By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Archbishop Raymond L. Burke, the newly appointed prefect of the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature, told an Italian Catholic daily newspaper that the Democratic Party in the United States “risks transforming itself definitively into a ‘party of death’.”
According to a report by the Catholic News Service, the topic came up when Archbishop Burke was asked if he knew that Sheryl Crow, a musician whose support of abortion and embryonic stem cell research at a Catholic children’s hospital in St. Louis in 2007 was opposed by the Archbishop, was invited to appear at Democratic National Convention in Denver in August.
“That does not surprise me much,” the archbishop said. “At this point the Democratic Party risks transforming itself definitely into a ‘party of death’ because of its choices on bioethical questions as Ramesh Ponnuru wrote in his book, ‘The Party of Death: The Democrats, the Media, the Courts and the Disregard for Human Life.'”
Archbishop Burke said the Democratic Party was no longer the party that “helped our immigrant parents and grandparents better integrate and prosper in American society” and said pro-life Democrats are “rare, unfortunately.”
He was also asked about being one of a few U.S. bishops to publicly ban Catholic politicians from receiving Communion who hold positions contrary to church teaching.
“Mine was not an isolated position,” the archbishop said. “It was shared by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver, by Bishop Peter J. Jugis of Charlotte (N.C.) and by others.”
While acknowledging that the U.S. bishops conference allowed each bishop to act on this issue in a way that best suits his diocese, the archbishop added, “For my part, I have always maintained that there must be a united position in order to demonstrate the unity of the church in facing this serious question.”
The newspaper then asked the archbishop for his reaction to reports that his new Vatican position was designed to get him away from St. Louis.
“I have too much respect for the pope to believe that in order to move someone away from a diocese he would nominate him to a very sensitive dicastery like this one,” he said.
Archbishop Burke’s new office is in charge of ensuring that lower church courts correctly administer justice in accordance with canon law.
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