Vatican official attacks U.S. Democrats as “party of death”

By Reuters Staff
October 1, 2008

Senator Joe Biden with Catholic priest Zhang Depu near Beijing, 10 Aug 2001/poolVatican officials seldom single out political leaders who differ with the Church on issues like abortion rights or embryonic stem cell research. But now that the Vatican’s highest court is led by an American, the former St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke, we can expect things to get more explicit in Vatican City — at least when when it comes to U.S. politics.

Burke, who was named prefect of the Vatican’s Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature in June, told the Italian Catholic newspaper Avvenire that the U.S. Democratic Party risked “transforming itself definitively into a party of death for its decisions on bioethical issues.” He then attacked two of the party’s most high profile Catholics — vice presidential candidate Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — for misrepresenting Church teaching on abortion.

He said Biden and Pelosi, “while presenting themselves as good Catholics, have presented Church doctrine on abortion in a false and tendentious way.”

Nancy Pelosi kisses Pope Benedict’s ring during his U.S. visit, 16 April 2008/Larry DowningPelosi drew U.S. bishops’ scorn for saying in a television interview last month that the Church itself had long debated when human life begins. Biden is a practicing Catholic who also supports abortion rights and analysts have said he could help woo wavering Catholics into Obama’s fold. Both argue that they cannot impose their religious views on others.

Burke said pro-life Democrats were “rare” and that it saddened him that the party that helped “our immigrant parents and grandparents” prosper in America had changed so much over the years.

Burke made headlines as archbishop of St. Louis for his public attacks on public figures who strayed from Catholic teaching. He suggested during the 2004 presidential campaign that Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, a Catholic, should be denied communion because of his views on abortion. Several bishops said at the time they would not give him communion and the media staked out churches where he attended Mass to see if he received it.

“Lately, I’ve noticed that other bishops are coming to this position,” Burke told Avvenire, which is owned by the Italian bishops’ conference.

Archbishop Raymond Burke/Archdiocese of St. LouisCardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, wrote a letter in 2004 to American bishops restating the Church position that a priest must refuse to distribute communion to a Catholic politician who supported abortion rights. But Burke lamented that the letter was never distributed.

Burke’s criticism isn’t limited to Democrats. Last year, he accused singer Sheryl Crow of being “a high profile proponent of the destruction of innocent lives” for defending a woman’s right to have an abortion and for being a proponent of stem cell research. He resigned as head of a children’s medical charity that featured the singer for a benefit concert.

Pope Benedict has been encouraging Catholic bishops to speak out more openly on public policy issues to make the Church’s voice heard. Any bets on when we’ll hear from Burke next?


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The Vatican is the Biggest SCAM in the HISTORY of the WORLD…do some google searches on the SCAMS, Corruption and pure Evilness of the Vatican…I was once a catholic until I woke up from my slumber…these people are the epitamy of EVIL!

Posted by Bill | Report as abusive

About time the Church stood up against infanticide. Where have they been?

Posted by LDC | Report as abusive

C.D. Walker, please study your Bible carefully and consult an authority. The Bible does not condemn war outright. Have you read the Old Testament? It’s filled with accounts of war, some more just than others. For those who disagree with war outright, I respect your beliefs, but do not misrepresent the Bible. “Thou shalt not kill” is left slightly ambiguous in the English language, yet if we return to the original Hebrew, “thou shalt not murder” is a much more accurate translation. Ask someone who speaks Hebrew. Linguistically, there is a stark distinction between murder and war-motivated killing. Yes, it’s very true that those who engage in unjust war will have to answer to the Judge. No, war is not pleasant. Notwithstanding, killing the innocent, those that have no voice, is quite different than engaging in conflict with the enemy.

Posted by James | Report as abusive

Thankfully, our mothers didn’t kill us in the womb so we could live to debate the morality of killing others. How unfortunate for the nearly 50 million people whose mothers did kill them in the womb that their voices will never be heard and their opinions never known.

Posted by Frank | Report as abusive

Great post Mary! I’m right there with you! The doctors and the politicians that support abortion need to be doing time for murder! They’re playing God!

