Pro-Lifer Opinions

Thanks to all for the generally calm and, at times, thorough discussion on the Archbishop Burke thread here. The same cannot be said for the commentariat in other places, including on this thread. One priest offered:

This whole incident has been yet another overacted and predictable drama for liberal hypocrisy. I guess is that most of the people poo-poo’ing the Good Archbishop are exactly the people who obsessive read food labels so as to avoid buying from objectionable countries and companies …

I fail to see the connection with liberalism and hypocrisy, unless one believes the bishops tend to single out liberals, rather than members of organized crime, political dictators, torturers, and others who have more of a direct hand in killing than a musical celebrity from the neighborhood might in suggesting the decriminalization of abortion.

Archbishop Chaput seems genuinely surprised that people would paint him as something of a Republican flunkie over his 2004 experience in the public eye. What that tells me is that is bishops are saying things that aren’t breaking through to the public at large, let alone Catholics. Maybe their public words and actions need to be more refined.

It was predictable, almost, that Burke would be the object of humor over this affair. Which is not a good thing. Most of us might receive Archbishop Burke’s position as a moral and just one. But to the mainstream culture, any Paris Hilton and Britney Spears can be the object of a punch line–they’re hardly martyrs for the cause. And they believe in what they’re doing, too. (Though probably with considerable more angst.)

Getting back to the comment above, can I be a good Catholic and a good pro-lifer by criticizing Archbishop Burke? Or is it required that I hold my tongue or pen so as not to give succor to the “enemy?”

I don’t think so, because I’ve offered suggestions for years in St Blog’s and on my site as to what bishops could be doing to give a stronger witness for a pro-life morality. I don’t have a problem poo-poo’ing Burke’s public stance on this because I’ve suggested alternatives.

Or perhaps you still believe I’m a turncoat for that post and this. If so or not, then let’s hear it.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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8 Responses to Pro-Lifer Opinions

  1. Gavin says:

    is it required that I hold my tongue or pen so as not to give succor to the “enemy?”

    That’s what strikes me as off about the Archbishop’s response: is Crow an “enemy”? Seriously, she is championing an evil agenda in ignorance. But is she persecuting the Church? Does she have a hit song “F— the Pope”? Is she (as Rosie O’Donnel does) painting Catholics as stupid fundamentalists? Is she committing severe acts of blasphemy? I don’t follow pop culture, so I don’t know. But I’m not aware of her doing any of this, so I wouldn’t exactly call her an enemy of the Church.

    So, if she is in error but not an opponent of the Faith, is this treatment really necessary? Was she going on stage to deliver a pro-ESCR message? If not, I’d suggest the Archbishop’s actions were too extreme. Is the Archbishop going to demand good Catholics stop listening to her music? Is the diocese going to organise state-wide CD burnings?

    I’m not excusing Crow. In my opinion, his Excellence should have given an address at the event blasting Crow by name and calling her to repent for her actions. It’d probably get him even worse slander in the press. But it would be more fitting to what needs to be done: calling her to repentance rather than treating her as anathema.

    The Church does have enemies, such as O’Donnell. I’d argue NCR is one of them too. And by all means, DON’T hold a meeting on Catholic Journalism with an editor of NCR giving a speech. Don’t let someone from Catholics for a Free Choice attend any Church functions. But I don’t think Crow is in the same category as these. She should get treatment more appropriate to what she does. Labeling her as an enemy is more typical of another religion. Hint: it starts with an “M” as in “Mohammed”…

  2. Gavin says:

    And I’ll add (although I’m sure it’s not enough for many rad-trads) that I do love the Archbishop. He does a damn good job in his diocese, and the St. Stanislaus thing was just what was needed. I’m just saying that in this case he may have gone too far, although it is better than having done nothing about Crow.

  3. Tony says:


    There is nothing “rad-trad” about this. This has nothing at all to do with what Mass you enjoy attending. It has everything to do with Catholic moral teaching, orthodoxy, if you will.

    We have the Church teaching that homosexual acts are intrinsically evil, and you have a “gay mass” in San Francisco. And the drive-by media only covers these wierd events, leaving the faithful to believe that they are fine and dandy.

    It’s nice to see a Bishop stand up for authentic Catholic teaching. It’s nice to see one who is not willing to ignore what’s not right for the sake of “getting along”.

    It’s nice to see a Bishop who teaches rightly by example without regard to how he is perceived, or whether he’s loved, or who he offends.

    Jesus delivered a radical message. When he taught his message of love, he didn’t care whether he was loved or not. He delivered the same message as he hung on the cross: “Father, forgive them…”

    We are called to follow Jesus. Sometimes that means telling unpleasant truths which are necessary for the salvation of souls. If not the soul in question, then countless other souls who might be watching.

    This is the nature of public correction for public scandal.

  4. Gavin says:


    If we were talking about a letter campaign or pro-life sermons, I would agree. However, refusing to attend an event with Crow or withdrawing from a board that sponsors a concert by her strikes me as something that ought to be reserved for those who flat out attack the Church. Crow, so far as I know, is not Nancy Pelosi. To futilely reiterate, Crow DOES need correction. But I don’t think that this accomplishes it. I think this is to treat her as more “beyond help” than to attempt to get her to work for good causes. And again, more futile reiterations: I’m not some “seamless garment”er or someone who thinks the bishop shouldn’t work for the Church’s good. I just don’t see this as being part of it.

    Ultimately, it doesn’t affect me. I’m not in Burke’s diocese, I don’t even give a rat’s behind about Sheryll Crow. It just seems to me that the conservative Catholic blogosphere is a bit quick to label their enemies.

  5. Katherine says:

    Burke is very different from the late John Cardinal O’Connor who would feature pro-choicers Jeanne Kilpatrick and Ed Koch at Catholic events.

  6. Tony says:

    Gavin, it’s not just about Crow. She is a public figure who is public in her support for the killing of the unborn. Any reaction to her, likewise needs to be public. This is for the benefit of those watching.

    And I believe which actions are appropriate to which offenses should be left up the Archbishop, don’t you think?

  7. Katherine says:

    And I believe which actions are appropriate to which offenses should be left up the Archbishop, don’t you think?

    We can give the Archbishop the assumption that he is simply doing what he thinks right in good conscience to an equal degree that we make the same assumption for Mr. Costas and the other honorable people who made such good efforts to raise money for Glennon Hospital.

  8. Todd says:

    Katherine, we could do this. We could also assume that people who promote freedom of choice with regard to abortion do it as they say: from a sense of returning morality to the realm of personal choice. Speaking for myself, I wouldn’t take any public person at less than their word, unless the evidence was strongly pointing otherwise.

    Yet actions we take always have consequences. I have no problem with the likely fact Archbishop Burke is acting in good conscience. Yet I can still retain my criticism of his actions as ineffective, or even counter-productive. It is possible to be right, but to be wrong in the expression of it.

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