Saturday, May 9, 2009

Crusader Raymond Burke Rouses The Catholic Neo Cons By Condemning All Things Obama

The 2007 keynote speaker at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, who also allowed limited stem cell research, amongst some other notable conflicts with Catholic moral teachings. I guess because he wasn't Catholic the 2004 Bishops statement does not apply. That only applies to non Catholics named Obama.

Archbishop Condemns Obama Administration's "Culture of Death"
By Jacqueline L. Salmon--Washington Post

For conservatives seeking a buck-up in these bleak times, the always lively Archbishop Raymond Burke did not disappoint this morning at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, launching an all-out attack on President Obama, liberal Catholic members of Congress, Catholic voters who voted for them and abortion rights and same-sex marriage, and the University of Notre Dame for inviting Obama to the school. He also said that Jesus Christ is on the side of those who oppose abortion and same-sex marriage.
(I guess Jesus must be a Republican, since Burke pretty much condemned everyone else.)

"What those who were so enthusiastic about the strong message of hope and change delivered during the last election are now discovering is a consistent implementation of policies and programs which confirm and advance the culture of death," he told the crowd at a Washington D.C. hotel. (I guess nuclear disarmament is not part of the culture of life.)

It was vintage Burke, and the 1,300 mostly conservative Catholics at the event interrupted his 45-minute address more than a dozen times with applause.

Burke was giving voice to the frustrations of conservative Catholics leaders, who haven't been able to budge Catholic opinions of Obama despite recent decisions that they believe violate Catholic teachings. A recent Gallup poll found that Catholics, who voted 54 percent for Obama, continue to give him high approval ratings -- 59 percent as of April, down only slightly since January. Among weekly Mass-attending Catholics, considered the most conservative, two-thirds approve of him, a percentage that is unchanged from January.

You can trust Burke not to mince words. He attacked Obama for lifting the ban on embryonic stem-cell research, for reversing the ban that prohibits funding to international family planning groups that provide abortions, and for plans to reverse a Bush policy allowing health-care workers to refuse to provide services based on moral objections and Obama's verbal support of the Freedom of Choice Act. Burke labeled new HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, a Catholic who supports abortion rights, as a "source of deepest embarrassment to Catholics."

"Christ is with us, always in the church and in a particular way in the struggle to restore the respect for life...and to safeguard the integrity of marriage and the family," Burke said. (I really would like Archbishop Burke to cite some actual statements of Jesus that corroborate Burke's 'particular' knowledge about what Christ particularly favors---say particularly Jesus's statement about love of one's enemies.)

The breakfast, in its 6th year, is a project of Catholic lay leaders--former evangelicals who converted to Catholicism and decided to set up an event for Catholics that paralleled the evangelical National Prayer Breakfast. It has turned out to be wildly popular among many Republican Catholics and has spurred local such events around the country. (Gee, like Deal Hudson, and John Neuhaus, and Brent Bozell?)

Two conspicuous absences from the breakfast this year: Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington D.C. and Bishop Paul Loverde of Arlington, Va., local bishop who don't take a hard line of refusing communion to Catholic politicians who support abortion rights. Both say they will respect the wishes of the politician's local bishop, while Burke has long advocated for the blanket refusal. (Maybe they were just sending Archbishop Burke a message about how they appreciated his video taped attack on them.)

Burke, former archbishop of St. Louis who now heads the Vatican Supreme Court, has long been vocal on all these issues, so his remarks here were no surprise. But they serve to highlight the growing tensions between right-leaning Catholics who prioritize abortion and same-sex marriage, and "social justice" Catholics, many of whom also oppose abortion but focus more on poverty, immigration reform, health-care reform and anti-war activism. The tensions seem to be rising with the coming of the Obama Administration, which seems closer with the latter group, while Bush was closer with the former.


For those who might be interested in reading all of Archbishop Burke's speech you can access it here.

This is getting kind of sad, the propping up of conservative Catholics. I came across another article on Catholic News Services which cites a new survey done by Rasmussen Reports:

A telephone survey conducted by Rasmussen Reports has found that 52% of Americans-- and 60% of Catholics-- believe that the University of Notre Dame should not have made the decision to award President Barack Obama an honorary degree.

