Christ among the Doctors of the Law



Thursday, April 26, 2007

Abp Raymond Burke and Cardinal Glennon Hospital

While it's not exactly a canon law story, I want to comment on a decision by a justly-renowned canonist in my beloved home town of St. Louis, Missouri, a decision that is going to upset a lot of people. I refer to Abp. Raymond Burke's resignation from the chairmanship of a major fund-raising event for Cardinal Glennon Hospital for Children.

St. Louisans know how blessed they are to have a famous institution like Cardinal Glennon in their city. St. Louis Catholics in particular have long taken a special pride in the work done there, largely with their support, over the decades.

What astounds me is that the directors of a fund-raiser for a venerable institution for children could have been so clueless as to invite Sheryl Crow, a notorious abortion advocate, to headline their event; worse, the directors were so willful as to reject what were obviously many private entreaties by their chairman Abp. Burke to drop the mad idea before it all blew up in their face.

So now, it's blown. How sad. All the sadder for having been so easily avoidable.

But you know, I've seen this happen before: Catholic movers and shakers, flush with their own funds or with easy access to others', too often measure success in philanthropic undertakings in terms of media splash, dollars donated, and the number of glitteratti chatting around banquet tables, while they completely forget the fundamental religious, and even the human, values that make their efforts worthwhile in the first place. This time, even the clear words of a very thoughtful archbishop could not pierce the commotion which the organizers of this event confused for progress.

Abp. Burke extended a special word of solicitude for the staff and supporters of Cardinal Glennon Hospital, so many of whom were doubtless appalled at the "headliner" being thrust upon them. I'm sure many people join the archbishop in those sentiments.

But I do think it's high time for some folks who want, probably sincerely, to help the Church and her numerous apostolates, to stop assuming that they always know best how to do that.


More commentary from another St. Louisan, Mark Brumley of Ignatius Press.