ST. LOUIS, February 10, 2005 ( – In an interview with, St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke said that as Catholics continue to speak out on life and family issues they will face persecution. 

“There is going to be a persecution with regard to this, that’s clear,” said the Archbishop. 

The media has painted the St. Louis church leader as a mean-spirited bully, yet in person he is soft-spoken and kind with a keen sense of the truth and an urgency to convey it for the salvation of souls. 

Rather than using high-sounding platitudes which coast over the heads of many, Archbishop Burke speaks plainly the teaching of the Church on matters of central importance, without fear of being labeled politically incorrect. 

During the debate in the US about refusing communion to Catholic politicians who support abortion, Burke issued a pastoral letter explaining that, although the refusal by a pastor or bishop to distribute holy Communion to anyone is a “source of great sorrow . . . What would be profoundly more sorrowful would be the failure of a bishop to call a soul to conversion, the failure to protect the flock from scandal and the failure to safeguard the worthy reception of Communion.” 

With regard to voting by Catholics, the archbishop stated clearly in a meeting held by the diocesan pro-life office, “When we go to vote, we must take into consideration all of the stands politicians make. But procured abortion, that has to be our first question.”

Archbishop Burke has been equally clear and courageous on the hot topic of same-sex ‘marriage’. Rather than avoiding the reason behind the gay ‘marriage’ push – the societal acceptance of homosexuality – Burke addressed it head-on, warning that the tendency to avoid the issue is dangerous.

In his diocesan paper Burke wrote, “There is a tendency to accept same-sex relationships because we do not want to deal with the embarrassment and hurt of recognizing same-sex attraction as disordered,” he said. “The fact that our American culture more and more fails to make any distinction between same-sex attraction and heterosexual attraction does not justify our failure to make the distinction, respecting God’s gift of human life in its integrity and helping others to attain the perfection to which we are called as true children of God.” 

After concelebrating the massive vigil Mass preceding the US March for Life a few weeks ago, Archbishop Burke told that his motivation to continue to speak out on life and family comes from “Christ Himself” and “the natural moral law” which the archbishop said “is not the question of a belief of a particular religion, but is part of the patrimony of the whole human race.”  The archbishop acknowledged that speaking the truth was intimidating. 

“It’s intimidating because we live, as our Holy Father says, in a society of a culture of death where people want to convince us that everything should be convenient and comfortable and they don’t like to hear a voice which says ‘this isn’t right’”, he said. 

But with being outspoken on the truth will come persecution, a fact the archbishop is willing not only to acknowledge but to accept. 

“Bishops will be persecuted,” he said, and “also priests and lay people.” 

Even now those proclaiming the truth are called, homophobic and hateful. Yet the archbishop explains, “It’s what it means to be a sign of contradiction. We just have to accept that and we have to remain tranquil in proclaiming the truth with charity, but insisting on the truth.”

“If we look to the example of Our Lord, we have to take up the cross for the defence of life,” he said. 

See former coverage on the archbishop: 

Archbishop Burke Instructs Catholic Voters: “It would be wrong to give institutional recognition to same-sex relationships”    

US Archbishop Says Abortion Has to be the “first question” for Catholic Voters

St. Louis Archbishop Burke Speaks Out About Pro-Abortion Catholic Politicians and Communion