Archbp. Burke’s Keynote at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast

A reader sent me the full text of His Excellency Most Rev. Raymond Burke’s address to the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast.  Archbishop Burke, the Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, has not been silent about American debates concerning the dignity of human life.

This is a long piece, but it is worth your effort.  To help along the way I provide the emphases and some comments.

As you read, watch for recurring points.

We are in time time of grave danger for our country.

We must not be complacent.

We must know who we are as Catholics.

We must contribute to the public square as Catholics and American patriots for the common good.

We must seek holiness and be transformed from within so that we can shape the world around us.

We are not alone: Christ is our help and Mary Most Holy is the Patroness of the Americas.

Introduction

1. I am deeply honored to give the Keynote Address at this annual gathering of Catholics to pray for our nation. I express my heartfelt esteem and gratitude to those who, each year, organize and support the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast.

2. The theme of this year’s Breakfast is most fitting to the difficult time through which our nation is now passing. Before the fundamental and great challenges which we as a nation are facing, how better to express our patriotism than by celebrating the teachings of our Catholic faith. [There should be no conflict between being an American and being a Catholic.  The problem arises when a Catholic suggests that you must be less than Catholic to be an American and, if you are not, you are less than an American.] The most treasured gift which we as citizens of the United States of America can offer to our country is a faithful Catholic life. [As I am seeing again and again from sound leaders of the Church these days, the key to all these issues is our Catholic identity.  We must have a strong understand of who we are as Catholics in order to contribute properly in the public square.] It is the gift which, even though it has often been misunderstood, has brought great strength to our nation, from the time of its founding. Today more than ever, our nation is in need of Catholics who know their faith deeply and express their faith, with integrity, by their daily living.

3. Although I no longer have my residence in our beloved nation, I am no less bound to practice the virtue of patriotism, taught and exemplified by Our Lord during His public ministry. It is Our Lord Who gives us, in the Church, the grace to practice patriotism as a fundamental expression of the bond of charity which we have, in Him, with our fellow citizens. From my earliest formation in the life of the faith, received at home from my parents and in the Catholic schools, it was clear to me that duty to one’s nation, to one’s fellow citizens, is integral to our life in Christ in the Church. In the Baltimore Catechism, [Back to the basics.  And what is more, these are the basics that most politicians would have learned in their years of formation!] the virtue of patriotism is joined with filial piety. These essentially connected virtues, in the words of the Catechism, dispose us to honor, love and respect our parents and our country (Revised Baltimore Catechism and Mass, No. 3, New York: Benziger Brothers, Inc., 1949, 1952, no. 135). [Consider the Latin meaning of pietas.] Surely, the most fundamental expression of patriotism is daily prayer for our homeland, the United States of America, her citizens and her leaders. Our participation in the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast is, I trust, an extraordinary expression of the daily prayer which we all offer for our country, as good Catholics and, therefore, good citizens.

4. It pleases me that today’s celebration included a presentation by Mother Shaun Vergauwen, Superior General of the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist. I have known Mother Shaun’s religious congregation for all the years of my priestly life. The consecrated life of the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist is an inspired witness to the truths of our Catholic faith, especially what pertains to the Gospel of Life, and, therefore, also makes a strong contribution to the good of all citizens in our nation.

[So... the tone is set and the niceties have been observed.]

Growing Crisis in Our Nation

5. I come to you, this morning, with the deepest concern for our nation. I come to you, not as someone who stands outside of our nation but as a citizen who, with you as fellow citizens, takes responsibility for the state of our nation and, therefore, cannot remain indifferent and inactive about what most concerns the good of us all, especially those among us who are small, weak and defenseless. [esp. the unborn and the infirm.]

6. Over the past several months, our nation has chosen a path which more completely denies any legal guarantee of the most fundamental human right, the right to life, to the innocent and defenseless unborn. [Not pulling punches.  First, he needs to present the status quaesitionis... the state of the question.] Our nation, which had its beginning in the commitment to safeguard and promote the inalienable right to “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” for all, without boundary, is more and more setting arbitrary limits to her commitment (cf. The Declaration of Independence: Action of Second Continental Congress, 4 July 1776, in The Constitution of the United States with the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation, New York: Barnes and Noble Books, 2002, p. 81). Those in power now determine who will or will not be accorded the legal protection of the most fundamental right to life. First the legal protection of the right to life is denied to the unborn and, then, to those whose lives have become burdened by advanced years, special needs or serious illness, or whose lives are somehow judged to be unprofitable or unworthy[He shows what happens when the first and most fundamental right is violated.  Note especially that "unprofitable".]

7. What is more, those in power propose to force physicians and other healthcare professionals, in other words, those with a particular responsibility to protect and foster human life, to participate, contrary to what their conscience requires, in the destruction of unborn human lives, from the first or embryonic stage of development to the moment of birth. Our laws may soon force those who have dedicated themselves to the care of the sick and the promotion of good health to give up their noble life work, in order to be true to the most sacred dictate of their consciences. [In this case, consciences formed according to the teaching of the Church on the matter of the sanctity of life and abortion.  All Catholics are obliged to form their consciences according to the teachings of the Church.] What is more, if our nation continues down the path it has taken, healthcare institutions operating in accord with the natural moral law, which teaches us that innocent human life is to be protected and fostered at all times and that it is always and everywhere evil to destroy an innocent human life, will be forced to close their doors.

8. At the same time, the fundamental society, that is, the family, [Note what he calls the family... "the fundamental society".] upon which the life of our nation is founded and depends, is under attack by legislation which redefines marriage to include a relationship between two persons of the same sex and permits them to adopt children. [This tear apart the fundamental bonds of society.  It unravels the basis of trust and confidence in relationships.  Also, redefintion of marriage as anything other than one man and one woman opens the way to all manner of appalling consequences.  There would be nothing standing in the way, ultimately, of approving marriage between a person and a dog or also legalizing child abuse.]  In the same line, it is proposed to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. At the root of the confusion and error about marriage is the contraceptive mentality – which would have us believe that the inherently procreative nature of the conjugal union can, in practice, be mechanically or chemically eliminated, while the marital act remains unitive. It cannot be so. With unparalleled arrogance, our nation is choosing to renounce its foundation upon the faithful, indissoluble, and inherently procreative love of a man and a woman in marriage, and, in violation of what nature itself teaches us, to replace it with a so-called marital relationship, according to the definition of those who exercise the greatest power in our society[read: raw exercise of power]