When a person is pronounced dead it is because they do not have a heart beat. That said, a doctors ability to hear the heart beat of the baby in the mother at such an early stage in the pregnancy means…. It’s alive!

Posted by Brian | Report as abusive

And his church is not responsible for untold suffering because of their position on birth control?? What a douchbag..

Posted by james | Report as abusive

Where was Archbishop Raymond “Demagogue” Burke back when Pope John Paul proclaimed that there no moral or legal basis for war against Iraq? Where was his passion for “life” then? Why wasn’t he taking political sides back then?

Hypocrite! Put your own conflicting values in order before pontificating to others on their beliefs!

Posted by C D | Report as abusive

Pope John Paul II reminds us “Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights–for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture, is false and issusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum dtermination.”

It looks like the Church is finally putting the fundamental issues of our faith ahead of the collection basket!

Hey Michael, its typical of you lefties to try and morally equate two seperate issues in order to try and make yourself feel better about the facts. You can’t see the difference between standing up for the most INNOCENT FORM OF HUMAN LIFE and a lunatic islamic leader who wants to eliminate a whole nation. You can’t deny he has said this and you purposely overlook this. As far as peaceful use of the uranium, Kim Jong Il said the same thing and look what happened.

Posted by Kirk | Report as abusive

Pope John Paul II reminds us “Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights–for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture, is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum dtermination.”

It looks like the Church is finally putting the fundamental issues of our faith ahead of the collection basket!

One small phrase sums it all up.

“End Of Time”

Thank you Catholic Church-even with all your recent troubles- for FINALLY climbing into the fight to preserve the life of the unborn in a forthright, public and understandable way. ABORTION IS MURDER-NO QUESTION. In no way can any so called legalization of abortion supersede the commandment “THOU SHALT NOT KILL”.
The democratic party can talk all they want about women’s right to abortion but that cannot justify in any way the killing of the innocent unborn.

What has been unleashed on all of humanity is a hideous evil that will ultimately destroy us all. And the democratic party is seeking a VOLUNTARY VOTE in the November elections to continue this second holocaust.

So far since Roe v Wade, 50,000,000 lives have been snuffed out. HOW LONG SHALL WE CONTINUE DOWN THIS ROAD?


Just for the record, neither the Repub or Dem parties should be labeled as either the Party of Life or the Party of Death. It is nothing more than inflammatory and devisive. The discussions(?) on this blog were very enlightening about the hate and intolerance that still exists fostered in the name of god.

Posted by marsha brady | Report as abusive

Right on- nice to hear voices not spouting the PC media biases !!

Posted by james v reda | Report as abusive

Those people who do not know Christ are confused by the statements of Christians, which is predicted by the Bible. They cannot possibly understand the culture of Christians because their eyes do not see and their ears do not hear the truth of real life and freedom in our Savior.

Posted by Edward Hedquist | Report as abusive

It’s amazing to see the defenders of abortion twist and gyrate to escape the simple point of the story: the Catholic Church condemns the killing of innocent an defenseless human life, and sometimes (not often enough, I think) rebukes those who publicly defend it. It’s a simple position. It’s not improper that any church should publicly explain its beliefs in the context of current events.

But those who think people should be permitted to kill their own children frequently say that people who oppose elective abortion should keep their mouths shut and not attempt to engage in the political process.

The “shut up or else” argument indeed was frequently used by those who defended slavery, later, by those who defended Jim Crow laws… and later by Nazis, against those who opposed the Third Reich.

Unborn children deserve to be included at the “table of human rights”. They deserve protection and due process of law. We who believe this must not let the opposition shout them down, no matter how loud or illogical. We must persevere so that justice will prevail.

The good Archbishop failed to give equal time to the Republicans. McCain is in favor of stem cell research and so the Republican party is equally guilty of bioethics violations in the eyes of the Catholic Church. The fact that the U.S.Bishops are particularly vocal this election should, however, give both parties pause to re-evaluate their positions on life issues. At the end of the day it appears that it would be easier to educate the open mind of Barack Obama to amend his position on life issues than it would be to chang the mind of that stubborn old dog McCain, especially on his beloved war, which the Blessed John Paul II and Ratzinger opposed.