The Rasmussen Reports survey results are markedly different from an earlier survey conducted by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life. The Pew Forum survey found that Catholics, by a margin of 50% to 28%, supported the university’s decision.

The varied results may be attributable to the different poll questions. Rasmussen Reports told survey respondents that the university was violating the US bishops’ guidelines: (This would be a perfect example of a question specifically designed to get people to answer the way you want them to answer.)

Guidelines established by U.S. bishops state that Catholic institutions such as Notre Dame should not honor people whose actions conflict with the church's moral principles. Given these guidelines, should Notre Dame award President Obama an honorary degree?

The Pew Forum, on the other hand, simply asked, “Do you think it was right or wrong for Notre Dame to invite Obama to give their graduation speech and receive an honorary degree?”

One of the problems with the way Rasmussen worked this question is that is does not reference the guideline in it's entirety. There is debate as to whether the guideline refers specifically to Catholics. Obama is not a Catholic. This survey is a joke in any scientifically valid sense, but that's not important. It is valid in affirming what 'conservative' Catholics need to have affirmed.

I also wonder as to the timing of this breakfast. It's given the conservative Catholic press another shot at Notre Dame at precisely the time the Pope is in the Middle East. Faux news has given as much coverage to Archbishop Burke as it has the Pope in Jordan. Why is that I wonder? Is it because Benedict's message about religious cooperation is not all that welcome in neo con Catholic and Evangelical land? In order to clang and gong out Benedict's message, was it time to give Crusader Burke some more air time? The big cats away, so the mice can play kind of thing.

In any event, Archbishop Burke has pretty much stated the vast majority of American Catholics are actively doing the devil's work, led by their new center of false teaching, Notre Dame. The Golden Dome is really the hatch to hell.

I guess it is for people who don't want to think too much for themselves, or really delve into some of the prickly biological and psychological issues around abortion, gay marriage, and stem cell research. It's much easier to believe life begins at the moment of conception than to look at the fact embryological development doesn't actually support this, or that the medical and psychological associations don't consider homosexuality a choice, or a life style, or deviant.

It is precisely because these are complicated and multi faceted issues that the majority of Catholics do not put them in the class of de fide issues that Archbishop Burke wants us too. I don't know why he or other bishops like him can't hear that. It isn't necessarily a matter of selfishly denying Episcopal teaching authority, as it is a matter of recognizing these issues are not so cut and dry, and they haven't been that cut and dry in the historical development of Catholic moral teaching.

In my own personal case, I have to say that I am getting seriously tired of American Catholicism being dragged through the mud, and American Catholics condemned for the sake, not of Jesus, but for the Republican party. Enough already.
For those who might actually be interested in what is happening with the Pope in the Middle East, Rocco Palma on Whispers In The Loggia, is doing a fantastic job. Click here for the latest, including the full texts of Benedict's speeches.


  1. Don't they realize that the more they shout the more they reduce their credibility...? Especially with the likes of Archbishop Burke and Chaput, who are both fiery personalities, can't they see that they're RUINING legitimate opportunities of dialogue with the Obama administration before they even begin? I sincerely hope that once the President does meet with the Holy Father, and when His Holiness receives him with an attitude of civility and respect that will send a message to the right-winged members of the USCCB who want to portray our President as an apocalyptic "enemy of the Church"

    I'm also proud of Archbishop Wuerl and others who would be embaressed to be associated with the likes of Archbishop Burke for conveniently deciding to skip this occasion. The Holy Father's trip this week has shown that nothing can come from SHOUTING and DENUNCIATION but only through dialogue and diplomacy. Even if he has been ill-advised at some points His Holiness nonetheless certainly has innaugurated a stunning start to his Holy Land pilgrimage. Viva il Papa!

  2. "The Holy Father's trip this week has shown that nothing can come from SHOUTING and DENUNCIATION but only through dialogue and diplomacy."

    Apparently this message is over the heads of some of his Episcopal 'simple people.'

    I agree with you Phillip, so far so good. I only hope and pray the Pope's trip ends as well as it has begun.

  3. While Burke barks, the cat meows in the Middle East.... what a stark contrast in their voices and message.

    Burke and his ilk really need to put a lid on their barking and get with the program for peace!

  4. Butterfly, what is world peace in the face of gametes in a petri dish?

  5. I continue to be fascinated and enraged by the labeling of the democratic party as a party of death. It is an obvious appeal to emotion, which anyone who has studied logic will recognize as false.

