Archbp. (Card.) Burke on the obligation to VOTE properly

Remember how soon-to-be Cardinal Raymond Burke was, as liberals crowed, promoted to a Roman office in order to remove his influence on the American scene?

This is from CNA with my E and C:

Rome, Italy, Oct 28, 2010 / 12:15 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Cardinal-designate Raymond Burke stressed to Catholic voters in a recent interview that they have a “very serious” obligation to uphold the truth of “moral law” in the upcoming mid-term elections. He specifically cited protecting unborn children from abortion and defending traditional marriage.

The American Vatican official, who was recently named by the Holy Father as a future cardinal, spoke on Oct. 20 to Thomas McKenna, president of Catholic Action for Faith and Family, just hours after the Pope’s announcement.

Cardinal-designate Burke opened his remarks by saying that “as a bishop it’s my obligation, in fact, to urge the faithful to carry out their civic duty in accord with their Catholic Faith.” [Burke, as a Catholic bishops, is a bishop for the whole Church.] Clarifying that he does not endorse particular candidates, the prelate also spoke of his duty to relay “principles” to the faithful to help inform their vote.

Speaking on the contentious topic of abortion in the upcoming mid-terms, Cardinal-designate Burke said one [NB:] “can never vote for someone who favors absolutely the right to choice of a woman to destroy a human life in her womb or the right to a procured abortion.”

“You may in some circumstances where you don’t have any candidate who is proposing to eliminate all abortion, choose the candidate who will most limit this grave evil in our country,” he explained, “but you could never justify voting for a candidate who not only does not want to limit abortion but believes that it should be available to everyone.”

The Vatican prelate also addressed the issue of same-sex “marriage,” asserting that maintaining the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman is not unjust discrimination.

“Where there is unjust discrimination – for instance, where you say that a fellow human being, because of the color of his skin, is not a part of the same race as someone, say, who is a Caucasian, that is a kind of discrimination which is unjust and immoral,” he said.

However, he added, “there is a discrimination which is perfectly just and good, and that is the discrimination between what is right and what is wrong.” [This might be the bit idiots or the mendacious latch into.]

“Between what is according to our human nature and what is contrary to our human nature. So the Catholic Church, in teaching that sexual acts between persons of the same sex are intrinsically evil, [Idiots and the mendacious will claim that the Church (and Burke) says that the people who do these things are evil.] are against nature itself, [In other words, reason… common sense… informs us that such acts are intrinsically evil.  The Church also has revelation to support her teaching, but she also points to nature itself.] is simply announcing the truth, helping people to discriminate right from wrong in terms of their own activities.”

In his interview, Cardinal-designate Burke also urged Catholic politicians who have caused “scandal” by endorsing positions contrary to moral law to repent through a “genuine reform of heart.” [This is one of the most serious wrongs that Catholic pro-abortion politicians do when they support evil positions contrary to Church teaching: they cause scandal in a very public way.  The Church must defend the faithful against that damage.  First the Church must try to get the person who caused the damage to try to make amends and heal it.  Otherwise, the Church must separate that person from Communion with the hope that she will correct her views.]

“That’s done through the Sacrament of Penance,” he said, adding that political figures must publicly “renounce” their errors, recognizing and recanting the “evil” they have promoted.

Cardinal-designate Burke’s remarks on voting can be viewed at: http://www.catholicaction.org/

WDTPRS kudos to soon-to-be Card. Burke.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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34 Responses to Archbp. (Card.) Burke on the obligation to VOTE properly

  1. Margo says:

    Soon-to-be Cardinal Burke deserves an applause!! This is just one more example of the spiritual battle we, as Catholics, continuously find ourselves in. Thank you Fr. Z. for sharing this news/info. It gives me much hope!

  2. Geremia says:

    As an aside, is Abp. Burke the only archbishop who celebrates Mass exclusively in the Extraordinary Form, or are there other bishops or cardinals who are “EF-only,” too? Thanks

  3. RichR says:

    I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of hearing “Cardinal” just before hearing “Burke”.

  4. chonak says:

    We have a relevant situation in one race in my state, where the candidate with the best views on life issues is polling in single digits and cannot plausibly be expected to win. I can cast a protest vote for him, certainly: but with the other candidates all anti-life, can I cast a prudential vote based on other criteria?

  5. BTW… some people will claim that Card. Burke is “telling people how to vote”.

    He is and he isn’t.

