Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke

Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke is an American cardinal prelate of the Catholic Church. He is an archbishop and the patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. He served as the archbishop of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Missouri from 2003 to 2008, and as the bishop of the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin from 1995 to 2003.

After his ordination to the priesthood, Fr. Burke was assigned as assistant rector of the Cathedral of St. Joseph the Workman in La Crosse, Wisconsin. He also taught religion at Aquinas High School in La Crosse (where the new addition the Bishop Burke Hall was named in his honor in 1997 and then in 2011 was renamed the Cardinal Burke Hall). From 1980 to 1984, Fr. Burke studied canon law at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, where he received a licentiate in canon law in 1982 and a doctorate in canon law in 1984. He then returned to La Crosse where he was named the Moderator of the Curia and Vice Chancellor of the La Crosse diocese. In 1989, Pope John Paul II named Fr. Burke the first American Defender of the Bond of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the highest ecclesiastical court in the Catholic Church.

On December 10, 1994, Pope John Paul II named Fr. Burke Bishop of La Crosse, consecrating him to the episcopate on January 6, 1995, in St. Peter's Basilica. Bishop Burke took possession of the See of La Crosse on February 22, 1995.

On December 2, 2003, Burke was named Archbishop of St. Louis, succeeding Justin Francis Cardinal Rigali. He was installed on January 26, 2004 and was presented with the pallium on June 29, 2004 by Pope John Paul II. In St. Louis, Archbishop Burke emphasized the promotion of vocations to the priesthood. In both La Crosse and St. Louis, Archbishop Burke established oratories for those desiring to worship according to the Tridentine Rite. He invited the traditional Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest into his dioceses and ordained priests for the group both in the U.S. and abroad. His ordination of two traditionalist priests on June 15, 2007, in the Solemn Pontifical High Mass was the first time in 40 years that the Tridentine rite of ordination had been used in the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. In July 2006, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Archbishop Burke to the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the highest court in the Catholic Church. When an amendment to the Missouri Constitution that allows embryonic stem cell research was passed, he issued a statement opposing it.

During his tenure in Saint Louis, Archbishop Burke was awarded two honorary doctorates in humane letters, one from Ave Maria University in 2005, the other from Christendom College in 2007. During his tenure, Archbishop Burke was also involved in the beginning of a contest over the attempted closing of a church in the diocese, St. Stanislaus Kostka Church. After the Rev. Marek Bozek, then 37, led a Christmas Eve Mass in 2005, Archbishop Burke "declare[d] that the church was in 'schism', a designation that led to the excommunication of Mr. Bozek and the church's lay board".

On May 6, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI named Archbishop Burke to two Vatican offices. He was named a member of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, which authentically interprets canon law, and also became a member of the Congregation for the Clergy, which regulates the formation and training of diocesan priests and deacons.

On November 20, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI elevated Archbishop Burke to the cardinalate, as Cardinal-Deacon of Sant'Agata dei Goti, making Cardinal Burke the fifth Archbishop of St. Louis to become a member of the College of Cardinals. On February 5, 2011, the memorial of St. Agatha, Cardinal Burke took canonical possession of his titular church in Rome, Sant'Agata dei Goti.

In October 2012, Cardinal Burke was appointed the President of the Commission for Controversies at the 13th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. On December 16, 2013, Cardinal Burke was removed as a member of the Congregation for Bishops, the church body that selects most new bishops. At the same time Pope Francis appointed Donald Cardinal Wuerl to the body.

In honor of Cardinal Burke, St. Louis' archbishop, Robert James Carlson, created the Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke Chair in Canon Law at St. Louis's Kenrick-Glennon Seminary. In May 2011, Cardinal Burke was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Steubenville, Ohio.

He was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2013 papal conclave that elected Pope Francis.