By Jonquil Frankham

ROME, November 4, 2008 ( – Regarding his country’s election today, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, Archbishop Raymond Burke, said in a just released interview with “Inside the Vatican” that “a good citizen must support and vote for the candidate who most supports the inalienable dignity of innocent and defenseless life, and the integrity of marriage.”

“To do otherwise, is to participate, in some way, in the culture of death which pervades the life of the nation and has led to so much violence, even in the home and in educational institutions.”

When asked by “Inside the Vatican” if he felt “something” was “lacking” in the leadership of other American bishops, the Prefect said that it was not his place to comment on other bishops. However, LifeSiteNews reports that in 2007, as Archbishop of St. Louis, the Prefect “called his brother bishops to task for their silence on the problem of Catholic politicians who support abortion, euthanasia, cloning, embryo research, the homosexual political agenda or any other legislation ‘contrary to the natural moral law.’”

The Prefect’s reticence to reissue his criticism of his fellow bishops may stem in part from a resurgence of outspoken bishops in the current election season, who have defended the right to life of the unborn as being the paramount issue facing the nation.

Rocco Palmo, a correspondent for “The Tablet” and popular Catholic blogger, attributes to Archbishop Burke’s outspoken defense of human life the recent and “unprecedented” surge of US bishops publicly denouncing pro-abortion politics.

In the interview with “Inside the Vatican,” Archbishop Burke said that his “fellow citizens of the United States of America should be deeply concerned about any candidate for the presidency who supports legislation which permits the destruction of human life at its very beginning, the killing of babies in the womb, or legislation which violates the integrity of marriage and family life.”

“The safeguarding and promoting of human life, from the moment of its inception, and of the integrity of marriage must be the fundamental planks of any political agenda.”

The Archbishop also said, however, that he does not intend to “engage in partisan politics.” He wishes “both of the major political parties in the United States of America were more coherent regarding the right to life.” But he notes that the Democratic Party has systematically “put forth and defended a political agenda which is grievously anti-life, favoring the right to procured abortion and “marriage” between persons of the same sex.”

Like many other bishops have done this year, he distinguished between the intrinsic evils of abortion, infanticide, same-sex “marriage,” and cloning and the evils of poverty, war, and pollution. “To make economics or the environment the fundamental political issue, when life itself, in its most innocent and defenseless form, remains unprotected is morally irresponsible,” the Prefect said.

“Inside the Vatican” asked Archbishop Burke about his devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe. The archbishop, who founded the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, WI, answered: “The Mother of God, by her apparitions as Our Lady of Guadalupe to Saint Juan Diego, fostered, in a dramatic way, the respect for all human life. Devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe brought an end to the cruel practice of human sacrifice, and brought together into one race the Native American and the Europeans who were on the verge of a bloody conflict.”

As LifeSiteNews reported in 2007, during his episcopate in St. Louis, the Archbishop cautioned that unless there is a re-awakening of the national conscience, the United States will soon see “the move to permit infanticide.” Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama refused three times to sign the “Born Alive Infants Act” during his term as Illinois state senator. The Act would have legally defined a fully born baby who had survived an abortion as a “person.”

Towards the end of the interview he said, “I have been praying fervently, through the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, that the citizens of the United States of America will vote, on November 4th, for the safeguarding of the right to life and of the integrity of marriage.”

Archbishop Burke is the retired archbishop of St. Louis MO and former bishop of La Crosse, WI. He was appointed to his present post as prefect of the Apostolic Signatura in June 2008, and is remembered in America for his pioneering of the pro-life episcopal movement.