Saturday, October 04, 2008

My Church Speaks...


Vatican officials seldom single out political leaders who differ with the Church on issues like abortion rights or embryonic stem cell research. But now that the Vatican’s highest court is led by an American, the former St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke, we can expect things to get more explicit in Vatican City — at least when when it comes to U.S. politics.
Burke, who was named prefect of the Vatican’s Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature in June, told the Italian Catholic newspaper Avvenire that the U.S. Democratic Party risked “transforming itself definitively into a party of death for its decisions on bioethical issues.” He then attacked two of the party’s most high profile Catholics — vice presidential candidate Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — for misrepresenting Church teaching on abortion.
He said Biden and Pelosi, “while presenting themselves as good Catholics, have presented Church doctrine on abortion in a false and tendentious way.”
Pelosi drew U.S. bishops’ scorn for saying in a television interview last month that the Church itself had long debated when human life begins. Biden is a practicing Catholic who also supports abortion rights and analysts have said he could help woo wavering Catholics into Obama’s fold. Both argue that they cannot impose their religious views on others.
Burke said pro-life Democrats were “rare” and that it saddened him that the party that helped “our immigrant parents and grandparents” prosper in America had changed so much over the years.
Burke made headlines as archbishop of St. Louis for his public attacks on public figures who strayed from Catholic teaching. He suggested during the 2004 presidential campaign that Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, a Catholic, should be denied communion because of his views on abortion. Several bishops said at the time they would not give him communion and the media staked out churches where he attended Mass to see if he received it.
“Lately, I’ve noticed that other bishops are coming to this position,” Burke told Avvenire, which is owned by the Italian bishops’ conference.
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, wrote a letter in 2004 to American bishops restating the Church position that a priest must refuse to distribute communion to a Catholic politician who supported abortion rights. But Burke lamented that the letter was never distributed.
Burke’s criticism isn’t limited to Democrats. Last year, he accused singer Sheryl Crow of being “a high profile proponent of the destruction of innocent lives” for defending a woman’s right to have an abortion and for being a proponent of stem cell research. He resigned as head of a children’s medical charity that featured the singer for a benefit concert.
Pope Benedict has been encouraging Catholic bishops to speak out more openly on public policy issues to make the Church’s voice heard. Any bets on when we’ll hear from Burke next?

Archbishop Burke may be a holy man, but he was not well liked here. He picked fights with a number of people about a wide variety of things. While I recognize his deep devotion to his church, he is a canon lawyer and a well respected one, he dismisses ANYONE who disagrees with him. Here is what Joe Biden said..."I believe life begins at conception, however I don’t feel it is my duty to legislate my faith on others.” And Joe, you are right. We created a separation of church and state for this very reason. People have different beliefs and views and no one is “right” or “wrong”. It’s simply a religious choice, one that should NEVER EVER be forced on anyone. One thing the Archbishop has had little to say about is the slaughter of innocent Iraqi citizens and the unwarranted killing of over 4,000 of our finest men and women for a fight that wasn't provoked against a sovereign country. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, Bin Laden did and he's nowhere near Iraq. What was said about that, Archbishop Burke? You can't have it both ways. Will the republicans who voted for the war be denied communion too? I love my church, although I vehemently disagree with them on this count.

1 comment:

Judith Stegman said...

The point is that it is not a matter of blind faith to say that "life begins at conception." It is a matter of scientific fact that a distinct human life begins at conception. The Church simply points out that killing this unique life, at any point in its growth, is wrong. And the Church points out the inconsistency of a government regulating against homicide and yet legislating for abortion, the homicide of its most defenseless citizens.

The act of abortion is always intrinsically evil, for the very reason that it is an act of homicide. Society itself condemns homicide, but does not condemn every war. I am proud that our Church and Church leaders are willing to point out this human truth.

Members of a just society can have compassion on the circumstances surrounding any particular homicide, but such compassion does not make us ready to accept that the homicide is justified or good. The Church points out the inconsistency of not applying this same logic to the victims of abortion (including the women and the children and all those who have lost a relationship with the unborn child). Instead of saying that the act of abortion is justified due to the circumstances, the Church suggests that society offer true forms of compassion to the woman, the family, and the unborn child. The Church suggests to society that they condemn death and support life-sustaining options for the family.

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