Citing alignment with Steve Bannon, Cardinal Burke cuts ties with Dignitatis Humanae Institute

Bannon Burke(CNS photo/Paul Haring and Joshua Roberts, Reuters)

U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke has resigned from the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, saying it has become "more and more identified with the political program" of Steve Bannon.

In a letter posted on his Twitter feed, Cardinal Burke said June 25 he had urged the institute to return to its original purpose of promoting the respect of human dignity but "it has not done so," so he was terminating his relationship, including being the institute's honorary president. Eleven other cardinals make up the institute's advisory board and Bannon, former chief strategist at the White House, is a patron and member of the board of trustees.

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"I disagree completely with a number of Mr. Bannon's statements regarding the doctrine and discipline of the Roman Catholic Church," Cardinal Burke said.

"I have been made aware of a June 24 LifeSiteNews online article -- now removed -- entitled 'Steve Bannon hints at making film exposing homosexuality in the Vatican,' in which the insinuation is made that somehow, through my association with Mr. Benjamin Harnwell of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, I was involved in a meeting between Mr. Bannon and Mr. Frederic Martel, author of the book, 'In the Closet of the Vatican,' to promote a film version of Mr. Martel's book," Cardinal Burke said in his letter.

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"LifeSiteNews made no contact with me to verify my possible involvement," he said. "Given the overall content of the article and given several statements made by Mr. Bannon in the article, I must make the following clear:

"I do not, in any way, agree with Mr. Bannon's assessment of the book in question," Cardinal Burke said. "Furthermore, I am not at all of the mind that the book should be made into a film. I disagree completely with a number of Mr. Bannon's statements regarding the doctrine and discipline of the Roman Catholic Church.

"Above all, I find objectionable his statement calling into question the church's discipline of perpetual continence for the clergy, in accord with the example and desire of Christ ..." he said.

Cardinal Burke said he had never worked with Bannon but had met with him "on occasion to discuss Catholic social teaching regarding certain political questions."

"In meeting with him, as in meeting with other political leaders, I have tried to fulfill my mission as a priest to teach the faith and morals for the common good," he said.

In early June, the Italian ministry for culture revoked a license it granted to the Dignitatis Humanae Institute to manage a state-owned historic monument south of Rome, citing irregularities in the bidding process and a breach of contract. The former Carthusian monastery of Trisulti was being used as the headquarters of the institute.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Elizabeth Stevens
4 months 4 weeks ago

The headline is misleading. It seems to imply that the Cardinal is in alignment with Bannon. The text says just the opposite. I suppose the headline is meant to mean that the Cardinal objected that the group might be too much in alignment with Bannon, but it isn't clear.

THOMAS E BRANDLIN, MNA
4 months 4 weeks ago

I agree that the headline could be clearer. However, I read it to mean what is articulated in the article. It seems to be a matter of perception, which is why these things need to be crystal clear.

Fred Keyes
4 months 4 weeks ago

Common grammatical error: indefinite antecedent. Headline writer: 3 Hail Marys and 5 minutes with your style guide.

Opting Out
4 months 4 weeks ago

How utterly bizarre. Raymond Burke has called the Pope a heretic, has caused and continues to promote the most scandalous actions in the Church to date all the while showing hubris. He reminds one of Savonarola. Thus it is baffling he only now finds Bannon objectionable given he has pandered to him due to his right wing nationalist politics. Burke & Bannon are cut from the same cloth, or in Burke's case, a cappa magna red silk cloth.
Burke is a Cardinal without a church, a priest without a real flock except the disaffected "traditionalists" on the internet and a clericalist in the mode of Theodore McCarrick and Vigano, a millstone to the Roman Catholic Church and a strumbling block to Pope Francis. I know I am not alone in condemning this "man of the silk cloth". Anathema sit

Ron Martel
4 months 4 weeks ago

There is more to this than what is in this article. He should have never aligned himself with Bannon but they are of one mind.

Lisa M
4 months 4 weeks ago

So true. I'll continue to be leery of his intentions.

