By Patrick B. Craine
ROME, October 22, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The leaders of some of the world’s largest and most active pro-life organizations say they are “thrilled” and “elated” at Pope Benedict XVI’s announcement that he will elevate pro-life champion Archbishop Raymond Burke to the College of Cardinals.
(To join the pro-life leaders in personally congratulating Archbishop Burke, click here)
“We are thrilled that such an outspoken champion of life and Catholic orthodoxy has been chosen to be elevated to Cardinal,” said Msgr. Ignacio Barreiro, interim president of Human Life International (HLI).
Archbishop Burke, who serves as prefect of the Vatican’s highest court, “has time and again refused to mince words in outlining the responsibility of Catholics to defend life in the public square, particularly Catholic politicians,” Msgr. Barreiro continued. “He has the courage to proclaim the common sense notion that there should be consequences for those who refuse to defend our weakest brothers and sisters.”
Msgr. Barreiro highlighted a powerful address Archbishop Burke delivered earlier this month at HLI’s World Prayer Congress in Rome, where the prelate called openly pro-abortion Catholic public figures to “public” repentance.
The archbishop had pointed that, “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.”
That address, noted Msgr. Barreiro, “still has the whole Church talking.”
Pro-life veteran John Smeaton, director of the U.K.‘s Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, listed the prelate’s talk in Rome as one of three key documents for the pro-life movement, along with Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae and Pope John Paul II’s Evangelium Vitae.
According to Smeaton, the address clearly shows that “a Cardinal has been appointed who will strongly uphold the right of pro-life people around the world to point out the scandal of Catholic public officials cooperating with abortion or voting for abortion.”
This scandal, said Smeaton, “is the greatest obstacle we face in mobilizing the pro-life battle around the world – that is, Catholic complicity with legislation and the policies of pro-abortion governments.”
“It’s a complicity for which both politicians and leading Church officials are responsible,” he added.
Archbishop Burke’s interventions, said Smeaton, “have given people who are fighting this battle the authority they need to call people to account and to condemn the actions of politicians and bishops and others who cooperate with the culture of death.”
Judie Brown, president of American Life League and a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, said she was “absolutely elated” at Burke’s appointment.
“He does not equivocate and he does not back away from controversy simply because he feels that he’ll be unpopular or because he thinks that the media will bash him,” she said. “He’s been through both of those kinds of experiences – been bashed, been ignored and avoided by his fellow bishops – and it hasn’t harmed him. He’s as strong, if not stronger, today than he was when I first met him more than ten years ago.”
“If my dream came true, he would be the next Pope,” she added, “because he is an absolute adherent to the teachings of the Church, beginning with canon law.”
Catholics and pro-lifers are invited to send Archbishop Burke their own note of congratulations, to be hand-delivered at his office in Rome, through a new website – called CongratulateBurke.com – created by LifeSiteNews.com and the Cardinal Newman Society.
See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Congratulations to One of the World's Greatest Pro-Life Champions
Pro-Life, Pro-family Leaders Congratulate Pro-Life Hero Archbishop Burke