Bishop Burke Says U.S. Conference Can’t Force Him to Back Down from Refusing Communion to Abortion S

Fri Jun 18, 2004 - 12:15 pm EST

ST. LOUIS, June 18, 2004 ( - Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis Missouri, who last November announced to priests that pro-abortion Catholic politicians should be refused Communion, has said that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) could not force him to back down from his stand.  “I have to do what I know to be right”  he said.  In a conversation with media, Bishop Burke acknowledged there were starkly different opinions among the bishops on how to address pro-abortion Catholic politicians receiving Communion.  He speculated however that a joint statement on the issue would be forthcoming from the USCCB.

“There is a difference of opinion, I guess it would be fair to say,” said the Bishop.  He suggested a joint statement could be neutral.  “If the statement says that it’s the responsibility of each bishop (to act) with regard to the legislators in his pastoral care - that’s fine. I’ve said that repeatedly.”  Catholic Bishops’ conferences are only consultative and administrative church organizations and have no formal church teaching authority. Individual bishops have full authority and responsibility for teaching and evangelizing efforts in their individual dioceses and are obliged to do so in union with the pope and authentic teachings of the church, not the bishops’ conference.

Unfortunately, most North American bishops have given over much of their authority to the conferences and to bureaucrats in their dioceses for the past four decades. This has in turn resulted in very poor leadership by many bishops in their dioceses. Ideal opportunities resulted for dissidents and their widely used books, abusive priests, New Age nuns and much more and liturgical abuses flourished in all the dioceses where the bishops in effect abdicated part or most of their religious duties and authority to those around them.  Bishop Burke, Bishop Sheridan, Bishop Myers and others who have been outspoken in recent months appear to be launching what many see as a long overdue return of diocesan bishops who accept their primary role to teach and evangelize in their dioceses and ensure the fidelity of all those who assist them in this role.  See local news coverage:,1299,DRMN_61_2972642,00.html

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