Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By

10/3/2008 (6 years ago)

Zenit News Agency (www.zenit.org)

With a heavy heart, Archbishop Raymond Burke acknowledges that the U.S. Democratic Party is quickly moving to become the "party of death."

Highlights

By

Zenit News Agency (www.zenit.org)

10/3/2008 (6 years ago)

Published in Politics & Policy


ROME (Zenit) - With a heavy heart, Archbishop Raymond Burke acknowledges that the U.S. Democratic Party is quickly moving to become the "party of death." The new head of the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature said this in an interview published Saturday by the Italian episcopal conference's daily newspaper Avvenire.In this interview conducted by Gianni Cardinale, the archbishop, who was formerly the archbishop of St. Louis, comments on his move to Rome and his views of election-year politics in the United States.

Q: Briefly, what does the Apostolic Signature do?

Archbishop Burke: This dicastery must oversee the administration of justice in ecclesiastical tribunals around the world, so that the discipline of the Church is respected by all in a homogeneous and just way. Then we judge cases -- rare in truth --of appeal against decisions of the Rota. Finally we judge appeals against individual administrative acts confirmed by the other dicasteries of the Roman Curia.Whoever, in fact, is held unjustly accused of an administrative act must first request the review of the author's act and, if the author refuses to review the matter, he can appeal to the author's hierarchical superior, namely, the competent dicastery of the Roman Curia, according to the matter in question.If the appellant or the author regard the dicastery's response unjust, they can appeal to the Apostolic Signature which, in this area functions as a supreme court of appeal.

Q: You were saying that it is the competence of the Signature to oversee how the ecclesiastical tribunals administer justice. How do you assess the fact that those of the United States issue every year a higher number of marital annulments than that of all the other diocesan tribunals worldwide?

Archbishop Burke: This is a worrying fact. I say it as an American priest, as canonist and now as prefect of this Supreme Tribunal.This disproportion has caused and continues to cause perplexity, also because of the evidently unbalanced relation between the number of decisions and that of the judges of the diocesan tribunals. This dicastery intervened more times to clarify the situation, which risks making one think that it is an "American way" to introduce surreptitiously a type of "Catholic divorce."

Q: As archbishop of St. Louis you were, not a few times, at the center of journalistic attention. There are those who even thought that your nomination was due to the fact that they wished to remove you from the diocese.

Archbishop Burke: I have too much respect for the Pope to believe that in order to move someone away from the diocese he would nominate him to a very sensitive dicastery like this one.

Q: It is a fact that you had some problems in St. Louis.

Archbishop Burke: Indeed, there was the issue of a parish, that of St. Stanislaw Kotska, which in practice had become Protestant.Then the fact that, in a fundraising event, the Catholic Pediatric Hospital invited as the guest star singer Sheryl Crow, known for being a tenacious advocate of the right of procured abortion. And finally, the question of the so-called priestly ordination of two women, which even witnessed a nun among the promoters.
In all these cases I was compelled to intervene -- reluctantly, but I had to do it -- with disciplinary procedures to avoid scandalizing the faithful.

Q: But is St. Louis a particularly unfortunate diocese, or are these phenomena spread elsewhere?

Archbishop Burke: The issue of the parish to one side, which is a local one, the other issues are also spread elsewhere. For example, it should be noted that other so-called ordinations of women are planned in 50 other dioceses of the United States.However, I must underline that at St. Louis I was not always struggling against the difficulties that were there. But I lived my episcopate with joy, seeking to favor the relationship with the clergy and seminarians. Because I think that the first duty of a good bishop is that of being close, to comfort and counsel his priests. The bishop cannot do anything without the priests. And I must say that this care was compensated by a good number of new vocations, thank God.

Q: You mentioned singer Sheryl Crow. You must have noted that she was invited to sing at the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

Archbishop Burke: To tell the truth, I paid no attention, but I must say that the news does not much surprise me.

