The following are excerpts from a conversation between Archbishop Raymond Burke and Randall Terry, former head of Operation Rescue. Randall Terry was in Rome conferring with Vatican authorities with the explicit agenda of having the Vatican remove Archbishop Wuerl of Washington, Cardinal Mahoney of Los Angeles, Bishop Loverde of Arlington Va, and Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Mr. Terry wanted these prelates removed solely on the basis that they have not publicly stated they will deny Communion to Catholic politicians who are pro choice.
The operative words here are politicians and pro choice. Apparently Mr. Terry does not feel there are any other worthwhile issues for the American hierarchy to consider. It is evident from his language, that neither does Archbishop Raymond Burke. In fact, one of the things that struck me is that Archbishop Burke failed to notice that Mr. Terry's use of language with regards to President Obama was not exactly Christian. The full interview is posted here at the National Catholic Reporter website.
For the umpteenth time, I and the others are asking, under Canon 915 what should or should not be done?
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 sanctity of the Holy Eucharist, so that Communion must not be given to people who are publicly, obstinately, in grave sin. (For a large number of us, this sentence has zero credibility as long as strong arm real killers like Robert Mugabe flaunt themselves at the Communion rail with no sanctions from you, or your dicastery, or any other Vatican dicastery)
And so does that apply to politicians of any party that are saying: "Yes, it’s okay to abort children" –to kill children?
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. (It's official, abortion is now the greatest of all sins. So much for the first commandment.)
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? (This whole thing is too much. I personally think it's been a great moral evil to have spent millions on Roe V Wade so the Republicans could cripple our welfare system which directly led to more abortions.)
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 a responsibility. That is, you have cooperated in the election of this person into office, there’s no question about it.
(It's official, Catholics are to vote on the abortion issue alone. Everything else pales in comparison. So much for tradition and history and sanity and social justice.)
How wonderful for we Catholic Americans that our votes will be this simple. Forget the economy or the two wars, or our place in the global community, all we have to consider is whether or not a politician is against Roe v Wade. We don't have to worry about silly things like whose money is behind that politician's campaign, or whether they have any real qualifications, or whether they actually have an understanding of any other issue. See Sarah Palin. Nope, all we have to do is check Deal Hudson's blog and check out his abortion stats. Thank God Archbishop Burke and Randall Terry have conspired to make this voting thing so much simpler for us Catholics.
I'm sure all the other bishops in the USCCB also appreciate the pastoral simplification for them. They probably don't even care that Archbishop Burke is no longer part of their fraternity, and no longer has a diocese. They must be relieved to have their pastoral concerns so simply focused on one issue. I'm also sure they don't care if prioritizing their pastoral choices around this one issue causes disruption, divisiveness, and more laity to leave. Laity leaving will help with the priest shortage and justify more parish closings whose assets can then be used to pay off more abuse claims. What's a good bishop not to like?
Cardinal George won't have to feel compelled to go to the White House and talk with the Obama administration about all those lesser evils like injustice in economic distribution, immigration reform, universal health care, nuclear arms, pre emptive wars, global poverty, or President Eisenhower's favorite, the military industrial complex. All Cardinal George needs to focus on is FOCA, the bill that won't appear before Obama, and conscience clauses for Catholic hospitals which already enjoy enormous protection--that is unless they voluntarily choose to participate in certain state and federal programs.
I have to give a lot of credit to Randall Terry. The radical pro life people lost a major ecclesiastical voice when Archbishop Burke was moved to Rome. No problem, Terry just went to Rome to give his voice a voice, and Burke, being Burke, couldn't resist. So now we can all rest easier knowing abortion is the greatest evil ever, even though, it has never in the tradition and history of the Church, been considered the greatest evil ever.
It's been that ensoulment issue that's kept wiser heads from ever stating abortion is the greatest evil ever. Or maybe I missed the memo when it was decided that ensoulment occurs at the moment of conception, whenever that conception moment really happens---there is still a great deal of debate about that one since multiple sperm can fertilize the same egg and twins don't necessarily occur. Did I write twins? That's another issue altogether, and twinning certainly doesn't take place at conception. But there I go again, trying to make a simple issue complicated.
One other statement of Archbishop Burke's which gave me pause was his assertion that Jesus Christ gave His life "for everyone without exception, and with a particular love for the suffering and for those who are the most defenseless." I don't know where in the Gospels Archbishop Burke found his knowledge about Jesus dieing with a particular love for the suffering and for those who are most defenseless. The Gospels don't say that. They say he gave His life and His love for all---with no qualifiers. St. Paul says the same thing. Is this then another example of the creeping exalting of the unborn over the born? If it is, it needs to stop. This distorts the meaning of Jesus's crucifixion, and puts a spin on His sacrifice which is not supported in Tradition or the Gospels and is one more example of how out of control the abortion debate has become. In point of fact, the complete innocence of the unborn would preclude the necessity of the salvific act of Jesus's death and resurrection in their particular case.
Thank God for Fr. Jenkins at Notre Dame. While I agree that President Obama needs serious dialogue over abortion, I also think the pro life crowd needs serious dialogue over their rhetoric and their assumptions about the relative importance of the unborn vis a vis the born. Maybe Notre Dame is the best place for these dialogues. Last I checked, it still had a viable Theology department rather than a Catechism department.