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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I’m reading again about the Reformation and any opportunity the Catholic church had to burn people at the stake who didn’t agree with her (labeling them heritics), they did so with glee. Now when they are not in absolute power, they believe in life? Hypocrites!

Posted by B Smart | Report as abusive

It is very interesting to see all the pro-abortion commentariat changing the subject from abortion to war, tax-exempt status and the death penalty because a few prominent “Catholic” politicians get called out for what they are, hypocrites. They are free to attend another church that permits their congregation to abort children and they can still support their beloved union thugs. Permit me to recommend the United Church of Christ.

Posted by Will | Report as abusive

Why are they worried about abortion in the US when there is genocide going on in Sudan? I don’t see the Catholic church doing much to stop the killing of already borned children and the rape of women. I am Catholic but I am disgusted with the way the US Catholic church has behaved. So it is ok for a priest to rape a young boy but not ok for a woman to choose what to do with her body? Don’t tell me what to do when you yourself don’t follow your own ideologies.

Posted by SoyGallega | Report as abusive

Roe vs Wade should be overturned.
Based on the simple legal fact that we have separation of powers in the US Constitution. Only Congress, the Legislature, can actually pass laws.
In this case the Supreme Court (the “Judiciary) in effect made law. It is unconstitutional.
Supreme Court decisions for that reason when they come to a conclusion always states “it is the OPINION” of the Court…etc”

Let therefore Congress debate a bill and clearly vote up or down on a bill that allows killing of babies in the womb. And see how members of our Legislature vote according his or her conscious.
I almost guarantee that when it is up to each individual it won’t pass. Now, conveniently they can cowardly hide behind the Supreme Court.

Posted by Buccaneer | Report as abusive

To Dave,

I wonder how your 8 year old child would feel if he knew that you felt like you were “living with a mistake”?

Posted by Thea Ray | Report as abusive

The Catholic church has been wrong so many times down through the ages. Once more that is the case.

Posted by son of oak | Report as abusive

The church is not wrong about the abortion issue. But it doesn’t like that we have separation of church and state in this country, because not everyone agrees on the Church’s definition of the beginning of life and thus, what the law should be.

But the bigger truth here is that the Church is very happy with the Republican party because it is more of a religious organization than a political party.

It is angry that it has no control of the Democrats and is using the abortion issue to try to change that.

Posted by Andrew K | Report as abusive

I think that the whole argument is summed up by a pro-abortion guy named Dave. He says that he had sex and that it resulted in a ‘mistake’ that’s 8 years old. His son is a ‘mistake’. I feel so sorry for that child and wish that he could be raised in a loving home where he would be seen as a gift of God. That’s what every child is and it’s not dependent on whether you’re ‘wanted’ or ‘unwanted’. That’s the difference in a nutshell – party of ‘my child is a mistake’ or party of ‘my child is a gift of God’. Obama also says an ‘unplanned’ child is a ‘punishment’. How can anyone think the Dems are an attractive party? Wait, their policies are always ‘for the children’!

Posted by Barbara | Report as abusive

I think the dems are convincing my to be pro abortion… really they are just killing their own, and we don’t have to pick up a weapon. Matter of fact, they should be able to abort to the 56th trimester.
How many bad choices can you make before you get to kill a fetus… or is it just fun???

Ok so the Catholic Church isn’t perfect, but atleast today in this crucial hour are taking a stand against the HOLOCAUST of Abortion. It’s so easy for people to throw the Crusades in modern Catholic Church face, when that is something that is long gone. Meanwhile the Muslims are still torturing and killing those who convert to Christianity. So while the Muslims are crusading still we are focused on a stain in the 13th Century Church. Have they not repented? I believe we are entering into a season where God is waking up the Church Catholics, Protestants to the things of His heart and we will see a huge shift.

Dear Pope,
Keep your opinions to yourself. We have separation of church and state here, you wouldn’t want any of your churches losing their tax exemptions now would you?
a Libertarian

Posted by LYNN | Report as abusive

To quote Mr. Obama.
This article is obviously above the “pay grade” of most Democrats.
They have no clue as to what it is all about.
And they never will.

It is interesting to see how many feel they are a authority on religion or the Bible.
When they have never read it.
Most Democrats think John 3:16 is the men’s room on the third floor.
Some here use words like”Hypocrites” and have no idea they are really talking about themselves.

