A senior American Vatican official has strongly rebuked Catholic politicians who publicly support legislation in favor of abortion and same-sex marriage, warning them they are rebelling against God.
He also firmly rapped them for failing to publicly show repentance for the “true scandal” of their actions.
Addressing a conference of pro-life leaders in Rome Oct. 9, Archbishop Raymond L. Burke, who heads the Apostolic Signatura, the highest judicial authority in the Catholic Church, said these “violations of the moral law [do] grave harm to all who are confused and led into error by these actions.”
He spoke of the "hypocrisy" of some Catholics, not only in politics but also in medicine, business, and other human endeavors, who claim to “personally hold to the truth of the faith regarding the inviolability of innocent and defenseless human life,” yet cooperate in attacks on the unborn, the infirm, or those with special needs.
Calling them “cafeteria Catholics” who “pick and choose which parts of the faith to practice,” he also singled out for criticism "self-proclaimed" Catholics who support state recognition of same-sex marriage.
"It is not possible to be a practicing Catholic and conduct oneself publicly in this manner," he said to loud applause.
Christ’s admonition of those who lead others into sin, he continued, was "nothing less than vehement.” For this reason, he said, the church has always prohibited the giving of Holy Communion or the granting of a church funeral “to those who persist after admonition in the grave violation of the moral law."
He was also enthusiastically applauded when he stressed that for any person who has publicly espoused and cooperated in gravely sinful acts, “his repentance of such actions must also be public." He didn’t single out any public figure by name.
The archbishop lamented that this tendency of senior Catholic public figures to lead others astray has been “heightened” in today’s society.
He said that many have become confused about "the most basic truths," namely the inviolable dignity of innocent human life from conception until natural death, and marriage of one man and one woman "as the first and irreplaceable" source of life and society.
He blamed a “tyranny of relativism,” making people too easily offended by any exposure of the “scandal” of their public behavior, leading them to accuse their accusers of “lack of charity.”
Because of this and political correctness, the archbishop said, people don’t want to be “disruptive of the so-called peace of society.” But he added, “Lying or failing to tell the truth is never a sign of charity.”
Burke traced this thinking on abortion and other “anti-life” issues back to “an erroneous view of human sexuality which attempts to eliminate by mechanical or chemical means the essentially procreative nature of the conjugal act."
He added, "The so-called contraceptive mentality is anti-life and the manipulation of the conjugal act . . . has led to many forms of violence in marriage and family life."
Once the sexual union is longer seen to be by its very nature procreative, he continued, "human sexuality is abused in ways that are profoundly harmful and in ways destructive of individuals and society itself."
As an example, he drew attention to the "devastation which is daily wrought on our world by the multimillion dollar industry of pornography."
The answer, he said, was the advancement of the culture of life through the "proclamation of the truth of the conjugal union in its fullness and the correction of the contraceptive thinking which fears life, which fears procreation."
The archbishop, who is soon to be named a cardinal (possibly as early as this week), also emphasized the heavy responsibility of Catholic bishops, saying they must be obedient to the “moral truth” and the teachings of the Catholic Church if their followers are themselves to grow in obedience.
“Rebellion against the moral truth is a rebellion against God and all that he teaches us,” he said.
Archbishop Burke, a native of Richland Center, Wis., has spoken before of these concerns, leading to opposition even among some of the church hierarchy in the United States.
Partly for this reason some observers believe, Pope Benedict transferred Burke to the Vatican where he could exercise more authority and speak more freely about these issues.
Burke was appointed prefect of the Apostolic Signatura in 2008.
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