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.