On 10 September, at Our Lady’s Shrine at Knock, Co. Mayo, Cardinal Raymond Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, addressed a large gathering of pro-life people. He spoke powerfully of the need to be witnesses to life in today’s world, and not to be afraid to stand up and defend the inviolability of all human life from the moment of conception until natural death. In doing so, he also of course spoke of the evil of embryonic stem cell research and any manipulation or experimental use of the human embryo. He didn’t leave things at that – he spoke very sternly about the role of politicians, Catholic politicians in particular, and of how they must not sacrifice the protection of human life to political expediency. Their faith must inform their conscience.
It is hoped that the full text of Cardinal Burke’s talk will be published in the Catholic Voice newspaper in the near future.
In a related theme, the New York Times reported (July 2011) in relation to the appointment of Archbishop Charles Chaput to the archdiocese of Philadelphia, U.S.A., that:
‘He [Archbishop Chaput] is among a minority of Roman Catholic bishops who have spoken in favor of denying communion to Catholic politicians who support abortion rights. He helped defeat legislation that would have legalized civil unions for gay couples in Colorado. And he condemned the University of Notre Dame, a Catholic institution, for granting President Obama an honorary degree in 2009 because of his stance on abortion.
‘For these and other decision stands, Archbishop Chaput has been hailed as a champion by not only Catholic conservatives, but also by evangelical Protestants.’
Let us pray for Cardinal Burke and Archbishop Chaput and for all others with like outspoken courage. Let us pray also that those who lack such courage and conviction may find it in their hearts and minds to follow the admonition of St. Thomas Becket to his bishops –
And our politicians could pay heed to the words of St. Thomas More, patron saint of politicians – ‘I am the King’s good servant, but God’s first‘If we who are called bishops desire to understand the meaning of our calling and to be worthy of it, we must strive to keep our eyes on Him Whom God appointed High Priest forever, and to follow in His footsteps. … As successor of the Apostles, we hold the highest rank in our churches; we have accepted the responsibility of acting as Christ’s representatives on earth; we receive the honour belonging to that office, and enjoy the temporal benefits of our spiritual labours. It must therefore be our endeavour to destroy the reign of sin and death, and by nurturing faith and uprightness of life, to build up the Church of Christ into a holy temple in the Lord. There are a great many bishops in the Church, but would to God we were the zealous teachers and pastors that we promised to be at our consecrations, and still make profession of being. …’