Archbishop Condemns Obama Administration’s “Culture of Death”

By Jacqueline L. Salmon For conservatives seeking a buck-up in these bleak times, the always lively Archbishop Raymond Burke did … Continued

By Jacqueline L. Salmon

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.

“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.

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 unable 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.

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.

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.

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.

  • Mizzmonsoon

    Though we are awaiting the arrival of our new ordinary, Archbishop-designate Robert Carlson, Archbishop Burke is sorely and sadly missed in St. Louis. Thankfully we have a few bishops like him in the Church who refuse to give in to or be bullied by the supporters of “the spirit of Vatican II” within the Church or the virulent anti-Catholicism that is, in fact, still in existence here in the United States. Archbishop Burke is a white martyr and I have no doubt that he will be greatly rewarded by God for his strenth of character while on this earth.

  • mmccabe1

    Archbishop Burke is commited to a narrow “pro-life” agenda and continues to damage the efforts that many of us are making to make respect for all life and the quality of life the goal of all legislation. The Archbishop’s attacks on politicians who do not hold his narrow views have weakened the ability of the Catholic Church to impact our call to respect all life.

  • oakleafm

    Mizzmonsoon,Archbishop Burke is an autocratic wing-nut. From his mistreatment of the people of St. Stan’s to his misguided views on withholding the Eucharist, Burke is an egomaniacal embarrassment who really needs to work on his humility.Look to Archbishop Romero, murdered at the altar in el Salvador, if you want to honor a real martyr.

  • bruwho1

    Somehow the Bush administration did not create a “culture of death” when they caused the unnecessary death of one million Iraqis by invading Iraq based on lies. Let’s face it, for the Bishop, prolife only means unborn Christians. If anyone else is killed, who cares.

  • kthhken

    I attended the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast this morning. I would like to add two comments. As an aside I’m a Catholic who follows the teaching of the Magisterium. I don’t know if that makes me a conservative or liberal, I just view myself as a Catholic.1. Associate Justice Scalia (whose son is a Catholic Priest in Virginia and gave the invocation), gave a highly entertaining and educational talk abouth faith Christian believers the attacks believers have faced since the time of Christ himself. He spoke movingly of St. Thomas More and his courage and faith in the face Catholic hate which lead to his martyrdom . If you can get a copy of the transcript I encourage all to read it. It was fantastic. 2. The theme of Archbishop Burke’s keynote which was the basis of all his comments on abortion, stem cell, same-sex marriage, etc. is simply this, there is a natural moral law, and this is imprinted on the hearts of all humans and it comes from God. Man cannot change this natural moral law. He can reject it, rebel against it, try to fight it, but through the fullness of time it will be to our own detriment if we do. God asks all of us to use our free will to be open to His saving grace and blessings to come to know Him and grow in union with Him. The natural moral law is God’s way of leading us in how we should relate to each other and live with each other in the fullness of God’s love for us. When we oppose the natural moral law we oppose God, and that is fatal for our souls.By the way Scalia had a great line. He asked is it less rational for a person to believe in a Creator than in a Big Bang that came from nothing, like Hitchens and others would have you believe?As a reminder, the founders believed that the right to life came from our Creator not the state. Today the state is trying to impose its will on life by deciding who lives and who dies. The Soviet Union did the same thing, see how long they lasted. We are on the same path for the destruction of the U.S. as long as the state thumbs its nose at the natural moral law. Try to get a copy of the transcripts and read for yourself, some good food for thought in both.Vivat Christus Rex!

  • Biaggio

    As the article notes, the prayer meeting was for Republican Catholics. Those who live by politics will die by politics.

