Is the Obama Administration pressuring the Holy See to slience Archbp. Burke?

I found this on The Catholic Thing.  

Context: Archbp. Burke recently made clear statements in an interview about pro-abortion Catholic politicians and Holy Communion.

It is written by Austin Ruse, "President of the New York and Washington, D.C.-based Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), a research institute that focuses exclusively on international social policy."

Read the whole thing there, but this is the salient part:

Thursday, 26 March 2009
Hey, Obama: Hands Off Burke     Print
By Austin Ruse  

A reliable source tells me that someone representing the Obama administration is about to put pressure on the papal nuncio to the United States to get Archbishop Raymond Burke to be quiet. The Obama complaint is that Archbishop Burke, who is now head of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome, has supported another bishop in his chastisement of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius for her support of abortion.

Burke closed the interview by issuing a challenge to his brother bishops, most notably Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C.: “Every bishop is held to the same universal discipline which has been in force since the time of St. Paul the Apostle and is stated in canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law.” And then this: “Whether Governor Sebelius is in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, or in any other diocese [italics mine], she should not present herself for Holy Communion because, after pastoral admonition, she obstinately persists in serious sin.”

You can see why the Obama administration might get upset about this. They played footsie with pet Catholics of left and right last year and thought they had this kind of problem covered, since some of them have already offered cover for Sebelius. Two groups created to offer such services, Catholics United and Catholics in Alliance, started a petition drive saying Sebelius was really pro-life.

And now there is word that someone who is well known among Republicans, and who has served in previous Republican administrations, is reaching out on behalf of the Obama administration to get the Holy See to quiet Burke, or at least to make it clear he speaks not for the Church, but only for himself.

But it’s not just questioning her fitness for office that offends Obama and his Catholics. They are also offended about Burke questioning Sebelius’s fidelity to the Catholic Church, for this strikes at the heart of their appeal to Catholics in the pews. Catholics who believe the Democratic answer to health care is more important than the murder of a million children a year desperately need the fiction that someone like Sebelius is a Catholic in good standing. Burke gives the lie to that assertion.

The pressure won’t work, of course. Burke is just too smart, and tough. But Obama and his representatives are coming dangerously close to interfering in internal Church matters. [Just setting the stage for what is to come.] More than anything else, the free exercise clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution was intended precisely to protect religious bodies from meddling by the state, even covert meddling by the White House like this. Obama and his pet Catholics should back off – and fast.

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to Is the Obama Administration pressuring the Holy See to slience Archbp. Burke?

  1. Steve K. says:

    So we see – Obama does know exactly what he is doing and has an active interest in the Catholic Church. His acceptance of ND’s invitation to hold the commencement speech is of a piece with this. He desires to shut down the Catholic Church’s critical voice of his policies, and will interfere with the Church internally to this end. Whether that means putting pressure on the Vatican to silence an inconvenient bishop, or cooperating with public scandal on behalf of Church dissenters in order to strengthen their hand within the Church. He knows he can count on the dissenters to enforce his will within the Church.

  2. Steve K. says:

    PS – any bets as to the identity of “someone who is well known among Republicans, and who has served in previous Republican administrations?”

  3. LCB says:

    The question is not: Can the Church survive a persecution by the United States?

    The question is: Can the United states survive a persecution of the Church?

    To date, every historical government that has ever persecuted the Church has fallen. Yet she remains.

  4. Liam says:

    Reliable sources say lots of things. Doesn’t make them true.

  5. Charivari Rob says:

    I’d be surprised if the Obama administration were to try to ‘put pressure’ (on the Nuncio) in this matter.

    All the same, the timing is interesting.

    http://deacbench.blogspot.com/2009/03/burke-irked.html

  6. Aaron says:

    Of course they’ll try to shut up the Archbishop or anyone else who speaks out with clarity and authority. He’s damaging their power base and threatening future support and votes. How exactly they’ll do that, whether by trying to pressure his superiors somehow, or ridiculing him in the media, or trying to dig up (or invent) scandal, is hard to say. (Probably all three.) Whether it’ll work is another issue. It’s been so long since a Church leader was this outspoken (and good at it) in this country that we don’t have much precedent. Ham-handed as the Obama administration has proven to be, they could end up driving Catholics back to the Church’s authority out of solidarity.

