Skip to comments.New St. Louis Catholic Archbishop Warns Pro-Abortion Catholic Politicians of Excommunication.
Posted on 12/05/2003 10:26:23 AM PST by cpforlife.org
MADISON, WIS., December 4, 2003 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Bishop Raymond Burke of La Crosse, who was appointed the new Archbishop of St. Louis by Pope John Paul II Tuesday, has warned Catholic pro-abortion politicians that by voting against life they have put themselves outside of communion with the Church. "They can't promote any legislation, which would either continue or worsen the anti-life practices," Archbishop-elect Burke said in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "If they were to continue to do that, I would simply have to ask them not to present themselves to receive the sacraments because they would not be Catholics in good standing."
While Bishop Burke did not reveal the letters he sent to politicians on the matter, the paper accessed a letter under freedom of information laws. In a three page letter dated August 29, Bishop Burke wrote Catholic state Sen. Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) who has a pro-abortion voting record.
"You have failed to restrict the evil of abortion when the opportunity presented itself . . . I call upon you to consider the consequences for your own spiritual well-being, as well as the scandal you risk by leading others into serious sin," the letter said. Bishop Burke reminded Lassa "As a faithful member of the Catholic Church, you have an obligation to fulfill the duties of your office with regard not only to the laws of the state, but also with regard to the moral law."
He sent Lassa a copy of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' document "Living the Gospel of Life" and encouraged her to read it and set an appointment with him on the matter. Lassa did not set an appointment and told the Journal Sentinel, "I'm concerned that the bishop would pressure legislators to vote according to the dictates of the church instead of the wishes of their constituents because that is not consistent with our Democratic ideals . . . I appreciate that the bishop has expressed his opinion and I will take that into consideration, but I have to consider what's in the best interest of my constituents . . . But I can't let my religion take precedence over my duties as a legislator."
To send a note of thanks to Bishop Burke via his secretary email: Susan Vlasak firstname.lastname@example.org
See the Journal Sentinel coverage: http://www.jsonline.com/lifestyle/religion/dec03/190088.asp
It's about time a bishop has decided to become a good shepherd. I have said many times that the killing of unborn children in the United States will end when the bishops want them to end.
Unless the diseased sheep are removed, the entire flock will continue to be infected. This is why the percentage of Catholic women having their unborn child killed is greater than the Evangelicals, as is the percentage of Catholics voting for pro-abort candidates also greater.
State senator Julie Lassa (D) Wisconsin, came up a dilly of an excuse. She said, "I'm concerned that the bishop would pressure legislators to vote according to the dictates of the church instead of the wishes of their constituents because that is not consistent with our Democratic ideals . . . I appreciate that the bishop has expressed his opinion and I will take that into consideration, but I have to consider what's in the best interest of my constituents . . . But I can't let my religion take precedence over my duties as a legislator."
Whatever happened to having the will of God take precedence?
A more truthful statement would have been, " I am in the Democratic party, and the main plank in our platform is that a woman should have the right to have her unborn child killed, if she so chooses. Now, if I would be a Republican, it would be no problem.
"So, sorry bishop, I have to be pro-abortion if I want to move up the ladder in the Democratic party. Heck, senators Kennedy, Kerry, Harkin, Durbin, Reed, Murray, Dodd, Mikulski, Collins, Daschle, Biden, Leahy and Landrieu are all pro-abortion. The first nine, even voted NOT to ban partial-birth abortions. None of them were threatened with excommunication. Why are you picking on me?
"And if you don't believe me when I say that abortions are the life's blood of the Democratic party, 12 of the above 13 United State senators are Democrats."
Let's face it, the above would have been more truthful. It is not uncommon for members of the "Party of Death" to stretch the truth, or to tell an outright lie. Hence Sen. Lassa's statement that she has to conform to the wish's of her constituents. What she really means is that she has to conform to the wish's of her party. The trend in the United States is on the rise for pro-lifers. It is rapidly approaching 50/50. If you allow abortions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother, then pro-lifers win in a landslide. So, it would seem that Sen. Lassa knows nothing about the wish's of her constituents, nor does she know of all the risks of the mother when she has her child killed, both physical and emotional.
When you have 13 pro-abortion Catholic U.S. senators, who still receive Holy Communion with mortal sins on their souls (for being a party to the killing of 4,000 children of God, every day) then, how can you expect their constituents to make the right moral decisions to save their almighty souls.
These politicians who put their party above the will of God - - "Thou Shalt Not Kill" -- should be given a week to ponder their heretical views. If at the end of that time, they still do not repent their sin and ask forgiveness, they MUST be excommunicated.
If the bishops had been good shepherds, it would not have come to this. The contaminated sheep would have been cut from the rest of the flock years ago and many millions of lives would have been saved.
For bishops to allow these heretics to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in a state of grave sin is beyond the pale.
