ROME, July 4, 2013 ( – A senior Vatican prelate is warning that the Supreme Court’s decision last week to overturn a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act is another step down a path that leads to the destruction of American culture.

The decision “is one more step down a path which is destructive,” said Cardinal Raymond Burke, the Vatican’s senior American prelate who heads the Apostolic Signatura, in an interview with NewsMax’s Edward Pentin.

On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down DOMA’s provision barring “married” homosexual couples from receiving federal benefits. Writing for the majority in the 5-4 decision, Justice Anthony Kennedy charged that the statute was “invalid” because “no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity.”


Cardinal Burke told Pentin that the ruling’s “lack of respect for the good order which God has placed in nature, especially human nature, will lead to violence.”

“It will lead to death for individuals and eventually it will destroy our culture,” he added, urging U.S. citizens to “reawaken and insist on the respect for human life, and also for the integrity of the marital union.”

Cardinal Burke also gave the keynote address on Friday for a dinner hosted by Rome’s Dignitatis Humanae Institute, an organization dedicated to promoting the dignity of the human person.

In his address, the prelate said a respect for human dignity from conception to natural death is “learned in the home, founded on the model of the strong, traditionally-understood family, whose members mutually support and love one other.”

He said “strong supportive, and traditional families” are “an essential way” to proclaim the Gospel of Life.

“Healthy families depend on a new proclamation of the truth regarding women and motherhood that upholds the virtues of purity, chastity and modesty, and respect for the integrity of marriage and the family,” he explained.

Human dignity is “under constant attack in an ever-more secularized world,” he said. “One only has to read the daily newspaper or turn on the television for the evening news to know that the Christian’s holding to the truth of the moral law is no longer tolerated by many, and that the secularist agenda never ceases in its efforts to overshadow, drown out, and intimidate the witness of faithful Christians. The goal is to silence the Christian witness. But we cannot succumb to such tactics.”

He lamented that the persecution of Christians is “sadly at a high point throughout the world” in places such as Syria, Egypt, Eritrea, Nigeria and Indonesia. But he noted that there is also increasing instances of Christian persecution even in Western countries with a Christian heritage.

To combat the culture of death, Christians “must all be attentive to laws that safeguard the dignity of the human person,” he said.

“We must support just laws which respect the inviolable dignity of human life. And we must support the political leaders who work for such legislation,” he continued. “Similarly, it is essential that we become aware of the laws and policies which are attacking human dignity and the goods of our Christian faith.”