Raymond Burke

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Archbishop Raymond Burke

Raymond Leo Burke is the former Archbishop of St. Louis who served as the highest ranking American clergyman in the Catholic Church, holding a position in the Vatican that is comparable to the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, until he was reassigned by Pope Francis. In late 2014, Cardinal Burke expressed criticism of the direction, or lack thereof, of the Church.

He is a strong advocate of moral principles, such as pro-life and traditional marriage.

Early life

Fr. Burke was born June 30, 1948 in Richland Center, Wisconsin to Thomas and Marie Burke. He attended elementary school at St. Mary School in Richland Center, secondary school at St. Joseph School in Stratford and high school at Holy Cross Seminary in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Burke attended college at Catholic University of America in Washington and attended Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome after which he was ordained to the priesthood by Pope Paul VI on June 29, 1975, at the Basilica of St. Peter.[1] Fr. Burke returned to Wisconsin as associate rector of the Cathedral of St. Joseph and teacher of religion at Aquinas High School in La Crosse. In 1980, Father Burke returned to Rome to study Canon Law at Pontifical Gregorian University and, in 1989, Pope John Paul II named him Defender of the Bond of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the first American to hold this position on the Church’s highest court. Bishop Burke was ordained to the episcopacy by Pope John Paul II on January 6, 1995, at the Basilica of St. Peter and became Bishop for the Diocese of La Crosse on February 22, 1995.

Bishop Burke

Fr. Burke sent private letters to three local politicians advising them that they risked their spiritual wellbeing by not giving up their pro-abortion voting patterns. The letters were leaked to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and published with accompanying criticism. He proceeded to put additional concepts into practice. The following week, Fr. Burke published more letters in which he advised the Central Wisconsin HIV/AIDS Ministry to withdraw from an annual AIDS fundraising due to pro-homosexual groups participation. In a hail of criticism he said, "I have no regret whatsoever. It was my duty as bishop.... " [2] Shortly after, Bishop Burke was informed that he had been appointed Archbishop of St. Louis. He was appointed Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI on June 27, 2008.

“My greatest joy is to teach the faith and celebrate the Sacraments for the flock which God has entrusted to my pastoral care. Having been called by Christ to the priesthood, I am ever more humbled by the reality of the priestly life and ministry. At the same time, I am filled with confidence, because the ministry belongs to Christ Whom I, through no merit of mine, have the privilege to serve.”



