Archbp. Burke: no Communion or funerals for pro-abortion pols because of scandal

All during the controversy about Pres. Obama at Notre Dame and also the funeral for Sen. Kennedy I pounded at the issue of the scandal caused by these events, which could have been avoid.

I didn’t object to the President of the United States, in principle, talking at Notre Dame.  I objected to the scandal caused by bestowing an honor of a doctorate of law on the man, the most aggressively pro-abortion politician we have seen in the White House or pretty much anywhere else.

I didn’t object to Sen. Kennedy having a funeral, in principle, for the sake of praying for his soul.  I objected to the scandal caused by bestowing nearly saintly honors on an infamously pro-abortion Catholic Senator.

The scandal.

To adapt a phrase…  "It’s the scandal, stupid."

From LifeSiteNews with my emphases and comments.

Funeral Rites Should be Denied to Publicly Pro-Abort Catholics: Vatican Official
Says Catholics also "should have the courage to look truth in the eye and call things by their common names"

Monday September 21, 2009

By Kathleen Gilbert

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 21, 2009 ( – In an address to’s 14th Annual Partnership Dinner Friday evening, Archbishop Raymond Burke, Prefect of the Vatican’s Apostolic Signatura, said that funeral rites should not be given to pro-abortion Catholic politicians. He also defended the duty of Catholics to speak in charity against the scandal caused by such figures.

The archbishop said that, while "we must speak the truth in charity," Catholics also "should have the courage to look truth in the eye and call things by their common names."

"It is not possible to be a practicing Catholic and to conduct oneself in this manner," he told the crowd of about 200 guests.  [Do I hear an "Amen!"?]

Burke hammered home his message of the need for fidelity to Church teaching on the part of Catholics in politics in his 50-minute speech. The archbishop, known for his unwavering and vocal defense of the Church’s teachings on life and family issues, was given a standing ovation at the conclusion of his address.
In what appeared to be a reference to the Kennedy funeral scandal, Burke said that "neither Holy Communion nor funeral rites should be administered to" [Get that?  Neither Communion nor a funeral.] politicians who support abortion or same-sex "marriage."  "To deny these is not a judgment of the soul, but a [WAIT FOR IT….] recognition of the scandal and its effects," he said.  ["It’s the scandal, stupid!"]
Burke said that when a politician is associated "with greatly sinful acts about fundamental questions like abortion and marriage, his repentance must also be public."  [When it is a matter of public scandal, the reparation must be public as well.]

"Anyone who grasps the gravity of what he has done will understand the need to make it public," said Burke.

Sen. Ted Kennedy, a staunch abortion and same-sex "marriage" supporter, was laid to rest in a highly publicized and laudatory Catholic funeral ceremony in Boston on August 29.  Catholic pro-life leaders had pleaded with Cardinal Sean O’Malley not to allow the public ceremony, but the cardinal ultimately presided over the rites.  In turn, other leaders in the Catholic community, most notably Fr. Thomas Rosica, the CEO of Canada’s Salt & Light television network, lambasted the pro-life response to the funeral as uncharitable.

About the pro-life leaders and activists who expressed concern about Kennedy’s funeral, Rosica wrote on his blog, "many so-called lovers of life and activists in the pro-life movement, as well as well-known colleagues in Catholic television broadcasting and media in North America, have revealed themselves to be not agents of life, but of division, destruction, hatred, vitriol, judgment and violence."
Burke, however, defended those who spoke out against such scandal, pointing out that unity within the Church is ultimately based upon the truth.

"The Church’s unity is founded on speaking the truth in love," he said.  "This does not destroy unity but helps to repair a breach in the life of the Church."

God love this man and keep him for many years.  May he be both healthy and happy.

WDTPRS kudos to Archbp. Burke.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. JosephMary says:

    I would love to see a red hat for Archbishop Burke; he is one of the very best of the bishops.

