Saturday, April 28, 2007

A Comment Needing a Rebuke and Correction

Pew Kneeler wrote the following in response to the post "Is Ignorance the Key to Burke/Crow/Costas Matter?"...Because it is so riddled with errors, I felt it desrved to be publicly exposed and corrected. There is much which can be learned from such an exercise. Unfortunately, many in the St Louis area and elsewhere are similarly "confused".

I will be updating this post periodically as I have time to address each of the claims/assertions of "Pew Kneeler", ...Feel free to comment or email me - it may help me respond more quickly...

The Archbishop has not spoken to the press in almost two full years.
Catholics deserve several things of our leader:

It is not the job of the Archbishop to "speak to the press" but to teach, govern and sanctify the faithful. These duites do not require that he make arrangements with the Post-Dispatch or other secular media to ensure that his message is getting out.

For those who are confused or whose minds have been clouded by secular news reports, they may be assured that the Archbishop has been relentless in performing his duties as shepherd of the Archdiocese. The fact that he has not called a press conference or had throngs of reporters and photographers following him around and reporting on his actions does not prove this erroneous claim that Catholics have been deprived of spiritual blessings or lack of leadership or that "Catholics deserve several things of our leader"...The faithful of the Archdiocese of St Louis have one of the best bishops to be found and are the envy of Catholics of many dioceses in the U.S.

1) Consistency. There is a ton of sin out there - from abortion to the death penalty, from poverty to human cloning. He has lost a ton of respect for his pro Iraq War stance, calling Pope John Paul II's vehement opposition to it "his personal view." When Pope JP II did everything in his power to stop Bush from a war based on lies, Burke ran a series of articles on "The just war theory." Hmmmm. Do we assume that Archbishop Burke has more wisdom than Pope John Paul II?

First some clarifications are in order:
Directly willed abortion - Sinful
Human Cloning-Sinful
Death Penalty-Not Sinful
Poverty, in and of itself-Not Sinful
Causing poverty-Sinful
Supporting the Iraq War-Not sinful

Now that that out of the way, let's proceed....

Pew Kneeler states that there is a need for consistency. It boggles the mind to try and imagine any time when Ab. Burke has been inconsistent. Fact: Iraq War starts March 20, 2003 and Archbishop Burke was still the Bishop of La Crosse. He was installed at the Archbishop of St Louis on Jan 26, 2004.

After reviewing the archives of the St Louis Review, I have been unable to find a "series of articles on the 'just war' theory." Archbishop Burke issue a Pastoral Letter on October 1, 2004, titled, "To Christ's Faithful of the Archdiocese of St. Louis: 'On Our Civic Responsibility for the Common Good'" in which he states:
30. Some Catholics have suggested that a candidate's position on the death penalty and war are as important as his or her position on procured abortion and same-sex "marriage." This, however, is not true. Procured abortion and homosexual acts are intrinsically evil, and, as such, can never be justified in any circumstance. Although war and capital punishment can rarely be justified, they are not intrinsically evil; neither practice includes the direct intention of killing innocent human beings. In some circumstances, self-defense and defense of the nation are not only rights, but responsibilities. Neither individuals nor governments can be denied the right of lawful defense in appropriate circumstances (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Nos. 2265 and 2309). While we must all work to eradicate the circumstances which could justify either practice, we must stop the killing of innocent unborn children and the practice of euthanasia, and safeguard marriage and the family now. One cannot justify a vote for a candidate who promotes intrinsically evil acts which erode the very foundation of the common good, such as abortion and same-sex "marriage," by appealing to that same candidate's opposition to war or capital punishment.

There was also an article in the same issue of the Review, "Questions and answers concerning Archbishop Burke's pastoral letter" which dealt briefly with the Death Penaly and War:
5. Aren’t capital punishment and war also pro-life issues? Capital punishment and war are certainly pro-life issues. Although they are rarely justified, they are, though, not intrinsically evil as is abortion. In some circumstances self-defense and defense of the nation are not only rights but responsibilities.

One cannot, however, justify voting for a candidate who promotes intrinsically evil acts which erode the very foundation of the common good, such as abortion, by appealing to that same candidate’s opposition to war or capital punishment.