    It’s also totally predictable that some Republicans would try to help quiet him. You can always count on the GOP to kneecap its own best allies for the sake of getting along.

  7. John Enright says:

    Apparently, some Dems don’t believe in the First Amendment rights to Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion. I’m not at all surprised by this because this Administration is entirely secular, liberal and relativistic in almost all matters of faith and morals.

    We, as a potentially formidable political bloc, need to get out the vote and restore traditional values.

  8. EDG says:

    This is very interesting. I wonder who that person (a well-known GOPer acting on behalf of Obama) would be?

    Obama and whoever is behind him (because while he’s very ambitious and power mad, he’s simply not bright enough to do this on his own) have had the Church in their cross-hairs since day one. That was the whole point in picking the treasonous Mr. Biden for VP. Obama’s point in going to ND is to make it clear that there are people in the Church who support him and would go with “whatsoever king shall reign” at that particular moment.

    I’ve been reading a bit of Francisco Suarez lately.

  9. Allan says:

    The problem here is NOT the Obama administration asking this or pressuring for that. They can do as they wish.

    Rather, the potential problem is the RESPONSE from the church. It needs to be as clear as…Bp. Burke!

  10. Cel says:

    Yeah, because the Church’s leadership hasn’t had to deal with pressuring politicos for oh say the last 2000 years. Empires and kingdoms come and go but the Church remains. Of course, this doesn’t mean that it will be easy.

    As our country becomes more hostile to Christianity I think we will see two things happen. First, many will come into the Church from the American protestant churches, mostly from the evangelicals. These are good people who really believe, but I don’t think American style protestantism, especially non-denominationalism can survive in a environment that is not basically Christian in nature. American churches not only effect their environment but are also very much effected by it. Thus the slow drift on things like contraception, IVF and even divorce. It is not like these churches want to do this, the problem is more one of culture. Individuals congregations are too small to create an effective culture without insulating themselves from the world. Some churches will try doing just this. Some small fundamentalist churches already do this, but they give up the ability to impact the wider society. We must live in the world without being of the world. This is the reason I am in the church. After my divorce pondered long and hard on the topic of our divorce culture and the way it was impacting our churches. I decided I wanted to find a church that still had a positive culture but wasn’t isolating itself. What a surprise it was to this Church of Christ boy to find the Catholic Church.

    The second thing that I think is going to happen is that the Catholic Church is going to get leaner and more conservative. Tough times always has that effect on organizations that are operating on solid principles. It is even possible that we will see a portion of the more liberal/progressive parts of the Church even break off. Let us hope not but it is certainly possible.

  11. Sandy says:

    This is part of a trend that should cause us (and all Christians) to storm Heaven. Notice all the attacks on the Pope lately, some even from within the Church? Satan is having a temper tantrum and there is an evil spiritual undercurrent. We need to pray hard. I have felt the Lord urging me to pray the Divine Mercy chaplet along with my daily Rosary.

  12. Steve K. says:

    Allen, “The problem here is NOT the Obama administration asking this or pressuring for that. They can do as they wish.

    Rather, the potential problem is the RESPONSE from the church. It needs to be as clear as…Bp. Burke!”

    I don’t agree. I think when a government does this, it means an internal Rubicon has been crossed, and that it’s only the beginning.

  13. RichR says:

    I don’t know how you can finesse an official statement by the Chief Justice of the Roman Rota and make it appear like a personal opinion.

    ?????

    Whatever.

  14. DarkKnight says:

    Charivari Rob,

    Your link to Archbishop Burke\’s statement was both interesting and troubling. I do not see a reason for the tactical retraction, as nothing untoward was said. It does appear that the Archbishop has gained the attention of the bishops.

