A short while ago I wrote about the visit to Ireland by Archbishop Raymond Burke, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.
The Catholic Voice newspaper has published the text of an interview with Archbishop Burke while he was in Ireland. When the interviewer asked him about the role of bishops, and how we should be helping our bishops, the Archbishop stressed that matters of concern to the laity should be brought to the attention of their bishops.
‘For example’, he said, ‘in the United States we have many politicians who openly profess to be Catholic but at the same time support legislation which provides abortion and extends to the violation of the integrity of marriage, that is, which gives recognition to same sex unions. The general population see that these Catholics are supporting this kind of legislation to the same degree that others are and a scandal then sets in because people can then think that the Church has changed her teaching with regard to abortion or same sex unions. I think that the faithful rightly bring this to the attention of their bishop and ask how are we going to wage the battle if our own fellow Catholics who are in positions of highest leadership in the country are betraying that teaching on a regular basis.’
The Archbishop had strong words to say about Catholic politicians who separate their faith from their work as legislators. The interviewer asked him:
‘ … the example you give is also relevant to Ireland, since some of our politicians say that they leave their faith in the Church and do not allow it to affect their role as legislators. What do you say to a politician like this? Can they be Catholic and behave in this way?’
To which the Archbishop replied:
‘No, it is not possible. How can you? Our faith is such that it informs every aspect of our life, we cannot bracket off some aspect of our life from the faith. … [W]hen we are talking, for instance, about civil unions then we are talking about the natural moral law and, while it is certainly part of Catholic teaching it binds all persons. … You cannot be a devout Catholic and espouse these positions. Through witness given by conversation in social settings, in the family and so forth, then people begin to understand the true meaning of the Catholic faith. They do have an obligation to use all appropriate means to call that Minister to account.’