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