Archbishop Raymond Burke, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura at the Vatican, will be travelling to Ireland this month, visiting Cork and Dublin. Because of his forthright defence of the teachings of the Catholic Church, particularly on ethical and moral issues, Archbishop Burke has been dubbed ‘the new John Fisher for our times’.
[At the time of King Henry VIII of England, Cardinal St. John Fisher was the only one of the English bishops of that time who stood up to the King in the matter of his divorce and his claim as ‘Head’ of the Church in England.]
Archbishop Burke has stated that:
‘So serious is the moral obligation to avoid scandal that we are admonished not only not to do wrong but also not to appear to do wrong. When a person acts, he or she must always consider the appearance of the act to be done.’He said this in relation to the reception of Holy Communion by those Catholics – and, in particular, Catholic politicians – who advocate or vote for or in any way participate in the promotion of abortion.
However, his admonishment can also be applied to other matters of public interest, as can the statement he made when addressing the Institute on Religious Life’s national meeting at Mundelein Seminary, Illinois (USA) recently, and commenting on the scandal of a nun in a maternity hospital endorsing the carrying out of an abortion:
‘Who could imagine that consecrated religious would openly, and in defiance of the bishops as successors of the apostles publicly endorse legislation containing provisions which violated the natural moral law in its most fundamental tenets – the safeguarding and promoting of innocence and defenceless life, and fail to safeguard the demands of the free exercise of conscience for health care workers?’In this regard, a reading of the Vatican document on the Participation of Catholics in Political Life is strongly recommended.