25 March 2009

Transcript of Archbishop Burke's Interview with Randall Terry

Transcript of Archbishop Burke’s Interview with Randall Terry on Canon 915

Archbishop Burke, Prefect, Apostolic SignaturaMarch 25, 2009 - Washington, DC -

Following is the transcript of Randall Terry’s interview with His Excellency, Archbishop Burke, Prefect, Apostolic Signatura on March 2, regarding Canon 915 and the withholding of communion from Catholic politicians that support abortion. The actual video footage of this interview was shown earlier today at a press conference at the National Press Club, in Washington, DC. More information can be found at www.humbleplea.com

Mr. Terry: Your Excellency, it’s a delight to be with you. Thank you so much.

Archbishop Raymond Burke: Pleased to have you come, and to visit with you.

Mr. Terry: For the umpteenth time, I and the others are asking, under Canon 915 what should or should not be done?

Archbishop Burke: The Canon is completely clear, it is not subject in my judgment to any other interpretations. When someone is publicly and obstinately in grave sin we may not administer Holy Communion to the person. And that, basically, for two reasons: number one, to prevent the person himself or herself from committing a sacrilege, and secondly, to protect the sanctity of the Holy Eucharist. In other words, to approach, to receive our Lord in Holy Communion, when one insists on remaining in grave sin, is such a violation of the sanctityof the Holy Eucharist, so that Communion must not be given to people who are publicly, obstinately, in grave sin.

Mr. Terry: And so does that apply to politicians of any party that are saying: "Yes, it’s okay to abort children" –to kill children?

Archbishop Burke: Yes, for someone who in any way contributes in an active way to the murder of innocent defenseless infants in the womb—children in the womb—from the very inception of human life, this is the greatest of sins. And such a person, until he or she has reformed his or her life, should not approach to receive Holy Communion.

Mr. Terry: And if they do approach, the person who is administering Holy Communion should say, “No.”?

Archbishop Burke: Right. In fact, the Canon puts the burden upon theminister of Holy Communion whether it’s the ordinary minister which would be a bishop, a priest, a deacon—or an extraordinary minister—it doesn’t make any difference. It says they’re not to be admitted to receive Holy Communion. Normally speaking, in my experience, when I have spoken with, for instance, Catholic politicians who have insisted on supporting pro-abortion legislation and told them they should not approach any more to receive Holy Communion, in my experience they don’t. Now, where Bishops have not applied the Canon, often times it’s said that this will cause some kind of disorder at the time of distribution of Holy Communion. That’s not verified. It’s not using Holy Communion to make a statement at all, it’s simply respecting this most sacred gift we have - namely, the Body and Blood of Christ—which can only be received when one has repented of his sins. And I would also make the point—and I believe that it is true that on the contrary- those public figures—Catholics—who are consistently promoting pro-abortion legislation and policies—use reception of Holy Communion to try to justify what they are doing; in other words, to present themselves as devout Catholics, when in fact they are sinning against the most fundamental teaching of the moral law. [Thou shall not murder.]

Mr. Terry: When the election was approaching, Bishop Martino said he would not serve Communion to Vice Presidential Candidate Joe Biden. There were a handful of other bishops who made similar statements, for which the laity and the faithful were rejoicing. But the deafening silence from so many other Bishops—and also the bishops who stepped up such as in Washington D.C., Virginia, others…Massachusetts…[and] said that we will serve communion—was so painful for us. What word of encouragement would you give, first to the laity on our struggle to bring orthodoxy back, and then to your brother bishops and priests?

Archbishop Burke: I think simply to say: reflect upon this norm of the Church’s discipline—Canon 915—which is one of the most important canons to safeguard the greatest treasure that we have in this life, namely, the communion that we have with our Lord Jesus Christ, and His true body and His true blood; and to, in every way work so that also public witness is given to the sacredness of the Holy Eucharist. And so I would encourage the faithful when they are scandalized by the giving of Holy Communion to persons are publicly and obstinately in sin, that they go to their pastors, whether it’s their parish priest or to their bishop, to insist that this scandal stop. Because, it is weakening the faith of everyone. It’s giving the impression that it must be morally correct to support procured abortion, in at least in some circumstances, if not also generally. So they need to insist that their parish priest and the bishops, and for the rest…to my brother bishops and brother priests…simply to say: the service of the Church in the world today has to begin first and foremost with the protection of the life of those who are the most defenseless and the most innocent, namely the unborn, and certainly has to extend also to those who are gravely ill, or burdened with serious illness, who have special needs; and also now more and more their lives are being threatened by a culture of death which sadly has infected our nation. So I would just urge my brother bishops and my brother priests to see as the most fundamental witness and service which they can give in leading also the faithful in their pastoral care is the apostolate of the respect for human life.

