Archbishop Burke’s Apology

Posted by Censor Librorum on Mar 28, 2009 | Categories: Accountability, Bishops, Politics

Archbishop Raymond Burke, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, issued an apology this week to “my brother bishops” for statements he made on a videotape by Randall Terry, the former head of Operation Rescue.  In Burke’s statement of apology he said that Terry and some of his associates had visited him in Rome and asked to videotape an interview “to share with pro-life workers for the purpose of their encouragement.” The interview was conducted on March 2, 2009. raymond-burke.jpg

Terry  said he conducted the 12-minute interview as part of his campaign to persuade the church to oust American bishops who allow pro-choice backers to receive Communion.

But instead of private showings to supporters, Terry played the interview for reporters  on March 25 at the National Press Club.   He also put the tape on his website, A Humble Plea.   You can see it here.

Terry traveled to Rome with a delegation of anti-abortion activists to ask Vatican officials to remove U.S. bishops they felt were not doing enough to stop abortions. “One of the reasons we are here is to specifically request the transfer of Bishop Loverde of Arlington, VA and Archbishop Wuerl of Washington, DC,” Terry was quoted as saying at the time.   Archbishop Wuerl is currently head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Obviously, Terry would like to see these bishops removed, and have in their place bishops who would refuse Communion to any elected representative or government official involved in any capacity to allow legalized abortion.

Other U.S. prelates singled out by Randall for “rejecting church teachings” were Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony and the former Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

In the tape, Burke called on parishioners to pressure reluctant bishops to withhold Communion from Catholic politicians who back legalized abortion. Burke said the failure of some bishops to stand up by withholding Communion is “weakening the faith of everyone.” He said, “It’s giving the impression that it must be morally correct to support procured abortion.”

Burke also went one step further,  agreeing with Terry that voting for Barak Obama for president  was a “form of  cooperation” with “evil”  and the Catholics who did so  need to bear the moral   responsibility for their action. “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.” He went on to say “we can’t be content with the fact that some 55% (of Catholics) – or whatever it is – who for whatever reason, supported this anti-life program.” He urged Catholics in the United States  to let the president know  abortion  “is the number one issue.”

Archbishop Burke should know the dangers of taping someone to forward an agenda for church politics.   After all, he used the sneaky, undercover  taping of Sr. Louise Lears at a Roman Catholic Womenpriests ordination at a St. Louis synagogne to impose the penalty of interdict on Lears, forcing her out of her ministry at a local parish, and barring her from Communion.

Burke denied that he gave the interview as the Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, but only as “a Bishop from the United States to encourage those in the respect life apostolate.”   He went on to add:” I was never informed that the videotape would be used as part of a campaign of severe criticism of certain fellow bishops regarding the application of Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law.” cannon-law.jpg

After viewing the tape and reading the transcript, I’m not sure exactly what Archbishop Burke is sorry for, since he appears to genuinely believe in everything he said.

But ultimately, like any schoolyard bully, Archbishop Burke finds it easier to beat up a few religious and laity rather than go up against his “brother bishops.”   They might be able to hit back.

He should be sorry he lost his nerve at the moment it counted, and backed down from a face-off on Canon 915.   That would have taken some courage and conviction, since there is no guarantee Archbishop Burke  would have prevailed.

Better to do things the sneaky way….with letter-writing campaigns, character assassinations, flyers left on the windshields of cars, and YouTube videos.

Hey, after all, what counts is that it is being done in the cause of the #1 moral concern.

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6 Responses to “Archbishop Burke’s Apology”

  1. Veronique Says:

    All that is very good! It shows to the not-too-conservative bishops what the present pontifical administration is made off. Hopefully the pendulum will swing back (or rather forward) for the next one.

  2. Thom Says:

    Ay-men. Thanks for this, Karen.

    Burke is one of the most divisive bishops in the entire Church. And he knows it. And he doesn’t care. (Following closely behind is Chaput. And Cordileone seems to be an up-and-comer.)