    I pray the Holy Father recognizes the criticism for its true worth by elevating Archbishop Burke.

  15. Rancher says:

    Folks let’s remember history. There have been numerous regimes over the past 2000 years that have attempted to silence the Church, that have persecuted it, and have killed believers (martyrs) because they (civil rulers) have viewed the Church as a threat to their evil ways. True, it hasn’t happened in awhile but that is not to say that it cannot happen again–now, actually. There are some of us who believe that Obama is evil, egotistical, and arrogant enough to try anything to squelch his opposition. A review of his “track record” in Illinois should serve to illustrate that point. Obama is power hungry and acts more as a dictator than a president elected via the democratic process. Look at the direction he has the country headed on many fronts and it is not at all hard to believe (and you don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to believe it) that he will try to interfere with the Church as much as he needs to in order to silence opposition. He and his ilk have a master agenda. His approaches to abortion, stell cell research, same sex marriage, terrorism, and open borders are not isolated, unconnected positions. His handlers are masters ar manipulating the liberal media not just in the USA but internationally. It is very conceivable that the recent, concentrated media attacks on the Church and the Pope have been cleverly if quietly orchestrated by the Obama regime….as might have been the CT attempt to regulate internal Church matters.

    BO believes he is all knowing and right about all things because he is smarter than all the rest of us. There is no end to his ambition, his cunning, his manipulation and his evil. We had better be prepared for a fight and continually envoke St. Michael to assist us in battle.

    Yes, evil governments have never overcome the Church at any time in history. But past efforts to destroy Mother Church were thwarted in part because of Divinely inspired faithful resiting unto death such attempts. The question for today is: are the faithful in this day and age willing to pay the price so that the Church might prevail?

  16. Worried says:

    I wonder which dagger Obama has drawn. I don’t think that there are any prominent Democrats left that could wield any clout at the Holy See. (At least I hope that’s the case.)

    He would have to cross the aisle, my guess would be a prominent benefactor. I just pray it isn’t the Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus. Anderson has expressed some very New World Order opinions and many are troubled by the logical conclusions to his lines of thought.

  17. Allan says:

    “I don’t agree. I think when a government does this, it means an internal Rubicon has been crossed, and that it’s only the beginning.”

    Really? Isn’t that the whole purpose of having a Papal Nuncio, ambassadors and the like? To allow nation states to pressure/lobby/request etc.? They can “ask” for anything they wish, and the “asking” will be a legitimate dimplomatic function.

    Our concern – as a Church (OK, THE Church) – is how we respond.

  18. supertradmom says:

    Thomas a Becket, Thomas More, John Fisher, Edmund Campion, Ann Line, Margaret Clitherow, Cuthbert Mayne, Margaret Ward, Robert Southwell, Henry Walpole and all the other martyrs in England and Wales, as well as those in Mexico in the last century know what is coming here. Let us ask for their strength and clarity of mind, as well as faith.

    We are entering a new age of martyrs and Archbishop Burke is an example for all of us to follow in his courage and holiness. America will benefit from examples of faith, hope, and love. But, I do think it will be painful in many ways.

  19. ckdexterhaven says:

    Obama is using these pro choice Catholics for some other end. It’s no coincidence that all these high level folks are Catholic. Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, etc. Prayers are needed. All hands on deck!

  20. Trevor says:

    “And now there is word that someone who is well known among Republicans, and who has served in previous Republican administrations, is reaching out on behalf of the Obama administration to get the Holy See to quiet Burke, or at least to make it clear he speaks not for the Church, but only for himself.”

    What we know:

    Person is Male.
    Person is presumably Catholic.
    Person was Republican who supported Obama.
    Person served in previous Repbulican administrations.

    With this info, I went to the Wikipedia article “Republican and conservative support for Barack Obama in 2008″.

