The National Catholic Review

At a press conference this morning at the Nation Press Club, Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry released a video of an interview he had earlier this month with Archbishop Raymond Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura. The transcript is available here. The interview took place while Terry and others met with Vatican officials urging them to remove Washington D.C. Archbishop Donald Wuerl and Arlington Bishop Paul Loverde for their failure to deny Holy Communion to politicians because of their political stands on abortion laws.

Mr. Terry, who was introduced at the press conference as "a great warrior for life," boasted that the Vatican officials were sympathetic to his pleas. He had a copy of the document that was presented to the officials, including Archbishop Burke, which explicitly calls for the removal of Archbishop Wuerl and Bishop Loverde. The document is online here. During the press conference, Terry repeatedly called them "treacherous." During the interview, Terry specifically asked Archbishop Burke about "the bishops who stepped up such as in Washington, D.C. Virginia, others…Massachusetts…[and] said that we will serve communion." Burke did not endorse Terry’s call for the bishops’ removal but neither did he say anything in their defense. It was the Vatican equivalent of throwing them under the bus.

In the course of a Q-and-A, Terry also said Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley had "done a great disservice to the Church" for failing to excommunicate Sen. John Kerry. Terry did not, at first, object to Cardinal Edward Egan inviting candidate Obama to the Al Smith dinner, until it was pointed out to him that Obama did speak at the event. "That was very bad then," Terry concluded.

Mr. Terry basks in controversy and his criticisms of Archbishop Wuerl and Bishop Loverde can be dismissed. After all, it was Wuerl, not Terry, who I recall seeing next to Pope Benedict in the Popemobile last April. But, Archbishop Burke’s comments are more difficult to understand. In addition to saying that he saw no other interpretation of Canon 915 but his own, a view that is not shared by the vast majority of bishops in America or elsewhere, he called President Barack Obama "an agent of death."

I confess my bias here. Archbishop Wuerl is my bishop and Bishop Loverde has been to my home for dinner so I consider him a friend. But, me thinks they are owed an apology and not only from Mr. Terry.


