‘Change and Hope’ Turned Out to Mean 'Culture of Death,’ Says Archbishop Burke
May 10, 2009 - 10:21 PMPro-abortion policies, federal support for embryonic stem cell research and homosexual marriage are part of the "evil" and a "culture of death" in America, said Archbishop Raymond L. Burke at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast on Friday.
Burke, who serves in the Vatican as the prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, warned of a moral crisis in America specifically calling President Barack Obama to task along with pro-abortion Catholic politicians and Catholic voters that support pro-abortion, pro-homosexual positions.
“What those who were so enthused about the strong message of change and hope in the United States, delivered during the last election campaign, are now discovering is a consistent implementation of policies and programs which confirm and advance the culture of death, which can only finally leave our world without the great hope,” said Burke.
"The change which brings hope can only be the renewal of our nation in the divine love which respects the inviolable dignity of every human life, from the moment of its inception to the moment of natural death, and which creates and gives growth to new human life through the love of man and woman in marriage," said Burke. "Any hope which is incoherent with the great hope is truly illusory and can never bring forth justice and its fruit, peace, for our nation and world."
Presdient Obama supports the Freedom of Choice Act, which would strike down most state and federal restrictions on abortion. The president lifted restrictions on embryonic stem cell research. Obama also supports the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, which allows states to not recognize homosexual marriages sanctioned in other states. A repeal of DOMA would likely force the 46 states that do not currently recognize gay marriage to recognize gay marriages contracted in Massachusetts, Maine, Iowa and Connecticut.
Obama also supports scrapping regulations enforcing the conscience clause, which forbids health-care institutions receiving federal funds from compelling pro-life health-care workers from acting against their conscience in cooperating with abortions.
“The path of violation of the most fundamental human right and of the integrity of marriage and the family which our nation is traveling is not accidental. It is part of the programs set forth by those who we have freely chosen to lead our nation,” Burke said. “It was announced to us beforehand and a majority of our fellow citizens, including a majority of Catholics, chose the leadership which is now implementing it with determination.”
For his part, President Obama has solidly affirmed his support for abortion rights, but said he wants to work with all sides to find common ground and reduce the number of abortions.
Since taking office, Obama has rescinded the Mexico City Policy that blocked federal funding of overseas abortions and issued a $50 million grant to the United Nations population fund, which has supported China’s one-child policy of government-imposed sterilization or abortion.
“These are only some examples of a consistent pattern of decisions by the leadership of our nation which is taking our nation down a path which denies the fundamental right to life to the innocent and the defenseless unborn and violates the fundamental integrity of the marital unit at the family,” Burke said.
Burke said Catholic voters should not ignore basic Catholic principles in favor of other issues.
“All of us must be concerned about a wide range of goods which are important to our nation but concern for those goods can never justify the betrayal of the fundamental goods of life itself and of the family,” Burke said. “We must uproot our thinking of consequentionalism and of proportionalism which would lead us into the error of thinking it is sometimes right to do what is always and everywhere evil.”
He said that “evil cannot be overcome by our own forces alone but by the grace of God which inspires and strengthens our thoughts and actions.”
“In our time and through many parishes and dioceses there are campaigns of prayers for our nation and our leaders,” Burke said. “May these powerful, spiritual works continue and prosper so that through prayer and fasting, the great evils of contraception, procured abortion, euthanasia, the experimentation of embryonic human life, and so-called same-sex marriage may be overcome in our nation.”
He said there should be “great sadness” that so many Catholics who are public officials “who cooperate fully in the advancement of a national agenda which is anti-life and anti-family.” He specifically referred to Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.
“Most recently, the appointment of a Catholic as secretary of Health and Human Services who has openly and consistently cooperated with the industry of procured abortion in our nation is necessarily the source of the deepest embarrassment to Catholics and a painful reminder of the most serious responsibility of Catholics to uphold the natural moral law which is the irreplaceable foundation of just relationships among the citizens of our nation,” he said.
“The support of anti-life legislation by Catholics in public office is so common that those who are not Catholic have justifiably questioned whether the church’s teaching regarding the denial of dignity to innocent human life is firm and unchanging,” he said. “It gives the impression that the church herself can change the law which God has written on every human heart from the beginning of time and has declared in the fifth commandment of the Decalogue, thou shall not kill.”