9. The path [In other words... there is more of this come...] of violation of the most fundamental human rights and of the integrity of marriage and the family, which our nation is traveling, is not accidental. It is part of the program set forth by those whom we have freely chosen to lead our nation. The part of the program in question was not unknown to us; it was announced to us beforehand [note how he has scrapped the candy-coating off every edge of the question and left the bare bones conclusion that Catholics heard what was coming and the helped it happen.  It is our responsibility.  People voted for those who are in power and those who are elected are not faithful and those who were responsible to teach both groups... didn't.] and a majority of our fellow citizens, including a majority of our fellow Catholics, chose the leadership which is now implementing it with determination. [Keep in mind as you read, and this is long, that Archbp. Burke is a canonist.  He is building a case.  He lays down the state of the question, presents the interpretive principles and starts offering concrete examples and proofs.] For example, I refer to our President’s declared support of the Freedom of Choice Act, which would make illegal any legislation restricting procured abortion; his repeal of the Mexico City Policy, permitting U.S. funding of procured abortion in other nations, together with the grant of fifty million dollars to the United Nations Fund for Population Activities which, for example, supported the Republic of China’s policy of one child per family by means of government-dictated sterilization and abortion; his proposal to rescind the regulations appended to the federal Conscience Clause, which assure that, not only physicians, but also all health-care workers may refuse to provide services, information or counsel to patients regarding medications and procedures which are contrary to their conscience; his removal of limitations on federal funding of embryonic-stem-cell research, involving the wholesale destruction of human life at the embryonic stage of development; [big point here] and his choice of the members of his administration, who are remarkable for the number of major officials, including several Catholics, who favor the denial of the right to life to the unborn and the violation of the integrity of marriage and the family. These are only some examples of a consistent pattern of decisions by the leadership of our nation which is taking our nation down a path [there is more to come] which denies the fundamental right to life to the innocent and defenseless unborn and violates the fundamental integrity of the marital union and the family.

10. As Catholics, [the theme of "Catholic identity" again...] we cannot fail to note, with the greatest sadness, the number of our fellow Catholics, elected or appointed by our President to public office, who cooperate fully ["cooperate fully"... men like Archbp. Burke don't use phrases like this by accident] in the advancement of a national agenda was is anti-life and anti-family. Most recently, the appointment of a Catholic as Secretary of Health and Human Services, who has openly and persistently cooperated with the industry of procured abortion in our nation, [Does that sound like grounds for excommunication?  If not that, denial of Communion?] is necessarily a source of the deepest embarrassment [read: scandal] to Catholics and a painful reminder of the most serious responsibility of Catholics to uphold the natural moral law, which is the irreplaceable foundation of just relationships among the citizens of our nation. It grieves me to say that the support of anti-life legislation by Catholics in public office is so common that [watch this... the effect of persistent scandal] those who are not Catholic have justifiably questioned whether the Church’s teaching regarding the inviolable dignity of innocent human life is firm and unchanging. It gives the impression that the Church herself can change the law which God has written on every human heart from the beginning of time and has declared in the Fifth Commandment of the Decalogue: Thou shalt not kill.

11. As is clear, the anti-life and anti-family path [there is more coming] down which our nation is being led has repercussions for many other peoples who rely upon the United States for aid or who are influenced by the international policies upon which our nation insists. The interest of so many nations in our recent presidential election is a clear sign of the world leadership which our national leadership exercises. What those who were so enthused about the strong message of change and hope in the United States, delivered during the last election campaign, are now discovering is a consistent implementation of policies and programs which confirm and advance the culture of death, which can only finally leave our world without the great hope, [note the word "hope"] described by our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI in these words:

Let us say once again: we need the greater and lesser hopes that keep us going day by day. But these are not enough without the great hope, which must surpass everything else. [The Pope sets up a hierarchy.] This great hope can only be God, who encompasses the whole of reality and who can bestow upon us what we, by ourselves, cannot attain. The fact that it comes to us as a gift is actually part of hope. God is the foundation of hope: not any god, but the God who has a human face and who has loved us to the end, each one of us and humanity in its entirety. His Kingdom is not an imaginary hereafter, situated in a future that will never arrive; his Kingdom is present wherever he is loved and wherever his love reaches us. [It is present, but not totally to be realize in this world... through government intervention.]

His love alone gives us the possibility of soberly persevering day by day, without ceasing to be spurred on by hope, in a world which by its very nature is imperfect. His love is at the same time our guarantee of the existence of what we only vaguely sense and which nevertheless, in our deepest self, we await: a life that is truly life
[Not a life mired in death.] (Pope Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Spe salvi, On Christian Hope, 30 November 2007, Acta Apostolicae Sedis no. 31).

The [watch the choice of words here.] change which brings hope [hmmm... change and hope] can only be the renewal of our nation in the divine love which respects the inviolable dignity of every human life, from the moment of its inception to the moment of natural death, [Who was it who voted against provisions to give aid to babies who survived abortion?] and which creates and gives growth to new human life through the love of man and woman in marriage. Any hope which is incoherent with the great hope is truly illusory and can never bring forth justice and its fruit, peace, for our nation and world.

Addressing the Crisis

12. How can we as Catholics ["we as Catholics"... again... we cannot contribute to the public square if we do not know who we are.] address effectively the critical situation of our nation in what pertains to the fundamental right to life and the integrity of the family? What does the virtue of patriotism, together with all of the virtues inspired by the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, require of us for the common good, for the good of the whole nation? First and foremost, it demands what we are doing this morning, that is, prayer, and the serious reflection which arises from our communion with God in prayer.

[So, he has started to set out another phase of the argument...  and so he will give examples to support his case.]

13. When Our Lord descended from the Mount of the Transfiguration, he found that his disciples had tried, without success, to help a boy afflicted by an unclean spirit. Our Lord then cast out the unclean spirit, prompting his disciples, when they were alone with Him, to ask why they had been unable to free the boy from his affliction. Our Lord responded with these words: This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting (Mk 9:29). Our Lord reminded them that the good which they wished to accomplish in the face of great evil could only be attained through prayer and fasting. In other words, evil cannot be overcome by our own forces alone, but by the grace of God which inspires and strengthens our thoughts and actions. It is Christ alone who has accomplished the victory over sin and its most evil fruit, eternal death, and it is Christ alone, in the Church, who continues to bring forth the fruits of His victory in our lives and in our world.

14. In the battle for the protection of the right to life and for the safeguarding of the integrity of marriage and the family in our nation, we are easily tempted to give way to discouragement. [The first example in the paragraph above was the Transfiguration, by which the Lord wanted to strengthen his chief apostles in the face of the terrible Passion to come.] And it would be right to do so, if the outcome of the battle depended upon us alone. But it does not. Christ is with us always in the Church and, in a particular way, in the struggle to restore the respect for the right to life of all of our brothers and sisters, especially those who are helpless and who have the first title to our care, and to safeguard the integrity of marriage and the family. Christ Who is the Gospel of Life, encountered [I like the use of the word "encounter".  I am constantly talking about our need to have an encounter with Mystery in worship.] in prayer and through the Sacraments, will give us the strength to announce His word of life and to act upon His word of life, on behalf of all in our nation, especially those who depend upon us to care for them and protect their God-given rights.

15. If we are serious about our patriotic duty, [pietas] then we must pray everyday for our leaders, especially our President, and our nation. We should also practice more fervently our fasting and abstinence for the conversion of our lives and the transformation of our society. If we want to act for the common good, the good of all, in our nation, then we will seek to convert our lives each day to Christ, especially through the Sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist. [This part is great...] Christ desires to announce the Gospel of Life and bring about its saving effects in our nation by the complete conversion of our lives to Him for the sake of all our brothers and sisters, without boundary, and for the sake of the preservation of the sanctuary of human life, marriage and the family.

