29 September 2008

God Bless Archbishop Burke: He Tells It Like It Is

The Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the Most Reverend Raymond L. Burke, has made news again, this time pointing out obvious but not oft-heard realities about the political situation in the U.S., especially as it relates to support for pro-death policies. From Catholic News Service:

U.S. archbishop at Vatican says Democrats becoming 'party of death'

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

ROME (CNS) -- The Democratic Party in the United States "risks transforming itself definitively into a 'party of death,'" said U.S. Archbishop Raymond L. Burke, prefect of the Vatican's highest court.

An interview with the former archbishop of St. Louis was published in the Sept. 27 edition of Avvenire, a daily Catholic newspaper sponsored by the Italian bishops' conference.

The newspaper asked the archbishop, the new head of the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature, for his reaction to reports that his Vatican job was designed to get him away from St. Louis.

"I have too much respect for the pope to believe that in order to move someone away from a diocese he would nominate him to a very sensitive dicastery like this one," said the archbishop, whose office is in charge of ensuring that lower church courts correctly administer justice in accordance with canon law.

Archbishop Burke was asked if he knew that the August Democratic National Convention in Denver featured a guest appearance by Sheryl Crow, a musician whose performance at a 2007 benefit for a Catholic children's hospital the archbishop had opposed because of her support for abortion and embryonic stem-cell research.

"That does not surprise me much," the archbishop said. "At this point the Democratic Party risks transforming itself definitely into a 'party of death' because of its choices on bioethical questions as Ramesh Ponnuru wrote in his book, 'The Party of Death: The Democrats, the Media, the Courts and the Disregard for Human Life.'"

Archbishop Burke said the Democratic Party once was "the party that helped our immigrant parents and grandparents better integrate and prosper in American society. But it is not the same anymore."

Pro-life Democrats are "rare, unfortunately," he said.

Archbishop Burke also was asked about being one of a few U.S. bishops to publicly ban Catholic politicians who hold positions contrary to church teaching from receiving Communion.

"Mine was not an isolated position," the archbishop said. "It was shared by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver, by Bishop Peter J. Jugis of Charlotte (N.C.) and by others."

"But it is true that the bishops' conference has not taken this position, leaving each bishop free to act as he believes best. For my part, I always have maintained that there must be a united position in order to demonstrate the unity of the church in facing this serious question," he said.

"Recently, I have noticed that other bishops are coming to this position," he said, especially after Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, the Democratic vice-presidential candidate, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., "while presenting themselves as good Catholics, have represented church teaching on abortion in a false and tendentious manner."

Archbishop Burke said he is convinced that a 2004 letter from then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to the U.S. bishops and canon law say "it is not licit to give holy Communion to one who is publicly and obstinately a sinner. And it is logical that one who publicly and obstinately acts in favor of procured abortion enters into this category."

The newspaper asked Archbishop Burke if he ever wondered why the issue of Communion for Catholic politicians was almost unheard of in Europe, where abortion is legal in most countries.

"I don't know if Catholic politicians in Europe are more coherent, although I would have some doubts," he said.

However, he said, "I am convinced that the church must always be very clear on this point."


Anonymous said...

"it is not licit to give holy Communion to one who is publicly and obstinately a sinner."
For myself I agree with this statement but I wonder if even Bishop Burke would be willing to carry this to its logical conclusion? Not so long ago this was used to condemn politicians who advocated the sale of birth control, who would pass this standard now? It is a hard gospel to swallow.

Katherine said...

John McCain has a new campaign ad out bragging about his position on stem cell research. One version has Sen. Arlen Specter, the Senate's leading advocate of embroynic stem cell research in it, praising McCain. It is running only in a limited number of media markets selected by the McCain campaign incluiding St. Louis.

Interesting St. Louis was one of the places selected.

Anonymous said...

In this article, Archbishop Burke was reported as saying that the Democrat Party "risks transforming itself definitively into a 'party of death,'." "Risks"? Woa! Wait a minute. We've had about 50 million abortions in the U.S. since 1973. Don't you think we are WAY passed the "risk" stage? At the point at which Nazi Germany had killed 3 million Jews, weren't the Nazi's already past the point of running the "risk" of becoming guilty of crimes against humanity? When John Paul II came to St. Louis (1999, I believe), he too spoke of American "risking" its democracy due to allowing abortion. You can see the exact quote on base of that modernistic looking statue next to the Cathedral on Lindell. Of course, all talk of "risk" is ridicilous in light of the millions of unborn children cruelly murdered right here in our own country and in our own city, St. Louis! We Catholics need to stop speaking so meekly and tenatively, even in the bishops and popes lack backbone. We ARE living in a Nazi State. We ARE living in Sodom and Gomorrah. How else do you explain 50 million murdered unborn babies? How else do you explain the U.S. Supreme Court ruling recently that states cannot outlaw homosexual sexual activity? How else do you explain the virtual total acceptance, in American in general and even among Catholics in general, of homosexual relationships and pre-marital sex for all?

Anonymous said...

According to this post, the newspaper of the Italian bishops conference asked Archbishop Burke if he thought he was transferred to his current job in the Vatican in order to get him out of St. Louis. So it isn't just conspiracy theorists thinking this! One thing is clear: We all have to know that powerful liberal U.S. Cardinals like Roger Mahoney were working fervishly to get Archbishop Burke out of the U.S. episcopacy. Burke was infuriating and humiliating bishops like Mahoney. Whether Mahoney and his allies in the Vatican bureaucracy got Burke transferred out of the U.S., we cannot know. But that they were trying, we can know for sure. And in episcopal circles, the office Burke now holds is not considered an office you get if you are upwardly mobile in the hierarchy. In any case, Burke is in Rome now, and he may use his position there to do more even more harm to the liberal agenda of bishops like Roger Mahoney. Time will tell. I would bet on Burke, however.

thetimman said...

To the anon who took issue with the "risks" language,

I think this is just diplomatic language suitable to discussions with political leaders. Everyone knows what he means-- the howls from the political left are proof of that.