It is with gratified hearts that we celebrate the news that Archbishop Raymond Burke, formerly of the Archdiocese of St. Louis and now the Vatican, has been elevated to the position of cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI.
It gives American Life League’s staff and its benefactors cause for great joy because of the way in which Archbishop Burke has defended the fundamental teachings of the Catholic Church. He has distinguished himself as a leader among men—a leader who can stand firm while being humble, holy and magnanimous, even to his detractors.
As he recently told an audience in Rome,
It is particularly insidious that our society which is so profoundly confused about the most basic goods also believes that scandal is a thing of the past. One sees the hand of the Father of Lies at work in the disregard for the situation of scandal or in the ridicule and even censure of those who experience scandal. …
Lying or failing to tell the truth, however, is never a sign of charity. A unity which is not founded on the truth of the moral law is not the unity of the Church. The Church’s unity is founded on speaking the truth with love. The person who experiences scandal at public actions of Catholics, which are gravely contrary to the moral law, not only does not destroy unity but invites the Church to repair what is clearly a serious breach in Her life. Were he not to experience scandal at the public support of attacks on human life and the family, his conscience would be uninformed or dulled about the most sacred realities.
Commenting on Burke’s address before a packed audience at the Human Life International congress in Rome, interim president of HLI, Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro-Carámbula wrote, “The world has always needed a coherent witness of the truth, but in our times this testimony is particularly necessary because we live in a historical period that is dominated by a secular and relativistic mentality that even mocks the existence of objective truth.”
Archbishop Burke is not only a wise counselor on matters pertaining to Canon 915—which requires bishops, priests, deacons and extraordinary Eucharistic ministers to protect Christ from sacrilege by denying Holy Communion to public figures who favor such sinful actions as abortion—but he is loyal to his Lord regardless of the ridicule he might suffer. And suffer he has!
Several years ago when pro-abortion singer Sheryl Crow was scheduled to sing for a benefit at the Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center, Archbishop Burke made a public statement against her appearance. When the Medical Center refused to disinvite Crow, Burke resigned from its board.
In the aftermath, some misguided individuals suggested that Burke’s actions were, to quote one pro-death “former Catholic,” “archaic and kind of an embarrassment.” But that doesn’t trouble the cardinal-elect. He has never backed away from his obligation to be a light shining in the darkness of this currently morally ill world.
Burke’s meek attitude and devotion to Christ have led literally thousands, not only in the Archdiocese of St. Louis but wherever he goes, to a greater appreciation of their faith through his loving articulation of the valid teachings of the Church. Unlike the negative suggestion of some that somehow adoring Christ and His truth is out of date, the soon-to-be official Cardinal Burke knows better.
Idaho Chooses Life, in a commentary praising Archbishop Burke’s clarity and exemplary leadership, echoed our sentiments, “We pray that Archbishop Burke’s courage and faithfulness to the Gospel will inspire America’s clergy to a greater commitment as we battle the Culture of Death.”
Amen! God bless you, Cardinal-elect Raymond Burke.