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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Would Jesus spend $8,340 on a hat? (and related thoughts)

Preface & Acknowledgement:  An acknowledgement for data and inspiration related to this posting goes out to the blog Another Voice and it's author John (Jack) A. Dick.  If you are looking for a progressive Catholic voice, please do yourself a big favor and check out Jack's blog.

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Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke is something of a hero to conservative Catholics throughout the United States.  Spend more than an hour or so listing to Ave Maria Radio or ETWN and you will no doubt hear his name mentioned in the most favorable and venerable of terms.  In fact, Cardinal Burke was recently referenced in the Catholic press for his support of "boys only" altar servers (citation HERE).  Anyway, I'm not commenting on boys-only altar servers today, although I will note that I was, in fact, an altar boy for something like 10 years, and while we didn't have female servers back on those days, if we did maybe we would have been better behaved.  Maybe.  But so I digress.

Regarding Cardinal Burke, there is one thing that bothers about him and those like him:  They profess to be representatives of Jesus Christ on Earth but yet they act more like Earthly royalty, complete with expensive robes, gloves and crowns.  A more detailed description of just some of Cardinal Burke's wardrobe costs can be found HERE, but to give you an idea of the total effect, check these visuals out:

(Credit to the Riverfront Times)

(Credit to St Peter's List)

As you can see, Cardinal Burke likes to dress like a Prince.  

Now let's compare that to the typical visuals associated with Jesus Christ:


So tell me, does Cardinal Burke look more like Jesus Christ or maybe French royalty?

Now you could say something like "yeah, but so what!".  Which in a way I agree with.  So what.  But here's the rub:  It's hard to believe that someone wants to speak for Christ and "His Church on Earth" given all we know about Jesus and how he lived, would actually want to look and act like French royalty.  

By my reckoning, Jesus Christ lived a simple life on Earth and emphasized not the kingdom of man but rather the Kingdom of God.  But yet when you look at Cardinal Burke, and those like him, what comes more to mind is an Earthly Prince.  Therein lies just one of many contradictions I see in the conservative Catholic Church, namely that it claims to speak for Jesus but pretty much insists on looking (and acting at times) like Louis XIV.  This would be the Jesus that wore simple clothes and sought out tax collectors and lepers and chased the money-changers out of the temple.  Cardinal Burke?  I'm thinking that the man almost never gets his hands dirty and would more likely be one of the money changers.

So why does Cardinal Burke look like an Earthly prince?  I don't know the man, but I suspect that it has to do with that very human of vices, namely ego.  I guess that he simply likes to look really, really important.  Again, like a Prince (of the Church).  It's okay to have an ego that pushes you to wear royal trappings.  It really is...unless you imply that you speak for a Heavenly God who likely has no need for such things.  

So no, I don't think Jesus Christ would be wearing a $8,340 golden hat.  The crown Jesus wore was made of simple thorns, thank you very much.


Michele said...

And just imagine how many poor and hungry people he could feed with that money. Such hypocrisy is the reason for my move to a non-denomination church (where the pastors wear blue jeans).

Stephen Albert said...

Thanks for reading Michele.

I get what you are saying. As I grow older I have far more respect for that sweaty Pentecostal preacher wearing a cheap suit from Sears.