By Kathleen Gilbert
WASHINGTON, D.C., September 21, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In an address to InsideCatholic.com's 14th Annual Partnership Dinner Friday evening, Archbishop Raymond Burke, Prefect of the Vatican's Apostolic Signatura, said that funeral rites should not be given to pro-abortion Catholic politicians. He also defended the duty of Catholics to speak in charity against the scandal caused by such figures.
The archbishop said that, while “we must speak the truth in charity,” Catholics also “should have the courage to look truth in the eye and call things by their common names.”
“It is not possible to be a practicing Catholic and to conduct oneself in this manner,” he told the crowd of about 200 guests.
Burke hammered home his message of the need for fidelity to Church teaching on the part of Catholics in politics in his 50-minute speech. The archbishop, known for his unwavering and vocal defense of the Church's teachings on life and family issues, was given a standing ovation at the conclusion of his address.
In what appeared to be a reference to the Kennedy funeral scandal, Burke said that “neither Holy Communion nor funeral rites should be administered to” politicians who support abortion or same-sex “marriage.” “To deny these is not a judgment of the soul, but a recognition of the scandal and its effects,” he said.
Burke said that when a politician is associated “with greatly sinful acts about fundamental questions like abortion and marriage, his repentance must also be public.”
“Anyone who grasps the gravity of what he has done will understand the need to make it public,” said Burke.
Sen. Ted Kennedy, a staunch abortion and same-sex “marriage” supporter, was laid to rest in a highly publicized and laudatory Catholic funeral ceremony in Boston on August 29. Catholic pro-life leaders had pleaded with Cardinal Sean O'Malley not to allow the public ceremony, but the cardinal ultimately presided over the rites. In turn, other leaders in the Catholic community, most notably Fr. Thomas Rosica, the CEO of Canada's Salt & Light television network, lambasted the pro-life response to the funeral as uncharitable.
About the pro-life leaders and activists who expressed concern about Kennedy's funeral, Rosica wrote on his blog, “many so-called lovers of life and activists in the pro-life movement, as well as well-known colleagues in Catholic television broadcasting and media in North America, have revealed themselves to be not agents of life, but of division, destruction, hatred, vitriol, judgment and violence.”
Burke, however, defended those who spoke out against such scandal, pointing out that unity within the Church is ultimately based upon the truth.
“The Church's unity is founded on speaking the truth in love,” he said. “This does not destroy unity but helps to repair a breach in the life of the Church.”
See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Priest/Editor of Kennedy's Diocesan Paper: Scandal of Kennedy Funeral “Totally Avoidable”