Articles on "Just War" were found in the Review on these dayes, before Archbishop Burke came to St Louis:
October 18, 2002, 3 questions about U.S. shooting first, by George Weigel

December 13, 2002, Who is the just war tradition for? by George Weigel

May 2, s003, Force of law aided by the law of force by George Weigel

And there are several others from the year 2002. It seems, therefore, that Pew Kneeler, after having calumniated Archbishop Burke for being responsible for this series of articles, has mistakenly directed his anger toward the wrong person. Of course, I could be wrong, but as Pew Kneeler did not supply any sources for his opinions, it's difficult and tedious to go back, pull the data, and refute his accusations.

I'll get to his 2nd assertion soon.

2) Dialogue, not condemnation. Could he at least made a conciliatory comment, thanking Bob Costas for his 20 years of volunteering for Glennon? For Sheryl Crow to give up 2 weekend nights of concerts to volunteer her time when she could be making $400,000 per night? Or Billy Crystal, a Jew, who commands over $500,000 per appearance, but also is generously volunteering his time? Instead of vilifying, could he, as chairman of the board, asked to speak with Sheryl for 5 minutes beforehand? Engage in a conversation? Talk and listen, instead of pontificating?

3) Could he at least have mentioned that, thanks to Bob Costas, the Costas Center houses the St. Louis Cord Blood Bank, the 2nd largest holder of adult stem cells on the planet? All from donations of umbilical cords from mothers - all 100% Vatican approved and encouraged? Bob Costas has donated his time for 19 years in support of this - this is NOT an abortion clinic or embryonic cloning center - it's 100% in-line with Catholic dogma - and Sheryl Crow is helping it!

4) St. Louis has 2 children's hospitals - Cardinal Glennon, which is Catholic, and Children's Hospital, an affiliate of Barnes-Jewish and Washington University, where abortions are performed. BJC/Wash U would be the largest educational recipient of embryonic stem research. He's silent about that, but goes after one particular fundraising event at the Catholic hospital caring for children?

5) Watch Archbishop Burke as he speaks, and ask yourself these questions: Are you seeing a man full of Christ's spirit? Does he exude the holiness, serenity and joy of the Risen Christ? Do you feel Christ's compassion pouring out of his soul? Would you take your children to listen to him and follow his every word as thousands of Jews and Gentiles did to every word of Jesus? Would he be the first person you'd to turn to for consolation after your spouse or child has died, or if you, God help us, were having marital problems? What is the image of God that he represents to the world? The Jesus who walked this earth 2,000 years ago was also condemning of others - but his harshest condemnations were for the Sadducees and Pharisees, the "leaders" of the church at the time. Jesus spent his time with tax collectors and sinners, and Mary Magdalene was a prostitute. Who does the Archbishop appear to have more in common with here: the Saddudees & Pharisees, or those in Jesus's inner circle?

6) The Archbishop's "5 talking points" for political action were developed for him by Anne Wagner, the Chairman of Missouri's Republican Party. It was the five divisive issues that Karl Rove first developed to get the poor and middle class of believers to vote for tax cuts for the filthy rich and an unust war. Wait, before you go - Allen Alred is known as "Mr. Republican" for his staunch support for the Republican Party. Interesting to note that the Archbishop gave his full support to Governor Blunt in the last election, who, like Sheryl Crow, was VERY vocal about his support of embryonic research and cloning. Burke's response to Blunt? The same as with the Iraq war - silence.

7) Archbishop is canonically wrong to call a human "evil," as he has Sheryl Crow (except for Satan himself.) Yes, he can cite one's actions as "grave matter," but as all of us should remember from our Baltimore Catechism, there are three parts to sin: Grave matter, serious intent to do harm, and full consent of will. Since the Archbishop has never engaged in conversation, isn't it extremely presumptive that he knows the inner motivations of Sheryl? Her intent in coming to the Costas Gala is pure and good - to help raise funds for children with cancer AND the Vatican-approved adult stem cell center it houses. Hmmm.

In ending, prayerfully consider this: "The foundation of any fundamentalism, be it Islamic, Christian, Jewish, Communistic, or whatever, is narcissism."

No one on the planet has enough control to make the rest of the planet look like the lily-white, rural, conservative, homogenous background that Archbishop Burke so loved in his childhood back in Wisconsin, despite his yeoman's efforts. Please pray that the Holy Spirit can flood his soul with the joy of the Risen Christ, the Jesus who forgave the sinner on the cross who died along with him, and the God of mercy.

Please also pray for the end of polarization that is so divisive in our time, for reconciliation and healing of new wounds, and especially for the gift of humility, on all sides.

For all those angry about this, no matter from what side, please pray that our own hearts receive the gifts of God's conversion, for we all are sinners.

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