Posted by D Carr | Report as abusive

Who said his criticisms had to be even? Abortion is wrong, pure and simple. Stem cell research using aborted babies is wrong, pure and simple. Any questions?

Posted by Scott | Report as abusive

Hey dems, if you’re so convienced that your amoral way is correct, why do you concern yourselves with what a church leader says? Funny, though, I don’t hear any dems critising Obama’s pastor Wright, or Flaguer or Fericon. Hypocrites!

Posted by RM | Report as abusive

To all those who will vote for Obama in Nov. because of his prochoice view and his liberal agenda. Let’s remember it’s was a personal choice to own a slave or not, because the common thought was black people weren’t wholly human. If it wasn’t for a “moralizers” and “religious zealots” who fought and sometimes died for the rights of black human beings, Obama wouldn’t even have a chance to be president because he isn’t human enough.

Give me a break you sick and twisted folks who believe an unborn baby is not a human being therefore is not murder. Morality always wins! Slavery was abolished, equal rights were finally granted and unborn babies will someday be given rights regardless of what you selfish proud and godless think.

Posted by shane | Report as abusive

If you don’t believe the Catholic teachings, you are free to leave. Let he without sin cast the first stone – remember that?

Posted by Scott | Report as abusive

Seems like it’s time to remove the 501c(3) status of the Catholic churches in the states. It’s fine for them to speak out against abortion, but to assign a political value to that stance is illegal for a charitable organization. I have no problem with their doing it, however… As long as their American parishes also agree to pay taxes [or become a 501c(4, of course)]. But they shouldn’t be allowed to break the law just because they wear awesome hats…

Posted by Crunchy96 | Report as abusive

The first problem with this is that it’s illegal. Religious organizations in the US are tax exempt on the condition that they stay out of politics; now that Raymond Burke has inserted the Catholic Church into politics, the Catholic Church should be taxed like every other business. Hello there, IRS – go for it! The second problem is that Burke, himself, is dissenting from the Catholic pro-life ethic by supporting the Republican war in Iraq, which the Vatican has declared not to be a just war. Third, as a human being like the rest of us (although he seems to think he’s better than most people) Burke has no right to judge any one. Only God can and will judge. Amen

Posted by Louis Russo | Report as abusive

It’s about time the church has come out and stood up to these democrats.

Posted by conway | Report as abusive

Pat Bianculli,

do you really believe that it is possible to separate your faith life from policy? If you can, either you don’t have a genuine faith life (Catholic in name only) or you are a liar! I’m so sick of religion being relegated to the “private realm” – if that is even possible!

Posted by Chris | Report as abusive

Murder bad. Compassion good. Life good. Death, well we’re working on it. When will the world wake up to the silent genocide of abortion. No fetus ever has asked for abortion.

Sexual behavior can lead to abortion.Controlling sexual behavior is possible. Controlling abortion is possible.

Posted by 4macman | Report as abusive


So it was “Unehtical” for Christian abolitionists to push for end of slavery? It was wrong for Catholics to push for better working conditions in the 1930′s. Dave, Science is quite convinced and is in no argument that abortions kill human beings, is this the “Non-Religious” evidence you need to support a ban in law?

Burke is right the Democrats are the Party Of Death. They are the party of separation. They split up husbands and wives through extreme feminism and gender politics. They separate parents from their children by loosening the divorce laws. They separate men from men and women from women by supporting that there is no such thing as gender identity. They separate women from their babies through abortion. They separate people from their faith by their brow-beating bretheran in the media. Its awful

Posted by Tyler | Report as abusive

The question is clearly is why Michael has so much time on his hands. I am so sick of life’s losers insisting that us winners (ie:actualy get a REAL College degree and go to work and support ourselves san the USG)…have to pay for them becasue they are such losers. Advice to Mike, wake up, get a job and support yourself. There is a new revolution in the US under belly and we are going to eliminate losers like Mike. Hey Mike, Castro is offering rice cookers to his people, why not move there. p.s. I am at the hosptial (yes, I have insurane Mike)waiting for my dad to come out of surgery, that’s why I am not at work there Mike. God Bless America and God Bless Sarah Palin!!!!!