16. At various times of great crisis in our nation and in the world, the Holy Father and our Bishops have called upon all Catholics to offer special prayers for the nation and for the world. I recall so well, from my youth, the Leonine Prayers [From a man who knows well the older form of Mass.] offered at the conclusion of every Mass to address the growing threat of atheistic materialism in our world. Remember, too, how Pope Saint Pius V, in 1571, called upon the whole Church to pray, especially through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, when the Christian world was under attack by the Turks. [Another existential threat.] After the victory of the Battle of Lepanto, on October 7, 1571, he established October 7th as an annual feast in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary and introduced the title of Mary Help of Christians into the Litany of Loreto. In the present crisis, praying daily the Rosary for our nation and invoking daily the intercession of Mary Help of Christians will be powerful forces for the victory of life and love. 

[The first part was the more theoretical and now we come to concrete steps.]

17. At every Mass, we should offer special prayers for our nation and her leaders, in order that the culture of death may be overcome and a civilization of love may be steadfastly advanced. All Catholics throughout the nation should take part in Eucharistic adoration and in the praying of the Rosary for the restoration of the respect for human life and for the safeguarding of the integrity of the family. In our prayers, we should seek, above all, the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, under her title of the Immaculate Conception. Mary Immaculate is the patroness of our nation. In a most wonderful way, she appeared, on our continent, in what is present-day Mexico City, in 1531, as the Immaculate Mother of God, in order to manifest the all-merciful love of God toward His children of America. Through her example and intercession, the Native Americans and Europeans, who were on the brink of a most deadly conflict, [He cited existential threats, above... now he says "deadly conflict".  He has used the image of "down the path".] were brought together to form one people under her maternal care, and the widespread practice of human sacrifice among the native people was brought to an end. In our time, in many parishes and dioceses there are campaigns of prayer for our nation and her leaders. May these powerful spiritual works continue and prosper, so that, through prayer and fasting, the grave evils of contraception, procured abortion, euthanasia, the experimentation on embryonic human life, and so-called same-sex marriage may be overcome in our nation.

18. Connected with our prayer must be the thoughtful and faithful reflection upon the Church’s teaching [We must know who we are as Catholics!] on the respect for all human life and the integrity of the family. In our homes, in our Catholic schools and universities, in parish study groups, and in everyday conversations and discussions with our neighbors, we are called to give an uncompromising witness to the Gospel of Life. Parents, parish priests and institutions of Catholic education must be aware of the constant anti-life and anti-family messages which constantly bombard us and our young people. One has only to think, for example, of the corruption of the goodness of our youth by the multi-million dollar industry of pornography, especially on the Internet. Our reflection as individuals and groups must open our eyes to the gravity of the situation in our nation, lest we fail to take responsibility for the widespread attacks on human life and the family. Our reflection must help us all and, in a particular way, our young people to see the godless secularism and relativism which underly and justify our nation’s anti-life and anti-family programs, policies and laws.

19. [A reason we need to know who we are as Catholics is so that we can contribute in the public square.] Our encounter with the world must be clear and uncompromising. [Again, I like the encounter.  In worship we are formed especially by God, by Mystery.  We go into the world and form it.] Parents must reflect in their daily living the lifelong and rich fruit of the Gospel of Life, which they are called to teach to their children. Catholic educational institutions [like..... Notre Dame?] must devote themselves ever more strenuously to the study of the truths of the faith, addressing them to the moral challenges of our time. In a culture marked by widespread and grave confusion and error about the most fundamental teachings of the moral law, our Catholic schools and universities must be beacons of truth and right conduct. Clearly, the same is true of our Catholic charitable, missionary and healthcare institutions. There can be no place in them for teaching or activities which offend the moral law. Dialogue and respect for differences are not promoted by the compromise and even violation of the natural moral law. [Excellent.  Now watch...] The profound granting of an honorary doctorate at Notre Dame University to our President who is as aggressively advancing an anti-life and anti-family agenda is a source of the gravest scandal. ["gravest scandal"] Catholic institutions cannot offer any platform to, let alone honor, those who teach and act publicly against the moral law. In a culture which embraces an agenda of death, Catholics and Catholic institutions are necessarily counter-cultural. If we as individuals or our Catholic institutions are not willing to accept the burdens and the suffering necessarily involved in calling our culture to reform, then we are not worthy of the name Catholic. ["Not worthy of the name of Catholic"!]

Catholics and Public Life

20. Our prayer and conversion of life, and the serious reflection upon and study of the truths of the moral life, both as individuals and in our Catholic institutions, require that we accept our responsibility as citizens to work tirelessly to change unjust programs, policies and laws. In a nation set so firmly on a path of violation of the most fundamental moral norms, Catholics and others who adhere to the natural moral law are pressured to think that their religious commitment to the moral law as the way of seeking the good of all is a merely confessional matter which cannot have any application in public life. ["merely confessional matter"... in other words that, even though as a Catholic I am personally against XYZ, I can't "impose" my beliefs on others.  Conversely, you don't have a right to force your "Catholic" views on me ... when of course we usually can appeal at the level of the natural law.] Apparently, a number of Catholics in public life have been so convinced. [Yep... here we go!] How often do we hear Catholic legislators who vote in favor of anti-life and anti-family legislation claim that they are personally opposed to what the legislation protects and fosters, but that they as public officials may not allow religious beliefs to affect their support of such legislation? How often do we hear fellow Catholics supporting candidates for office, who are anti-life and anti-family, because of political-party loyalties or for reasons of other policies and programs supported by the candidate, which they deem to be good? How often is such thinking justified by the claim that religious faith is a purely private matter and has no place in the public forum? On the contrary, the common good depends upon the active engagement of religious faith in the public forum. [As I usually say, in the public square.  Same thing.]

[Again, watch how he provides his proofs for his case.]

21. Addressing the role of the Church in the political order, Pope Benedict XVI reminds us:

It must not be forgotten that, when Churches or ecclesial communities intervene in public debate, expressing reservations or recalling various principles, this does not constitute a form of intolerance or interference, since such interventions are aimed solely at enlightening consciences, enabling them to act freely and responsibly, according to the true demands of justice, even when this should conflict with situations of power and personal interest (Pope Benedict XVI, Ad Congressum a Populari Europae Faction provectum, Acta Apostolicae Sedis 98 [2006], 344)."

In his Encyclical Letter Deus caritas est, our Holy Father reminded us of the great gift of our faith which enables reason to do its work more effectively and to see its proper object more clearly (Pope Benedict XVI, Encylical Letter Deus caritas est , On Christian Love, 25 December 2005, Acta Apostolicae Sedis 98 [2006], 239, no. 28). When the Church addresses her social teaching to issues of the common good, she has no intention of giving the Church power over the State or to impose on those who do not share the faith ways of thinking and modes of conduct proper to faith (Deus caritas est, no. 28). Her aim, which is our aim as patriotic Catholics, is simply to help purify reason and to contribute, here and now, to the acknowledgment and attainment of what is just (Deus caritas est, no. 28). In addressing the critical issues of our nation, the Church and we, as her faithful sons and daughters, intervene on the basis of reason and natural law, namely, on the basis of what is in accord with the nature of every human being (Deus caritas est, no. 28).

