Illinois Justice Anne M. Burke (wife of Chicago ward boss Ed Burke) once served as the interim chair of the National Review Board, a lay group who advises the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on sex abuse policy. However, after her spiteful speech at this year's Voice of the Faithful (VOTF) Conference, one cannot help but ask, "If these are the 'faithful,' who needs enemies?"
Burke's 30-minute diatribe on September 14 at the Boston get-together took sharp aim at the Church's bishops, as she accused Church leaders of:
- treating lay people as "second class citizens" and "serfs";
- asking Catholics "to check [their] brains at the front door";
- prioritizing "pride, untruths, [and] protecting the institution at all costs";
- "resurrecting the Inquisition"; and
- committing a "new form of lay abuse."
Yet the most bizarre aspect of Burke's speech was her citations of various cultural and Church figures sprinkled in her talk. Among others, Burke variously quoted Cher, Wayne Gretzky, John Wayne, Thomas Edison, Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, John F. Kennedy, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Burke's most surreal moment came near the end of her speech:
"I always believe that Jesus had a lot of Dr. Seuss in him. I can hear him now setting his disciples at peace and calling forth great things from them – 'Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind'."
That's right. Burke actually put the words of Dr. Seuss into the mouth of Jesus Christ.
You can't make this stuff up. What is even more embarrassing, however, is that the quote is not even from Dr. Seuss. Although the quote has often been attributed to him – it has even been displayed on posters – it appears nowhere in any of Dr. Seuss' books. The quote, "Those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind," was attributed decades ago to the early 20th century American financier Bernard Baruch.
A note to Anne: Next time, try putting the words of Jesus into the mouth of Jesus. That should work better.
Correct on one matter
Burke's talk did not miss the mark entirely, however. At one point of her speech, Burke stated:
"We are aging."
Well, she is right about that. Having actually attended the conference, TheMediaReport.com estimates that the average age of the attendees was
102 66. Of the estimated 450 people in attendance, the number of those under the age of 50 was likely less than 30.
The same tribe of people who rejected Church teaching, threw out the Communion rails, embraced intolerable Marty Haugen tunes, and led generations of Catholics into an abyss of ignorance and selfishness is thankfully dying away.
The future of the Church is in the youthful orthodox. Yes, the kind that attend World Youth Day.