    He is offering criteria by which a Catholic will assess all candidates. He is not telling people they must vote for a certain candidate or certain party.

  6. TrueLiturgy says:

    “Otherwise, the Church must separate that person from Communion with the hope that SHE will correct HER views.”

    Very smooth Fr. Z!!! :-)

  7. TrueLiturgy: I’m all for being inclusive.

  8. TJerome says:

    Bravo, Cardinal Burke.

  9. brassplayer says:

    Cardinal-designate Burke’s remarks on voting can be viewed at: http://www.catholicaction.org/

    I’m curious as to why the Death Penalty is not listed along with abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem-cell experiments, and homosexual marriage. Isn’t the Death Penalty also an attack upon life?

  10. Legisperitus says:

    brassplayer — The death penalty is not an intrinsic evil because it is not an attack upon innocent life.

  11. mvhcpa says:

    From the topic entry:
    So the Catholic Church, in teaching that sexual acts between persons of the same sex are intrinsically evil, [Idiots and the mendacious will claim that the Church (and Burke) says that the people who do these things are evil.]

    This post started as the desire to make a snarky comment on my part, but is really now a legitimate question that covers all kinds of things: Is not the person who commits and/or promotes intrinsically evil acts as “normal” or “up to personal choice” (whether or not they perceive them to be evil) in fact THEMSELVES evil?

    Michael Val
    (who really would like to do a lot better at “hating the sin, but loving the sinner” than he does now)

  12. brassplayer says:

    brassplayer — The death penalty is not an intrinsic evil because it is not an attack upon innocent life.

    Legisperitus — Understood. It appears that the website is limiting its focus to attacks on innocent life. However, the Death Penalty is still an attack against life, whether innocent or not.

  13. Andy Milam says:

    @ Geremia,

    Archbishop Burke is not exclusive to the EF. I have served Mass for him in the OF and as recently as last fall, he celebrated an OF Mass at St. Peter’s.

    He is most certainly an advocate of the EF and celebrates it often, but he is not exclusive to it. Just a point of clarification.

  14. jlong says:

    Brass Player

    If I am not mistaken, the death penalty is not condemned fully by the Catholic Church, and would be allowed under certain circumstances.

  15. pyrosapien says:

    Brassplayer;

    here is what the CCC teaches regarding the “death penalty”

    2266 The efforts of the state to curb the spread of behavior harmful to people’s rights and to the basic rules of civil society correspond to the requirement of safeguarding the common good. Legitimate public authority has the right and duty to inflict punishment proportionate to the gravity of the offense. Punishment has the primary aim of redressing the disorder introduced by the offense. When it is willingly accepted by the guilty party, it assumes the value of expiation. Punishment then, in addition to defending public order and protecting people’s safety, has a medicinal purpose: as far as possible, it must contribute to the correction of the guilty party.67

    2267 Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.

    If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.

    Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm – without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself – the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity “are very rare, if not practically nonexistent.”68

    I think very often people with political ideologies which are threatened by the authentic expression of the Catholic faith and the proper formation of consciences incorrectly group the death penalty in with the intrinsically evil act of abortion or euthenasia. The death penalty itself is not always a grave injustice.

  16. Randii says:

    I dunno how much weight this carries. At least in affirming Catholic dioceses in the US.

    I live in a state with many such dioceses. In particular many parish priests in my area are pretty openly backing the statewide Democratic ticket here. Arguing that the GOP represents big business which has hurt working families and the poor.

    So, even though the Senate GOP candidate is pro-life and the Democratic Senate candidate is pro-choice it seems many priests and local CC offices ( basically the institutional church here) are openly backing the Democrats in the name of standing with the workers.

    The nearby Catholic school parking yard is interesting. About a third of the cars have political bumper stickers and about 90% of them are supporting the Democratic line. And indirectly gay marriage and abortion which all the statewide Democratic candidates here support. Guess that is not a suprise as Catholics voted strongly against Proposition 8 in this state which recognized marriage as between a man and a woman.

  17. o.h. says:

    brassplayer,

    I’m in great sympathy with you on that point. But frankly, the Democrats have been gung-ho for the death penalty in a disgusting way for some time. I’ll never forget Al Gore stammering over Tim Russert’s pointed question about how he could make sense of his position that a pregnant woman on death row shouldn’t be executed, given his sickening enthusiasm both for the death penalty and for abortion. And how about (Carter’s) Andy Young, and his “put mad dogs to death” comment? It’s been a long time since the left actually cared about the death penalty.