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Anonymous | 3/26/2009 - 9:09pm
God bless Cadinal Burke. In America we have learned to be "tolerant" of nearly every vice and crime. Bankers are rewarded for thievery, politicians for serving special interests and not doing their duty, Bishops allowed to given the Body and Blood of Christ to prominent, public advoctaes for the murder of innocent babies. Amazing. Exactly what would it take to cross the line so that "liberal Catholics" would consider denial of Communion justified, if advocationg, abetting and defending the slaughter of millions of inncoent humans does not? The truth is, liberalism has so emasculated most American Bishops they have no courage left - they are afraid even to be criticized by the liberal press. Again, God bless Cardinal Burke. He may some day be canonized for doing his duty in the face of the same scorn, mockery and skepticism faced by Our Lord.
Anonymous | 3/26/2009 - 6:13pm
Ho-Hum. More of the same drivel from AB Burke. Has anyone stopped to remind themselves just how painfully irrelevant the American Bishops have made themselves? Who really cares what they have to say? They have forfieted their moral authority by their disgraceful handling of the molestation scandal and have relegated themselves to a sideshow, and a laughable sideshow at that.
Anonymous | 3/26/2009 - 4:39pm
I am from upstate New York, and I saw Randall Terry speak in 1998 when he was running for Congress as an independent in our district. While I agree with his pro-life stance on abortion, his rhetoric was anti-poor and anti-environment, which typifies the Religious Right's inconsistent life ethic.
Anonymous | 3/25/2009 - 11:45pm
You deflect the real issue here - material cooperation in the evil that is abortion. Bishops have an obligation as shepherds to instruct the faithful in the teachings of the Church. Abp. Wuerl and Bp. Loverde appear to fall short in the key area of defending the unborn. Both may be good men, otherwise good bishops or even good friends of yours - but this does not change the fact that other bishops have fulfilled their duty and these two have not.
Anonymous | 3/25/2009 - 11:31pm
How many possible interpretations can there be of "are not to be admitted to holy communion"? Does that have wiggle room? Under what reasonable reading could it mean "at your discretion you may admit them--it's your call"? Is its interpretation dependent on a vote of what the American Bishops wish it meant?
Anonymous | 3/25/2009 - 10:14pm
The bishops failure to act and to teach firmly have led us to the point where we have Catholic pro abortion VP, Speaker of the House, and many senators and congressmen. If the bishops want to end abortion, all they need to do is unite with ArchBishop Burke on his wise leadership and should respect the position he holds in the Church which is in essence like the US Supreme Court. Speak with one voice, protect the Eucharest and excommunicate those who are in grave error and refuse to honor church teaching, and give short concise teaching to the layity that their soul is at risk in supporting a holocaust of 50,000,000 babies being buthered on the altar of choice to sin. Then everyone can make a clear choice as to what they believe and where they place their faith in the salvation of their soul for eternity. That is the job of the bishops. Abortion would end and The Catholic Church would once again be a force for good on moral issues.
Anonymous | 3/25/2009 - 7:40pm
Wow, looking back. this sentence made little sense: "To, respectfully and showing due deference, call them out or ask the Holy See to call them out for being derelict in their duty or failing to live up to their nature." My point was that insulting them or calling them derelict is disrespectful. However, one may respectfully, filialy, voice concerns about the effectiveness of a given pastoral decision or appeal a decision to Rome. However, at the end of the day, they are the bishops, and we are not.
Anonymous | 3/25/2009 - 7:35pm
Minor correction. The invitations for St. Patrick's Day dinner are not sent by the archbishop. It is onsidered a political affair - not a church affair.
Anonymous | 3/25/2009 - 6:00pm
Joseph Landry, it should be pointed out, is named on the very document which calls for the removal of Archbishop Wuerl and Bishop Loverde as one of Randall Terry's fellow pilgrims to the Vatican. Also, I believe Michael Sean Winters, by Mr. Landry's very definition of the word, would need to be flattering someone to be a sycophant. Who was being flattered here? I assume we are all Catholic and there is really no need to be so uncivil.
Anonymous | 3/25/2009 - 5:36pm
Bps Wuerl and Loverde don't have ''political stands'' in favor of abortion as you imply in the first paragraph. Their ''crime'' is that they haven't allowed themselves to become bobbleheads for the wackier elements within the anti abortion movement, Randall Terry being a prime example. This type of dog & pony show is exactly why the prolife/anti-abortion movement is marginalized.
Anonymous | 3/25/2009 - 5:02pm
I agree with Archbishop Burke on Canon 915 and I think it's very damaging to our souls, our Church and our world that it's not properly enforced. I do wish that Burke had distanced himself from Terry's calls for the Bishops' removal, though. Terry takes things to an unnecessarily personal level. I don't know Wuerl or Loverde personally, but I have no reason to believe that they're evil men. Part of me considers Burke's statements an answer to my prayer. He reinvigorates my hope that people within the Church hierarchy will step up and solidify the Church as a bulwark for the Gospel of Life. I hope, however, that those who share my zeal for the defense of the innocent won't be dragged down into personal battles which only hurt the cause. Please pray that Archbishop Wuerl will follow Archbishop Naumann's wishes with regards to Ms. Sebelius. It would be a shame for that important stand to be abandoned, creating scandal.
Anonymous | 3/25/2009 - 4:55pm
Calling for the removal of bishops is utterly inappropriate and disrespectful to they who are, after all, successors of the apostles and the most perfect (and living) icons of the Father and Christ. To, respectfully and showing due deference, call them out or ask the Holy See to call them out for being derelict in their duty or failing to live up to their nature. In this case, Archbishop Wuerl and Bishop Loverde, are not derelict. They just wanted to defend the Truth while not alienating people from the Church who honestly struggle with a teaching. Terry had neither the right to insult them, nor to demand they be removed; it is especially inappropriate since they are not derelict in their duty, but trying different methods to fulfill that duty. If he wants the correct path of action clarified for bishops in this situation, he should have asked the Vatican for that. As for Burke, he said what he said. He is the number 2 man on canon law, his interpretations should be given great weight. The aforementioned conundrum seems more or less solved, and it was kinda obvious before--lets be honest. People say we should not use the Eucharist as a political weapon. Sure, but it is inaccurate to say that using the Eucharist as part of a threat is not OK. The threat of excommunication or interdict or other penalties are indeed using the Eucharist as part of a threat, as a means of confronting the person with a dilemma: ''Choose God or this evil, you cannot have both.'' So long as the person is rejecting God, the Church will not help them perpetuate the lie; but she is always open to repentance, they recant, the Church is willing to reconcile. But none of this is possible when dealing with Canon 915 violators without the legitimate coercion of confronting them with the loss of the Sacraments if they stubbornly persist. No one of good will wants to punish them for spite, but call them to conversion, and to declare to the world that the Church will not put up with such nonsense.