    And he is totally correct. That public funeral and honors and the president in a Catholic pulpit and the many catholics praising Kennedy although he did not embrace Church teachings is just a continuation of constant scandal. Of course otheres with red hats were at the funeral. Bishop against bishop anyone? One says one thing and another says the opposite; what is a sheep to do?

    The sheep MUST hear the voice of The Shepherd! And they must disregard the siren calls of the others when they do not follow The Shepherd.

  2. avecrux says:

    It is true that Bishop vs. Bishop can be very disorienting.
    The beautiful thing about truth is that – when it is encountered – it brings peace.
    When I read the words of our dear Archbishop Burke, I am at peace. I know what he says is true.
    Word of those who defend Senator Kennedy’s funeral bring confusion and disquietude.
    Has anyone else experienced that?

  3. TNCath says:

    Thank you Archbishop Burke!

    Q. And how long will we have to wait for the response of the U.S. Bishops to the Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura?

    A. With apologies to Johnny Mathis: “Until the 12th of Never, and that’s a long, long time.”

  4. shoofoolatte says:

    I suppose it’s too much to ask that Catholic politicians also give just a little bit of service to the Catholic teaching that opposes the death penalty.

    When I see Catholic politicians held to both sides of the pro-life coin, then I will believe that Archbishop Burke’s motives are truly rooted in a desire to honor the sacredness of life. [So… You don’t read in this report, which is a basic summary and not the whole speech, that Archbishop Burke mentioned the death penalty. Therefore, you don’t believe that his “motives are truly rooted in a desire to honor the sacredness of life”.]

    I know this comment is not going to go over well with this group. Please don’t preach to me, I can’t be consoled or convinced that killing human beings is ok.

    [Let me give you a tip at this point. If in your comments you try to turn every discussion into something you want to discuss, despite the topic of the entry, I will ban you. Just a tip.]

  5. ipadre says:

    My hero! God bless the Archbishop.

  6. mpm says:

    Archbishop Burke is one of a very few bishops (much less journalists, Catholic or otherwise) who appear to be aware of the concept of objective scandal, and that seems to me why he gets so much “pushback” from others. In his legal article about denying public contumacious sinners communion under Canon 915, he uses the fact that many “don’t see the gravity of the action” as the very sign of the scandal: what they should see as wrong (whether it shocks them or not is irrelevant) they admit they do not see as wrong, or they flounder around for excuses like “we are not supposed to examine other people’s consciences”, or lame ones like “I’m not his bishop” (nor his brother’s keeper, I imagine).

    I think this has been going on so long, that Catholics have become completely jaded. I suspect it comes from hardly ever hearing any stem-winders about sin, and how offensive it is to God, and how it is not so very hard to commit a sin.

    But, he’s the Little-Engine-That-Could”, God bless his heart!

  7. Fr. John Mary says:

    Having known Archbishop Burke for thirty years, being the recipient of his wise counsel, spiritual direction and kindness, it absolutely irks me to read about how “authoritarian”, “rigid”, etc. he suposedly is. He speaks with clarity and truth and says things people do not want to hear; but when you go to confession to him, he is one of the most compassionate and understanding confessors I have ever experienced.
    The scandal is exactly the point here.

  8. shoofoolatte says:

    Fr. Z – I am not trying to turn the discussion into what I want to discuss – that is precisely why I asked that no one respond to me. I am merely expressing my reaction to the overwhelming effort to hold Catholic politicians to Catholic teachings that include abortion and marriage, but does not include the death penalty – at least not in the “summary” or in any way that is overtly public.

    I am very interested in the effort to instill respect, reverence, and mystery back into the Catholic celebration of the Eucharist. If the posts continue to be political, and my response is considered inappropriate, then it’s best that I be on my way, anyway.

    [It was just a tip. Let’s keep things tidy.]

  9. Thomas S says:


    There’s no way you could be a reader of the Catholic blogosphere and still not know the distinction the Church makes between abortion/euthanasia/homosexual-marriage/etc. and capital punishment/war/etc.

    As for His Most Excellent Excellency, when are we likely to get a consistory and he a new hat?