  • ThomasBaum

    Jesus said, “I Am the Bread of Life…”.Jesus said, “This is My Body…”.Jesus said, “Feed My lambs, …”.Jesus said, “Upon this rock, I will build My Church…”He did not say it was Peter’s Church or anyone else’s for that matter, He did not say figure out who My lambs are and feed the ones that are acceptable to you.It is not the clergy’s right to withhold God in the Eucharist from anyone. It is not the clergy’s right to judge anyone else, they are not God, God Is God.Politics have no place in the Church and even tho there have been politics in the Church since the beginning of the Church that does not make it right. By the way, I am not talking about “secular” politics, I am talking about the “internal” politics of the Church.The “breath of fresh air”, spoken of about Vatican II, can not and will not be snuffed out by those that oppose the bringing back of at least some of the tradition of the early Church.No “thread” is powerful enough to sew back up the “curtain” to the Holy of Holies”.The clergy, in the setup of the Church, have been instructed by Jesus to “Feed My lambs…”, so maybe they should listen and let God be God.God has many, many ways of feeding His people and the Eucharist is One of these, clergy should be clergy not cops, not prosecutors, not judges.I cherish my Catholic Faith and I thank God that the Catholic Faith has survived and even thrived within the confines of the Catholic “religion”.Christianity, of which Catholicism is a part of, is itself just a part of God’s Plan, which is for absolutely ALL OF HUMANITY to be with God in the Kingdom, the new heavens and the new earth.As I have said many times, it doesn’t matter what one believes, Truth is Truth whether one believes it or not and God looks at the person, not the label.Does, “My Ways are not your ways and My Thoughts are not your thoughts…”, ring a bell?Besides God being a Being of Pure Love, God is also a God that will not fit into any box that anyone tries to construct for God.See you in the Kingdom.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • MikeL4

    The clergy have a duty to speak out against evil whether we as the laity wish to hear it or not. To some in the laity that comes across as them being cops, prosecutors or judges. It is not. It is them simply telling the laity, as much as you want to do what you are doing, that is not part of God’s plan, so stop. Too many people don’t like to be told to stop.God loves everyone, but our actions aren’t always loving and we don’t like to be told that. Politicians and their supporters don’t like being told that they support evil when they support the killing of unborn human beings in the womb.St. Paul told us we are not to receive the Eucharist unworthily. Supporting and cooperating in the great evil of killing unborn children and then stepping up to receive the Body of Christ is scandalous to the extreme and every minister of God has the duty of guarding the sanctity of the Eucharist.God forgive us all.

  • aussiebarry

    It’s good that Justice Scalia spoke movingly of Thomas More who so lovingly followed the natural moral law by burning to death people who broke that law by committing the awful sin of reading the bible in English. Also Thomas More was very good at enhanced interrogation methods

  • MikeL4

    The condescension in Ms. Salmons writing was palpable. Nowhere did this prayer breakfast say for “Republican Catholics”. I am a pro-life Catholic who also believes in Social Justice. You cannot have complete social justice until we respect the dignity of human life. The willingness of some “Catholics” to sacrifice unborn children for minute percentage increases in WIC payments each year astounds me. Let’s stop abortion and focus on poverty. President Obama’s determination to make the killing of unborn children easier is to his shame and does not serve God’s purpose.

  • ashleybone

    kthhken,The Scalia line you mentioned, “He asked is it less rational for a person to believe in a Creator than in a Big Bang that came from nothing, like Hitchens and others would have you believe?” is a fairly standard Christian lie about naturalists. It’s a strawman, designed to make rational approaches to the origins of the universe sound ridiculous. In reality, most atheists and other adherents of naturalism do NOT “believe” in a “Big Bang that came from nothing”. Those of us who have studied such things think that Big Bang cosmology is currently the best explanation for the structure and development of the universe. As far as what CAUSED the Big Bang, most of us would simply state that we don’t know. There are many scientific conjectures about that “cause” (including some that dispense with causality), but we don’t yet have any evidence that would allow us to develop a solid theory.We may someday have this evidence. Until then, the most honest answer remains “I don’t know”.Scalia, in repeating this deception, is either a fool or a liar. It’s sad that our greatest court has such a person on it. I would think that Catholics and other Christians would be wary of someone who attempts to buttress his faith with deceits. After all, isn’t Satan the father of lies? Just who is Scalia serving?

  • usapdx

    BURKE WAS A RING LEADER OF DON’T GIVE COMMUNION TO KERRY PUSH TO GET VOTES FOR BUSH JR. WHICH HIS TWO CRUSADES IN IRAQ AND AFGANASTAN HAS COST MANY LIFES AND INJURIES FOR WHAT? WHY DON’T THESE REPUBLICAN BISHOPS TELL THEIR REAL TRUTHS AS WELL AS READ THE I.R.S. TAX EXAMPT RULES? WHEN THE WORLD CAN NO LONGER PRODUCE FOOD AND DRINKING WATER FOR THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD, WHAT WILL THEY SAY?

