died right now and had to account for your soul?