    I found two individuals who fit the bill:

    Douglas Kmiec, Head of Office of Legal Counsel under Presidents Reagan and Bush #1

    Paul O’Neill, US Secretary of Treasury under Bush #2

    One of the men certainly has good reason for wanting Archbishop Burke to shut up…

  21. Matt of South Kent says:

    I am glad President Obama is surrounding himself with the likes of Vice President Biden, Senator Kennedy and Madam Speaker Pelosi. These people have not accomplished anything in their entire careers. Why should now be any different.

    From what I see, the United States is in decline and the Vatican is rising again.

    Vatican rising? Look at the reaction to the Austrian Bishop and SSPX ordinations. The liberals, leftist and modernist would not be concerned if they didn’t feel so threatened.

  22. John Polhamus says:

    “…as well as those in Mexico in the last century know what is coming here. Let us ask for their strength and clarity of mind, as well as faith.”

    Now they want to limit protests i.e. FREE SPEECH. They will kill us if they have to. Count on it. The scenario plays out time and time again. The Maoist Acorn cadres of intimidation will do their dirty-work for them. But the church can only be silenced if WE remain silence. Speak up. Be COUNTED! Don’t let socialism get its feet on stable ground, fight it right from the get go! Use your rights in the protection of your Church’s liberty, or lose them both. Demonstrate. Where are the processions? Where are the rallies? Have we learned nothing from the militant left during the past century? WE MUST EMPLY THEIR TACTICS (minus violence) AGAINST THEM. As I have said before, our children will inherit the church we make for them. Lets not let them down.

    They may be able to silence Apb. Burke, even someday the Pope: but they can’t silence us all.

  23. tertullian says:

    “…someone representing the Obama administration is about to put pressure on the papal nuncio to the United States to get Archbishop Raymond Burke to be quiet.”

    in bocca al lupo

    Memo to Bp. Burke: Torque it up.

  24. Prof. Basto says:

    The perfect answer:

    The Pope announces now a Consistory for Pentecost Sunday, for the creation of new Cardinals, and names Archbishop Burke at the top of the ticket, thus giving him the right to make the indirizzo d’omaggio to the Holy Father on behalf of the new princes of the Church.

  25. joe says:

    I think I read (misread?) that Abp. Burke had kinda/sorta/maybe/but not really apologized for “the way the interview has been used.”

    Can any further light be shed on this?

  26. “And now there is word that someone who is well known among Republicans, and who has served in previous Republican administrations, is reaching out on behalf of the Obama administration to get the Holy See to quiet Burke, or at least to make it clear he speaks not for the Church, but only for himself.”

    I wonder if this individual happened to be a shill for Obama during the elections, made the spurious case that “if you don’t vote for a candidate because he is pro-abortion you can vote for the candidate for any other reason” and claimed that Obama was more pro-life than McCain, and is currently trying to get a position as ambassador to the Vatican.

    Of course we have no proof it is Kmiec, but if I had to make a bet, that is where my money would be…

  27. As we reflect upon the nation and the turn of events which are militating against a proper Christian witness, perhaps we have ourselves to blame. Look at our divisions not only amongst groups called by the name of Christ, but, I believe, even more scandalously within our Churches. Satan is really wreaking havoc due to our indecisiveness to stand firm and together on common ground. What would be the political climate in America if just all the Roman Catholics followed the clear and unequivocal teaching of the church on the life issues from the patristic period, and the rest of us joined in a common stand? As Christ said: Repent and receive the Good News.”

  28. Stefano says:

    Civil Authority has been trying to interfere in Church function since Jesus was on this Earth. Wasn’t Pilate basically asking Jesus to deny some stuff and go on his way? How about the Iconoclast heresy, Catholics in the UK during Henry VIII, Catholics in France during their Revolution, Padre Pio’s experiences, (possibly) USSR-financed assassination attempt on JP2…. This isn’t new…

  29. Irene Smith says:

    Archbishop Burke has already “clarified” his remarks. He has stated that he was stat
    was speaking for himself and not as Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura. In my op
    opinion, he has backed down. Evidently, whoever this person is, he was
    successful. I expect more “clarification”, in other words, he will retract
    what he said.