Patrick Nugent
4 months 4 weeks ago

Interesting—Burke does not object to any of Bannon’s usual right-wing positions. He’s upset that Bannon wants to examine clerical homosexuality at the Vatican and abolish mandatory celibacy. For once I agree with Bannon. Never thought I’d say that.

Jay Kay
4 months 4 weeks ago

Yeah, it's just reflexive on Cdl Burke's part. He was fine with Bannon until Bannon broke the cardinal rule of the clergy--don't ever acknowledge homosexuality among clergy. And by all means, if it comes up it should never become personal, ie about particular individuals. The book is exactly that and that's the objection right there.

PS. There's a lot of research that says that homosexuality in the priesthood is a very complex sociological and psychological issue. It's not really the black-and-white political kind of thing that either party (Burke or Bannon) supposes. Homosexuality (as a sexual orientation) doesn't cause abuse in itself, but abuse can certainly be (and usually is) situational.

William McGovern
4 months 4 weeks ago

I’m not sure why in a comment section of a Catholic Christian magazine that some commentators insist on personal attacks. This observation is not confined to comments regarding this article. Similar personal attacks can be found in comments about virtually any article. Be charitable. Stick to the issues. Remember to love your neighbor, even those who you perceive as your “enemy.”

FRAN ABBOTT
4 months 4 weeks ago

Thank you, William McGovern. It is so hard to read venomous comments over and over again in a magazine I love and respect. I often wonder, who are these people? They sure don’t sound like anybody I know, Catholic or non-Catholic.

THOMAS GOSSE
4 months 3 weeks ago

Yes Love your Neighbor as yourself (...cast the first stone) and LOVE YOUR ENEMY, DO GOOD TO THOSE WHO HURT YOU... Catholicism, as an expression of Christianity, must not be the end of Christianity but the beginning of the love of Christ. I believe that what we are finding in the current struggle of the Church hierarchy to come to terms with abuse, animosity towards philosophical opponents, the desire and power to control by authority of position, rather than the direct example of Christ-like behavior, should give us pause to examine what it is we mean by our own Catholicism. Jesus set the example for how we MUST deal with wrong-headed thinkers who would condemn without fair trial, and seek power over others and self-righteousness over love of God and fellow man. It's a hard example. It actually costs us our lives, which in end ONLY matter to Christ Himself, even more than they matter to us.

Edward Gallagher
4 months 4 weeks ago

Cardinal Burke is an absolute disgrace to the church. He’s an arch-conservative who would like to restore a pre-Vatican II church. His dalliance with Bannon confirms his far-right social and religious leanings. We have Benedict XVI to thank for the presence of this small-minded man in Rome.

Baron Corvo
4 months 4 weeks ago

Ratzinger's mistakes will be taken care of by the passage of time and the yawning grave beyond.

'Cappa Magna' Burke should be commanded into silence and poverty for the rest of his miserable, poofter life. Take away his red-trimmed frippery, his tassels and lace, and he is an empty, soul-less old man without a friend on this world or the next.

Buh bye, Ray !

Frank T
4 months 4 weeks ago

So thrilled to know that Bannon completed the task of making America great again. At this rate, disrupting the papacy and bullying the Italian government should be a piece of cake.

THOMAS E BRANDLIN, MNA
4 months 4 weeks ago

At first I was leery of Cardinal Burke's criticism of Pope Francis. However, after the many controversial, unclear, and misleading statements of the Pope I became uncertain of him. Then we started hearing about all the cover-ups and passes given to various priests, bishops, and cardinals - a new cover-up about every two weeks. These were quickly followed by the evidence and now one of his favorites is on trial in Rome for sexual misconduct. I think Cardinal Burke does the Church a great and profound service as he speaks the truth. This Pope has got to go!

Opting Out
4 months 4 weeks ago

You are a cafeteria Catholic, like Burke, picking and choosing Popes and Magisterial teachings from the menu you wish to consume and vomiting those you find distasteful. Yeah, that Burke has caused many catholics to stumble with his hubris, his pride, the worst sin of them all...hypocrite

Lisa M
4 months 4 weeks ago

Thomas- You might want to take a look at some of the articles on WherePeterIs. It at least gives a different perspective on Pope Francis, and some of the problems with the anti Francis movement. I think you are someone who would be open to their perspective, or challenge what you do not agree with.