Posted by TxCatholic | Report as abusive

Pelosi (a Catholic?!) showed her liberal brainwashing with the Tom Brokaw interview when she said during the last 50 yrs that there had been a change of attitude towards the church’s stance on the “beginning of life” which left Brokaw in mild disbelief she did not know any better and more or less told her so.

The younger generations have been given the green light by the liberal Democrats to have sex without any consequences, bombarding younger and younger children with sexual overtones in film and television programing to make sex acceptable practically at the kitchen table…this lack of responsibility to protect the young and destroy the fabric of the family is at the core of the Democratic Party. Planned parenthood is a misnomer….it is anything but about being a responsible person or a parent!

Posted by C. E. Nelson | Report as abusive

Abortion is a terrible practice, particularly when used as a form of birth control.

However, BOTH sides go to far on this issue. Like most things, it isn’t black or white…but gray. Pro-life wants no abortions by any means. Pro-choice says free to do what they want.

They are BOTH wrong.

And the Catholic Church has always been one of the most corrupt organizations on the planet since its inception. Where did I learn this? Catholic theology courses at Catholic institutions.

Posted by vince | Report as abusive

Scripture says
” I wove you in your mother’s womb”…..

“I knew you before the foundations of the world were laid”

That was God speaking…..Nuff Said!

Posted by Luke | Report as abusive

Good for him!!! It’s about time someone started pointing out the obvious. You can’t be a Christian and reject God’s Word. You can’t profess to love Christ yet refuse repentance of personal sin. Christ was no government social reformer – although His love transforms personal lives. Jesus calls for repentance from personal sin – which abortion and homosexuality clearly are – if one simply reads the Bible. Christ’s call is for changed lives, not for creation of leftist government policies.

Posted by A Difference | Report as abusive

People are missing the point. The Catholic Church has the right to declare what they want, if you do not subscribe to those views, then leave that church—many have left for a variety of reasons. It is the same as being part of PETA but then going out an clubbing baby seals to death. You can not be “part” of a club — you are either for or against the central values.

Posted by Mike Piazza | Report as abusive

Really? The Catholics are the party of perverts

Posted by brian flanagan | Report as abusive

“About time” is right. Way to go Cardinal Burke!

As to the tax exempt status of the Church, the Constitution is clear. Government will not interfere with religion. The idea that religion has to remain quiet on government is crazy. The whole purpose of religion is to lead its flock within the current system. This is freedom of speech. This is why we live here.

Posted by Steve - San Francisco | Report as abusive

Abortion is a bad thing which should not happen.

Nuking Iran will not be agood thing but it may be necessary. And if it does happen it will be done by the next President which could very well be Obama.

I hope everyone here is consistent in their anti-war attitude when it is their boy who has to give the order to kill people. I doubt they will be though because being intellectually honest just isn’t in the American left’s blood.

Posted by Joe | Report as abusive

It is a tragedy that people do not understand that it is a fact as to when life begins (conception). This is not disputed and is not a religious belief. The only thing that can be considered “religious belief” is the morality of killing innocent life. If you “believe” killing innocent life is wrong, then you must speak out against abortion.

However, using the religious belief argument: The radical Muslims believe Jews are not human and gays are not human. Since this a religious belief they should have the right to abort them at any stage of their life. After all we must have separation of church and state. Right? Now I believe it is wrong to kill Jews and gays. But I do not want to impose my religious belief on the poor Muslims of the world. So, Please don’t impose your belief system on the Muslims. They should have the right to kill too – just like you.

Posted by USAforlife | Report as abusive

And take it from me, a person who went to Catholic school for 12 years. Catholicism is the religion of HATE. The Pope is nothing more than one of those overpaid CEO’s and when it comes to politics he should keep his big yap shut!

Posted by John | Report as abusive

The pro-abortion fear is not what the Church might say, but that people might listen. But, because they can’t win the people over with their ideas, they try to stifle the other side.