22. Our uncompromising commitment to protect the inviolable dignity of innocent human life and to safeguard the integrity of marriage and the family are not based on peculiar confessional beliefs or practices but on the natural moral law, written on every heart and, therefore, a fundamental part of the Church’s moral teaching. At the same time, what is always and everywhere evil cannot be called good for the sake of accomplishing some other good end. [And this part is the reponse to the Kmiec Catholics and others who seek to side-step the abortion issue in a cloud of other pressing social concerns.] All of us must be concerned about a wide range of goods which are important to the life of our nation, but the concern for those goods can never justify the betrayal of the fundamental goods of life itself and the family. We must take care to uproot from our moral thinking any form of relativism, consequentialism and proportionalism, which would lead us into the error of thinking that it is sometimes right to do what is always and everywhere evil[Excellent.]

23. An important part of our moral reflection must include a clear understanding of the principles regarding cooperation in evil, especially by the act of voting. [VOTING!] Too often, in our time, our inability to accomplish all that we should for the sake of the defense of the right to life and of the protection of the integrity of the family is used to justify the direct choice of a political leader who espouses a position or positions in violation of the natural moral law. [Kmiec and so many others.] The Servant of God Pope John Paul II, in his Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae, addresses at length the question of cooperation in evil which violates the dignity of innocent human life. [Watch..] He offers as an example the case of a legislator who has the possibility of voting for a law which would restrict the evil of procured abortion, even though it would not eradicate it completely. He concludes that the legislator could vote for the legislation, while his own opposition to procured abortion remains clear, for his vote does not in fact represent an illicit cooperation with an unjust law, but rather a legitimate and proper attempt to limit its evil aspects (Pope John Paul II, Encylical Letter Evangelium vitae , On the Good and Inviolability of Human Life, 25 March 1995, Acta Apostolicae Sedis 87 [1995], 487, no. 73). [Keep going... don't tire now!] In an analogous manner, as voters, we are often faced with a choice among candidates who do not fully oppose unjust laws. In such a case, we must choose the candidate who will most limit the evil effects of unjust laws. But, there is no element of the common good, no morally good practice, which a candidate may promote and to which a voter may be dedicated, which could justify voting for a candidate who also endorses and supports the deliberate killing of the unborn, euthanasia or the recognition of a same-sex relationship as a legal marriage. The respect for the inviolable dignity of innocent human life and for the integrity of marriage and the family are so fundamental to the common good that they cannot be subordinated to any other cause, no matter how good it may be[And that is that!]

24. In the present situation of our nation, a serious question has arisen about the moral obligation of Catholics to work for the overturning of the Supreme Court decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton. There are those who would tell us that such work is futile and, therefore, is to be abandoned, so that we can devote ourselves to help prevent individuals from choosing abortion. [Sound familiar?] As Catholics, [there is that identity issue again] we can never cease to work for the correction of gravely unjust laws. Law is a fundamental expression of our culture and implicitly teaches citizens what is morally acceptable. Our efforts to assist those who are tempted to do what is always and everywhere wrong or are suffering from the effects of having committed a gravely immoral act, which are essential expressions of the charity which unites us as citizens of the nation, [Unjust laws, against natural law, tear apart the bonds of society.   The idea is that it is the act of a true patriot to seek to over turn those laws.]  ultimately make little sense, if we remain idle regarding unjust laws and decisions of the courts regarding the same intrinsic evils. We are never justified in abandoning the work of changing legislation and of reversing decisions of the courts which are anti-life and anti-family.

Conclusion

25. As we gather this morning to pray for our nation, let us draw courage and strength from the glorious pierced Heart of Our Lord Jesus. Let us not give way to discouragement in our exercise of patriotism but rather be confident of the essential contribution which our Catholic faith makes to the life of our nation. [Again... identity and contribution.]

26. May the courage and strength which comes to us from the Sacred Heart of Jesus enlighten our minds to see more clearly the gravity of the situation of our nation and inflame our hearts to do our part to transform the life of our nation, in accord with the natural moral law, that is, with what is just and serves the good of all. Let us draw courage and strength from the Sacred Heart of Jesus through prayer and the Sacraments, especially the Sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist. May the courage and strength of Christ guide our reflection on the state of our nation and lead us to that just action, taught to us by our faith, which serves the good of all.

27. Invoking the intercession of Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of America, let us pray today and everyday that we as Catholics, true to our faith and, therefore, patriotically devoted to our nation, may promote respect for all human life, safeguard the sanctity of marriage and the family, and, thereby, foster the good of all in the nation and in the world.

Thank you. God bless you.

This is a plan of action.

This is a plan of battle.

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70 Responses to Archbp. Burke’s Keynote at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast

  1. LCB says:

    Just finished reading this over at Rocco’s, going to enjoy your comments.

    There is a phrase I like to use, “Be careful when you say things that can’t be taken back.” There is no going back from this. One either stands with Burke or stands against him.

    Many of us have prayed for years for episcopal leadership like this, and we better be prepared to stand up for the man and to deal with the consequences that following such leadership brings.

    Blessed Cdl. Vol Galen, pray for us.

  2. BLC says:

    God bless Archbishop Burke!

  3. Central Valley says:

    Thanks be to all might God that we have real men like Archbishop Burke in the Church in our time. Archbishop Burke says and does what the majority of American bishop refuse to do….teach and preach the truth. Here in the State of California we suffer greatly. As of this writing I don’t know of one California bishop to speak publicly about the Notre Dame scandal. The Archbishops speech would never be printed in the Fresno diocese newpaper. Fresno Bishop John T. Steinbock has said he does not what to politicize the Eucharist. This is not a polical issue it is an issue of life and death, and issue or right and wrong. The bishop of Fresno and of other american dioceses may be too cowardly to speak on these important issues but thank God Archbishop Burke is not. Pray God for more American bishops like Archbishop Burke, oh how we suffer in California…

  4. Sandra in Severn says:

    Thank-you Father for this posting. Prayers tonight for priests and pastors like Archbishop Burke, and for others to be set afire with the Holy Spirit in these trying times. Teach us and lead us.

  5. Mark says:

    A “plan for battle”…? No offense, but this is no speech of Blessed Urban II to the Council of Clermont:

    “All who die by the way, whether by land or by sea, or in battle against the pagans, shall have immediate remission of sins. This I grant them through the power of God with which I am invested. O what a disgrace if such a despised and base race, which worships demons, should conquer a people which has the faith of omnipotent God and is made glorious with the name of Christ! With what reproaches will the Lord overwhelm us if you do not aid those who, with us, profess the Christian religion! Let those who have been accustomed unjustly to wage private warfare against the faithful now go against the infidels and end with victory this war which should have been begun long ago. Let those who for a long time, have been robbers, now become knights. Let those who have been fighting against their brothers and relatives now fight in a proper way against the barbarians. Let those who have been serving as mercenaries for small pay now obtain the eternal reward. Let those who have been wearing themselves out in both body and soul now work for a double honor. Behold! on this side will be the sorrowful and poor, on that, the rich; on this side, the enemies of the Lord, on that, his friends. Let those who go not put off the journey, but rent their lands and collect money for their expenses; and as soon as winter is over and spring comes, let hem eagerly set out on the way with God as their guide.”