Posted by Num-Num | Report as abusive

The bottom line is that an innocent baby will be murdered. The “doctor” and mother will meet their creator on judgement day. Thou shall not murder, and there is a difference between murder and killing. The baby is with God and the others will never make it.

This action, while laudable, is 40 years too late. It is a disgrace that the Catholic Church is silent about the murder of children fostered, encouraged, and paid for by the Democratic party. It is the ultimate lie for these so-called Catholic politicians to say they oppose it but won’t prevent others from doing what they want. Now their standard bearer is Obama, who approves the murder of babies who survive abortions. How could any human brutally murder children the way the Democrats do.

Posted by David Schroeder | Report as abusive

The Church DOES speak out against the war in Iraq. Where have you people been? If you want to know how the Church interprets scripture and what its teachings are, read the “Catechism of the Catholic Church”. It states that war is only moral when innocent people or an innocent nation must be defended. The Vatican continues to encourage American politicians to end the Iraq war. The Vatican realizes that withdrawl must be done in a responsible way to avoid even greater human suffering. See 8/10/02/war/. By the way, many Dems have and do support the Iraq war.

Posted by John | Report as abusive

To all of you “Obama Robots”, the “separation of church an state” refers to a “state imposed religion”. It does not mean the censorship of religion. If you don’t want to believe in God and would rather worship crystals in New Mexico, that’s your right. However, if you call yourself a Catholic, you can’t have it both ways like Kerry, Pelosi ,and Biden would like to. I think that these people should be excommunitaeed from the church. Yes, the Democrat party is certainly NOT the Democrat party of our parents. It is now a branch of the international Communist party, and as such, the party of death.

Posted by Gator | Report as abusive

I have been a life long Catholic. However, I wonder why the Church never zeros in on the fact of what happens to life once it comes into this world. We have a president sending men to war and loss of their life for his own special reasons, not facts. We have people who are homeless. We have children abused and going hungry. We have people dying with no health care. Church where are you on these issues? I am personally against abortion, but I go for the words “Let he who is without sin caste the first stone” and I think He was a bigger authority than even the Pope. More death has been caused by the war,etc.

Posted by Joyce | Report as abusive

To be Catholic and vote for Obama is a sin. Sometimes you can go to jail for being guilty by association. In this case I see voting for the party of death as a sin and putting people’s mortal souls at risk. Obama supports killing babies so long as the mother wants the infant dead. In the event that the baby is accidentally born during the murderous event Obama supports letting the viable baby die…because the mother wanted it dead. The truth is that abortion is a barbaric procedure that dismembers the baby to remove it from the womb. All Catholics have an obligation to vote for life and to not tolerate this barbaric sacrilege.

Posted by Robert | Report as abusive


Posted by Gilda Suarez | Report as abusive

It’s really amazing how so many recoil from TRUTH. Whether we like it or not, one day we will ALL have to face the TRUTH alone in the real “no spin zone”.

Posted by Phil | Report as abusive


Posted by CarDriver | Report as abusive

Roe v Wade is a moot point. It is not based on the will of the people as the people were prevented from voting the issue. Roe v Wade is a decision of a handful of people in black robes who have imposed their ideology on all Americans.

The black robes, in the name of “social evolution,” have again usurped American’s of their rignt to self-govern.

Posted by Dave | Report as abusive

The word of God has taught me what the Catholic failed to teach me and that is “Judge not.” It is blasphemous for Vatican not to introduce the word of God, the Bible into their congregation and instead brainwash them from infants into their adulthood with their hypocritical dogma. The Vatican must begin to look back into their shameful closet and stop being judgmentally political and instead spread the truth from the Bible. This pious falsehood image of the Vatican is what the Blessed Virgin Mary reveals to some; weeping and lamenting of the prostituting portrayal of her and son, Jesus Christ. Do not pick part nor shape parts of the Ten Commandments and politicize to cover up the despicable shameful past, but live all the ten.

Posted by Nana Egyir | Report as abusive

I have read all the post here – and there have been some duzzies…..

“This is why McCain will win this election. The average american people are seeing just how socialistic Obama is, and how moderate McCain is.”

Jason – exceptionally well done……that – was a point – set – match – homerun!

“If you’ve never carried a child, and would never risk your life for your country, then shut up and go to bed. Your opinion doesn’t count.”

