Vatican Archbishop: Kennedy Funeral Critics Not Hurting Unity but Helping Church

Archbishop Raymond Burke, head of the highest Vatican court, the Apostolic Signatura, has offered a public defense of those pro-life leaders who spoke out against the scandal of the grandiose funeral of Senator Ted Kennedy. "One of the ironies of the present situation is that the person who experiences scandal at the gravely sinful public actions of a fellow Catholic is accused of a lack of charity and of causing division within the unity of the Church," wrote Archbishop Burke.

In addition to this news service, public statements lamenting the scandal of the funeral – which according to some prominent leaders seemed almost a canonization – came from leaders of Human Life International, American Life League, C-Fam, Catholic World News, EWTN, Inside Catholic, Catholic Culture and many more.

While he was not mentioned by Archbishop Burke, the most public of the harsh criticisms came from a U.S.-born priest who is now living and operating in Canada as the head of Salt and Light Television network.  Fr. Rosica’s remarks were emblematic of other criticisms and his status as a consultor to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications gave his remarks weight.

After pro-life leaders had expressed their scandal at the funeral, Fr. Thomas Rosica wrote : "Leading up to the Kennedy funeral last weekend, and in its aftermath, many so-called lovers of life and activists in the pro-life movement, as well as well-known colleagues in Catholic television broadcasting and media in North America, have revealed themselves to be not agents of life, but of division, destruction, hatred, vitriol, judgment and violence."

Burke however sees the matter quite differently. "In a society whose thinking is governed by the ‘tyranny of relativism’ and in which political correctness and human respect are the ultimate criteria of what is to be done and what is to be avoided, the notion of leading someone into moral error makes little sense," he said. "What causes wonderment in such a society is the fact that someone fails to observe political correctness and, thereby, seems to be disruptive of the so-called peace of society. Lying or failing to tell the truth, however, is never a sign of charity."

Archbishop Burke goes so far as to suggest that "The person who experiences scandal at public actions of Catholics, which are gravely contrary to the moral law, not only does not destroy unity but invites the Church to repair what is clearly a serious breach in Her life."

He added: "Were he not to experience scandal at the public support of attacks on human life and the family, his conscience would be uninformed or dulled about the most sacred realities."

Archbishop Burke also sees the hand of the devil at work in the Kennedy affair.  "One sees the hand of the Father of Lies at work in the disregard for the situation of scandal or in the ridicule and even censure of those who experience scandal," he said.

Burke’s comments come in an article published September 26 in Crisis Magazine, which is an adapted version of remarks he made at an Inside Catholic event on September 18.

See the full article from Archbishop Burke

See related LifeSiteNews article:
Funeral Rites Should be Denied to Publicly Pro-Abort Catholics: Vatican Official

** See the LifeSiteNews Kennedy Funeral Scandal page with numerous articles on the issue

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage

  • mamreilly

    We are truly blessed to have a courageous leader such as Archbishop Burke!

    It is not compassionate to fail to discipline, it is neglect.

  • http://www.vatican.va Michael

    Amen to both the archbishop and mamreilly. We need more well-catechized Catholics willing to speak up.

MENU