    Now THAT’S a speech! [So?] In our day, however, not even one politician has been formally excommunicated even though innocent babies are being SLAUGHTERED by the millions. And we’re told the most proactive we can be is to pray and vote. Makes you wonder how seriously these bishops really take everything. [Archbp. Burke cannot excommunicate anyone. Also, consider the times and the context. Finally... you need to learn not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Thus... don't run down something that is very good.]

  6. Nicknackpaddywack says:

    Pretty remarkable.

  7. thetimman says:

    LCB is right. I am with Abp. Burke and the Holy Father. God protect us all.

  8. If this is a Battle, and Burke is our Captain, I would willing follow him into battle and to death.

    I love how he mentions Patriotism. Burke was involved with the KofC when he was here, so I am sure he meditated on it well.

  9. Apologies for focusing on the most unimportant trivial bit of his speech, but:

    okay, I know it’s good policy to footnote your sources. But when you assert that the Declaration of Independence contains the phrase “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” do you really need a footnote???

    *grin*

  10. mfg says:

    Ecce Sacerdos Magnus Archbishop Burke! Here’s hoping that two-thirds of the American bishops who are happy to remain impassive and apathetic on the sidelines will take courage from Abp Burke’s words and lift high the banner of Christ. One wonders why they became priests. What are they afraid of? Especially the California bishops–not a word!

  11. Aaron says:

    He’s drawn the battle lines. Or to be more accurate, he’s pointed out the lines of the battle we’ve been losing for years, without most people realizing there was a battle going on.

  12. JC says:

    Essentially, this speech is a sumamry of _Evangelium Vitae_, which I reread in its entirety last night at Adoration.

    I wonder what God has in store for the Church, particularly regarding Archbishop Burke. We know how hated he is by the Catholic Left in this country, and the Randall Terry debacle cost him some face. But what has been interesting since Pope Benedict acceded to the Chair of St. Peter is the attempt to “find the Next Ratzinger.” Early on, it seemed to be Archbishop Trujillo, but he died prematurely. Now, there is uncertainty regarding both Cardinal Canizares Llovera (due to his health) and Archbishop Ranjith.

    Liturgically, morally, canonically, Archbishop Burke is a man after Pope Benedict’s heart.

  13. Dear Fr. Zuhlsdorf,

    Back in 2006, a friend dubbed PBXVI’s remarks at his old university, “The Regensburg Manifesto”, and the term has stuck.

    With this statement, Archbishop Burke has done something similar for American Catholics – or will have, if they do decide to fight (or ridicule), rather than ignore. [The Breakfast Manifesto]

    I am afraid they might employ the latter tactic.

    Best,
    C.

  14. Aaron says:

    Chris, a few months ago I would have predicted we’d do nothing too. But I think Catholics are just starting to wake up to the fact that our enemies are going to attack us regardless of whether we pretend they don’t exist. Obama has abandoned the simmer-the-frog-slowly approach and brought the fight to us, declaring his intention to take even the smallest restrictions on abortion away from the states and coming after our hospitals and caregivers–and with the new hate crimes laws, threatening our right to even speak out as Catholics as the Archbishop did here.

    By so brazenly attacking us, they may bring us together in defense of Church and Faith in a way that we never could have done ourselves. Look how many of our bishops have caught on.

  15. Clinton says:

    LCB makes an excellent point. We have for years prayed for more men with “episcopal spines”. Yet when we
    have one such as this, are we ready to back him up, to encourage him, defend him, to examine ourselves and
    our actions in the light of what he has said?

    Archbishop Burke is a lion for the Faith. The long knives will be out for him. I’m sure the Reeses and McBriens and
    Kmiecs of this world will denigrate and mischaracterize his statements. The mainstream media will do everything but
    dispassionately engage his arguments. The good Archbishop is setting himself up to be savaged by the Culture of
    Death unless we stand up for him. If we do not, we must admit to ourselves that we were not worthy of one like this,
    for we lacked “laymen’s spines”.

  16. Maggie45 says:

    I just have to thank you so much for your “black” and “red”. I had read the document at another site, but here you bring it to life! [That's the idea! Thanks!]

  17. Scott says:

    mfg is right. One does often wonder why some of our Priest became Priest in the first place. They seem so scared of their Catholic and Preistly identity

  18. Andrew, medievalist says:

    For those who say “Oh look, the Vatican doens’t really care about the Notre Dame affair,” I rejoin, “I think Pope Benedict just unleashed a domini canem!”. And in a brilliant strategic move in this war, for this is no accident, Benedict knowing precisely where his archbishops such as Burke are, no one will attack the Vatican because the Pope is on another front in the Middle East.

  19. Jose says:

    THANK YOU. What does it mean to be Catholic today? This is it!

  20. sacerdos in germania says:

    Kerpow! Biff! Zok! Blam! That says it all…oh and a galero for that man in the violet zucchetto.

    God bless Archbishop Burke and long life to him!

  21. Mark VA says:

    Archbishop Burke gives his voice in support of the authentic Magisterium of our Church. Sadly, we live in times where there is a strong second voice, cleverly pretending to teach the Catholic Faith as well. May the confused Catholic “masses” discern the voice of the true shepherd, and choose to follow Him.

  22. Dominic says:

    Wow. Thanks for posting that, Father.

  23. JeanS says:

    Excellent! We miss our dear Archbishop Burke in St Louis. But as long as God’s will is being done, we are content.
    Just reread “The Last Battle” by C.S. Lewis – fight the good fight no matter how bad things look.

  24. puella says:

    Many of us have prayed for years for episcopal leadership like this, and we better be prepared to stand up for the man and to deal with the consequences that following such leadership brings.

    Very true words. Very true indeed.

  25. Joe from Pittsburgh says:

    Notice the many differences between Archbishop Burke and Archbishop Wuerl.

    One would not hear those words from Archbishop Wuerl.

    Notice also how Fr. Z pointed out Archbishop Burke’s affinity for the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. While in Pittsburgh, then-Bishop Wuerl tolerated it.

    One day, our Papa Benedetto will receive is place in the Master’s house. Archbishop Burke – Habemus Papam!

  26. Aux armes! — To the Rosary! To the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass!

  27. fr.franklyn mcafee says:

    The Archdiocese of Washington was nervous.Archbishop Wuerl was absent both from the breakfast and from the mass.So were his auxiliaries.Cardinal Baum attended the mass and greeted Arch.Burke warmly.The Archbishop of Baghdad was also there.I preached the sermon for the mass and Iwas told that I had to submit my text beforehand.

  28. fr.franklyn mcafee says:

    I should add I had to submit my text to the Archdiocese .

  29. Jill says:

    Abp. Burke’s speech would be an excellent foundation for homilies throughout the nation — in particular, the steps we need to take to do our part as Catholics.

