Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Catholics scandalised by fellow Catholics must speak out says Archbishop Burke

I am delighted to hear that Archbishop Raymond Burke (right), prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura (the Catholic church's supreme court) will become a cardinal (on 20 November). 11 days ago I heard him speaking to the World Prayer Congress for Life at the Augustianum in Rome. His address was entitled "Catholic orthodoxy: antidote against the culture of death" and I strongly recommend that you read it in full.

To my mind, there are three essential documents to study for all pro-lifers and people of good will who are seeking to build a culture of life: the papal encyclicals Humanae Vitae and Evangelium Vitae, on both of which I have written frequently, and now, albeit at a different level, Archbishop Burke's speech to the pro-life congress in Rome "Catholic orthodoxy: antidote against the culture of death". Here are some extracts:
" ... The attack on the innocent and defenseless life of the unborn has its origin in an erroneous view of human sexuality, which attempts to eliminate, by mechanical or chemical means, the essentially procreative nature of the conjugal act. The error maintains that the artificially altered conjugal act retains its integrity. The claim is that the act remains unitive or loving, even though the procreative nature of the act has been radically violated. In fact, it is not unitive, for one or both of the partners withholds an essential part of the gift of self, which is the essence of the conjugal union. The so-called "contraceptive mentality" is essentially antilife.Many forms of so-called contraception are, in fact, abortifacient, that is, they destroy, at its beginning, a life which has already been conceived ...

" ... A most tragic example of the lack of obedience of faith, also on the part of certain Bishops, was the response of many to the Encyclical Letter Humanae vitae of Pope Paul VI, published on July 25, 1968. The confusion which resulted has led many Catholics into habits of sin in what pertains to the procreation and education of human life.

"The lack of integrity in obeying the Magisterium is also seen in the hypocrisy of Catholics who claim to be practicing their faith but who refuse to apply the truth of the faith in their exercise of politics, medicine, business and the other human endeavors. These Catholics claim to hold “personally” to the truth of the faith, for example, regarding the inviolability of innocent and defenseless human life, while, in the political arena or in the practice of medicine, they cooperate in the attack on our unborn brothers and sisters, or on our brothers and sisters who have grown weak under the burden of years, of illness, or of special needs. Their disobedience pertains not to some truth particular to the life of the Church, that is, not to some confessional matter, but to the truth of the divine natural law written on every human heart and, therefore, to be obeyed by all men.
Archbishop Burke went on to talk about "the scandal of disobedience to the Magisterium" - in words which can clearly be applied to the scandal of Greg Pope's actions as an MP, the same Mr Pope who has been appointed deputy director of the Catholic Education Service (CES) of England and Wales. I will return to this topic soon. I will do so in the spirit Archbishop Burke described in his address as follows:
" ... One of the ironies of the present situation is that the person who experiences scandal at the gravely sinful public actions of a fellow Catholic is accused of a lack of charity and of causing division within the unity of the Church. In a society whose thinking is governed by the "dictatorship of relativism" and in which political correctness and human respect are the ultimate criteria of what is to be done and what is to be avoided, the notion of leading someone into moral error makes little sense. What causes wonderment in such a society is the fact that someone fails to observe political correctness and, thereby, seems to be disruptive of the so-called peace of society.

"Lying or failing to tell the truth, however, is never a sign of charity. A unity which is not founded on the truth of the moral law is not the unity of the Church. The Church's unity is founded on speaking the truth with love. The person who experiences scandal at public actions of Catholics, which are gravely contrary to the moral law, not only does not destroy unity but invites the Church to repair what is clearly a serious breach in Her life. Were he not to experience scandal at the public support of attacks on human life and the family, his conscience would be uninformed or dulled about the most sacred realities ... "
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