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