    Thanks be to God for the courage given to Abp. Burke and other brave and faithful bishops and priests in these times. Thank you, Father, for your commentary. Jill

  30. David Kastel says:

    “It must not be forgotten that, when Churches or ecclesial communities intervene in public debate, expressing reservations or recalling various principles, this does not constitute a form of intolerance or interference, since such interventions are aimed solely at enlightening consciences…”

    “AIMED SOLELY AT ENLIGHTENING CONSCIENCES”

    This selection is out of place in this speech, since it seems to support rather than oppose the idea of “personally opposed, but I can’t force my opinion on others through the laws of the state” position. It appears to follow from the religious liberty / freedom of conscience novelties of Vatican 2. Hopefully, the Vatican will ‘clarify’ DH sooner rather than later so that Catholic politicians will not be able to hide behind this type of rationalizing. The speech is too focused on the political aspect of the culture of death, and the very tiny impact that voting has on it. The Courts are not subject to the electorate.

    I am disappointed the the Archbishop does not call for priests to preach from the pulpit about the evils which we know many, many Catholics engage in in their own lives. (For example, the widespread practice of contraception among Church-going Catholics.) This directly contributes to the culture of death. He calls for us to reflect upon the Church teaching, but where is the call for priests to inform the faithful about it, so that we can reflect upon it and change our lives and therefore all of society for the better?

    “Connected with our prayer must be the thoughtful and faithful reflection upon the Church’s teaching on the respect for all human life and the integrity of the family. In our homes, in our Catholic schools and universities, in parish study groups, and in everyday conversations and discussions with our neighbors, we are called to give an uncompromising witness to the Gospel of Life.”

  31. Crusader says:

    It is truly time to take a courageous, vocal, holy and prayerful stand against abortion, euthanasia, fetal experimentation, and the homosexual agenda. It is time to be truly Catholic and stand up for the Faith in public. It is time to stand against the enemies of the Faith, in our schools, in our workplaces and in Washington. It is time for a new Crusade against the evil in our nation. Choose your sides, fellow Catholics. You are either with the Lord or against Him. It is time to take back our country.

  32. Sid says:

    Now more than ever we need a political party similar to the old Centrum, a political party that would work to advance Catholic Social Teaching and would be a part of the Centrist Democratic International, or at least, the the spirit of Windthorst, a party that would work to protect Catholic interests in an anti-Catholic country. Anyone know of and effort to establish such a party in the USA?

  33. Matt says:

    God often raises up heroes of the faith in times of battle, yet it is not until history looks back at the conflict that they are recognized as heroes.

  34. Emily says:

    Thank you for posting this! A wonderful speech and a true battle cry.

  35. Alice Albwright says:

    Once again, Archbishop Burke has demonstrated that his ability to make clear the teachings of the Church is second only to that of Pope Benedict XVI.

  36. PS says:

    Does anyone have the text of the homily given at the Mass the night before? That was pretty awesome.

  37. balthasar says:

    Burke is deluded. Roe V Wade will never be overturned and no democratic country will ever criminalise all abortions. Natural law arguments just don’t provide a compelling case against abortion etc in the secular, public domain.

  38. TNCath says:

    Amen! Alleluia! Thank God for this faithful shepherd.

  39. Julie Collorafi says:

    Could this be the definitive answer at last to Mario Cuomo’s 1984 Notre Dame Speech which paved the way for Catholic pro-abortion politicians?

  40. irishgirl says:

    Wow-I’m glad you put ‘the red and the black’ into this, Fr. Z!

    Huzzah to the Lion of St. Louis, now in Rome! Give him the red hat!

    Yes, Fr. George in Lourdes-Aux Armes! Get out your weapons….the Mass and the Rosary!

  41. Dear Aaron,

    You wrote at 1:45 AM,

    “[A] few months ago I would have predicted we’d do nothing too. But I think Catholics are just starting to wake up to the fact that our enemies are going to attack us regardless of whether we pretend they don’t exist. Obama has abandoned the simmer-the-frog-slowly approach and brought the fight to us, declaring his intention to take even the smallest restrictions on abortion away from the states and coming after our hospitals and caregivers—and with the new hate crimes laws, threatening our right to even speak out as Catholics as the Archbishop did here.

    “By so brazenly attacking us, they may bring us together in defense of Church and Faith in a way that we never could have done ourselves. Look how many of our bishops have caught on.”

    Just to be clear: I was talking about the radical laicite ideologoues. They are the ones I think might simply ignore not only Abp Burke but the mobilization of the Amercian Catholic faithful, generally.

    This is not a desperate thought: it builds on something Fr. Zuhlsdorf quoted the other day. Mahatma Ghandi once apparently said something to the effect of, “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.”

    Best,
    C.

  42. RJSciurus says:

    balthasar:
    And we will never all love one another and the poor will be with us always and not everyone will come to accept Jesus Christ and the Detroit Lions will never win the Super Bowl. That does not relieve us of the calling and obligation to work toward these goals.

    2 Timothy 4:7 – I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.

    Paul does not say that he won the race. He simply did all he could.

  43. Brian says:

    I pray this address is boldly proclaimed throughout the Church

  44. Chironomo says:

    Burke is deluded. Roe V Wade will never be overturned and no democratic country will ever criminalise all abortions.

    I think Archbishop Burke is saying that as Catholics, we must not accept a position that allows for the defense of Roe V. Wade in exchange for other socially conscious positions. Even if Roe V. Wade will never be overturned, the Catholic position must always be in opposition to it. We cannot accept it simply because it is futile to defeat it. In other words…the Catholic position is always to oppose laws which favor abortion in any way. He is in no way deluded in thinking this….

  45. michigancatholic says:

    Balthasar. Natural law applies to all living beings, even those too ignorant or deluded (or just plain stupid) to realize it. Never forget that. What is, is.

    The ignorant need to be educated. The evil (and stupid) need to be bound by the rule of law in accord with natural law. Putative law that violates natural law is no law at all. Rather, it is flawed by impediments of the most original sort. It’s mere injunction by force. You’d ought to know that.

    For instance, if a law were passed that said that I should fly Icarus-like to work every morning (on my own steam) to save energy, votes could be tallied and sentences could be written. The president could applaud it to the skies. But would it make flying on my own steam possible? No. Of course not. It’s always possible to enact things that are truly idiotic because they’re in violation with natural law. This is because there are always people who are utterly clueless about natural law. It’s a sort of monumental organic stupidity to which people in large groups with grand aspirations are prone to. Call it a cosmetically engineered veneer. Pseudo-progress at it’s finest.

    However, this phenomenal sort of stupidity, even at its grandest, still doesn’t make natural law impotent. Natural law is always still there, underneath everything. What is, is, regardless of what anyone might say about it. I will not fly using my own arms anytime soon, just as abortion will not be morally right anytime soon (or ever). So, balthasar, restrain your pessimism–it’s unbecoming, short-sighted and makes you look like someone who hasn’t looked in the mirror at their own humanity in 20 years.

    It’s an immemorial feature of existence: Natural law always wins. Don’t be caught on the wrong side or you will suffer, sooner or later… The longer it takes the harder the hammer falls. That’s how it is and always will be, like it or not.

    PS, I’m a scientist and I’m well aware that most people think science is what it is not. Science tells you how (always within the scope of natural law), not why. Why is the business of revelation. Natural law is the business of normalization and enforcement of the rules of existence. You defy it at your peril. It’s stronger than anything you’ve ever known and you don’t want to mess with it. It doesn’t “dialogue.” It’s mean and kind all at once and you have no control over it. Rather, it regulates YOU.