How the bishops will explain to God, their pathetic actions to rid our country of the American holocaust is beyond me, BUT, they will have to explain.
We have God's Own word on that from the Book of the Apocalypse, 3: 16 "Because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of My mouth."
Frank Joseph MD
Hardworking Wisconsin bishop follows Vatican policies precisely
Published: Tuesday, Dec. 02 2003
The Wisconsin bishop who will become the archbishop of St. Louis next month is
a staunch conservative who is expected to carry out most of the initiatives
Cardinal Justin F. Rigali introduced during the past nine years.
Archbishop-elect Raymond L. Burke, 55, has been the bishop of La Crosse, Wis.,
for the last nine years. The Vatican announced Tuesday that Burke will succeed
Rigali, who moved to Philadelphia in October as its archbishop and a cardinal.
On Jan. 26, the former Vatican church lawyer will be installed as the St. Louis
archdiocese's ninth bishop and eighth archbishop at the St. Louis Cathedral
St. Louisans will get a hardworking bishop who follows the finest points on all
Vatican directions precisely, from major policies to revisions for bows and
nods at Mass.
"He is a humble man who takes his responsibilities very seriously," said Thomas
A. Szyszkiewicz, former editor of the Catholic Times of La Crosse.
"With the liturgy, he is very concerned about reverence and order. And you can
expect that, on the moral issues, he will be teaching and affirming the church
on such things as abortion and contraception."
A staunch conservative
Burke displayed his religious conservatism in the fall of 2002. His diocese was
one of two U.S. dioceses to pull out of the annual Crop Walks fund-raisers,
sponsored by the ecumenical Church World Services. He told Catholics not to
walk because the agency finances family-planning services and gives out condoms
in developing nations.
A few years ago, Burke took the unusual step of publicly disagreeing with
another bishop, then-Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland, over the idea of
married men being ordained. Weakland suggested it be discussed. Burke said it
was a bad idea.
Burke drew attention last year when he criticized the popular novels featuring
the English schoolboy-magician Harry Potter. He sent all the schools and the
seminaries in his diocese a letter saying that Potter "may not be suitable for
young Catholic readers."
Burke said Tuesday that he will bring to St. Louis his open-door policy in
dealing with alleged victims of sexual abuse. He promised to personally sit
down face-to-face with each person who accuses a priest of sexual abuse —
something Rigali had delegated to others and been criticized for by victims'
In La Crosse, Burke spoke face-to-face with about 30 victims, he said. During
that time, he removed one priest from active ministry. When allegations of
abuse by two retired priests were brought to him, he removed their right to say
Burke said he had never met with any of the groups representing victims. David
Clohessy, national spokesman for the Survivors Network for Those Abused by
Priests, said his group has no chapter in La Crosse but at least one member.
Barbara Dorris, leader of SNAP in St. Louis, will ask Burke for a face-to-face
"so that a genuine dialog can begin."
"His first focus, we believe, should be to encourage victims to contact
therapists, police, prosecutors and our support group so that dangerous
predators can be arrested and children can be kept safe," she said.
Meets with seminarians
Beyond meeting with abuse victims, Burke said his primary duty is to "provide
priests" to lead parishes and to recruit young men for the seminary. On
Tuesday, he had lunch with the seminarians at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in
At a time when most dioceses around the nation have closed high school
seminaries, Burke opened a residence house in La Crosse for boys who are
considering the priesthood. They attend a Catholic coed high school but live in
the seminary-like dorm.
Mater Redemptoris Convent offers a similar program for high school girls
considering to become nuns.
A friend of Rigali
Burke's name had been mentioned in St. Louis as the top candidate to replace
Rigali as early as August. But he was mentioned less frequently inside the
Vatican and by U.S. bishops.
A few other cardinals were pushing for other candidates. Bishop J. Terry Stieb
of Memphis, Bishop George Murry of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, Bishop
John H. Ricard of Pensacola-Tallahassee, Fla., Bishop Thomas Doran of Rockford,
Ill., and Bishop Wilton Gregory of Belleville were mentioned.
For months some bishops said that as the elected head of the bishops
conference, Gregory was never a contender. His duties will be particularly
heavy during the coming months as the audits and academic studies on sex abuse
by priests are completed and made public.
Burke is a longtime friend of Rigali's.
Rigali attended Burke's ordination to the priesthood at St. Peter's Basilica in
Rome in 1975. The two Americans knew each other when both worked in different
offices at the Vatican.
As recently as this fall Rigali had Burke to dinner at the archbishop's
residence on Lindell Boulevard, where some other guests were teasing Burke by
calling him "St. Louis Archbishop-elect."
Rigali said in a telephone interview Tuesday from his Philadelphia office that
he has full confidence that Burke is what St. Louis needs and will administer
the archdiocese well.
"Each bishop has different gifts," Rigali said.