Mr. Terry: The election of Obama sent shock waves around the world concerning the right to life of babies because of his commitment to pursue FOCA, to try to force hospitals - Catholic hospitals - into giving the morning after pill, other things – [the repeal of the]Mexico City policy. From your vantage point here in the Vatican, what kind of fruit around the world is this poison that’s percolating in America producing?

Archbishop Burke: There is no question, and I certainly see it here, living now here in Europe, and Italy, and also with the kind of communication within all of Europe that Barack Obama—President Obama—is a charismatic figure. And there was a great deal of—especially through the media—a great deal of publicity and so forth regarding the “hope,” the word that he used so much, that he offered—not only for the United States— and for the world. And so you can be certain that the whole world, and especially the English speaking world—which let us recall, is a great part of the world—is following very carefully and attentively what this man is doing—this world leader—which he is. And therefore, it becomes more incumbent upon us then ever, also in our responsibility for the scandal and the harm being done, not only in our own nation which is in itself— which we think about 50 million since the Roe v. Wade decision, 50 million unborn infants murdered—but also to consider the effect that our nation is having on the whole world in this culture of death. America has the call to lead—to use its influence in the way that will give glory to God and will serve the common good in its most essential element: and that is by turning around this culture of death, and especially protecting the right to life of the unborn. So our responsibility is even greater than just for our own nation - which is in itself such a weighty matter. But we have to see how this is also having, adding a tremendous influence in the English speaking world, but also in the whole world, because of the charismatic nature of our present President. But in any case, no matter who is the President of the United States, here is a world leader with a tremendous capacity to promote the common good, but at the same time sadly, who could—by promoting and implementing anti-life legislation measures—could be an agent of death.

Mr. Terry: If I was a Catholic in another country, I would be watching the news unfold in America hearing the silence of so many Catholics, the debate over communion, and it might have the effect of me just saying, “Well, we have abortion here, they’ve got it there, let’s just all learn to live with it and go on about our business.”

Archbishop Burke: Well, I think this is precisely the effect that it has had. The communications today are instantaneous. The whole world knows that a very high percentage of Catholics in fact voted for this very anti-life candidate and so they watch this very carefully, and what the world needs to see now is a strong witness on the part of all Catholics and we can’t be content with the fact that some 55% - or whatever it is - who for whatever reason, supported this anti-life program. They have to see now that Catholics in the United States are alive and faithful and that they are going to work to protect human life, and above all, to let the President of the United States know that this is the number one issue.

Mr. Terry: There are many Catholics who believed that to vote for Obama - knowing his promises to extend child-killing even further -that to knowingly vote for him under those circumstances was a type of cooperation with moral evil. It was cooperating with evil. Do you concur with that and if so, why?

Archbishop Burke: Well, the fact of the matter is, it is a form of cooperation, because by voting we put a person in office. And people say, “What does my vote matter?” Well, your vote is either a vote to put someone in office who will do what is right and just, or someone who won’t. And so if you, knowing that abortion is a grave crime against human life – is the killing of an innocent, defenseless human life - and you vote for the candidate who says that he intends to make that more available – that practice of infanticide - you bear aresponsibility. That is, you have cooperated in the election of this person into office, there’s no question about it.

Mr. Terry: Archbishop, thank you for your time. Do you have anyclosing comments or exhortations?

Archbishop Burke: President Obama uses this word “hope” in a way thatfor us is very disturbing. We need to have hope, the hope that is founded in Jesus Christ, alive for us in the Church; Jesus Christ who gave His life for everyone without exception, and with a particular love for the suffering and for those who are the most defenseless. And so we have to be filled with hope and give ourselves more than ever to His work, to His mission of protecting human life, and so I ask God to bless you very much in what you are doing to advance the cause of life.

Mr. Terry: Thank you, Your Excellency; long life to you.