  • PSolus

    “By the way Scalia had a great line. He asked is it less rational for a person to believe in a Creator than in a Big Bang that came from nothing, like Hitchens and others would have you believe?”Wow! I wonder if he also still believes that the sun revolves around the earth.

  • woebegoner

    Someone over on the Faux News site posted how surprised he/she was that 54% of Catholics voted for Obama, and that “we have arrived at a place in time where the Catholic church will soon split in two. For it is not possible to be Catholic and a Democrat. There was a time when it was, but not today. No matter what one say’s, you are one or the other but you can not be both!”—-Why is it not possible to be both Catholic and a Democrat? Why is it some kind of ‘sin’ to dare to question the Catholic church at all? Are we still in the Dark Ages? It’s posts like that, attitudes like that, that have driven people like myself from the Catholic church. Tyrants and the intolerant have hidden behind their religions for millennia, and I suspect that will never change. Some of the worst atrocities against mankind have been committed by popes and the Church itself, which is tortoise-slow in admitting mistakes or acknowledging that, gasp, it might actually be wrong about something. Look at how the church condemned (and put under lifetime house arrest) Galileo for daring to say that the earth wasn’t the center of the universe? Wasn’t it John Paul II who made a formal apology, in 1992(!), admitting that their decision about Galileo was wrong? Though they might like to think otherwise, the Catholic church is NOT God, not perfect, and not the only faith system. Maybe if it got over its own hubris, and stopped being so political and stuck to being theological, so many people wouldn’t be fleeing the church or condemning it. In many regards, the Catholic church is little more than another political party, like Republicans or Democrats.

  • arosscpa

    Mr. Bauman: The substance of your response only looks at one side of the responsibility invested in the Pope and bishops by Jesus. In addition to the post-resurrection instruction to feed, tend, and forgive, is the power given by Christ to the Church such that what the Church binds on earth will be bound in heaven, and what he Church looses on earth will be loosed in heaven, Evident from this part of the discourse and from the apostolic letters in the New Testament, the apostles and their successors have understood the pastoral task not merely the free dispensation of the sacraments, but to regulate both the form of the sacrament and determining who may receive the sacrament and in what circumstances. Clearly the Holy Spirit carries on the work of Christ in Christian communities not presently united with the Catholic and Orthodox churches. But Vatican II made clear that they participate in that work in a derivative and incomplete sense, and the fullness of the work of Christ subsists in the Catholic and Orthodox churches alone. As prefect of the Holy Office Benedict XVI wrote “Domus Jesus” to give a authoritative interpretation of this V.II teaching, which has been deeply misunderstood by many on all sides of the ecclesial questions.

  • arosscpa

    Mr. Bauman said “It is not the clergy’s right to withhold God in the Eucharist from anyone. It is not the clergy’s right to judge anyone else, they are not God, God Is God.”Paul, normally I am in complete agreement with your comments. The comment I quote above, however, seems to suggest some lacunae in you scriptural and ecclesiological knowledge. Based on the levitical priesthood, which Jesus Christ reconstituted at the Last Supper, he vested in the Apostolic College the offices of priest, prophet and king. Part of the kingly office is pastoral judgment according to the moral and canonical law.With respect to administration of the Holy Sacraments, the bishop of a diocese has ordinalry and full authority by his kingly and priestly office to administer the sacraments as he wishes, subject to the universal norms established by papal authority, which exercises by the three offices full and complete jurisdiction in the universal Church.Hence, the ordinary of the diocese, together with his priests and deacons have full and plenary authority *and responsibility* to regulate the administration of the sacraments and determining who may be admitted to licitly to the sacraments.You may wish to read Hebrews and the Letters of Peter with a good commentary for the scriptural foundations of this doctrine. Scott Hahn, among others has some excellent books and tapes on the subjects.Peace.

