Burke Will Be One of the Youngest Cardinals after Elevation

By Tim Townsend
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
October 20, 2010

Cardinal-elect Raymond Burke

Pope Benedict XVI said Wednesday that he will elevate former St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke to be a cardinal. The announcement was streamed live on the Vatican's website at a little after 5 a.m. St. Louis time.

Burke was one of 24 bishops named a so-called "prince of the church," and one of two Americans on the list. After the official ceremony - called a consistory - next month, Burke will be part of a small group of bishops who elect future popes. Twenty of the 24 new cardinals-elect will be able to vote for a new pope. At 62, Burke will be one of the world's youngest cardinals, with 18 voting years in his future before aging out of the conclave at 80.

Burke left St. Louis after a relatively short 4 1/2 year tenure. In 2008, Benedict appointed him prefect, or head, of the Vatican's apostolic signatura, often called its supreme court, though the pope allowed Burke to retain the title "St. Louis Archbishop emeritus."

The signatura is the highest judicial authority in the Catholic church, and Burke is the church's second-highest legal authority after the pope himself. Each of Burke's 18 predecessors who led the signatura over the last century were cardinals.

Benedict also named Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl a cardinal Wednesday. Other new cardinals willl come from Poland, Brazil and Congo, among other countries.

The pope named cardinals most recently three years ago. The ceremony, November 20, will be the third consistory Benedict has called since he was elected pope in 2005.

When Benedict appointed Burke to Rome in 2008, he allowed the archbishop to keep the title of St. Louis Archbishop emeritus. On Wednesday morning, the St. Louis archdiocese release a statement from Burke saying he was "deeply humbled and honored" to be named a cardinal.

"I pledge myself anew to assist Pope Benedict XVI in this critical witness and in the many works of his pastoral charity on behalf of all our brothers and sisters in the Church and in the world," Burke said in the statement. "I ask for prayers that I may be able to assist our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI to the best of my ability and with every ounce of my strength."

In a statement, St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson said the archdiocese was "very proud" that Burke has been named a cardinal.

"Cardinal-designate Burke's faithfulness and service to the Church have served the people of St. Louis well, and we proudly extend to him our congratulations, best wishes, and promise of prayerful support," Carlson said.



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