Don Archbishop Burke is at it again

Bronze Member
JCE's picture
Posts: 1219
Joined: 2007-03-20
User is offlineOffline
Don Archbishop Burke is at it again

Here is article from today's St. Louis Post Dispatch:

 Link to article

This presidential campaign, Burke's rebukes snare Giuliani

As the 2008 presidential campaign revs up, St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke
is reprising his role from 2004.

And the blogs are buzzing.

Four years ago, Burke drew international attention when he said that if
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry approached him for Holy
Communion, Burke would deny Kerry the sacrament.

This time, there's a Republican Catholic whose position on abortion rights
contradicts church teaching. And Burke is pressing the issue again, saying that
anyone — not just a bishop — administering Communion is morally obligated to
deny it to wayward Catholic politicians.

Next month, Burke is expected to push the nation's bishops to adopt his
position in a document on political responsibility they will issue to Catholics
before the election.

Of the six Catholics running for president, only Republican Sen. Sam Brownback
has a legislative record on abortion that meets the church's approval. Along
with Republican Rudy Giuliani, Democrats Sen. Joseph Biden, Sen. Christopher
Dodd, Rep. Dennis Kucinich and Gov. Bill Richardson all have public records
that are inconsistent with church teaching on abortion rights.

"It is a cause of concern for me and for all bishops to find ourselves in this
situation," Burke said in an interview last week.

Asked if he would deny Communion to Giuliani if the former New York mayor
approached him for the sacrament at the Cathedral Basilica, Burke said: "If the
question is about a Catholic who is publicly espousing positions contrary to
the moral law and I know that person knows it, yes I would."

In an interview earlier this year, Burke said of Giuliani: "I can't imagine
that as a Catholic he doesn't know that his stance on the protection of human
life is wrong. If someone is publicly sinning, they should not approach to
receive Holy Communion."

John Green, senior fellow in religion and American politics at the Pew Forum on
Religion and Public Life, said Burke's comment about Giuliani "could attract
attention to where the candidate stands. ... And in that way it could have a
very powerful indirect effect" on Giluiani's candidacy.

In an August poll by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 22 percent of
the public — and 31 percent of Republicans — said they knew Giuliani supports
abortion rights.

Ted Jelen, a political science professor at the University of Nevada at Las
Vegas, said the archbishop's comment about Giuliani is significant since
Giuliani "has to run in the Republican primary, where religious issues are

A Giuliani campaign spokesman, Elliott Bundy, said in an e-mail: "This is a
decision that should be left up to the bishops and the priests of the Church."
Giuliani has refused to talk publicly about how he lives his Catholic faith,
and Bundy would not answer questions about whether Giuliani regularly receives
Communion, saying only, "Those issues are private." Giuliani is expected to be
in Clayton on Thursday for a breakfast fundraising event at the Ritz-Carlton

None of the other Catholic presidential candidates' campaigns responded to
interview requests.

Mara Vanderslice, the Kerry campaign's faith outreach liaison in 2004 and now a
senior partner with Common Good Strategies in Washington, said Burke's comment
about Kerry was "misrepresented in the press" as being the position of the
majority of U.S. bishops when Burke's statements "were well outside the
mainstream and continue to be outside the mainstream."

Vanderslice said the coverage had a negative impact on Kerry's campaign, "So it
will be interesting to see if this time it will have the same impact on

After Burke's comments about Kerry in 2004, the archbishop was pilloried by
critics who said he was acting as a shill for President George W. Bush's

Burke's comments about Giuliani show the archbishop to be an equal-opportunity
enforcer of canon law, Green said.

"This shows the bishop is consistent and nonpartisan on this issue," he said.
"Some felt this was a covert maneuver by the church (in 2004), but that doesn't
appear to be the case."

What has provoked the chatter on blogs is an article Burke wrote in a
prestigious but obscure Catholic legal journal. In the article, Burke says that
as long as the politician in question had been cautioned by a church authority
not to receive Communion, and has refused to heed those warnings, any Catholics
qualified to serve the Eucharist — and who knew of the warning — would be
committing a mortal sin if they failed to deny Communion to that politician.
That includes lay people, as well as those who are ordained.