  • arosscpa

    I watched a replay of Justice Scalia’s and Archbishop Burke’s addresses yesterday. There were of couple of common threads.1. Christ continues to grace the Church and the World by placing his servant faithful in positions that allows the Church to present a perpetually new invitation to bring new life into a dying world.2. Just because each Christian who finds himself called to give that witness in his own personal and professional life doesn’t mean you cannot have fun doing it. (I still think this was the third secret of Fatima.) 3. The Church stands as an extremely fallible organization whose endures only because of the faithfulness of her Lord and Spouse. Thomas More defending the rights of a papacy that was as corrupt as any in history, said Scalia. More defended a papacy still maturing towards something entitled to defense by the faithful.4. From Paul’s preaching at the Areogopas, the intellectuals of every age have critiqued, condemned and ridiculed the Church because it would not be made over according to the academic fashion of the day. Yet the Church is the only Western institution that perdures.

  • ThomasBaum

    PART IIYou then wrote, “Hence, the ordinary of the diocese, together with his priests and deacons have full and plenary authority *and responsibility* to regulate the administration of the sacraments and determining who may be admitted to licitly to the sacraments.”Have you ever thought that come one day, some of these people might be asked by Jesus, “Why didn’t you feed MY lambs?”?Do you think that their answer might be, “Lord, we believed that they didn’t measure up and we judged them not fit to “licitly” receive You in the Eucharist?You also wrote, “The comment I quote above, however, seems to suggest some lacunae in you scriptural and ecclesiological knowledge.”First off, thank God for dictionary.com, I am not as “learned” as many on here but I have also said many times that there seem to be quite a few that know the bible better than me but about the only thing about God that they seem to know is His Name. As far as “ecclesiological knowledge” which according to the definition could be dogma, adornments and furnishings, architecture and ornamentation.Is God more important than dogma? Is the Church the people or the institution?Also, the Church is just part of God’s Plan which God has had since before creation and God’s Plan, which is unfolding before our very eyes, will come to Fruition.See you and the rest of humanity in the Kingdom, God is not the loser that, sad to say, some think and even sadder to say that some seem to want Him to be.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • ThomasBaum

    PART IAROSSCPA You wrote, “With respect to administration of the Holy Sacraments, the bishop of a diocese has ordinalry and full authority by his kingly and priestly office to administer the sacraments as he wishes, subject to the universal norms established by papal authority, which exercises by the three offices full and complete jurisdiction in the universal Church.”Jesus said to Peter, “Simon, thou art Peter and upon this rock, I will build MY Church”, Jesus also said, “Feed MY lambs, tend MY sheep, feed MY sheep”.We are ALL to be rocks, living stones, which is what the Church is, The Church is the people, not the “physical plant” but the people.Jesus said that it is HIS Church, He did not say that it was Peter’s or any of his sucessors Church, did He?Jesus also said that we are His lambs, His sheep, He did not say that we are Peter’s or anyone else’s lambs or sheep.Considering the fact that only God can truly see into one’s heart, only God can truly know one’s heart.Is it or should it be another human’s right to deny God to a fellow human and to know or presume to know just how God could be working in another’s life?Do you know that the Catholic Church teaches that the “Church” is not just those that belong to the Catholic Church?Question to ponder: Do you think that there could be a difference between being a member in good standing with the Catholic Church and someone in good standing with God?Do you remember the story of the Pharisee and the sinner in the Temple that Jesus made reference to?

  • ThomasBaum

    AROSSCPAYou wrote, “Clearly the Holy Spirit carries on the work of Christ in Christian communities not presently united with the Catholic and Orthodox churches.”Do you believe that the Holy Spirit can only do something in “Christian communities”?You then wrote, “But Vatican II made clear that they participate in that work in a derivative and incomplete sense, and the fullness of the work of Christ subsists in the Catholic and Orthodox churches alone.”Sometimes it makes one wonder why Jesus picked a bunch of simple, hard-working, everyday people for the most part to be His Original Apostles, doesn’t it?In simple language, It is God’s Plan, God picks who He picks for whatever “job” He picks a person for.By the way, Moses is my confirmation name and as I have said, sometimes it may take a few decades for a sacrament to kick in, so to speak. Also my last name is Baum which means tree, it is not Bauman.As my namesake said, “These are hard-headed and stiff-necked people”, seems as if people haven’t changed all that much since my namesake’s day.God cared for All of us so much that He became One of us and tried to tell us as much, seems as if we still don’t want to hear.God wins, satan loses, a tie is unacceptable.See you and the rest of humanity in the Kingdom.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

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