Shelly – yours made me laugh the loudest – a virtual kiss to you…

Off topic – I have lived and worked in the mid/east for the past 16
years. I’m no expert, but this to those – who feel today’s war in Iraq is not justified….

I have looked into the eyes of the enemy – and the enemy is You!!

I love how libtards get all preachy about “don’t legislate your beliefs onto others” when they consistently legislate their own beliefs onto others. Isn’t it libtards legislating that homosexual marriage must be recognized by everyone. Isn’t marriage founded in a religous belief system? Doesn’t that mean libtards are legislating thier beliefs onto others?

Isn’t it libtards that legislated that banks must lend money to people who cannot pay it back. Didn’t this idealistic dream just explode all over the economy. And aren’t the very people the libtards think this was going to help going to suffer the most?

Isn’t it libtards that legislated that prison is about reforming people rather than punishing them and keeping them out of society. So now child rapists are routinely set free to victmize more innocent children, theives rob more innocent people, and murders have the opportunity to kill again. This is why I support the death penalty, libtards cannot be trusted to keep evil people locked up.

Libtards just make excuse after excuse for being socialist passivists and have no moral foundation whatsoever. And I know any libtard reading this will think I am a religous nut. But I am agnostic and haven’t been in any church in over 20 years. I dislike religion. But I disagree strongly with liberal social engineering as it is selfish, idealistic, and naive and anyone with sense knows it.

Posted by vj | Report as abusive

Since the bishops have taken a vow of obedience to the pope, one can assume the bishops are representatives of the holy see which has diplomatic relations with the US. Therefore any bishop who refuses to cooperate with local law enforcement and prosecutors re: sex abuse scandal should immediately be declared persona non grata and will be deported to the vatican.

Posted by JT | Report as abusive

So much for the separation of Church and State….

Other than for a SMALL percentage of Catholics, who cares what Rome has to say.

Read my book, “TRUTH TO POWER: The Pope Has No Clothes”

I’m a BORN and raised Catholic, who has been Born Again.

Posted by michael pinchot | Report as abusive

RIGHT TO CHOOSE! who is ANYONE to cram THEIR beliefs down my throat? if you don’t WANT an abortion when raped, birth control failed (yes, that DOES happen) then by all means do not seek one out. however, if you DO choose that route…its YOUR decision. NOT anyone elses.

Posted by Scamprdnz | Report as abusive

I am so happy that our Church is trying to form catholic concience. Most catholics do not know what our Church teaches and get very confused when some in the Church do not follow it’s teaching. I’ll keep praying the our leaders in the church.

Posted by Patty | Report as abusive

To Tom L.: The Church does teach against artifical insemination and the intentional practice of creating multiple embryos and killing the “extras”.

To those who say that the Church is hypocritical for being against war when it commited atrocities such as inquisitions and crusades: The Church is made up of sinners, just like any other human institution (teachers, doctors, laborers, non-Catholic Christian leaders, politicians, etc.). Many members of the Church sinned in the past and sin now. Even so, the Church’s teachings never included unjustified war. These things happened because the members of the Church ingnored the Church’s teachings. We are blessed that we live in a time when the Church’s members are more aligned with Christ’s teachings than any other time since Christ walked the earth. Members will continue to sin, just as all humans do. This is no reason to chunk the church that Christ founded. God will work things out in his own time and his Church will prevail against the gates of Hell until Christ comes again at the end of time.

Posted by John | Report as abusive

If a bishop said 1+1=2, but then said 2+2=5 would the bishop have been wrong about 1+1?

Anyone who doubts that a human person is such before 9 months should visit their local hospital’s NICU and see the preemies. See which ones you’d agree to allow to be killed.

What are the consequences of being wrong about abortion? They could be considerable for the woman and maybe others too; but, how does that compare to being killed and being responsible for the killing?

If Republicans and Catholics are wrong to be hypocritical war-mongers, desiring to kill everything but unborn babies, then surely all that killing must be wrong. If you’re against all that killing isn’t it inconsistent to be supporting letting babies be killed?


Posted by Gary Fuchs | Report as abusive

Unfortunately, the Catholic church is only partially correct. The fact is, that Democrats see children as “unsuccessful abortions” – ones that slipped past the goalie (AKA Dr. Tiller). The ones that survive are then sent to liberal re-education camps (AKA Public Schools), then have to run the gauntlet of constituent groups (NAMBLA, Gay/Lesbian/Transgender grooming, etc.). The ones that survive and express Good Thinking are then registered as Democrat Voters – whether they actually vote or not. Rejects of all of the above are seen as conservatives.

The truth of the matter is that calling the Democratic party the party of death is a severe understatement. They are more insidious than radical Islam, by indoctrinating and sexualizing the children they aren’t able to kill.

Posted by A. Voter | Report as abusive

>- Posted by Tom. L
>The Catholic Church teaches that wars are possible >provided the circumstances meet a specific criteria. In >general, in order to be a ‘just war’ they must be in >defense only (of either ones self or another).

Iraqi civilian deaths since 2003 – 90K

Iraqi civilian deaths due to the 2003 invasion itself – less than 8000.

(Source –

Conclusion – vast majority of civilian deaths since 2003 have come about as a result of the foreign nationals who came in to fight on behalf of Al-Qaeda.

Conclusion #2 – Decrease in civilian deaths since August 2007 was due to increased security, thanks to greater troop strength from the US and indigenous forces.

Iraqi civilian deaths under Saddam were quite a bit higher. 182,000 in the Anfal campaign alone, and about 30-60K during the Shiite revolts and the Marsh Arab clearances.

>the war in iraq woulsd not meet the criteria of a just >war and Pope John Paul II was close to saying so before >he died.

Gulf War I met the criteria, though.

And that action never formally ended. A cease-fire was in place instead, as the Coalition and the UN found it necessary to use the threat of resumption of hostilities as leverage against Saddam not following the terms of UNSC 687. Saddam didn’t follow terms. Hostilities resumed.

If you disbelieve any of this, feel free to check out the details on your own.

Posted by kunsunoke | Report as abusive

For those of you who want to bring the crusades and the Spanish Inquisition into this discussion, you better get more informed about the facts. The Inquisition was a STATE inquisition not completely sanctioned by the church. The crusades, although sanctioned by the church was not sanctioned for all of them. The crusades, especially the first, were to liberate the Christians from Muslim who were being killed in vast numbers (as were the Jews).

The jest of this article is that catholic leaders, who profess their catholic faith as the most important part of their lives, are being told to live their faith through their actions. To interject that this is a republican problem and that we may nuke Iran is absolute nonsense. The duties of every christian is to first let their friends know when they are wrong and are in sin. If that doesn’t right the wrong, then it is the christian’s responsibility to publicly tell them they are wrong. We need to be constantly told how to get to heaven and if it is by public humiliation than so be it.

And mikefromnyc, you are a typical ‘noreastern liberal who is absolutely misinformed. Did Sister Rebecca step slap your face during biology?

Posted by arkyump | Report as abusive

How refreshing to finally have the Church speak out. It’s long over due. The majority of Democrates are against life.

Wow, sure is a lot of hate out there for Catholics. All of you with your condescending comments need to go out and realize what a beautiful life you have and be thankful for it. If you can’t, go get a gun and put yourself out of our misery of listening to you, although I must tell you the Catholic Church will be against you committing suicide, so you may then have to stick around and write how out of touch the Church is.

The Vatican is against anything that takes a human life, be it abortion, war, euthanasia, etc. No-one here should even begin to explain when the soul enters the body because nobody knows, that is why the church takes the position it does. There are only three beings that know: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. For all we know, the soul doesn’t enter the body until we are ready to die, so using that argument, most of you here should probably be aborted as you don’t have a soul.

And lastly, those of you that are going back 500+ years and comparing the churches actions then to now ….. get a life. I would love to see you hold a medical discussion comparing how 15th century doctors could better perform brain surgery on a modern day person by drilling into the persons head to let a demon out.

Posted by Kurt | Report as abusive

When did infanticide become a virtue?

Catholic church has zero credibility. Even ignoring the way they played a shell-game with pedophile priests, this is an organization that preaches meakness, and speaks of the ills of wealth and power yet covets both like no other organization on the planet.

Now doing abject political advocacy? Time to lose that tax-exempt status. The Vatican is ridiculously wealthy…strange being that Jesus was a simple carpenter and threw the money changers out of the temple yet the Vatican itself is decked with finery and gold.

Posted by vince | Report as abusive

Archbishop Birke is doing his job – is he supposed to remain silent ?? I support him 100%!!