  46. michigancatholic says:

    Julie,

    Good call. This is exactly the question taken up in a front page article of the National Catholic Register (vol 85, #19, May 10-16). I think that the events of this year, including Mary Ann Glendon’s refusal of the Laetare medal, are the sequel to the Cuomo speech of 1984 and so does the author of that article… IT comes full circle. And ND has finally, as that article remarks, lost its “untouchable” power because of its lack of leadership and the putridity of its fundamental programme. Make no mistake: ND tried to speak over the top of the bishops and contradict their voice. It worked for a while but no longer. The truth is out.

  47. LCB says:

    How can a person claim to be an adherant of a religion that claims a man rose from the dead, and then go on to claim that Roe V Wade will never be over turned?

  48. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    Burke says we must limit evil with our vote, but then says we can not vote for anyone who “supports the deliberate killing of the unborn, euthanasia or the recognition of a same-sex relationship as a legal marriage” Therefore, no one could have voted for either McCain (supports stem cell research, abortion for rape and incest) or Obama. This is pretty much the conclusion I came to for myself with regard to the abortion aspect, but I would never try force this on anyone.

    With regard to the marriage section, I think the state (unless it is a Catholic one) should stay out of the definition of marriage, and let it be governed by civil contracts. A non-Catholic country is only going to screw up the notion of marriage. Burke’s language is too little and too late to save marriage in this country. The war is over and the good lost. Divorce destroyed marriage in a way that nothing else could. Catholics should not waste their time fighting for serial polygamy (divorce), which is worse than actual polygamy.

    Finally, this speech will not be remembered even ten years from now. Burke is preaching to the choir, and his opinion carries no special weight. He is not speaking in his official capacity. He is speaking as a private citizen, who happens to have a position at the Vatican. I also think his speech boarders on nationalism as opposed to patriotism. It is one thing to ignore the sins of your nation when giving a speech, it is another to lie about them. He says: “Our nation, which had its beginning in the commitment to safeguard and promote the inalienable right to “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” for all, without boundary…” Yes, I am sure the black slave and the American Indian felt their Inalienable rights were “safeguarded by the government.” Burke has far too much blind faith in our nation’s political system. The problems of our nation go back to the founding. They certainly did not start or even get drastically worse three months ago.

  49. AAJD says:

    Those lines at the conclusion of paragraph 23 that you highlighted really do cut through so much confusion. How I deeply wish that this speech had been given a year ago when it could have functioned as a hermeneutic key through which to interpret the USCCB’s “Guide to Faithful Citizenship,” whose treatment was muddled and confusing (see nos. 34 et seq.) and provided, I think, an intolerable loop-hole to allow many Catholics to justify a vote for the present incumbent of the White House.

  50. wsxyz says:

    Chris Sarsfield: Did McCain support destroying embyronic humans in order to perform stem cell research, or did he support research with existing lines of stem cells that originally came from the destruction of human embyros (like President Bush), or did he support research using non-embryonic stem cells? Your accusation is too vague to be helpful.

  51. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    WSXYZ,

    Sorry for being so vague. Yes McCain voted to destroy embryonic humans when he voted for the bill in 2006 that President Bush vetoed. Q and A from McCain:

    Q: Would you expand federal funding of embryonic stem cell research?

    A: I believe that we need to fund this. This is a tough issue for those of us in the pro-life community. I would remind you that these stem cells are either going to be discarded or perpetually frozen. We need to do what we can to relieve human suffering. It’s a tough issue. I support federal funding.

    Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC May 3, 2007

    Hope this more helpful.

  52. Dave says:

    Roe v. Wade will never be overturned.

    We must accommodate the soviet hegemony, the Berlin wall will never fall.

    Those colonists have no chance against the mighty British Empire.

    That rag tag navy and its bastard commander will be crushed by the Ottoman juggernaut.

    This Cult of Jesus whorshippers will never thrive given the persecutions of the eternal
    Roman Empire.

    He saved others, he cannot save himself.

  53. Phil Steinacker says:

    fr.franklyn mcafee,

    Please say hi to Fr Scalia for me. I read a couple articles of his on Adoremus Bulletin last year, and altered my participation in singing inappropriate, non-worshipful \”hymns.\” I called him when friends at my church got on me about my refusal to sing songs that worship us and not Him. Fr. Scalia counseled me on my motives and the tone of my actual behavior so I could continue to refrain from that participation in a charitable way.

    I might add it turned out I needed no correction, but his support and validation was a true blessing to me. God bless him; they ceased their criticisms while not entirely satisfied (they don\’t convince easily when they LIKE what they\’re asked to give up).

    He also gave me real fodder for an idea I\’ve had since I may one day tell him about.

  54. Scott W. says:

    “With regard to the marriage section, I think the state (unless it is a Catholic one) should stay out of the definition of marriage”

    For Catholics, accepting the State-sponsored fiction of homosexual “marriage” no matter what term one chooses to call it, is not an option: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20030731_homosexual-unions_en.html

    Like abortion (note the similar language between the above document and Evangelium Vitae), opposition to anything that smells of legal recognition of homosexual unions is one of those hills faithful Catholics must be prepared to die on.

  55. Rose says:

    I understand from some media reports that for the first time the White House did not participate in the Prayer Breakfast..more evidence of this President’s “US is not a Christian nation” strategy? And does President Obama himself still claim to be a Christian?

  56. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    Scott W.

    As a Catholic politician I would obey this, but I still feel that it is imprudent to allow non-Catholic states to decide marriage questions, they always screw it up, and destroy the institution. I would also point out that the CDFs Note on Catholics in Political Life also requires Catholics to fight against divorce and to die on that hill as well:

    “Analogously, the family needs to be safeguarded and promoted, based on monogamous marriage between a man and a woman, and protected in its unity and stability in the face of modern laws on divorce: in no way can other forms of cohabitation be placed on the same level as marriage, nor can they receive legal recognition as such.”

    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20021124_politica_en.html

    America’s legality of divorce has helped to destroy the average Catholic’s understanding of marriage. America is a nation of heretics/pagans, and the laws of marriage have no chance of following the natural law, unless the nation is converted. I would never vote for any law of marriage that did not fit ALL the criteria of the Catholic understanding, but I am not going to waste my time and efforts fighting to save serial polygamy and calling it marriage.

  57. John Morrell says:

    “but I am not going to waste my time and efforts fighting to save serial polygamy and calling it marriage.”

    While the frustration is understandable, I disagree with the conclusion that since the U.S. laws concerning marriage are not right (no fault divorce, serial marriage, etc.) we should abandon the field. The liberal anti-Catholic laws that have been enacted over the past 50 years have been incremental in nature. These people are not fools. If you had told the common citizen a hundred years ago that we would be at this point on social issues, they would have called you crazy. But the liberals have assiduously hammered away at their agenda (first artificial contraception, then abortion, then euthanasia; first no-fault divorce, then homosexual pseudo-marriage, then polygamy, etc). All of these things are interconnected. If we are ever to correct the nonsense that is going on now (who knows when or if we ever will), it will occur in the same manner but in the opposite direction. As long as we are citizens of the U.S. it is our duty to fight these things every step of the way.