  3. Póló Says:

    Indeed. What is he apologising for? Is this not orthodox RC teaching or am I missing something here?

    I know it was foreseen almost 50 years ago that JFK might end up, in his role as president, supporting some issues which contravened RC teaching. But surely this sort of State/Church distinction does not apply in the case of the purely Church bishops.

    Perhaps the Church’s logic is really that Roman Catholics should not vote for anyone who is likely to espouse views opposed by that church, at least on matters considered to be mortal sin material.

    What if all presidential candidates in a particular election fall into this category. Should Roman Catholics abstain from voting. That too would have its implications.

    If the archbishop is prepared to make statements or answer questions he must specify in what roles he is making them.

    In this case he appears to be undermining his own argument. If he believes what he is saying, as he appears to, does this conflict in some way with his Vatican role. Why has he not resigned, then?

    Murky waters.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    I don’t think being apologetic is being divisive. Burke, in my opinion is one of the best bishops in the Catholic Church.

  5. Thomas Thompson Says:

    The abortion controversy is indeed a primary issue in today’s world. No doubt the Church is correct in seeing it for the real tragedy it often is. But in the secular world, the issue comes down to only a single question: Who should make the choice whether an abortion ought to be allowed — the government or the woman who bears the child within her? In my view, the individual woman is much more likely than is the government to reach the right result in her individual case.

    I simply do not understand those who would deny Christ’s body and blood to people who support the idea of “choice.” If we are wrong in this, if we sin in this, then because we still count ourselves as believers, we are in greater need of the Eucharist than the so-called righteous, and accepting the body and blood of Christ will do more than anything else possibly could to help us see the error of our ways.

    But no one should ever count this as an easy issue. The pro-lifers believe fervently that every abortion is an act of murder, and can any of us say with certainty that they are wholly wrong? All we can do is try our best to remain faithful to the fundamental church teachings — the liturgy, the creeds, the Trinity and the Eucharist. The rest we must leave to God.

  6. Anthony Miller Says:

    What kind of idiot actually goes about saying stuff like

    “One may vote for a pro-life politician and not commit a mortal sin if one were of the belief that there is a more important issue but I cannot imagine what that might be”. Burke’s famous mantra.

    This is a man who tried to stop Sheryl Crow singing and a basketball coach teaching simply because he disagreed with their private views.
    A cynical mind would be of a view that he is abusing his position to get people to vote Republican instead of Democrat and that the pro-life movement is a convienient mask for his machinations.

    You only have to look at his fan base the aptly named
    Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
    to see what future we will be facing with Cardinal Burke in charge.
    Ironically for a group obsessed with top down “obedience”
    this bastion of Feeneyism has of course been sect for years
    that maintains that there is no salvation except through the Catholic Church
    and everyone who doesn’t come to God through it is going to hell
    Paul Anthony Melanson describes them as anti-semitic.
    With friends like that Burke doesn’t need enemies.
    Their website rules of engagement are funnier than anything any comedian could write

    1. We do not allow disrespectful remarks directed at the Supreme Pontiff or the bishops in communion with him. Readers tempted to make such a remark are counseled to pray for the pontiff in question instead.

    2. It is allowable to critique another person’s beliefs or opinions. While doing so, readers should recall the words of Saint Paul: “Doing the truth in charity” (Eph. 4:15). Any acrid or nasty comments directed at any person or group of people will not be allowed.

    3. Personal attacks against authors will not be posted. Neither will personal attacks against the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

    4. Blasphemy, foul language, bathroom talk, and links to immoral web sites will not be allowed.

    After reviewing sections 1,2,3 and 4 I had to cogitate that I was unable to make any comment at all as I wondered what on earth there was to say that did not contradict their rules which seem to be based on the doctrine that since the message of Christ is often unpopular then if you are unpopular all the time you must be very close to Christ.

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