Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Pope Appoints Outspokenly Pro-Life U.S. Bishop to Vatican Supreme Court

A strongly pro-life U.S. bishop has been appointed to the Vatican’s Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature, Catholic News Service reported yesterday.

Pope Benedict XVI appointed Archbishop Raymond L. Burke of St. Louis to the court on July eighth.

Archbishop Burke took an uncompromising stand in a drawn out battle during the 2004 U.S. federal election over the reception of communion by pro-abortion public figures. The Archbishop led a minority of Catholic bishops who said they would be willing to uphold Church Law by refusing communion to "manifest grave sinners" until they recanted.

Presidential candidate John Kerry’s insistence that he could be both strongly Catholic and strongly pro-abortion uncovered a split in the U.S. Bishops over whether or not to deny Kerry (and others like him) Holy Communion. While Cardinal McCarrick of Washington issued a statement saying the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Conference would not take a stand on the issue, Archbishop Burke directed his priests to refuse Holy Communion to any politician who officially supported abortion or euthanasia.

"I hereby call upon Catholic legislators . . . to uphold the natural and divine law regarding the inviolable dignity of all human life. To fail to do so is a grave public sin and gives scandal to all the faithful. Therefore . . . Catholic legislators . . . who continue to support procured abortion or euthanasia may not present themselves to receive Holy Communion. They are not to be admitted to Holy Communion, should they present themselves, until such time as they publicly renounce their support of these most unjust practices."

In a pastoral letter issued in January 2004, Archbishop Burke said abortion and euthanasia must take precedence over any other political considerations.

"Some will say that the defense of innocent life is only one issue among many, that it is important but not fundamental. They are wrong. In the natural moral law, the good of life is the most fundamental good and the condition for the enjoyment of all other goods."

Archbishop Burke had worked for the Vatican Supreme Court from 1989 to 1994. The Apostolic Signature oversees all tribunals and offices of the Roman Curia, as well as handling the establishment of international diocesan tribunals. Appeals to marriage annulment sentences make up a significant number of the cases handled by the court.

(Source: LifeSite.net)

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