At this point, the Democratic Party risks transforming itself definitively into a "party of death" due to its choices on bioethical issues, as Ramesh Ponnuru wrote in his book "The Party of Death: The Democrats, the Media, the Courts and the Disregard for Human Life."And I say this with a heavy heart, because we all know that the Democrats were the party that helped our Catholic immigrant parents and grandparents to better integrate into and prosper in American society. But it's not the same anymore.Nonetheless, there are among Democrats some pro-lifers, but they are, unfortunately, rare.

Q: As canonist and as bishop, it is said that you were against giving Communion to those Catholic politicians who show themselves obstinately and publicly in favor of the right of abortion, but your position was not taken up by the episcopal conference.

Archbishop Burke: Mine was not an isolated position. It was shared by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver [Colorado], by Bishop Peter J. Jugis of Charlotte [North Carolina], 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 is 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.Recently, I have noticed that other bishops are coming to this position. Above all, following some evidently poor statements on the part of the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, and of the Democratic candidate to vice president, Senator Joe Biden, who, while presenting themselves as good Catholics, have represented Church teaching on abortion in a false and tendentious manner.

In 2004, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger wrote a letter to American bishops on this topic.

Archbishop Burke: It's true, but I don't know why it was never distributed. However, it was published by Vaticanist Sandro Magister on his Web site and also by the periodical "Origins."In the latter, it is clear that the then prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith supported the authentic interpretation of the Code of Canon Law, and that 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.

Did you ever wonder why the question of Communion to politicians favorable to abortion is an eminently American question without reflections in Europe?

Archbishop Burke: I don't know. I don't know if Catholic politicians in Europe are more coherent, although I have my doubts.However, some time ago an American Protestant politician asked me if the Church had changed her doctrine regarding abortion. I replied no, obviously. He answered me: That's strange because in the American Congress many Catholics calmly support legislation that favors the right to abortion.I am convinced that on this point the Church must always be very clear.

But isn't there the risk that in this way the Church might show a side of itself that is grim and merciless?

Archbishop Burke: The merciful face of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Church is always present in every priest who speaks with his faithful, counsels them and confesses them.
But also canon law, which always has the salvation of souls as its highest law, is a form of mercy. It helps to understand better what is good and what is evil.

Excellency, you are noted also for being a bishop favorable to the motu propio with which the Pope has liberalized the use of the pre-conciliar Mass.

Archbishop Burke: True. I still recall the contentment with which the Holy Father presented this document beforehand to a restricted group of bishops, to which I was invited. With this courageous gesture, the Pope wished to confirm in the Church that the liturgy must be carried out in an organic way, without having to perceive traumatic breaks, something which, unfortunately, happened following the Council.Personally, I find no difficulty or contradiction in celebrating Holy Mass according to the Novus Ordo and according to the so-called rite of St. Pius V. The motu propio "Summorum Pontificum" was a wise gesture that, I am certain, will bear good fruits in the Church.

Your Excellency, but do not all these characteristics of yours risk giving you a profile of a hard conservative?

Archbishop Burke: Good things are always conserved. As regards being "hard," those who know me at least to some degree know that it does not correspond to my being.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

'You have to know who your enemy is' Downplaying and mislabling Islamic extremism is a dangerous path for the U.S. Watch

Image of Islamic extremism is terrorism, it is not simply criminal conduct.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Obama administration refuses to acknowledge the terrorism attacks around the world for what it is, Islamic extremism. This blatant disregard of the real problem can be harmful for the country. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Secretary of State, John Kerry was ... continue reading


Striking back at the Dems! Koch brothers allocate nearly ONE BILLION DOLLARS for 2016 presidential race Watch

Image of David Koch, one of the leaders of a political action network that has the monetary power to spend hundreds of millions on political races.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It seems the Koch brothers have no plans to ease their political spending habits in 2015, as top officials in the brothers' political network released a budget of $889 million to be spent on the vast political network ahead of the 2016 presidential race. LOS ... continue reading


