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 email@example.com
See the Journal Sentinel coverage: http://www.jsonline.com/lifestyle/religion/dec03/190088.asp
Right On! When are they going to stop supporting ILLEGALS.
Weakland had an affair with a 'fella' and wrecked the cathedral, turning it into a new age 'universal church'. At least thats what I read in the Wanderer.
Ping - This is why I work with my Catholic Brothers.
You and I may disagree - about some important things, but we can work together to bring Christ to the World.
Bishops may punish politicians
Proabortion position of Catholic lawmakers a source of frustration
By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff, 11/11/2003
WASHINGTON -- Frustrated that so many Catholic politicians support
abortion rights, the bishops of the United States said yesterday that
they will begin evaluating whether they can impose sanctions against
elected officials who vote contrary to church teachings.
In a freewheeling discussion reflecting years of concern, some bishops
suggested that the church should consider punishments ranging from
denying honorary degrees to elected officials, refusing to allow them to
speak at Catholic institutions, or even excommunicating them.
"I am tired of hearing Catholic politicians say, `I am personally
opposed to whatever, but I can't impose my moral judgment on others,' "
said Bishop Joseph A. Galante of Dallas. "That's nonsense. They do it on
other issues . . . That's a weaseling out."
The bishops said they were prompted to act by a document issued in
January by Pope John Paul II. That document outlined the
responsibilities of Catholics actively involved in politics. Cardinal
Theodore E. McCarrick, the archbishop of Washington, suggested that the
bishops examine how they should deal with Catholic politicians who do
not heed the Vatican's urgings.
No names were mentioned, but some Catholics have long lamented the
support for abortion rights voiced by Massachusetts Senators Edward M.
Kennedy and John F. Kerry, both Catholics. In January, after the pope's
statement was issued, both men cited church-state separation as their
guiding principle. Kerry, who is running for president, declared at the
time, "As a Catholic, I have enormous respect for the words and
teachings of the Vatican, but as a public servant, I've never forgotten
the lasting legacy of President Kennedy, who made clear that in
accordance with the separation of church and state, no elected official
should be `limited or conditioned by any religious oath, ritual, or
The bishops have created a task force to examine the church's
relationship with Catholic politicians. A member of the task force,
Bishop John H. Ricard of Pensacola-Tallahassee, Fla., said the group
will try to come up with a set of guidelines that examine issues such as
"honors for politicians."
"We face a serious pastoral challenge," Ricard said. "Some Catholic
politicians defy Church teaching in their policy advocacy and
legislative votes, first and most fundamentally on the defense of unborn
life, but also on the use of the death penalty, questions of war and
peace, the role of marriage and family, the rights of parents to choose
the best education for their children, the priority for the poor, and
welcome for immigrants."
Ricard accused some lawmakers of choosing "their party over their faith,
their ideology over Catholic teaching, the demands of their contributors
over the search for the common good."
The discussion about Catholic politicians occurred at the end of the
first day of the annual fall meeting of the bishops' conference. At the
start of the day, the conference president, Bishop Wilton D. Gregory,
reflecting on the clergy sexual abuse crisis, said that "We can do
better talking with and listening to one another as members of the
church" and that "even we bishops need to reflect on our own need to
accept just criticism, to apologize, and to forgive."
Outside the conference, a variety of organizations offered suggestions
to the bishops. Voice of the Faithful, a lay organization, praised some
bishops for meeting with its members, but criticized others for barring
its organization from meeting on church premises. Members of Soulforce,
a gay rights organization, and the Survivors Network of Those Abused by
Priests, held silent vigils alleging inattention to their concerns.
The bishops have been increasingly focused on political matters as the
presidential campaign intensifies. They recently published a guide for
Catholic voters, urging them to consider Catholic moral teachings when
deciding how to vote. But the document says that neither political party
in the United States is a perfect fit for Catholics, who are supposed to
oppose the death penalty as well as abortion and to make helping the
poor a priority.
During yesterday's discussion, some bishops made it clear they support
punishing politicians who vote against church teachings on abortion.
"It's a constant source of scandal that the most prominent proabortion
people are Catholics . . . who seem to go unreproved," said Bishop
Fabian W. Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Neb.
Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago said the bishops' task force
should address "the whole question of sanctions, which we're challenged
from time to time to apply."
But George said bishops are not only supposed to speak the truth, but
also to "keep unity."
"It's that charism of unity that causes many of us to pause," he said.
"It's not a lack of courage, it's an act of understanding our role."
At a news conference, Galante said the bishops will scour canon law to
find options for sanctioning politicians. Those sanctions could include
excommunication, which denies politicians participation in the
sacraments. He said that such a step would be "the extreme" and that
there is debate about whether it could be justified. Galante said some
bishops already refuse to allow some elected officials to speak on
Michael Paulson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I suspect that there are far more letters-sent-to-wayward-politicos than have been reported. This one came up through a leak, but the Milwaukee Journal had to use the Open Records law to unscrew the letter from Lassa's files.
The other two recipients are not admitting they got one, but we have reason to believe that one of them is Obey (D-WI) who has been in Congress since ---Idunno, since Lincoln was shot??---a very long time.
Since the Church offices are usually silent on such matters, and since politicos REALLY don't want it known that they've been told off by the Catholic Church--you get the picture.
Woah!!! What a great resource list. It makes my head spin.
Yes, it is. I'm going to have to go back into it and change the < paragraphs > to < breaks >