  30. roxanne says:

    The author of this article, Mr. Ruse, refutes in original blog post that it is Kmiec. He says if it was him, he would have had no problem naming him. He states further that the identity is “a friend who is a good man and is confused about common ground.”

  31. Faithful one says:

    Well, the creature is showing his ugly head because he is running out of time to bring more souls to hell. Will your soul be one of them? NO…. because we know who the VICTOR is, our Lord JESUS CHRIST… So stay with the Victor… make a choice… with HIM or against HIM? To be with the VICTOR means martyrdom, my friends. ARE you ready for this? All these opinions and suggestions are not gonna mean anything if we are not faithful to the Church which Jesus Christ instituted. Remember, He instituted a CHURCH and not a Literary or Science Club. Mere words or opinions are not gonna get you to Heaven. WHAT WILL? TRUE CATHOLICS AND FOLLOWERS AND DISCIPLES OF JESUS CHRIST KNOW WHAT THEY ARE?
    THEN.do them……

  32. Matt Q says:

    DarkKnight wrote:

    “I pray the Holy Father recognizes the criticism for its true worth by elevating Archbishop Burke.”

    )(

    Our prayers in this regard will more than likely be answered soon. The Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura is a cardinalature position.

    =====

    Rancher wrote:

    “Yes, evil governments have never overcome the Church at any time in history, but past efforts to destroy Mother Church were thwarted in part because of Divinely inspired faithful resiting unto death such attempts. The question for today is: are the faithful in this day and age willing to pay the price so that the Church might prevail?”

    )(

    Good question. As history has shown though, the Church has been attacked from without. Today, the Church is under siege from within and this is worse. Even before when we had bad Popes, those Popes still in the end, defended the Faith, and didn’t hesitate to act. Our recent Popes, however…

    =====

    The last line in the article read. “Obama and his pet Catholics should back off – and fast.”

    Back off and–and fast, or else what?

  33. Liberal Fascism will have its day under President Obama. Let’s hope and pray it is for only one term!

    Re: Archbishop Burke, his main issue is the fact that Randall Terry interviewed him under false pretenses. I seriously doubt there will be any retraction on his part. He is a brave and noble soul!

  34. EDG says:

    Irene Smith, I don’t think Apb Burke was backing down. Randall Terry took the interview out of context and used it for his own purposes, and I think Apb Burke was simply stating that he hadn’t expected it to be used that way. Randall Terry has the right objectives, but his methods are sometimes debatable and his approach to everything is very confrontational. He lived in my area briefly and ran for political office here, but he was so disruptive and occasionally off-the-wall in his comments that even I couldn’t support him.

  35. I agree with EDG here. He hasn’t retracted what he said, and one hopes that the Archbishop as head of the Signatura will have a hand in bringing change to the way the Church handles the pro-abort politicians.

    The problem was Terry misused what was said to give his own project the illusion of added credibility. Archbishop Burke was portrayed as giving sanction to Oves sine pastora, and the press conference announcement gave the impression that this was supposed to be an official Vatican statement (which I had found problematic).

    Ultimately I think Terry’s stunt has hurt the Pro-life movement as now bishops who do speak authoritatively to their dioceses will have their teaching negated as “mere opinion,” by those who dissent.

  36. John V says:

    Possible candidate for the “someone who is well known among Republicans, and who has served in previous Republican administrations”? How about former ambassador to the Vatican Thomas Patrick Melady, who just authored this piece for the National Catholic Reporter.

  37. Matt Q says:

    The Other David wrote:

    I agree with EDG here. He hasn’t retracted what he said, and one hopes that the Archbishop as head of the Signatura will have a hand in bringing change to the way the Church handles the pro-abort politicians.

    )(

    What could Archbishop Burke do which others in his position haven’t been able to ( or bothered to ) in the past? The real reason for a lot going on in the Church is because those in charge have no spine. They talk a lot but walk not at all. As they continue to admonish pro-death politicians about not receiving Communion yet do nothing to stop them even as they are standing in line ends their own credibility right there. Yes, this “speaking for oneself” nonsense only reinforces this.