  58. Kristin says:

    I was at this breakfast and I just wanted to note that Abp. Burke received a standing ovation after he mentioned the scandal at Notre Dame.

  59. Ricky Vines says:

    I’m glad Abp. Burke is the ‘Chief Justice’ of the Holy See because, that makes his positions official specially when it comes to interpreting canon law. If another bishop will hold the contrary, then we know who speaks for the Apostles and who is a false prophet. It pains me to see and hear Abp. Wuerl contradict him and consequently cause confusion and even mislead the pols to think that their pro-abortion stance is tolerable or a necessary evil. I am really disgusted by that. But I look at Abp. Burke for hope.

  60. Ricky Vines says:

    Re: not reversing RoeVWade because it will be hard to implement, sounds irrational and illogical – as illustrated and explained earlier. Let me add that it is still the law in other countries. Anyone who wants to kill her unborn child, must go to a lot of trouble and expense or take a risk with a coat hanger. Why should a civilized society make it safe and legal for anyone to murder anybody? Just because others erroneously think the unborn does not have rights does not mean that we have to make laws to accommodate their error – specially when those laws are unfair and unjust to the unborn who has a right to live.

  61. John Polhamus says:

    “I think Catholics are just starting to wake up to the fact that our enemies are going to attack us regardless of whether we pretend they don’t exist.”

    I don’t want to present myself as prophetic, when percetive will do, but I’ve been predicting the path that Apb. Burke describes for some years now, in very specific terms, and it’s sobering and not a little frightening to finally hear the chief cannonist of Holy Mother spell it out on the doorstep of the White House in no uncertain terms. We face GREAT persecution, and with the tacit and even active persecution of members of our own faith. Is there anyone left who can wonder how the spectre of Nazi-ism arose so quickly? It had the inertia, apathy and complacency of the broad population of well intended people to help it on its way. We are in all liklihood going to see the extermination of “unprofitable lives” on a scale so vast as to be inconceivable, and people will look the other way and say “…but it’s for the best. They were unhappy anyway.” And we will be deemed fanatical for resisting “the program.” Be warned. Be prepared. Are we a “stand up” people any longer, or willing to stand and be counted, possibly killed, when others are content to sit and let it happen to someone else? We haven’t been required for quite some time to actually earn the name Catholic, but if required to “earn” it, how will you? What are you willing to give to defend the right to life of the neighbour next to you, who may or may not agree with you? There are TOUGH times coming, and “summer soldiers and sunshine patriots”, Sunshine Catholics will be all to easy to find.

    It was heartening to read Apb. Burke’s reiteration that we can do nothing of ourselves, but only relying on Christ. His will be the, with the intercession of Our Lady. Nevertheless: I feel there was only one thing possibly lacking: Adoration is of course profitable, but I still feel that it’s not enough. We need action to go with this expression of Faith: I call for PROCESSIONS: taking the church, its prayers, even the Blessed Sacrament into the streets. We must be seen, and be present. I urge the faithful to WALK: PRAY: BE SEEN DOING IT: BE A VISUAL PRESENCE IN YOUR COMMUNITIES. Imagine if a Procession after mass went out from EVERY PARISH, EVERY WEEK and circled the block around its church. We must manifest the faith. I am doing what I can as a layman, initiating a second procession this summer, but if a Bishop would call for it, what a statement that would make. Please: agitate within our church for prayerful, visual, present action in the community. We need knitting together, and I really believe the future of our Church and Nation can be changed by just such tactics.

  62. little gal says:

    I have also begun thinking about Nazi Germany and persecution of the Jews recently in light of the escalating attacks on the Catholic Church. The mainstream media has become a propaganda machine that on the one hand regularly attacks Catholicism & distorts what the faith teaches and on the other hammers away to promote the homosexual agenda. The media was also a propaganda machine for Hitler. Most Catholics who are in office appear to leave their faith at the door when legislating which is a passive collaboration in facilitating an antiCatholic agenda. In the case of the Jews, they were prohibted from holding positions in the media, universities,government. When I reviewed some of the early changes that occurred in Nazi Germany with respect to the Jews, I could not shake off a feeling that some of these changes are either happening now or in the process of happening… ie,use of stereotypes. I remember from my reading about the Nazi regime, that many Jews denied what was happening until it was too late.

  63. JohnE says:

    “Law is a fundamental expression of our culture and implicitly teaches citizens what is morally acceptable.”

    This is precisely why giving President Obama an honorary degree in law is so despicable.

  64. Fr Joseph W Mack says:

    Thanks for posting this – I caught the last half of the re-broadcast of it on EWTN this afternoon.

  65. John Polhamus says:

    “…many Jews denied what was happening until it was too late.”

    Precisely. We HAVE to go out into the community. PUBLIC PROCESSIONS are our best defense, whether organized by a bishop, or if they are too cowardly, then organized by ourselves. Neither appeasement nor apathy gain anything either for Christ, or for our security. If you want to bandy about the term “public square” I say that to fill it with a procession is the best beginning and the ultimate end of the discussion. If we wait too long we’ll find that Eucharistic Processions are banned by the Government. Then we really WILL be on our own. DON’T WAIT: LAY PEOPLE, ORGANIZE NOW. Be DOERS of the Word, and not thinkers only: whether it’s two, three, fifty or a hundred, MARCH!

  66. SegoLily says:

    The battle has just begun, and IMHO, will last for years. I don’t lack hope, I just don’t expect a conversion to the Culture of Life any time soon. Our culture is too coarse and debased, the rot too deep, the neglect by the American hierarchy too longstanding. Bishop Burke is truly a good and holy man and perhaps is the bellwether for change in the American hierarchy–he and Dolan make me joyous. But, dark days and much persecution of faithful Catholics who abhor abortion and homosexual marriage looms.

    Too many Catholics care too little about abortion, and like Nancy Pelosi, would like to keep that option open for their daughters. Scads of Mass-attending Catholics and even Catholic cathechists embrace “artificial contraception”. I’ve heard one anti-abortion sermon in the past 30 years and that was on Pro-Life Sunday. This is my experience. Many cowardly and Democratic-party steeped bishops must die and new, apolitical Church loving ones must replace them to invigorate Catholic leadership on a meaningful scale. This will take decades.

    I love and trust Jesus and daily pray for the courage and the grace to endure in a loving manner when encountering fellow Catholics who embrace evil.

  67. Brendan says:

    Dear Pope Benedict XVI:

    Raymond Cardinal Burke

    Thank You.

  68. David Martin says:

    WOW! That’s prophetic in the truest and fullest meaning of the word. How do we express our gratitude to and support for Abp. Burke directly? Does he have an email address?

  69. Daniel Hill says:

    I hope that we have an American Pope after God finally calls our German one(may that day be long away)!

    I’m sure the Holy Spirit will take my advice ;)

  70. tygirwulf says:

    For anyone interested, I have uploaded the video of this speech to my youtube account. The first video is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEHxzWgJZ8o