Mike Macrie
4 months 4 weeks ago

The Conservative Leadership in the Catholic Church for the last 50 years or longer did the Cover Ups. Cardinal Burke was a “ See No Evil, Hear No Evil, and Speak No Evil” Conservative Leader of the Church. All Cardinal Burke cared about was his high standing and position under Pope Benedict. When Pope Francis demoted him because he was a road block to change he sought revenge on Pope Francis by attacking him as a heretic. Pope Francis walked into a Shipwreck on Sexual Abuse Cover Ups by Bishops, a Mafia run Vatican Bank, and Bishops living like Kings in their Mansions.

Susan Hannibal
4 months 3 weeks ago

Well, as a former member of his “flock” and ex-employee, I’m here to tell he did speak his share of evil. And I’ve met his friends...no, really, he has them. Such a charming bunch. Was trapped on a package trip to The World Meeting of Families and berated by some woman who invites him to her vacation home each year because she asked me (this was in his early days in my town) what we thought of him and I honestly replied that he came off as a hermit and had never attempted a visit to our offices, ever. Her vitriol drove me out of a wonderful lunch in Valencia. If you can judge someone by the company they keep, she told me all I needed to know. Ah, but there was so much ahead to learn! Basically, I think he’s afraid he’ll look gay in this movie if it ever gets made. I doubt he’s broken his celibacy vow, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t gay. If he embraced his whole self, it could change the world, as is true of anyone harboring self-loathing for any reason, not just supposed sexual deviance. It comes oozing out in the worst and darkest ways.

Daniel Voisin
4 months 4 weeks ago

Hi. Lapsed Catholic. Officially agnostic. Recently I've been pretty concerned about the direction the world was taking, fascism creeping up and all that, so figured if the Catholics pushed against fascism last time they'd likely be up to something. It was pretty alarming to find out Bannon was opening monestaries and training centers. Politicize the religion. Use it like a tool for your own ego. Anyone that can do that is either an atheist or in complete rebellion against God.

Burke hasn't actually broke from Bannon, just like I doubt Bannon isn't still advising Trump, they're just taking advantage of media being to construct truth in a post truth world. You could literally show people a picture of the three of them hanging out and people wouldn't believe it.

A Fielder
4 months 4 weeks ago

I'm not a fan of Bannon either, but for the record, the people who open monestaries and training centers are sometimes called saints. just saying...

Tim O'Leary
4 months 4 weeks ago

Some people say crazy things, especially Jose, who is filled with a pseudo-righteous defense of the things Catholic while he flaunts his disregard for its actual application to himself. I am not an acolyte of Cardinal Burke or Steve Bannon and I do not agree with either of their tactics. However, it is false to say Cardinal Burke has ever called Pope Francis a heretic, even if he criticizes the Holy Father's statements for being ambiguous and in need of clarification. There is no conflict between fully adhering to the authority of Peter to teach regarding faith and morals and to criticize his off-hand remarks, his management style, or what appears to be a pattern of failures with respect to closely aligned friends of Francis (FOF) like Zanchetta, McCarrick, Barros, Inzoli, Ricca, Charamsa, Capozzi,& Danneels. No doubt personal friendships or perceived allies have got a lot of popes into trouble in the history of the Church (all the way from St. Peter's initial sympathy with those wanting converts to follow Jewish customs, to St. John Paul II's failure to believe the early warning signs regarding Fr. Maciel). We are not guaranteed a wise or prudential pope or good management. We are guaranteed not to lose the fullness of the faith, no matter the failures of men.

A Fielder
4 months 4 weeks ago

Fascinating. Won't it be something when the liberals and conservatives get together to eliminate (the need for) "celibate" homosexuals in the priesthood? Some are rightly aghast that the church is only able to recruit celibate priests by brainwashing homosexuals into celibacy. Others are somehow surprised that those same despicable tactics, akin to human rights abuse, don't always produce celibate people who are well integrated and faithful. Bannon is on to something, and if we could get it together, the only people left standing alone in the margins will be the priestless bishops. This is why Burke, and his establishment, is nervous.