As usual the Archbishop nails it, with, to use a phrase dissenting Catholics like to bandy about without understanding its meaning or its link to the truth, a truly prophetic voice. Re-read this carefully. Battle lines are being drawn.

May God bless Archbishop Burke and grant us a worthy successor! Mary, Our Lady of the Annunciation, protect us!


Fenian said...

Even if the Vatican issues a decree to enforce Canon 915, I can imagine that some like Cardinal Mahony won't enforce it.

I love how the "pastoral" bishops, like Mahony are complete failures when it comes to helping to form the consciences of their people.

Alexander said...

It was said that the Pope needs to replace the upcoming retirement of eight cardinals. Here's hoping for Burke to fill one of these spots and hopefully greater things to come.

Anonymous said...

Google Randall Terry, and you'll get a flavor for the type of man he is. The fact that Raymond Burke would take the time to give an interview to this nut job suggests to me that he's got a lot of time on his hands. He must be out of favor in the Vatican.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I do hope this gets to ALL of our Bishops - and those working for the Bishops. So many times a Bishop has people in his office that look the other way and promote their own agenda, which is different from the Bishop. Mary, Queen of the Universe, Pray for Us. Lord have mercy on us.

Anonymous said...

Dear TGL,
Google Bill Ayers and you'll get a flavor of the type of man he is too.

Nut job? On what do you base your character assassination?

Mark S.
New Haven, MO

Alison said...

Dear TGL,
Being a former rescuer who did some rescues with Terry and an active pro-lifer who is now on the moth balls, I am no fan of Randall Terry and I base this on personal experience not the internet. Still, I was happy to see that he had contact with Archbishop Burke and you never know what good this could have done for the interviewer. You still have to do a lot of convincing to prove to me that this had any bearing on the good Archbishop, his stance with the Vatican, or that he has too much time on his hands. Archbishop Burke was the smartest bishop in America. I think he knew what he was doing when he gave the interview and I think that he could very well be made a cardinal.

Unknown said...

I am sad to see that Mr. Terry has continued with his manipulative ways. Just a few weeks ago, he went to Rome to ask for the removal of Archbishop Wuerl of D.C. and Bishop Loverde of Arlington.

My exchange with Mr. Terry concerning his attack on the authority given by Jesus Christ may be found here: http://kevinmclarke.blogspot.com/2008/10/my-letter-to-randall-terry-and-his.html

Unknown said...

And the problem with this interview is the interview or what His Excellency said. On the contrary, everything he said is profound and meriting great reflection. However, because of what Randall Terry's current anticlerical powerplay against the Catholic Church, the media is casting the Archbishop's comments as tacit endorsement of Terry's position:


thetimman said...

Kevin, I posted your links (I always hestitate to include links in the combox): I also appreciate and understand your take on the issue of episcopal authority. However, I don't think that calling a bishop out for neglecting his duty is always and everywhere to be avoided. In short, your point is noted, and since I don't know enough about the Loverde and Wuerl situations, I do not take a position. But there have been bishops whose actions or inactions have been scandalously, scandalously bad.

Abp. Burke's interview, if it puts heat on them, is a good thing.

Of course, in the end we want the cause of life to prevail. Strategies are subject to opinion. Fine.

But I submit, we are in some fairly desperate times, and stronger action may be the tonic.

thetimman said...

Kevin, Alison, and others who have an issue with Randall Terry:

You obviously have a point-- see the new post on Archbishop Burke from today, 3/26.

This is why I love the combox. Thanks for your input.

Anonymous said...

I find it worrying that someone so concerned about the Eucharist and Our Lord's presence in it would repeatedly refer to reception of Communion as "being served Communion". Served? The Church is not a diner...

I worry about abuses that could stem from this. If we encourage minister of the Eucharist at the time of Communion to deny the Sacrament to those they believe are in grave sin, the day will come when a minister, having heard a young woman refer to her first husband outside of the Church the week before, denies her communion assuming she is divorced and re-married. Except she's a widow, a fact known to her pastor, but not widely otherwise (the other parish priests do not know, in fact) as her spouse died before she moved to the town. Oops. She may be kind-hearted and generous and offer up her inflicted separation for the unborn; but it remains, she will have been denied our Lord.

We might think we know the state of someone's soul, but few of us are in a position to truly know all the details.

Unknown said...

The manipulation of the clergy at the hands of Randall Terry is as I suspected. Burke is not happy: