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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Non-sense. Probably in the back pocket of some rich Republican. I’m sorry but the Catholic church is a joke. Lets not talk about the countless rapes and “murders” they committed in their history. It is our law that it is legal. “Obey the law of the land, for all u Catholics.” I think the timing of this is just too perfect. Support a democrat – support abortion? I don’t usually say anything but too many ignorant people posting on this.

And I like all the comments on people going to hell. Catholics think everyone goes to hell but them. Some indigenous person who never heard of that religion…oh he is going to hell. A good Christian…oh that person is going to hell. You don’t think you might be the one going to hell?

Posted by Dan | Report as abusive

It is a breath of fresh air to see the Holy See finally publicly and politically stand up for what it believes.

This new Pope and Raymond Burke, Rock.

Oh, we’re quoting the Bible now? Which came first, man or animal?

Genesis 1:24-26
Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind”; and it was so.
God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.
Genesis 2:19 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, [a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

19And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

And, why does Leviticus use a Polynesian word? (it’s a rhetorical question, please don’t answer)

To Dave, Michael Cecil, et al: Equivocating the article about abortion and the theoretical nuking of Iran is not apples to apples at all. Abortion is a decision to take a defenseless life when the child does not threaten the life of the mother. The decision to nuke Iran will be based on saving the lives of over 7,000,000 Israelis. While I am confident that the Almighty would not be happy with either, everybody knows theres a difference.

Insofar at who is the party of death, the Republicans want to kill the bad guys, Democrats push for the belief that there’s nothing wrong with Abortion. Since they’re more concerned with saving the worst criminals from the death penalty instead of the defenseless unborn, certainly not the party of the living.

Posted by Tom Genin | Report as abusive

The Demon-crats are evil. They created the holocaust through the millions of babies aborted in our country. Democrats have pushed through legislation all of the way through 9 months with the in human partial birth abortion. Demon-crfats are sick and evil! Now Obama supports infanticide not even being willing to back Born Alive Infant Protection Act. Obama is the Anti-Christ!
This article is right on target!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by harold | Report as abusive

Thank God a leader in the Catholic Church is finally standing up for life!!

Posted by Lucy | Report as abusive

What would the political landscape in America look like if religion was totally eliminated from the discussions?>>


Posted by Richard L. Kent, Esq. | Report as abusive

Thank God there is at least one Church that refuses to bow to corrupt politicians and their hacks.

As for those who would like to silence the voice of the Catholic Church, be assured that you have legions of comrades in Cuba, Venezuela, China, Iran, N. Korea, Iraq, and Afghanistan (not to mention those fine folks in the KKK)

Posted by Ben | Report as abusive

I am a Catholic. I believe that life begins at conception. I believe that anybody who claims to be a Catholic and does not believe that life begins at conception is a “Counterfiet Catholic”. The Catholic church in some instances makes it easy for a person to vote pro choice due to the fact that they say you don’t have to be a one issue person. This tells me that the church is not serious about abortion. They pay it lip service. All you have to do is follow the money. Bottom line the church does not want to loose the money by taking a solid stance. I guess some people look at it as getting rid of the child before they grow up to be poor or disabled.I see videos of the nazi death camps with bodies stacked one on another and think the only difference in this scenario and abortion is the poor little children that are aborted don’t take up as much space. The culture in this country is becoming more and more a culture of death.

Posted by deebuck | Report as abusive

The Dems are rapidly moving towards a fascist party.

Here are just a few of the positions they have taken recently that seriously alarm me:

–> Prosecution of political dissidents (“Truth Squad”).
–> Religious intolerance disguised as separation of
church and state.
–> Legislative support of abortion factories. (Planned

And, last by not least

–> The Obama Jugend who are emerging in public schools mindlessly singing the “Obama song”.

The truth hurts sometimes………… with it libs.

Posted by bill brady | Report as abusive

Roman Catholic Democrats have a choice to make. It’s the choice between a child’s life and death. To hear many Democrats talk about the issue, if a child is still in the womb, she is fair game for abortion. Even worse, now Sen. Obama has lent his support to infanticide by tacitly supporting the denial of medical attention to a child if she survives the abortionist and somehow manages to be born alive. Feminists, secular progressives and liberal Democrats like Sen. Obama see no problem with taking a baby’s innocent human life for the sake of convenience. Roman Catholic Democrats have a choice to make. Do they choose Obama and his philosophy of death, or do they listen to their consciences and choose life for the unborn.

Posted by Patrick C. | Report as abusive

He must have read Ramesh Ponnuru’s awesome book The Party of Death. Take a look and check it out too.

Posted by Jon S | Report as abusive

Using charity and discussing these issues with a clear unemotional mind always is best. Using words like “fascist” really does not help (especially when it is used incorrectly). Again, look at facts not your own perception of the facts. It is funny how people who consider themselves “liberal” and “open minded” often are only open to those who believe what they believe.

Although I am a devout Catholic, I can take the religious aspect out of the discussion and look at what we are doing the weakest of the weak – the unborn. They do not have a voice. Our job as humans is to stand-up for the weakest of the weak – that is true kindness, charity and love for others.

Posted by TZ | Report as abusive

The Catholic Archbishop taking to task Catholic Democratic lawmakers is perfectly within his right. I was raised Catholic. The Archbishop is doing his job. I notice many complaining that because he went after two Democratic Catholics, his rights to free speech, and his church needed to loose their tax exempt status. What RUBBISH. I still have to tolerate your views, so what is the difference?

Since he went after the sacred cow of the liberal left, abortion, he is a heretic for their “religion.” I am a human that believes in life. I applaud young people that do the right thing when an accident occurs. I pray for the young people that choose otherwise.

Russel, I think you might want to go back and re-read what I posted. If you read more closely you would see I agree with you. I provide an argument justifying warfare and further argue that abortion is morally inexcusable.

Posted by Michael | Report as abusive

Ahmadinejad and Iran only want power plants and not nukes? I know this is off subject, but are you a raving lunatic? Ahmadinejad has publicly declared his desire to destroy Israel and see America run into the ground. Half of the country’s government is made up of fundamentalist, extremist Muslims who hate the west and everything that it stands for. Everyday, in many parts of the world, these kind of mislead, uneducated, unfortunate fools strap suicide bomb belts to their waists and run into crowds of people shouting God’s praises all the way, convinced that they are going straight to heaven after they blow themselves and everyone else to pieces. If there is even the slightest possibility that a person with this mindset could be in control of even ONE nuclear weapon, everything that can be done MUST be done to stop them from acquiring one. And if you think these kind of people do not live in Iran and even run parts of the government, you need a reality check buddy. Just open up the newspaper or search somewhere else on this website and you will see the evidence. It scares me enough that Pakistan has nukes, but IRAN? Peaceful huh? I bet there are quite a few soldiers in Iraq that were blown up by IEDs made from materials exported from Iran that might disagree with you. Come back down to Earth, I really do wish that we all could get along too, but even if America just completely disappeared from the middle east and left them alone, people with these kinds of ideologies would still want to kill everyone that disagreed with them. Wake up.

Posted by John McG | Report as abusive

Fine let all the liberals and pro-choice abortion lovers have their Roe V. Wade. Just change the law to state that if you want an abortion you have to perform it. Don’t force some doctor or nurse whose are bound by law to perform it for you. You want abortion you kill your own child. I can’t believe how these abortion loving people are the same ones who won’t eat meat, eggs, and now want human breast milk used for ice cream because a cows milk should be used for just the calves! They are also the same people that make the killing of a pregnant woman a double homocide. You can’t have it both ways unless the mother does her own abortion, otherwise technically the doctor should be put on trial for murder.

Posted by Marie | Report as abusive

I still don’t understand what babies did to be terminated but murderers did to be saved. I’m not saying I’m in favor of capital punishment (that’s not the subject here). However it is ironic that liberals are so against capital punishment but also pro-abortion.

Posted by Kevin | Report as abusive

FINALLY someone with a lick of sense has spoken up

Posted by SUZANNE S SOLOMON | Report as abusive

99.999% for pure convenience

Other .000whatever % as a red-herring rationale

Our justice/legal system doesn’t stop because of the possibility of the red-herring of incarcerating an innocent person

The one thing that confuses me is this. Nobody seems to have a full handle on when, exactly, life begins. On both sides of the equation. So, if one is not sure when life begins – is it not better to err on the side of caution?

We go to great lengths to allow PETA and other animal rights groups get vulgar in order to advance a position. However, pro-life groups are positioned as religious nuts – because of pro-choice?

Anybody want to lay money on how many members of PETA are pro-abortion?

Way back Dave wrote the following:

“What Biden said once was “I believe life begins at conception, however I don’t feel it is my duty to legislate my faith on others.”

Joe, Joe, Life beginning at conception is not a religious principle its a scientific fact. It is no more a religious belief than the law of gravity. As someone wisely put it, “Everyone who has purchased a condom knows when life begins.”

I would question the ethics of a man who claims to believe that life begins at conception yet consistently votes opposite to these beliefs. Do we want him a heartbeat from the top? Who could trust him?

Seems the good Archbishop has touched a nerve. Its a nerve that needs touching. Time for Catholics to wake up and realize they are being used, as Catholic immigrants have been used since their arrival in the US. Not that the Republican party is any better.

Its about time that the Catholic hierarchy sood up for its teaching.

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive

Oh suuure. Lets see our conservative base will vote to go to war without the proper ‘research’ or soundness in reason. Our conservaive base will want to bring kids into this world as fast as possible but will kill em off with the death penalty or perhaps will vote against safety nets which might save poeple of mental stress and then physical disease and death, perhaps as a result… and or duh..

Religion is the result of plenty of deaths too, worldwide..

Posted by phil | Report as abusive

The man has got it right! Democrats love death…

Posted by Graywolf | Report as abusive

Citizenbronte is ill-informed. Cardinal Burke does love life. He loves and respects the life in the womb. Love the sinner but hate the sin.
It is fortunate that Ms. Crow has borne no children and has safely ( for the sake of the unborn) passed the age of fertility.

Posted by Bill Duffy | Report as abusive

good for them. democrats need to he called out on their position of killing babies! the democrats are the vessel for the angel of death to kill the unborn. pure evil.

Posted by easy brown | Report as abusive

Gee isn’t the catholic church the church of homosexual child mollesters. Seams to me Pope your practices have destroyed a lot of lifes too

Posted by rikicad | Report as abusive

I love all these guys running around in their dresses convincing slow learners that there is a sky fairy so you will hand over your money for ever lasting life.

Posted by BP | Report as abusive

How dare the Catholic religion criticizes the Democrats, shame on you after all the pedophiles you have running a muck in the church, still today. You have a lot of nerve after all the lives you have fractured to put it midley. You are like the Republicans, you think that no rules apply to you, wake up!

Posted by Paula L | Report as abusive

“It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.” – Mother Teresa

And abortion isn’t just a religious issue – there are ATHIESTS who believe it’s wrong.

Slavery was also thought of at one point to be a personal choice. That didn’t make it right.

Abortion is the Slavery of our time.


Posted by thankGod | Report as abusive

“If your against abortion, you better be doubly against war.”

Not correct. Actually quite stupid comparison. Abortion is about killing the UNARMED INNOCENT IN COLD BLOOD.

War can be about defending one’s nation and one’s family. War against Hitler is justified. ABORTION CAN NEVER BE JUSTIFIED BECAUSE IT IS THE TAKING OF AN UNARMED, INNOCENT LIFE IN COLD BLOOD.

Stop this silly “comparison” talk in this blog now and stay on topic which is about the democrat party becoming the party of death, as pronounced by a high ranking member of the Church of Life. THAT IS THE TOPIC. Stop this silly distraction. Or are you too stupid to stay on topic?

Posted by bobsmith | Report as abusive

Raymond Burke speaks falsely in this matter. If he were a man of God, he would be calling for donations to Catholic Relief for starving Haiti, but instead uses his position to steer US catholic sheep to conservative politics.

In 2004 an Ohio priest reflected on the election (Bush vs Kerry) and similarly urged his flock with this quote from his sermon: “Some catholics would dare to think for themselves and risk eternal damnation instead of following the teaching and education of the church.” So we’ve had 4 more years of an evil, stupid, lying administration-perfectly deserved by Moron America.

Political clergy have learned nothing since. It is not a matter of being left or right or politically central. Christians, Jews, Muslims (and i presume some Hindus and Buddhists) have deeply entwined their beliefs with political positions, overtly on principle, covertly for greed of power and influence. Moneylenders at the steps of the Temple!

Religions cannot help humanity. The leaders are lost in building the tribe and dangling dreams of heaven.

This is the Age of Confoundment, where all the religion, education, and prosperity of humanity counts for nothing.

Every time you sheep think you’re cozy with God, I COMMAND you to think of the suffering of Haiti, which foretells humanity’s fate. You did nothing for them.

Posted by inquisitor | Report as abusive

If the Catholic church wants a voice in US politics, then the US Catholic contingency can give up their tax exepmt status.

Not that I like Pelosi or Biden, they are right in saying they don’t want to impose their personal views on others.

I DO NOT like the idea of ignorant women using abortion as a birth control method (oops I’m pregnant again, Ill just get an abortion…again), but I believe that women should be able to make a decision to terminate a pregnancy in cases of heath issues, severe birth defects, rape and incest.

What we really need in this country is better sex education; not failed “abstinance only” programs. Teach kids about birth control methods AND the consquences of sex instead of acting like if you don’t tell kids about sex they won’t have sex.

Personally, I think all of the people who say all abortion should be banned and say all babies should be wanted and loved, should line up to adopt all the unwanted babies that come from unplanned and unwanted pregnancies… Put your money where your mouth is.

Posted by BKD | Report as abusive

Abortion is the taking of innocent lives in cold blood.

War is the defense of one’s nation and one’s family. Abortion and the taking of innocent life is NEVER justified; war such as against Hitler is easily justified.

A proper analogy of abortion is Hitler’s SS gunning down unarmed women and children in Poland or Ukraine or Italy. That is analogous to abortion, so if one wants to comapre abortion to anything, that is what you compare it to.

Posted by bobsmith | Report as abusive

God bless this great man for standing up for the values of the Catholic Church. Abortion is the greatest evil being committed on earth.

Posted by Jeff Johnson, Collegeville | Report as abusive

This topic is about a head of the Church of Life saying the US Democrat party has lost its way and is rapidly becoming the party of death. This is accurate, based on the party’s support for abortion, including partial birth abortion which is actually infanticide. So let’s stick to the article as a discussion point.

Why do you disagree and think the Democrat party is NOT the party of death?

Posted by bobsmith | Report as abusive

The pope may talk like hes serious but he leaves the teeth out of the bite….he had his opportunity when Kerry and Pelosi took communion..he could have easily taken his position then by excommunicating them on the spot for supporting abortion, homosexuality, man/animal stem cell cloning, etc. He did not. he made a fatal error and this weakness is now exploited by the demons we have to contend with..and the church is now weak and feeble and toothless. Murderers should be punished by thier own murder for supporting murder. So I believe in an eye for an eye.

Posted by howardhofelich | Report as abusive

I’m sorry, but don’t say that one opposing abortion is one who’s someone imposing his religious views on someone else. The whole premise behind being pro-life is that the baby in the womb is a living human being and aborting, or taking the life of, that human is murder. What’s religious in that?

Posted by Isaac | Report as abusive

As a Christian, Protestant, I hate abortion and loath the doctors of death who make their fortunes off both scared, lost girls and greedy, uncaring women who can’t buy that nice car unless Doctor Vacuumababy does her a womb-cleaning. These people who claim to be Catholic but also support abortion puzzle me, so its interesting to see one of their prelates actually take a stand. I simply presumed they were, in the main, hypocrites. As far as whether one’s faith should be discussed or disclosed as a matter of politics, I vote in the affirmative. That is my opinion, as opposed to those with other opinions. May I have my opinion? I want to know what politicians believe, to which faith they subscribe,and to what degree they share my own views. Once again, that’s my opinion, the views of a simple Christian with no power and utterly void of political mojo.

Posted by Lewis Field | Report as abusive

O-blame-a will silence the Catholic Church. There will be no religion…except Rev Wrights version.

Cardinal Burke is awesome for speaking out! God bless all his works.

Posted by American Girl | Report as abusive

It’s obvious to everyone that the Democrat party does not hold Christian values, this should be taught to the public so that Christians, especially Catholics, understand that they should hold their values when they vote. The Church, and all religious leaders, need to teach the public of their responsibility. The values of Christians are not in line with the Democrat party and the Church needs to raise her voice and make this known. As Christians we cannot continue to be apathetic and let puffed up speeches and nominal Catholics sway our vote.

Posted by Chris | Report as abusive

Most of you people are incredibly stupid. Now we are a nation of old people, really incredibly STUPID old people becasue now there are not enough smart kids out there to provide support for all you old stupid people when you who gets to support you? NO ONE> I think the time will come when old people will get put to sleep becuase they did not make enough bright kids to save them…they were stupid and aborted all the smart white kids (too inconvenient to interfere with a career) and saved all the dumb ass kids…the stupid parents didnt care about getting an abortion, but looked like it was a great excuse to stay on food stamps and welfare. those stupid women destroyed America…it was a HUGE mistake to make them entitled to vote. Man created his greatest sin shen he created the birth control face old age all you are gonna die miserble deaths with no loving kids to bid you farewell.

Posted by howardhofelich | Report as abusive

THOU shalt not kill the innocent…the way the 5th commandment is written in Hebrew..

Posted by howardhofelich | Report as abusive

So many of you are missing the point that he is trying to say the the party that calls itself the “Democratic” Party has changed.

Posted by Not the same | Report as abusive

Too many Democrats people out there don’t know what they mean when they say they are a democrat. If half of them knew what their so-called “democratic” party all boiled down to, they would run and hide behind the republicans!!!

Posted by Don't you get it? | Report as abusive

I have to agree with the Vatican. The Democrats support of Gay Rights, ABORTION, which is the murdering of life at its conception and other views conflict with Biblical teachings and is indeed harmful to our nation and our nation’s vested interest in development of life styles with morales, versus the Democrats who want to destroy decent morale behavior not just within the US, but in some cases, the world. Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry and many of the Kennedy families have forsaken the teachings of the Lord, yet call themselves practicing Catholics. A true Catholic does not violate the teachings of the Lord!

Posted by Vorenius | Report as abusive

Those that live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. The church should get it’s own house in order before commenting on a secular society. Diddling children has it’s own downside.

Posted by steve | Report as abusive

Yes, the Democrats are the party of death and a lot of other bad stuff…greed, totalitarianism, poverty of the soul, cultural amorality, Godlessness, etc.

Posted by Jack Brewer | Report as abusive

May God grant Archbishop Raymond Burke many happy, Holy, and blessed years!