By Judie Brown
Cardinal Raymond Burke has been a heroic figure to all of us at American Life League ever since he spoke with clarity regarding the meaning of Canon 915. Writing about this Catholic Church law in 2004, then-Bishop Burke explained: “For the Catholic politician to receive Communion when he or she has publicly violated the moral law in a grave matter like procured abortion risks leading others into thinking that they can accept procured abortion with a right conscience. In such a case, if the Catholic politician does not recognize the lack of the proper disposition to receive Communion, then the church herself must refuse the sacrament, in order to safeguard the worthy reception of the sacrament and to prevent a serious scandal among the faithful.”
Over the years Burke has continued to share his wisdom as he teaches the truth. He provides guidance in his speeches, interviews, and writings to anyone with a deep desire to understand truth, to listen, and then to act on it.
In a speech Burke delivered in 2011, he explained that “human suffering can only be understood in light of the ‘gift’ and ‘dignity’ of human life.” He emphasized that human beings are not the “creators” of human beings, and that the respect we owe to every person comes from the fact that we recognize that God is the Author of Life. In addition, he told his audience that “respect for the dignity of human life is the foundation of good order in our individual lives and our society.” He continued by saying that, without this respect, “our personal lives become profoundly disordered and society soon becomes a theater of violence and death.”
In an interview on the role of men in our culture, the family, and the Church, Burke discussed the growing difficulties that men confront in our society, saying:
The crisis between man and woman has been made much worse by a complete collapse of catechesis in the Church. Young men grew up without proper instruction with regard to their faith and to the knowledge of their vocation. Young men were not being taught that they are made in the image of God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit. These young men were not taught to know all those virtues that are necessary in order to be a man and to fulfill the particular gifts of being male.
Making things worse, there was a very fluffy, superficial kind of catechetical approach to the question of human sexuality and the nature of the marital relationship.
At the same time, in society, there came an explosion of pornography, which is particularly corrosive for men because it terribly distorts the whole reality of human sexuality. It leads men and women to view their human sexuality apart from a relationship between a man and woman in marriage.
No matter the topic, his words always exude his genuine love of Christ, Who is truth, tempered with charity and love for the human person. One might well say that Cardinal Burke’s insights are golden and that they help our culture come to grips with the real meaning of the human person versus today’s version of the disposable person.
When Cardinal Burke endorsed our Culture of Life Studies Program, he wrote: “In order to establish a culture of life, it is essential that children be educated, from their earliest years, to know the truths about the gift of life, of marriage, and of the family so that they can become adults who will embrace the culture of life in all their thinking and in all aspects of their daily living. The Culture of Life Studies Program of the American Life League provides an excellent program to teach children, from their very earliest years through their teens, in an age-appropriate, consistent and systematic way, to understand and embrace the culture of life.”
Finally, in recent days, Cardinal Burke reflected on the recent election and said, in reference to President-elect Trump: “I am very happy that my fellow Americans have chosen a new president, and given him a strong mandate to address resolutely the corruption that has beset the federal government in recent years.”
Cardinal Burke’s wisdom and his ability to share Catholic teaching with compassion and clarity are deeply appreciated and we praise God for him.
Let us pray for Cardinal Raymond Burke today and every day.