Thursday, January 29, 2009

Archbishop Burke says "Faithful Citizenship" partly to blame for election of “Most Pro-Abortion President” in history

He also criticizes the USCCB's Catholic News Service for "soft-pedalling" Obama's abortion advocacy

( – A document of the U.S. Catholic Bishops is partly to blame for the abandonment of pro-life teachings by voting Catholics and the election of the “most pro-abortion president” in US history, one of the Vatican’s highest officials said in an interview with

Archbishop Raymond Burke, the prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, named a document on the election produced by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops that he said “led to confusion” among the faithful and led ultimately to massive support among Catholics for Barack Obama. [Archbishop Burke was formerly the Archbishop of St. Louis and the Bishop of La Crosse]

The US bishops’ document, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” stated that, under certain circumstances, a Catholic could in good conscience vote for a candidate who supports abortion because of "other grave reasons," as long as they do not intend to support that pro-abortion position.

Archbishop Burke, the former Archbishop of St. Louise Mo. and recently appointed head of the highest ecclesiastical court in the Catholic Church, told that although “there were a greater number of bishops who spoke up very clearly and firmly ... there was also a number who did not.”

But most damaging, he said, was the document “Faithful Citizenship” that “led to confusion” among the voting Catholic population.

“While it stated that the issue of life was the first and most important issue, it went on in some specific areas to say ‘but there are other issues’ that are of comparable importance without making necessary distinctions.”

Archbishop Burke, citing an article by a priest and ethics expert of St. Louis archdiocese, Msgr. Kevin McMahon, who analysed how the bishops’ document actually contributed to the election of Obama, called its proposal “a kind of false thinking, that says, ‘there’s the evil of taking an innocent and defenceless human life but there are other evils and they’re worthy of equal consideration.’

“But they’re not. The economic situation, or opposition to the war in Iraq, or whatever it may be, those things don’t rise to the same level as something that is always and everywhere evil, namely the killing of innocent and defenceless human life.”

Archbishop Burke also cited the work of the official news service of the US Catholic Bishops’ Conference, that many pro-life observers complained soft-pedalled the newly elected president’s opposition to traditional morality.

“The bishops need to look also at our Catholic News Service, CNS, they need to review their coverage of the whole thing and give some new direction, in my judgement,” he said.


Fr. Andrew said...

Wow, this is really quite bold, Episcopally speaking. Bishops just don't call other Bishops out in public. It needs to be said, to be talked about, but I am just quite surprised. Did this happen elsewhere and I missed it? Good catch and good to push this, Ray.

Anonymous said...

Archbishop Burke is 100% spot on! "Faithful Citizenship" was/is a masterpiece of double-speak -- intentionally lengthy, confusing, and misleading. All US Bishops and all US Catholics should be deeply ashamed of it. The USCCB should be dissolved.


Unknown said...

Thanks, Father.

Section 34 of Faithful Citizenship was the famous "weasel clause" that gave the pro-Obama Catholics their justification:

"34. Catholics often face difficult choices about how to vote. This is why it is so important
to vote according to a well-formed conscience that perceives the proper relationship among
moral goods. A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who takes a position in favor of an intrinsic
evil, such as abortion or racism, if the voter’s intent is to support that position. In such cases a Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in grave evil."

Yes indeed, Father, it is totally unprecedented to see a bishop speak out against other bishops.

Also totally unprecedented was more than 100 bishops (ordinaries and auxiliaries and emeretii) speaking out to their flocks endorsing the pro-life position.

This is a guess, but in discussions with some average Catholics, we came to the conclusion that Pope Benedict had a "heart to heart" with his American bishops on the occasion of his closed visit to the American Bishops in New York last Spring and some of them are beginning to get the message.

Thanks be to God!