Archbp. Burke on Democrat Party: risks becoming “party of death”

When His Excellency Most Rev. Raymond Burke was moved from being Archbishop of St. Louis to Rome as the new Prefect of the Apostolic Segnatura, many people asked me if this was an example of promoveatur ut ammoveatur, that he was promoted to get him out of the USA before the American election cycle heated up.

I calmly responded "No, I don’t think so.

My less clam interior reaction was closer to: HA HAH!!! HAHAHAHA!  O HO HO HAHAHA!

In other words, it makes no difference on what side of the Atlantic he is working, Raymond Burke is a serious bishop, a man of integrity, who won’t be silent when called on to give his views on issues which Catholic bishops must speak about.

This is in from Catholic News Service:

U.S. archbishop at Vatican says Democrats becoming ‘party of death’

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

ROME (CNS) — The Democratic Party in the United States "risks transforming itself definitively into a ‘party of death,’" said U.S. Archbishop Raymond L. Burke, prefect of the Vatican’s highest court.

An interview with the former archbishop of St. Louis was published in the Sept. 27 edition of Avvenire, a daily Catholic newspaper sponsored by the Italian bishops’ conference.

The newspaper asked the archbishop, the new head of the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature, for his reaction to reports that his Vatican job was designed to get him away from St. Louis.

"I have too much respect for the pope to believe that in order to move someone away from a diocese he would nominate him to a very sensitive dicastery like this one," said the archbishop, whose office is in charge of ensuring that lower church courts correctly administer justice in accordance with canon law.

Archbishop Burke was asked if he knew that the August Democratic National Convention in Denver featured a guest appearance by Sheryl Crow, a musician whose performance at a 2007 benefit for a Catholic children’s hospital the archbishop had opposed because of her support for abortion and embryonic stem-cell research.

"That does not surprise me much," the archbishop said. "At this point the Democratic Party risks transforming itself definitely into a ‘party of death’ because of its choices on bioethical questions as Ramesh Ponnuru wrote in his book, ‘The Party of Death: The Democrats, the Media, the Courts and the Disregard for Human Life.‘"

Archbishop Burke said the Democratic Party once was "the party that helped our immigrant parents and grandparents better integrate and prosper in American society. But it is not the same anymore."

Pro-life Democrats are "rare, unfortunately," he said.

Archbishop Burke also was asked about being one of a few U.S. bishops to publicly ban Catholic politicians who hold positions contrary to church teaching from receiving Communion.

"Mine was not an isolated position," the archbishop said. "It was shared by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver, by Bishop Peter J. Jugis of Charlotte (N.C.) and by others."

"But it is true that the bishops’ conference has not taken this position, leaving each bishop free to act as he believes best. For my part, I always have maintained that there must be a united position in order to demonstrate the unity of the church in facing this serious question," he said.  [Amen.]

"Recently, I have noticed that other bishops are coming to this position," he said, especially after Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, the Democratic vice-presidential candidate, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., "while presenting themselves as good Catholics, have represented church teaching on abortion in a false and tendentious manner."

Archbishop Burke said he is convinced that a 2004 letter from then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to the U.S. bishops and canon law say "it is not licit to give holy Communion to one who is publicly and obstinately a sinner. And it is logical that one who publicly and obstinately acts in favor of procured abortion enters into this category."

The newspaper asked Archbishop Burke if he ever wondered why the issue of Communion for Catholic politicians was almost unheard of in Europe, where abortion is legal in most countries.

"I don’t know if Catholic politicians in Europe are more coherent, although I would have some doubts," he said.

However, he said, "I am convinced that the church must always be very clear on this point."


I very much admire Archbp. Burke.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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


  1. Thomas says:

    I always used to point out that Archbishops of St. Louis have been made cardinals in the past. Well, I was wrong about him getting it in St. Louis, but…

    His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke

    Looks good to me. When’s the next consistory?

  2. Carolina Geo says:

    “At this point the Democratic Party risks transforming itself definitely into a ‘party of death’”

    I have only one nit to pick with the good archbishop’s comment: his use of the future tense.

  3. Tom Lanter says:

    FR. Z. & Friends,

    He is also my Kind of bishop, he is he same no mater where he hangs his biretta. It is easy to see why our Holy Father called him to Rome. Here in the US we only have a handful bishops like His Excellency Most Rev. Raymond Burke. As I have said before pray harder.

    Tom Lanter

  4. Tom Lanter: In some countries it is hard to point even to one like Archbp. Burke. The situation in the USA is far better than many enjoy.

  5. patrick f says:

    he is truly a shepherd. I miss him every day, but I know it will give great fruits to the Church in his new role

  6. TJM says:

    Could an encyclical condemning the Democratic Party be next? I recall Pius XI did so with regard to the Nazi and Fascist Parties. Tom

  7. Jordanes says:

    TJM, Mit Brennender Sorge did condemn Nazism or Fascism, but in so many words: the Nazi Party itself was not explicitly condemned, no doubt due to the eminent danger to human life. The Democratic Party, for all its grievous flaws, is not yet given over to violent coercion and suppression of those who disagree with it (though we may yet live to rue that day), but even so I wouldn’t expect an encyclical to condemn the Democratic Party platform and philosophy in explicit terms.

  8. Luke says:

    I agree Jordanes. It has been a long standing tradition in America (to John Carroll) that the Church would neither endorse any Party nor any candidate. It’s a tradition I hope remains in place.

  9. TJM says:

    Jordanes, I was actually just musing, I don’t expect that yet. However, given the Democratic Party’s strident abortion stance, pro-stem cell research, and gay marriage positions, it could come to that. I frankly can’t understand how a practicing, believing Catholic could vote for that Party. I left the Democratic Party (and I was an official) over abortion. Tom

  10. Louis E. says:

    I would forecast a consistory at some time between July 2009 and February 2011,based on when current cardinals are turning 80.

  11. BobP says:

    The bishop is right, it’s easier today to find a pro-life non-Democrat but he should be reminded that it was under Republican watch that Roe vs Wade became the law of the land. Don’t judge by what they say but by what they accomplish. It was as a result of the work of some Democrats, including Joe Biden, that Clarence Thomas was approved to the Supreme Court.

  12. Joe from Pittsburgh says:

    BobP, there was a piece on National Review Online that refutes you point that Biden helped get Thomas confirmed to the Supreme Court. Biden was accused of attacking Thomas.

    What happened 35 years ago and what is happening now are different. The Democrat Party has almost completely purged itself of the pro-life viewpoint.

    My comments are not an endorsement of the Republican Party. They irritate me, but the Democrats…well. I won’t say what I think of them now.

  13. James says:


    Why do you use “Democrat Party” rather than “Democratic Party?” I know this entry is polemic, but I would prefer to see good use of the English language.

Comments are closed.