Posted by Steve - San Francisco | Report as abusive

I wonder how they feel about Capital Punishment? I wonder why he has not spoken out against that and the Republicans? Mmmmmm…

I expected this. Does anybody have the courage to defrock Father Pflager?
Every sunday at Mass I look around and I think I see Democrats all over and I think: how can they be here when they support candidates who believe in the murder of innocent children?
I rember early in the Clinton presidency. Bubba went to South Africa and to show he cared about those people and he noticed the presence of photographers and seeing people taking Communion he thought I’ll do it also. He received Communion, a mortal sin.

Posted by Carlo Amato | Report as abusive

The Catholic church is a safe house for pedophiles, and now they want to make a stink about abortion. What a joke. The bible is not, in any way, clear about when life begins, but they want to align themselves with the Republicans, who are in favor of the death penalty, invading a country by mistake (250,000 people dead), torturing prisoners, and ignoring science (stem cell research) which could save many lives. Looks to me like the Catholic church has been in the death business too long.

Posted by Dennis Sein | Report as abusive

Which is the party of death?

The Democrats Supreme Court judges legalized abortion in Roe v. Wade. (48,000,000 innocent American lives)The

Democrats de facto started the Viet Nam War- (1st combat troops sent in by Kennedy, escalated by Johnson, ended by Nixon- 58,000 American lives lost

Democrats bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Truman dropped 2 atomic bombs in these cities- 300,000 lives; 20,000,000 birth defects)

I don’t want to be a Democrat.

Posted by schevy | Report as abusive

“Palin believes that the war in Iraq is a task from God. Both John Paul II and Benedict have called the war in Iraq immoral and unjust. So, who do I beleive? A former Roman Catholic or the Pope?

- Posted by T. Kruger”

I spent 12 years in Catholic education where I studied St. Augustine at length. St. Augustine is responsible for the church’s theological trajectory and he articulated a ‘just war’ litmus. Here’s a news flash: in the case of Iraq, St. Augustine’s just war criteria is more than satisfied on every level. The modern church and both Popes can say what they want, but their position is based more on caring about public perception than substantive dogma. Maybe they’re too busy heading off the next pedophile priest scandal or obstructing Federal immigration law to remember their St. Augustine?

Posted by Flasheart | Report as abusive

As if the catholic church has any moral authority…They have molested children over the past 50 years. Nothing they say can be taken seriously. Hypocrits just like the rest of the “christians” . “I like your Christ but I don’t like your christians as they don’t follow your christ” Ghandi

Posted by frances consalvo | Report as abusive

Why is it that the most high profile liberal democrats in the US Senate claim to be ‘practicing Catholics.’ Some of these democrats were once actual Catholics until the democratic party indoctrinated them into their ‘required positions’ on abortion, gay marriage, etc. They might as well form a splinter group and break away from the pope.

Posted by thornytoes | Report as abusive

I doubt a politician exists that agrees with their constituents on every nuance of every issue. Sometimes voters have to swallow hard, prioritize the issues and make a judgment based on the entirety of a candidate’s position. Abortion may well be murder, but so is unjust war.

Posted by Luke | Report as abusive

If Republicans had their way, the U.S. would ban abortions instead of helping the homeless or guaranteeing healthcare for that same baby that wasn’t aborted. They recently voted on that very issue and decided the children weren’t worth insuring, ultimately. They are a party of glaring contradictions at a colossal level, the GOP.

Posted by thevealchop | Report as abusive

I am thrilled to see the Catholic Church stand up and speak the truth loudly!! These peddlers of death,seared conscience and all, should be excommunicated PERIOD!!!!

Posted by Jingles | Report as abusive

The greatest danger to America today is right wing militarism. A philosophy that believes in preemptive war, torture, and that has elevated democracy to the level of religion. Although abortion is undoubtedly a great evil, war is the ultimate insanity unleashed by unstable minds. The kind of mind that unfortunately dominates the Republican party.

Posted by dgr | Report as abusive

I’ve been catholic all my life. It still irks me that the church will not keep their opinions and rants contained to us (their own congregation). They really need to stop blasting others for their own beliefs. It’s called intolerance!
Please Vatican, preach to us, stop harassing others about their own ideals, ethical practices and faiths!
p.s. By the way, the new age is very intolerant to intolerance. Please remember this.

