What separation of church and state? Show us a religious entity that hasn’t involved itself in politics, and we’ll show you a check with six zeroes. But we’re not just talking about folks like New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan inserting himself into the gay marriage debate. We’re talking about Archbishop Raymond Burke, who just called for the banishment of gay-supporting politicians. Or at least denying them communion and funeral rites.
It was a direct shot at Sen. Ted Kennedy, the LGBT advocate whose funeral was attended by Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley and fellow bigshot Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. This, despite many conservative Catholics indignation over Kennedy’s civil rights support. (And that comes despite this correspondence between Kennedy and the Pope.)
Addressing InsideCatholic.com’s 14th Annual Partnership Dinner, Burke argued “neither Holy Communion nor funeral rites should be administered to politicians who support abortion or same-sex marriage. To deny these is not a judgment of the soul, but a recognition of the scandal and its effects. … It is not possible to be a practicing Catholic and to conduct oneself in this manner.”
Burke, the former archbishop of St. Louis who now carries the grand title Prefect of the Vatican’s Apostolic Signatura, came out swinging not just against Kennedy (though he didn’t name him), but also his colleagues McCarrick and O’Malley, who was urged not to preside over Kennedy’s funeral.
But there’s another side to this argument: What politician, or human being, would want to take communion from a church who considers civil rights work to be sinful? Who would want to have his funeral presided over by a church who deems your friends and loved ones less than? Actually, plenty of folks, and Kennedy — a good Irish Catholic boy — obviously was among them. It doesn’t make much sense to us, but we understand the power of faith.
It’s just a shame Archbishop Burke wields so much of it.