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Archbishop Burke Warns of Persecution

by Christopher A. Ferrara

Even in the midst of the worst crisis in Church history, there are still good bishops to be found. Take Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis, for example. In recent months the Archbishop has made some clear and quite provocative statements of opposition to the anti-Catholic tyranny of public opinion in this country.

In a recent interview with Life, Archbishop Burke said "that as Catholics continue to speak out on life and family issues they will face persecution. ‘There is going to be a persecution with regard to this, that’s clear.’"

As LifeSite observed, "Archbishop Burke speaks plainly the teaching of the Church on matters of central importance, without fear of being labeled politically incorrect." Concerning his refusal to allow pro-abortion "Catholic" politicians to receive Holy Communion, the Archbishop said that "although the refusal by a pastor or bishop to distribute Holy Communion to anyone is a ‘source of great sorrow . . . What would be profoundly more sorrowful would be the failure of a bishop to call a soul to conversion, the failure to protect the flock from scandal and the failure to safeguard the worthy reception of Communion.’"

Would that the rest of the American hierarchy speak this way.

On the issue of "gay marriage," the Archbishop chided those who "do not want to deal with the embarrassment and hurt of recognizing same-sex attraction as disordered. … The fact that our American culture more and more fails to make any distinction between same-sex attraction and heterosexual attraction does not justify our failure to make the distinction, respecting God's gift of human life in its integrity and helping others to attain the perfection to which we are called as true children of God."

Archbishop Burke also told LifeSite that "his motivation to continue to speak out on life and family comes from ‘Christ Himself’ and ‘the natural moral law’ which the archbishop said ‘is not the question of a belief of a particular religion, but is part of the patrimony of the whole human race.’" That statement echoes the lament of Leo XIII, who referred in his encyclical Immortale Dei to "that new conception of law which was not merely previously unknown, but was at variance on many points with not only the Christian, but even the natural law."

Pope Leo was speaking of the modern notion of "liberty"  —  i.e. the "liberty" to commit sin without interference by (or even with the encouragement of) public authority. The result of this kind of "liberty" is, inevitably, the persecution of true liberty, which is the freedom to follow the will of God in order to attain eternal salvation. Any society that endorses "gay marriage" is standing in the way of this true liberty by allowing a corruption of morals which endangers the eternal welfare of everyone exposed to it.

As Archbishop Burke told LifeSite, speaking the truth today  —  that is, exercising true liberty  —  is "intimidating because we live, as our Holy Father says, in a society of a culture of death where people want to convince us that everything should be convenient and comfortable and they don’t like to hear a voice which says ‘this isn’t right.’"

Archbishop Burke predicted that "Bishops will be persecuted, and also priests and lay people. … It’s what it means to be a sign of contradiction. We just have to accept that and we have to remain tranquil in proclaiming the truth with charity, but insisting on the truth. If we look to the example of Our Lord, we have to take up the cross for the defence of life."

As Our Lady Fatima Herself predicted, if Her requests were not granted "there will be wars and persecutions against the Church, the good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, and various nations will be annihilated." Anyone who doesn’t see that in America, the "land of free," Catholics are (and really always have been) a persecuted minority, which is constantly being reminded to stay in its little corner of the public square or else, had better wake up in a hurry. Archbishop Burke can see it, and so should any Catholic worthy of the name.

If only every bishop were as forthright as Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis, what a different place this nation would be. But such is the post-conciliar crisis in the Church.