Susan Hannibal
4 months 3 weeks ago

My problem with our current batch of priests is the balance of homosexuals to heterosexuals. If it doesn’t reflect society (about a 1:10 ratio) then it’s out of whack. How do you minister to a population the reverse of your own? A healthy priesthood would reflect the population. So, what, do we push for a married clergy? The convert ministers-to-Catholic-Priests I’ve personally known are one sick bunch. Commitment problems, enormous egos and one even told me out-right that there is never a need for Natural Family Planning. When I asked him what about if his wife or he are critically ill, or if she was at high risk of death if they had another pregnancy, he sat in my office and told me bald-faced that he is at peace with his wife (whose name he never, ever used) were to die in childbearing, because she was “doing what she was put on earth to do.” I still don’t think I’ve recovered from him. Anyway, they’ve taught me to be wary of hurtling towards a married priesthood without excellent planning in place. Besides, as a dear friend once said, “If they really get desperate, they’ll take back the guys who left to marry, then they’ll let deacons ‘elevate’ to the priesthood, then they’ll take regular married guys, then parakeets, then women.” I’m unlikely, even in my late 40s to see any of it happen.

Susan Hannibal
4 months 3 weeks ago

My problem with our current batch of priests is the balance of homosexuals to heterosexuals. If it doesn’t reflect society (about a 1:10 ratio, then it’s out of whack. How do you minister to a population the reverse of your own? A healthy priest hood would reflect the population. So, what, do we push for a married clergy? The convert ministers-Catholic-Priests I’ve personally known are one sick bunch. Commitment problems, enormous egos and one even told me out-right that there is never a need for Natural Family Planning. When I asked him what about if his wife or he are critically ill, or if she was at high risk of death if they had another pregnancy, he sat in my office and to,d me bald faced that he is at peace with his wife (whose name he never, ever used) were to die in childbearing, because she was “doing what she was put on earth to do.” I still don’t think I’ve recovered from him. Anyway, they’ve taught me to be wary of hurtling towards a married priesthood without excellent planning in place. Besides, as a dear friend once said, “If they really get desperate, they’ll take back the guys who left to marry, then they’ll let deacons ‘elevate’ to the priesthood, then they’ll take regular married guys, then parakeets, then women.” I’m unlikely, even in my late 40s to see any of it happen.

Bern Price
4 months 3 weeks ago

"They’ll take back the guys who left to marry, then they’ll let deacons ‘elevate’ to the priesthood, then they’ll take regular married guys, then parakeets, then women.” LOL. although I think they'll try poodles first, then parakeets, then maybe women.

Bern Price
4 months 3 weeks ago

"They’ll take back the guys who left to marry, then they’ll let deacons ‘elevate’ to the priesthood, then they’ll take regular married guys, then parakeets, then women.” LOL. although I think they'll try poodles first, then parakeets, then maybe women.

Judith Jordan
4 months 4 weeks ago

I wonder what Cardinal Burke’s answer will be when he explains to God how he drove so many people away from the church rather than toward it. As I recall, Jesus believed a Good Shepard would go after and save the lost sheep. Once again, Cardinal Burke fails a responsibility when he neglects to discuss Steve Bannon’s far right racist views as a reason to disassociate himself from Bannon.

Bannon became an admitted supported of the far right, racists, and anti-Semitism when he invited these people to use Breitbart News as a platform for their views. Why or how the Catholic Church has any connection with him is a scandalous disgrace. But then, I still can’t get over the fact that the Catholic Church entered a Concordat with Hitler, the first country to enter an agreement with Hitler.

William McGovern
4 months 3 weeks ago

Judith, hindsight tells us that it was a serious error for the Church to enter into a Concordat with the Herman Government in 1933. Remember that this was just when Hitler was taking power and before the killing and persecution had started. As a minority in Germany, the Church faced hostility from Bismarck and others who tried to severely restrict or even outlaw some activities. The Concordat at the time was seen as a victory to guarantee freedom from German government interference. The Nazis quickly violated many of its protective provisions however.

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