Anonymous | 3/25/2009 - 3:37pm
Randall Terry is the kind of self-promotor that typifies everything that is wrong with the leadership of the pro-life movement. To call Bishop Loverde anything but a pro-lifer, and a bit on the zealous side, shows the quality of Terry's thinking. He has obviously not read the Arligton Catholic Herald, which is similarly slanted. I have a feeling Terry is still smarting from being arrested at our Cathedral for handing out counterfeit literature on Faithful Citizenship. He is a Republican operative who is not to be trusted. Archbishop Burke should watch the company he keeps.
Anonymous | 3/26/2009 - 7:12am
Is their any difference between Archbishop Burke an the Rev.Jerimiah Wright ?
Anonymous | 3/25/2009 - 4:54pm
You mean, Wuerl and Loverde should apologize for dissenting from the Church's teaching. thank you for confessing your bias. SYCOPHANT One entry found. Main Entry: sy·co·phant Pronunciation: -f?nt also -?fant Function: noun : a servile self-seeking flatterer A SYCOPHANT (from the Greek ?????????? sykophánt?s) is a servile person who, acting in his or her own self interest, attempts to win favor by flattering one or more influential persons, with an undertone that these actions are executed at the cost of his or her own personal pride, principles, and peer respect.
Anonymous | 3/26/2009 - 11:59am
James, you miss my point. Loverde is perhaps one of the most pro-life bishops in the United States. Burke has already stated he regrets his remarks, although this matter will not blow over easily. Burke, and most pro-lifers, are not fully informed as to the nature of the pro-choice position. While it is against canon law to obtain or advocate abortion, simply allowing it in law is not the same thing. There was never a law that was passed to make abortion legal. What happened was that state laws which banned abortion were ruled unconstitutional. Consequently, there is no legislation to oppose or support. When there is some, Catholic politicians can be called upon to support it or justify their position. To aver that Roe, though tragic, was decided correctly, is also not sinful. Federal supremacy on equal protection is not sinful - in fact, overturning it by overturning Roe would be sinful as it would give states over to the tyranny of the mob without the ability of the aggreived to challenge their actions in federal court. Until the U.S. Congress, not the states, extend protection to the unborn, the states may not interpose themselves between women and their doctors.
Anonymous | 3/26/2009 - 11:51am
There is precedent for bishops being removed. Remember Archbishop Haas formerly of Chur, Switzerland? He was a good bishop and to protect him, he was removed from that diocese and given another. Remember Mgsr. Schwartz who was blackmailed into asking the Holy Father to not appoint him bishop of Linz? The bishop of Portland was removed. Bishop O'Connell of Knoxville also. I could go on and on with examples. Loverde and Wuerl are not charitable to these recalcitrant politicians by giving them Holy Communion. Do both think that 'drinking death to the soul' of the politician is loving? If that is charity, what would be expressing hatred? Look at the Mass in Nationals Stadium for the Pope Benedict. My sons have told me about the Verizon Center Mass which takes place before the March for Life. Bishops who do not take care of the liturgy are not good ones. Yes, remove them Holy Father unless they agree to follow Canon 915!!
Anonymous | 3/26/2009 - 11:30am
I see you attack Terry constantly, and only hit at Archbishop Burke slightly. You say his comments are more difficult to understand. Let's leave that to your readers instead of dishonestly misrepresenting him. You decide what is difficult to understand about this: Archbishop Burke: The Canon is completely clear, it is not subject in my judgment to any other interpretations. When someone is publicly and obstinately in grave sin we may not administer Holy Communion to the person. And that, basically, for two reasons: number one, to prevent the person himself or herself from committing a sacrilege, and secondly, to protect the sanctity of the Holy Eucharist. In other words, to approach, to receive our Lord in Holy Communion, when one insists on remaining in grave sin, is such a violation of the sanctity of the Holy Eucharist, so that Communion must not be given to people who are publicly, obstinately, in grave sin. Pretty clear to me. He's the head of the church supreme court, with more authority than your dinner companions. You decide whether to listen or not.
Anonymous | 3/26/2009 - 10:32am
I fully applaud Archbishop Burke for standing up for the unborn and upholding Church teaching. How many of our faithful are tired of Bishops who won't uphold the teaching office of the Church? I say this with all humility and due respect, but perhaps it's time for those who don't have the guts to stand up for Jesus Christ and the faith he gave to us to quietly retire. You cannot have your cake and eat it too, my friends. You cannot call yourselves Catholic and simply ignore the Church teaching on the matters of abortion and morality. Almost half of our faithful don't believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Over half of our faithful are living in a state of sexual immorality, be it adultery, contraception, pre-marital, etc. Why? Because for too long our heirarchy has remained silent on matters of faith and morals. The few who do speak out cannot be heard over the din of the American media and those Bishops who simply don't use the full authority of their office for the good of the Church. I know Archbishop Burke personally. I have walked with him and talked with him about the state of our Church. He does what he does not because he is advancing some radical agenda. He places himself front and center because he knows that he has Jesus Christ as his sword and shield, and it is the Word of God and the Law of the Church which guide our faith. He keeps VERY good company, Mr. Binder. Jesus Christ stands beside him to guide him and uphold him when ignorant people bash him behind his back. I for one will not tolerate it. I hope others in the Church feel the same way. God bless you, your Excellency!
Anonymous | 3/26/2009 - 10:23am
These responses show the chasm that is developing between militants and even the hierarchy who now cannot meet their "pro-lfe" standards. Randall Terry is hardly a credible tcommnetator on canon law and theology and Archbishop Burke would be happier in the court of Boniface VIII, I think. Let's see who we can find to exclude from our campuses and Communion. Ah, the "renmnant" Church is coming... soon the Rapture!

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