Turning off spigot: Obama aims to possessively guard oil-rich Alaskan coastline from development Watch

Image of Alaska's coastal plain has been at the center of a fight between conservationists and advocates of greater energy exploration in the U.S. for a very long time.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Just because there's been relief at the corner gas pump doesn't mean that the United States won't need any more oil in the near future - far from it. As such, many are infuriated that U.S. President Barack Obama seeks to designate the vast majority of Alaska's ... continue reading


And the field gets thicker! Rubio joins Bush, Romney, Walker and Christie as 2016 presidential hopeful Watch

Image of Marco Rubio, a Senator from Florida may be crafting a campaign team for a potential 2016 bid.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A fifth Republican is making noise that could be interpreted as intent to make a 2016 presidential run. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Florida Senator Marco Rubio is possibly gathering a campaign team, planning out a slew of state visits starting in February, and ... continue reading


Scott Walker enters the 2016 Republican nomination ring with speech attacking Obama's failed policies Watch

Image of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker gave a speech in Iowa, a move which may put him in the running for the Republican nomination.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney may have been the first Republicans to make it clear-though still unofficial-that they intend to run for the Republican nomination in 2016, but ... continue reading


Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney hold summit meeting: Are they plotting election strategy? Watch

Image of There have been stories in a number of outlets that Jeb Bush proposed the meeting weeks ago, in order to thank Mitt Romney for his past party leadership.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Former governors Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney are having a summit meeting. The meeting will be in Utah. Speculation swirls about what the meeting will entail. Some GOP party officials hope "the two former governors will find a way to avoid competing presidential campaigns ... continue reading


An average of 27 late-term abortions happen every day in the United States; the bill to protect the unborn from this cruel pain was dramatically dropped by the GOP Watch

Image of 10,000 babies are killed each year through late-term abortions.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An estimated 10,000 unborn babies are killed each year through late-term abortions. This averages out to 27.4 abortions taking place 20 weeks or later per day or 1.14 per hour, according to the Congressional Budget Office. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Pain ... continue reading


Father Frank Pavone on Pope Francis, Politics, and Catholic Social teaching Watch

Image of Fr Frank Pavone - Fidelity to the Gospel requires that we be able to prophetically challenge the positions of all political parties, and that our loyalty to Christ and his teaching supersedes our loyalty to any political party, although such loyalties are not per se incompatible with being a Christian.

By Matt C. Abbott

It remains true that the right to life is the most fundamental right and that the duty to defend it is a more urgent priority than other social justice priorities. But to what extent that fact helps or hurts a political party depends upon the party, and his ... continue reading


President Obama fiercely hits the country with proposed $320 billion tax hike, explained in his annual State of the Union Watch

Image of Obama plans on spending his remaining two years in office helping the middle class experience the prosperity of the recovery.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Two years before President Obama's departure, he has vowed to spend his remaining time "playing offense." In his annual State of the Union, Obama will address his proposal to increase tax hikes on America's "one percent." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Parts ... continue reading


Attorney General Eric Holder denounced as 'coward' and 'hypocrite' by former FBI agent Watch

Image of A former FBI agent says that Attorney General Eric Holder has used the

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Former FBI agent K. Dee McCown, who left the agency in 2008, has written a strong letter to Attorney General Eric Holder where McKown denounces Holder as a "coward" and a "hypocrite." McCown says he was compelled to write after the shooting deaths of two New ... continue reading


All Politics & Policy News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Hebrews 10:11-18
11 Every priest stands at his duties every day, ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 110:1, 2, 3, 4
1 [Of David Psalm] Yahweh declared to my Lord, 'Take ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 4:1-20
1 Again he began to teach them by the lakeside, but ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 28th, 2015 Image

St. Thomas Aquinas
January 28: St. Thomas Aquinas, priest and doctor of the Church, patron of ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter