First You Laugh Then You Cry…..

Looking Sharp for Jesus

Best Dressed Cardinal in Rome for 2011



Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke


February is World Fashion Month. It is with feelings of great emotion that I announce that Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke — born and raised in Wisconsin, USA — has won the 2011 “Look Sharp for Jesus Award.” The judges found him one of the best dressed members of the Roman Pontifical Court. There is of course no cash connected with this award because — well — we just don’t think he needs it after what his threads cost all of us in the church.

Raymond Leo Burke — “Ray” to most of us — was born June 30, 1948. Heck,  John Greenleaf was already riding his tricycle when little Ray was in diapers…… Ray is the current Cardinal Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. That’s a big job for a big man.  Ray previously served as Archbishop of St. Louis (2003–2008) and Bishop of La Crosse (1994–2003).

Aside from his judicial expertise and his great fondness for the medieval liturgy of the Council of Trent, Ray is quite the party boy in Rome. Wherever he goes, people stand in awe at his expertly crafted and tailored episcopal dress.

Various young ecclesiastics around the world — and no small number of seminarians at the Pontifical North American College in Rome — are saving their pennies to “dress like Ray when I become a bishop.”

Here is a  quick consumers guide:

You need a big hat — called a mitre. Ray has quite a collection.

This colorful head cover is one of Ray’s favorites. “THE hat” for special occasions, like going out with the Pope. It cost Ray only $8,340.

On less formal, but certainly still very  important occasions, the Cardinal Prefect prefers his simple gold bonnet. This one below was a great buy at $1,042.

But a mitre does not make a bishop…or a cardinal…..Pontifical GLOVES do the real trick.

These beauties — great in a suddenly unexpected  Roman snow storm or for shoveling snow back in Wisconsin — were a great buy at $1,390.


And now friends….just a closing thought

“The church is radically different than every other aspect of our society. It’s the world’s only global monarchy. In the United States, other secular – or even religious – institutions must respond to crisis or die. But not the Catholic Church. Only 5-6 bishops have ever been forced out of office because of the crisis. (And four of them stepped aside within the last few weeks in Ireland.) Otherwise, there’s not a bishop in the world who drives a smaller car, takes fewer vacations, does his own laundry, or has experienced any real consequences for covering up child sex crimes.

So the bottom line is this: those in decision-making capacities in the church hierarchy have no incentive to reform. In fact, they often see colleagues who have ignored or hidden child molestation getting promoted. And they see the extremely rare, courageous whistleblower (like Tom Doyle) getting ostracized. So the lesson priests and bishops learn is sad but clear: Do what we’ve always done, and you’re (at worse) safe or (at best) rewarded.

from David Clohessy, National Director for SNAP.

John W. Greenleaf

Explore posts in the same categories: Roman Catholic Church

One Comment on “First You Laugh Then You Cry…..”

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