"A most lovable guy"
Burke on Tuesday compared his appointment to a sports swap. In June 2002,
Wisconsin got St. Louis native Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of Milwaukee and
Tuesday St. Louis got Burke.
"I hope that you will not be disappointed with the exchange," Burke told a
group of priests and other archdiocesan workers at the Cardinal Justin Francis
Rigali Pastoral Center in Shrewsbury.
"Ray's a most lovable guy, with a big heart, a ready smile, a balanced man with
great common sense and with a towering intellect," said Dolan, in a phone
interview from Philadelphia, where he is leading a retreat for Rigali's
priests. "When (Burke) speaks of prayer you can tell it comes from a deep well
of personal experience. It's not showy piety."
"Keen on rural life"
Burke said his preaching style is more like Rigali's than Dolan, a dynamic and
He's also an activist. "I'm keen on rural life," he said Tuesday, wearing a
green ribbon that promotes family farming. The Wisconsin, farm-bred,
Irish-American, is former chairman of the National Catholic Rural Life
Conference, which promotes ethical treatment of the environment and farm
La Crosse's mostly rural diocese on the east side of the Mississippi River has
209,400 Catholics spread over seven small cities and mostly farmland in 19
counties across 15,078 miles. The St. Louis Archdiocese has 555,600 Catholics
in the city of St. Louis and 10 counties spread over 5,968 square miles.
Burke is expected to have a long tenure here. At 55, he may well stay here
until at the age of 75, a bishop must give his resignation to the pope.
"We'll miss him"
In La Crosse, there was a sense of loss as the news of Burke's appointment
"We knew we wouldn't keep him long, because he has such qualifications," said
the Rev. Robert S. Hegenbarth, pastor of St. Leo the Great in West Salem, Wis.
"He was a great listener always concerned with the needs of the diocese, very
traditional, very conservative. We'll miss him."
Archbishop-elect Raymond L. Burke
Born June 30, 1948, in southwestern Wisconsin.
Enters seminary high school in La Crosse, Wis., in 1962 and later attends the
seminary college there and Catholic University of America in Washington.
Attends Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, 1971.
Ordained by Pope Paul VI on June 29, 1975.
Returns to La Crosse in 1975 as associate rector of the Cathedral of St. Joseph
the Workman and to teach at a high school.
Studies canon law at Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome in 1980.
Named vice-chancellor of the La Crosse diocese in 1984 and, later, its judicial
Assigned as a lawyer at the church's highest court at the Vatican in 1989.
Installed as bishop of La Crosse on Feb. 22, 1995.
Named archbishop of St. Louis, Dec. 2.
Reporter Patricia Rice
Translation: Screw you, Bishop. I only use the Catholic schtick when it gets me a vote.
Rep. Marlin Schneider (D-Stevens Point), whose Assembly District is part of Lassa's Senate district, called Burke's letter outrageous.
"Churches ought not use the pulpit for blatant political purposes," said Schneider, who is Lutheran. "When they start telling legislators how to vote, they've crossed the line."
Peggy Hamill, state director of Pro-Life Wisconsin, said her organization was contacted by Burke's office for assistance in researching Lassa's voting record on abortion issues.
She said Lassa was the only legislator whose voting record was requested by Burke's office.
Hamill applauded Burke's effort to hold Catholic public officials accountable for shaping public policy in ways that are contrary to church teachings.
Pro-Life Wisconsin has organized a campaign urging Catholics with pro-life views who live in U.S. Rep. David Obey's district to write the Democrat to complain that his voting record on abortion issues is not in keeping with his Catholic faith.
Obey's office did not respond to inquires about whether he received a letter from Burke.
The subject of Catholic elected officials and their responsibility to represent the church's views on political issues is of increasing concern to church leaders.
At a meeting this fall of U.S. bishops in Washington, D.C., an initial report was offered by a new task force on Catholics in Public Life organized after the Vatican issued a doctrinal note on the subject.
John Huebscher, executive director of the Wisconsin Catholic Conference, which represents Wisconsin's Roman Catholic bishops, said the subject is under increasing discussion in church circles. But he knew of no organized effort by Wisconsin bishops to send letters to elected officials reminding them of their duty to represent Catholic teachings.
Kathleen Hohl, interim communications director for Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy Dolan, said Dolan had not sent letters on this subject to any lawmakers representing districts in the Milwaukee Archdiocese.
"To my knowledge, it's not anywhere on the to-do list," she said. "It has not come up within the Archdiocese of Milwaukee."
Wasn't Weakland the one who was disagreeing with existing practice?
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That statement by itself comes pretty darn close to self-induced excommunication. And this isn't exactly a subtle matter of Canon Law, it's a blatant violation of the First Commandment. Maybe she ought to set up that appointment as her bishop instructed.
God's law versus man's law? The "Age of Reason" summed up in one sentence.