    The truth, a concept which seems to be irrelevant to Burke and those who side with him, is that even though the democrats are not "anti-abortion", the legislation that is passed into law during democratic administrations results in a dramatic decrease in abortion rate. Contrast that with what we are now seeing, a sharp increase in abortion rates, a direct result of legislation passed by republican administration, an administration publicly supported by the USCCB and conservative catholics.

    The truth, which so many refuse to accept is that the true party of death is the republican party, and the "real" proabortion proponents are the USCCB and conservative catholics who support them.

    It also amazes me that there is an almost total disregard for human suffereing by Burke and the USCCB as a whole.

    Where is the public outcry by the USCCB against usery by financial institutions that has devestated the economy?

    Where is the public outcry against legislation that is responsible for the elderly being evicted into the streets, their life possession stacked on the curb to be hauled away to the dump?

    Where is the public outcry against the lack of health care for over half of the US population, especially children?

    Where is the public outcry against the human rights violations of the republican administration?

    The real party of death is the USCCB. Since AB Finn has opened the discussion, there truly is a war with Satan. Unfortunately, the actions of the USCCB prove beyond any doubt that they are the leaders in the army of Satan, leading a campaign of deception designed to draw the faithful away from Christ, away from the message of divine love, away from the truth.

    Christ's message to the laity is a simple one, Love God above all else, love one another as one self. Burke is clearly violating both of those commandments in his attacks on Obama and the democratic party. The USCCB is clearly violating both of those principles, in their election rhetoric, in their anti Notre Dame rhetoric, in the rhetoric of their war on Satan. Deception is the primary tool Satan uses. The USCCB continuing to defend their deceitfulness as necessary is proof that they are Satan's instrument.

    Revelation 3:9 spells it out clearly:

    "those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie"

    Seven times in Revelation it is written "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches".
    --- Note "churches" is plural.
    That is important. Christ is very clearly telling us in Revelation that there is not ONE true church, but at least 7, none of them in Rome. If we are to believe the teachings of the RCC Leadership, then we must accept that Christ is lying?

    As I said, truth is a concept that seems to be irrelevant to Burke, the USCCB (as a whole), etal. The god that the USCCB (as a whole) is serving, very clearly is Satan.

  6. Carl, you are beginning to sound like Bishop Finn. :)

    It really all comes down to right relationships. All of what you describe is exploitation of others for the sake of personal power in all it's manifest forms.

    Jesus's temptation in the desert was all about personal power and He refused to play those games. The trouble is once you have power, it's hard to let go of, especially if you come from the other side of the tracks. Too many of our bishops fit this profile.

    We seem to have bishops who "Do unto others as has been done unto them", and that's not exactly the Golden Rule. It is however, a product of the seminary system they grew up in, and another reason I think the whole thing needs to be rethought.

  7. what a lesson of how the egoic can become mesmerized by its own voice. . .

    it will be interesting to see how the Holy Spirit and Mama Mary brings this one back down on his knees where he has prayed to be. . .

  8. River, you need to check out Bilgrimage today. Bill Lyndsey takes on this whole mentality and he does it brilliantly.

    I'm not sure even Mother Mary would have an easy time bringing Burke to his knees. Maybe a lightening bolt.

  9. Colleen:

    I know it does, as my fingers were dancing across the keyboard and the words writing themselves on the page I had that same thought. But the words kept flowing so I just made myself a hollow bone and let them flow. It was really cool, because the entire post was typed in just under 10 minutes, with just a few minutes required to look up the references.

    Personally, I believe each of us has a pivotal opportunity to have a "wilderness experience" where we have the opportunity, as Christ did, to declare that Satan and evil are powerless and impotent. Once we do that, I believe that the traditional christian concept of evil ceases to have meaning as we shift our focus to Christ and the Light. Once we center ourselves in Christ, sin ceases to be an issue, evil ceases to have any power over us, and the satanic rhetoric we hear vomiting out of the bishops is seen as nothing more than a pathetic attempt to regain power over the masses. Power that they never really had, power they will never have. There is only ONE power in the universe, and it isnt them.

    BTW, feels good to know that I can still turn out a scathing fire and brimstone sermon.