Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Bishop

One of America’s truly great bishops, Bishop Burke of St. Louis, has been called to important work in the Vatican.

He gave an interview to Inside the Vatican before the election, and it is wonderful.

An excerpt.

“2. As archbishop of St Louis and bishop of La Crosse, your style of church leadership was very distinctive. Is something lacking in the way some other dioceses are administered throughout the world?

“My leadership in the Diocese of La Crosse and in the Archdiocese of Saint Louis was inspired by the directives of the Holy See on the office and ministry of the Diocesan Bishop. I was also inspired by the Regula Pastoralis of Pope Saint Gregory the Great. In a world which is beset with the ideologies of secularism and relativism, it is more important than ever that the Bishop be a strong leader who teaches clearly, celebrates the Sacred Liturgy with the greatest possible reverence, directs and disciplines justly, and gives the best example of the Christian life, of which he is capable. I was trying to do my best, both in La Crosse and in Saint Louis. It is not my place to comment on the leadership of other Bishops.

“3. In your country an election is about to take place in a couple of days. Archbishop Chaput says Obama is the biggest supporter ever of abortion rights, in a presidential candidate. Should Americans be concerned if he becomes president?

“My fellow citizens of the United States of America should be deeply concerned about any candidate for the presidency who supports legislation which permits the destruction of human life at its very beginning, the killing of babies in the womb, or legislation which violates the integrity of marriage and family life. The safeguarding and promoting of human life, from the moment of its inception, and of the integrity of marriage must be the fundamental planks of any political agenda. A good citizen must support and vote for the candidate who most supports the inalienable dignity of innocent and defenseless life, and the integrity of marriage. To do otherwise, is to participate, in some way, in the culture of death which pervades the life of the nation and has led to so much violence, even in the home and in educational institutions.

“4. In a recent interview you were quoted saying the Democratic Party is fast becoming "the party of death". Is this a fair statement, when you consider that the Republican administration has become involved in an unpopular war?

“It is not my intention to engage in partisan politics. I wish that both of the major political parties in the United States of America were more coherent regarding the right to life. The Democratic Party, however has, over the years, put forth and defended a political agenda which is grievously anti-life, favoring the right to procured abortion and "marriage" between persons of the same sex. One can legitimately question the wisdom of the decisions taken in the war in Iraq, but war in itself is not always and everywhere evil, as are, for example, procured abortion, human cloning, embryonic stem-cell research, and the so-called "marriage" of persons of the same sex. Engagement of the nation in a war cannot be placed on the same moral level as the nation making laws which permit the wholesale killing of the unborn or the artificial generation of human life or experimentation on embryonic human life or "marriage" between persons of the same sex.

“5. By emphasizing the issue of abortion, are some of the US bishops taking single issue politics too far, when the world's economies are in financial meltdown, obviously a product in part of government policies?

“Procured abortion is the fundamental moral issue in the safeguarding and fostering of human life. To make economics or the environment the fundamental political issue, when life itself, in its most innocent and defenseless form, remains unprotected is morally irresponsible. Yes, the government of the United States must address a number of critical issues, including the current and most serious economic crisis. But it must address first its duty to promote the common good by defending the life of every human being, from the moment of its inception, and by safeguarding the integrity of marriage and the family.”