    And may God grant our Holy Father a hundred years, but is there any chance of Burke being a legit papabile inspite of his nationality?

  10. shoofoolatte says:

    I was not aware of this Catholic distinction. Could you point me toward official Catholic teachings make this “distinction”. Thank you.

  11. Thomas S says:


    The Catechism of the Catholic Church. Happy reading!

    I’d copy/paste the pertinent sections for you, but my computer is in the process of crapping the bed and this response alone is taking more time than my patience can endure.

    I’m sure the CCC is online if you don’t have a copy handy. Go to the index first, it’s helpful.

  12. Supertradmom says:

    Our first American Pope?

  13. r.j.sciurus says:

    May we be so blessed! Meanwhile, His Most Excellent Excellency seems to always show up just when I need a little pep talk. Deo Gratias!

  14. Frank H says:

    Shoofoolatte, check the Catechism for these issues:

    Abortion, items 2270-2275; just war 2309; legitimate defense (includes capital punishment) 2263-2267.

  15. Central Valley says:

    Thanks be to God for sending us Archbishop Burke. A red hat is in order. If only we could have bishops like this in California, where we suffer greatly from poor leadership. There are probably bishops in California who would not allow Archbishop burke to speak in their diocese.

  16. Agnes says:

    *When it is a matter of public scandal, the reparation must be public as well.*

    AMEN! Someone gets it!

  17. pattif says:

    When it is a matter of public scandal, the reparation must be public as well.

    AMEN! Someone gets it!

    Exactly so, Agnes. If only some of the bishops in England and Wales would ‘get it’ like Abp. Burke.

  18. MichaelJ says:

    Perhaps, just this once, you would be willing to allow the discussion to diverge a bit from the topic at hand to resolve (as much as possible) the issue of the death penalty.

    I recall, for example, that the Catechism states that in today’s world the death penalty is unnecessary to adequately prptect society (a dubious claim IMO) but I am unaware of *any* “Catholic teaching that opposes the death penalty”

  19. MichaelJ says:

    As a follow up, the death penalty is at least tangentially related to this topic because there are those who would deny the truth what Archbp. Burke teaches based on a presumed inconsistency.

  20. irishgirl says:

    Yay for the Archbishop! Or should I say, ‘A Lion of Rome’ ?

    Please, Holy Father, give him a red hat at your next consistory!

    The Archbishop ‘tells it like it is’! Huzzah!

  21. Ef-lover says:

    three cheers to Archbishop Burke

  22. Leonius says:

    A man worthy to be called Excellency.

  23. Hidden One says:

    Irishgirl, wouldn’t he be the Lion of St. Louis?

    Every, oh, week or so, my estimation of the wisdom of him remaining Bishop Emeritus of St. Louis (rather than becoming the titular archbishop of somewhere strange) goes up.

  24. yzerman123 says:

    Dear Shoofoolatte,

    Paragraphs 2266 and 2267 of the Catechism deal specifically with capital punishment:

    2266 The State’s effort to contain the spread of behaviors injurious to human rights and the fundamental rules of civil coexistence corresponds to the requirement of watching over the common good. Legitimate public authority has the right and duty to inflict penalties commensurate with the gravity of the crime. The primary scope of the penalty is to redress the disorder caused by the offense. When his punishment is voluntarily accepted by the offender, it takes on the value of expiation. Moreover, punishment, in addition to preserving public order and the safety of persons, has a medicinal scope: as far as possible it should contribute to the correction of the offender.[67]

    2267 The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude, presupposing full ascertainment of the identity and responsibility of the offender, recourse to the death penalty, when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor.

    “If, instead, bloodless means are sufficient to defend against the aggressor and to protect the safety of persons, public authority should limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.

    “Today, in fact, given the means at the State’s disposal to effectively repress crime by rendering inoffensive the one who has committed it, without depriving him definitively of the possibility of redeeming himself, cases of absolute necessity for suppression of the offender ‘today … are very rare, if not practically non-existent.’

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