"That is the point," Burke said. "That's been, consistently, the church's

By January 2004, Kerry had been warned by his bishop not to receive Communion
in Boston because of his public support for abortion rights. That month, a
Post-Dispatch reporter asked Burke if he would deny Kerry the sacrament if the
senator approached him for Communion at the Cathedral Basilica.

"I would have to admonish him not to present himself for Communion," Burke
said. "I might give him a blessing or whatever, but if his archbCatholic
legalishop has told him that he's not to present himself for Communion, then he
should not."

The archbishop said he was struck by the public reaction to his comment, and by
the fact that so many Catholics didn't understand the issue. That reaction led
him to question his own understanding of the church law that governs the issue,
Canon 915, so he began researching it in 2005 and studied it for two years.

Burke is widely recognized as one of the sharpest legal minds in the Catholic
church. He is a sitting member of the Vatican's highest judicial authority, the
Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature. His colleagues praised the
scholarship in Burke's article.

"This is very well done research on an issue he likes to pursue," said the Rev.
Roland Jacques, dean of the canon law school at St. Paul University in Ottawa.
"He has it all. It is really, really well done."

David Gibson, author of a recent book about Pope Benedict XVI, said Burke's
article was "an effort to justify his actions from the previous election cycle"
and "to justify and expand his position."

The Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, editor of the Catholic journal First Things,
said Burke's reasons for writing were probably more pastoral. "He is concerned
because he believes the teaching of the church is being misrepresented to the
detriment of the integrity of Catholic teaching, and most importantly to the
integrity of the Holy Eucharist," he said.

Last week, Burke said he had written the article simply to clarify traditional
church teaching. He said that in denying Communion to wayward politicians, the
church was not judging their souls, rather it was protecting them. It also is
protecting the sacredness of the Eucharist and the Catholic faithful from
scandal, he said.

On Tuesday, the bishops said they plan to re-evaluate their document, "Faithful
Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility," when they meet next

"I think Archbishop Burke is going to want to make sure that document has
something in it about denying Communion to pro-choice politicians," said the
Rev. Thomas Reese of the Woodstock Theological Center in Washington. "And if
what he wants is not in there, I'm sure he'll be offering amendments."

[email protected] | 314-340-8221

Bronze Member
JCE's picture
Posts: 1219
Joined: 2007-03-20
User is offlineOffline
Archbishop Burke pisses me

Archbishop Burke pisses me off regularly and I know this is nothing new within the church, but it really gets on my nerves. 

 Here is a copy of the letter I sent to the editor:


RE:  Article printed 10-3-07

St. Louis Post Dispatch

This presidential campaign, Burke’s rebukes snare Giuliani



The Catholic Church is the new mob.  Plain and simple.  Don Archbishop Burke continues to threaten the immortal souls of politicians that refuse to bow to his will or the will of the church.  The fact that the politicians recognize just how antiquated the views of the church are should give the church pause and encourage them to reconsider their position.  Instead, the church has chosen to take the stance of a bully and issue warnings to others that try to circumvent the wishes of the Don and offer communion and guidance to these politicians.


Burke is reportedly planning an assault on bishops across the nation warning them not to serve the Eucharist to any political figure known to support abortion rights.  Clearly, Mr. Burke is less concerned with individual souls than he is with attempting to exert the church’s influence in government.  He claims to have done significant research in this area to support his stance, but I wonder if during his research he discovered that non-profit organizations are not allowed to endorse any political candidate?  By threatening their immortal souls, Mr. Burke is excluding candidates and endorsing others by default.  Elliott Bundy, Giuliani campaign spokesperson said it best:  “Those issues are private.”  Sadly, the Catholic Church has no regard for privacy or personal relationships with God.  The Catholic Church doesn’t even have regard for its parishioners.  Its only agenda is to gain power within government and keep it.  I wonder if Mr. Burke thinks he is God and therefore entitled to threaten eternal damnation this way? 


I wonder what his God would think of him using threat to gain political power?