Cardinal Raymond Burke is impugning cradle Catholic politicians who support so-called “abortion rights.”
In a lengthy statement published on his website Thursday, Burke reflected on his experiences defending the sanctity of Holy Communion against American politicians who receive the Eucharist in a state of grave sin.
The cardinal recounts admonishing former presidential candidate John Kerry and other pro-abortion politicians during his time as Bishop of La Crosse and then Archbishop of St. Louis. He routinely invited politicians from these dioceses to meet with him “to discuss the complete incoherence of their position regarding procured abortion with the Catholic faith they professed.” But most of them refused.
Cardinal Burke finds it “naïve” that “more dialogue” with such politicians is the answer.
“In my experience, they are not willing to discuss the matter because the teaching of the natural law, which necessarily is also the teaching of the Church, is beyond discussion. In some cases, too, I have had the strong impression that they were unwilling to discuss the matter because they were simply unwilling to have their minds and hearts changed,” he wrote.
Even in 2004, 17 years ago, many bishops were uneasy about invoking Canon 915 to rebuke pro-abortion politicians who claimed to be faithful Catholics. Canon 915 states that one must not be admitted to Holy Communion if he or she is “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin.”
For Burke, the USCCB’s role is to assist “individual bishops in carrying out their sacred duty,” not to replace their authority.
“I must note that the pastoral action taken had nothing to do with interfering in politics,” he wrote. “It was directed to the safeguarding of the sanctity of the Holy Eucharist, to the salvation of the souls of the Catholic politicians in question — who were sinning gravely not only against the Fifth Commandment but also were committing sacrilege by receiving unworthily Holy Communion — and to the prevention of the serious scandal caused by them.”
Cardinal Burke’s statement could not have been more timely, as Pope Francis met with President Joe Biden on Friday and allegedly told him he could continue receiving the Eucharist.
“We … talked about the fact that he was happy that I was a good Catholic and I should keep receiving communion,” Biden told reporters.