    The Democrats cared about the lives of prisoners until they discovered it wasn’t politically useful. It made it all the easier for me to stop voting for them.

  18. robtbrown says:

    brassplayer says:

    brassplayer — The death penalty is not an intrinsic evil because it is not an attack upon innocent life.

    Legisperitus — Understood. It appears that the website is limiting its focus to attacks on innocent life. However, the Death Penalty is still an attack against life, whether innocent or not.

    So? Just wars, including the one that end slavery in the US and WWII against Nazi Germany, are also attacks against life.

  19. RichardT says:

    Out of gloomy curiosity, if the Pope were to die before the consistory (which God forbid!), do the current nominations as cardinal lapse, so that they would not be eligible electors?

  20. brassplayer says:

    pyrosapien –

    If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.

    Then it seems to me that a life sentence with no possibility of parole would suffice in defending and protecting people’s safety from the aggressor. As such, society should “limit itself to such means”.

  21. o.h. says:

    To expand on my previous comment (since in vanity I like my own points so much): Frequently I hear fellow Catholics raise the death penalty as a point where Republicans aren’t in harmony with Catholic teaching, and I do agree (living in Texas, where we just freed *another* innocent man from death row, probably affects that). But you don’t hear actual Democratic politicians raising that point. And that’s because they *do* support the death penalty.

    So yes, some of us would be glad to see at least a bit more skepticism toward the death penalty in America from conservatives. But let’s not be under the impression that the left is serious about abolition, or even reasonable reform, of the dp. It’s a red herring.

  22. RichardT says:

    brassplayer, alhough a whole-of-life sentence will protect society from that particular aggressor, protecting society (and its weakest members) from aggressors involves not only removing known aggressors but also deterring would-be aggressors.

    I’ve no idea what the answer is, but we can’t just ignore the question of which punishment is the better deterrant.

  23. Geremia says:

    @Andy Milam: Thanks for the clarification

  24. brassplayer says:

    RichardT: Actually, the Jury is still out on whether the Death Penalty really does deters crime. A quick Google search will find academic studies with differing conclusions on the subject (including some that suggest that Capital Punishment actually increases violent crime. So until we know for sure, I don’t think one can conclude that there is any correlation between the Death Penalty and deterrence.

  25. Maltese says:

    “First the Church must try to get the person who caused the damage to try to make amends and heal it. Otherwise, the Church must separate that person from Communion with the hope that she will correct her views.”

    Very true, Father Z! There are also abortion doctors throughout the country and world who profess to be “Catholic.” I think it should be general practice to excommunicate them immediately and formally in every diocese in the world. That would make a strong statement, and it’s shocking it hasn’t been done already….

  26. Maltese says:

    Btw: I realize abortion “Doctors” (Hippocratic Oath, where art thou?) are automatically excommunicated; but the silence of that excommunication is like the silence of death the unborn experience when they are killed. No, the Church needs to very publicly excommunicate abortion doctors who profess to be Catholic….

  27. AnAmericanMother says:

    brassplayer,

    I’m in the legal biz and see some of this stuff up close and personal.

    The problem with taking the death penalty off the table is that you then remove any possible penalty for the murder of prison guards, workers, and other prisoners. When the death penalty was ruled unconstitutional back in the 1970s in GA, we had an uptick in prison murders. Some of them have been extremely gruesome. Getting raped, strangled and dismembered should not be an occupational hazard of being a prison employee.

    And then of course there’s the problem of escape. Carl Isaacs, probably the worst mad-dog killer ever in GA, happily bragged to reporters that he enjoyed killing his victims and that he’d do it again. Before they finally managed to execute him (after his conviction was overturned several times) he almost escaped twice, once by crawling through the ventilation system and once by concealing himself in a garbage truck. He actually got outside the gates the second time. And of course he was a prison escapee when he went on his original rape-torture-mass-murder spree.

    Never mind the problem of idiotic parole boards or glory-seeking governors . . . .

    “Life”, even “life without parole”, is not the permanent solution that many people outside the business seem to think it is. Unfortunately there are some (thankfully, very few overall) who are so dangerous that they cannot even be safely kept in confinement. And that’s why the Church recognizes that sometimes capital punishment is the only solution.

  28. ghp95134 says:

    RichardT: …Actually, the Jury is still out on whether the Death Penalty really does deters crime….