Posted by Steve | Report as abusive

Really if these people cannot follow the religion they should not go around pretending they are part of the religion. They do all of this for prestige. Obama couldnt associate himself with his church so we dont Fellow democrats follow his lead?

Posted by Steve j | Report as abusive

Can someone please answer why this issue derives equal passion on both sides? I understand that being pro-life, one would be passionate against the view that it is murder. But why are people that are pro-choice apparantly equally passionate? Is it that many have committed this act and therefore do not want to confront the guilt and therefore lash out at being equated as a murderer? I sincerely dont understand.

Posted by Karl | Report as abusive

The Catholic chruch joining hands with the right wing is really scary. They are telling Catholics they must vote Republican based on this issue alone. Are they kidding look at the mess the world is in now because of their support for George Bush and the Republicans. They are going to send the world into a ditch. Lets get real when in the histroy of the Republican party have they ever given a crap about poor babies. Remember this is the party that fought Roosevelt over child labor laws because they were taking the poor kids off the street and working them like slaves in their factories. Here is where the Republican support for abortions ends, tell them we are going to save all these poor babies and they will have to pay more taxes to help support them. They will be dumping these babies off in the nearest trash cans themselves. Abortion is being used to manipulate votes that is the bottom line and the Catholic Church is falling for it. Money is what talks in the Republican party not life.

I keep seeing the statistic that 40-50 million babies have been aborted in the US since the legalization of abortion.
I guess that stat is supposed to shock and awe me and change my mind from being pro-choice to anti-choice.

But that stat made me think, well how would the US look if all 40-50 million of those babies were born.

Unemployment would be 5 times worse than it is now and it is reaching all time highs. Social Security would be obsolete. The healthcare problem would have become a crisis.
Deaths from illegal abortions would have increased tenfold. The economy would be horrendous as poor families struggle to support their children. Welfare would be draining from the economy an enormous amount of cash.

Upsides would include more troops to go and continue the US’ history of slowly taking over the world. More parishoners to line the pockets of religions everywhere.

I totally understand why certain groups are so demanding on returning abortion to an illegal act now. It’s all wrapped up under the guise of “preventing murder”, but it’s really about money and furthering their own doctrine.

Posted by Dave | Report as abusive

I can’t believe someone on this board actually said that the U.S. is waging war on Muslims. Have you lost your mind? How do you ignore Muslims’ calls for jihad? All Muslims seem to do is kill people, each other included, over cartoons, books, minor disagreements, etc. They have promised to kill you, and you ignore it. I will give the Muslims credit, though, at least they’re honest – they call for your death, and doggone it, they mean it!

Posted by al | Report as abusive

yeah, Like the Vatican has ANY room to talk Sept-2007.html

Posted by Bill | Report as abusive

I have had family members sexualy abused by catholic priests. The Pope’s words are meaningless to me. The vatican is worse than congress.

Posted by Brendan | Report as abusive

United States attacks Vatican as church of pedophiles.

Posted by BigDog | Report as abusive

The constitution was thoughtfully crafted to protect the practices and views of religious and non-religious persons. What has become recently known in the past forty-something years or so as the “separation of church and state” provides equal treatment under the law regardless of our religious bend or practice, while protecting the pursuit of the belief system of our choosing. The view that morality that finds itself derived from a religious institution is somehow invalid in comparison to those derived from a secular institution is mystifying. The constitution allows all groups to have legislative opinion and to critique any and all parts of the government . No single group can make governmental laws religious or secular, only the congress for and by the people can. That being said, the American Arch-Bishop Burke has the same inaliable right to freedom of speech as we all do. He also has a responsibility to correct doctrinal err within public a public forum. Whether any of us agree or disagree with his view is not germane to the discussion.

Posted by Doug | Report as abusive

We all have to face God someday…and the Church is merely warning the politicians who do not follow God’s law but rather their own egos that they will be judged accordingly.

And that goes for all of you liberal haters out here…

Get your house in order.

Posted by dantheman | Report as abusive