  • "The Discipline Regarding the Denial of Holy Communion to Those Obstinately Persevering in Manifest Grave Sin," Periodica, Vol. 96 (2007), 3-58.
  • "The Natural Moral Law: Foundation of Legal Realism," Die fragile Demokratic – The Fragility of Democracy, Berlin: Dunker and Hamboldt, 2007, 29-45.
  • "Prophecy for Justice," America Magazine June 21, 2004; Vol. 190, No. 20.
  • Commentary on the General Directory for Catechesis. Bardstown: Eternal Life, 2002.
  • Rechristianize America: Become a Marian Catechist. Bardstown: Eternal Life, 2002.
  • "Response: Role of Law Award," Proceedings of the Sixty-second Annual Convention, Canon Law Society of America, October 2–5, 2000, pp. 495–500.
  • "The Bishop as Shepherd," Lay Witness, 20 (1999), No. 8, 54-55. (Reprinted as *"Tending God's Flock: The Bishop as Shepherd," in Servants of the Gospel: Essays by American Bishops on Their Role as Shepherds of the Church, ed. Leon J. Surprenant, Jr. Steubenville: Emmaus Road Publishing, 2000, pp. 65–71.)
  • "‘Thou Hast Given Him Dominion:' God's Plan for Man Within Creation," Be (July–August, 2001), 8-10.
  • "The Church and the Current Crisis in Rural America: A Time to Act," Catholic Rural Life, 41 (1999), No. 2, 4-7.
  • "A Crisis in Rural America," America, 181 (1999), No. 13, 8-11.
  • "Agricultural Ethic from the Perspective of the Christian Faith," Earth Ethics, 9 (1998), Nos. 3 & 4, 10-13.
  • "The Farm Crisis: What Does the Church Propose?" Origins, 27 (1997), 309-311.
  • "La confessio iudicialis e le dichiarazioni giudiziali delle parti." In I mezzi di prova nelle cause matrimoniali secondo la giurisprudenza rotale. Città del Vaticano: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1995, pp. 15–30.
  • "Abogados, uniones matrimoniales irregulares y causas de nulidad matrimonial: Texto y comentario de una respuesta del Tribunal Supremo de la Signatura Apostolica." Revista Española de Derecho Canonico, 51 (1994), 639-645.
  • "The application of Canon 1095 and sacramental-pastoral activity concerning marriage." In Ius in vita et missione Ecclesiae: Acta Symposii Internationalis Iuris Canonici occurrente X Anniversario promulgationis Codicis Iuris Canonici diebus 19-24 aprilis 1993 in Civitate Vaticana celebrata. Città del Vaticano: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1994, pp. 1095–1102.
  • "Doubt Concerning the Admission of Advocates Living in an Irregular Union to Patronise Marriage Cases in Diocesan Tribunals: Commentary." Forum 5 (1994), 49-55.
  • "The Distinction of Personnel in Hierarchically-Related Tribunals." Studia canonica 28 (1994), 85-98.
  • "Acta Tribunalium S. Sedis: Commentarium de responso in casu particulari de inidoneitate advocatorum qui in unione irregulari vivunt ad patrocinium in causis nullitatis matrimonii exercendum." Periodica de re canonica 82 (1993), 699-708.
  • "I divorziati risposati in un recente documento della Chiesa in Francia." Quaderni di diritto ecclesiale, 6 (1993), 261-279.
  • "Presentation." In The Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches: A Study and Interpretation (Essays in Honour of Joseph Cardinal Parecattil), eds. Jose Chiramel and Kuriakose Bharanikulangara. Alwaye, India: St. Thomas Academy for Research, 1992, pp. 1–10.
  • "Il processo di dispensa dal matrimonio rato e non consumato: la grazia pontificia e la sua natura." In I procedimenti speciali nel diritto canonico. Città del Vaticano: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1992, pp. 135–144.
  • "La procedura amministrativa per la dichiarazione di nullità del matrimonio." In I procedimenti speciali nel diritto canonico. Città del Vaticano: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1992, pp. 93–105.
  • "Grave difetto di discrezione di giudizio: fonte di nullità del consenso matrimoniale." Ius Canonicum, 31 (1991), 139-154. Also in: Incapacidad consensual para las obligaciones matrimoniales, ed. Jose A. Fuentes. Pamplona: Ediciones Universidad de Navarra, S.A., 1991, pp. 135–154.
  • "The Psychology of the Christian Vocation: Interpretative Key of Canon 1095." In Iustus Iudex: Festgabe für Paul Wesemann zum 75 Geburtstag von Seinen Freunden und Schülern, eds. Klaus Lüdicke, Heinrich Mussinghoff and Hugo Schwendenwein. Essen: Ludgerus-Verlag, 1990, pp. 199–213.
  • "Vatican Council II and Matrimonial Law: The Perspective of Canon 1095." In Vatican II: Assessment and Perspectives Twenty-Five Years After (1962-1987), Vol. 2. New York: Paulist Press, 1989, pp. 217–230.
  • "Canon 1095: Canonical Doctrine and Jurisprudence, Part I, Canon 1095, 1° and 2°." In Proceedings of the Forty-Eighth Annual Convention, 13-16 Oct. 1986, Washington, D.C.: Canon Law Society of America, 1987, pp. 94–107.
  • "Canon 1095, 1° and 2°." In Incapacity for Marriage: Jurisprudence and Interpretation, Acts of the Third Gregorian Colloquium. Rome: Pontificia Universitas Gregoriana, Gregorian Colloquium, 1987, pp. 79–155.
  • "Lack of Discretion of Judgment: Canonical Doctrine and Legislation." The Jurist, 45 (1985), 171-209.
  • "Defectus discretionis iudicii propter schizophreniam: doctrina et recens iurisprudentia rotalis." Periodica de re morali, canonica, liturgica, 73 (1984), 555-570.
  • Lack of Discretion of Judgment Because of Schizophrenia, Analecta Gregoriana, No. 238. Roma: Editrice Pontificia University, Gregoriana, 1986.
  • On the Memorial of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, June 21, 2005
  • On the Reorganization of the Archdiocesan Curia, June 4, 2005
  • On the Pastoral Reorganization of the South City Deanery, Feb. 25, 2005
  • On the Pastoral Reorganization of the Northeast County Deanery, Feb. 11, 2005
  • On Our Civic Responsibility for the Common Good, Oct. 1, 2004
  • On the Dignity of Human Life and Civic Responsibility, Nov. 23, 2003
  • On the Christian Burial of the Dead, Nov. 2, 2000
  • On the Celebration of Mass for Special Occasions or Special Gatherings or Associations of the Faithful, Especially on Saturdays and Sundays, June 7, 1997
  • On the Preparation of the Jubilee Year 2000, Dec. 1, 1996


  1. Archbishop Burke’s Page Marian Catechist
  2. Bishop Raymond Burke The Free Library.com
  3. Archbishop Raymond Leo Burke archstl.org