    I’ve never heard of an executed murder getting out of prison and murdering again; on the other hand, I HAVE heard of “lifers” murdering again, both within prison and outside prison. Therefore, the death penalty does have a deterrent effect on crime.

    Chalk me up as “YES” for the death penalty.

    –Guy Power

  29. Kerry says:

    “…to remove his influence on the American scene?” “Strike me down, and I shall become more powerful than you can imagine!” Heh.

  30. robtbrown says:

    There is a very important difference between 2266 and 2267.

    In 2266 the medicinal value of justice is noted: Punishment then, in addition to defending public order and protecting people’s safety, has a medicinal purpose: as far as possible, it must contribute to the correction of the guilty party.

    In the sec0nd and third paragraphs of 2267, however, there is no mention of the medicinal value of justice. The recommendation against use of the death penalty merely says that justice defends the society against the agressor.

  31. pyrosapien says:

    And so…. Brassplayer has successfully skewed the discussion away from it’s original subject. See how easy and effective the strategy is of inserting the death penalty into all discussions about Catholics having properly formed consciences which help them to prioritize moral issues as they relate to political choices? It’s the logical fallacy of “association”. The death penalty is not on equal footing as legalized abortion. It’s unfortunate that some in the Church (bishops, priests, laymen) take the easy (wide?) path (the path where a person justifies their error by dressing it up to look better, instead of the path where a person changes their mindset and walks away from their error in docility to the Holy Spirit and the teaching Magesterium of the Church).

    If every Catholic would simply vote against all issues and candidates that support legalized abortion (which would include all destructive embryonic manipulation) for 6 straight years (so that every Senator would be subject to this litmus test)… then you would see legalized abortion cease to be an inculturated “right” in America. No major party would maintain legalized abortion as a platform issue because it would be to their demise. Then after six years we could take on the next issue down in priority (maybe that would be the death penalty, but I think the argument could be made for other issues [e.g. national collective bargaining, euthenasia, marriage]).

    The guilt of legalized abortion is a stain on the soul of every Catholic (from bishop to layman) who votes in a manner that marginalizes the issue or dilutes it’s importance at election time.

    I don’t believe Catholics will ever vote as group against abortion though for one big reason. There are many “Catholics” who think it’s ok. Those who think abortion is o.k. typically try to redirect all dialogue about abortion [to things like the death penalty, immigration reform, workers rights, enviromentalism, etc…).

  32. ChronicSinner says:

    You bring up some good points, pyrosapien, concerning the habit of some our fellow Catholics who err in conflating intrinsic evils such as abortion with the death penalty. I used to think it was just the fruit of at least two generations of poor catechesis, but at times I wonder.

    For the record, the Church HAS NEVER precluded the death penalty, CCC #2268 notwithstanding. Indeed, the qualification that the state should look primarily to bloodless means as a way of dealing with capital crimes was not in the rough draft of the current catechism. That was inserted by JPII into the final product, and IMO, is a prudential judgement on his part, which we are obliged to prayerfully and respectfully consider, but are not obliged to accept, for the simple reason that it IS NOT an infalliable Magisterial teaching. The Church has consistently taught that the state has legitimate recourse to the death penalty regardless of the availablitiy of a bloodless alternative (see Catechism of Trent in link below). Also, as recently as 2004, then Cardinal Ratzinger specifically stated in a letter addressing the reception of Holy Communion and politicians that, “There may be a legitmate diversity of opinion about applying….the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia” (please see link below for full text of the letter).

    Pax.

    http://www.catholicapologetics.info/thechurch/catechism/TenCommandments-fifth.shtml

    http://www.catholic.org/international/international_story.php?id=27852

  33. robtbrown says:

    ChronicSinner wrote:

    That was inserted by JPII into the final product, and IMO, is a prudential judgement on his part, which we are obliged to prayerfully and respectfully consider, but are not obliged to accept, for the simple reason that it IS NOT an infalliable Magisterial teaching.

    Actually, it’s not only not infallible, it’s also not teaching. It’s a certain statement of policy.

    IMHO, it was formulated in an effort to increase influence in Euro politics. No nation with capital punishment can be a member of the Euro Union.

  34. catholicmidwest says:

    Agreed, robtbrown.

    I remember when the CCC was published, it was amended shortly afterward and there was a change in the language about this issue, specifically.

    It is also widely known that PJPII was interested in varieties of globalism. There are several versions of this, you know, and they’re in conflict with each other in a big way. We’re living out the consequences of that, unfortunately.