The Archbishop regrets…

“Never mind.” That seems to be Archbishop Burke’s take on his explosive interview with Randall Terry of Operation Rescue in which he took Obama voters and his brother bishops in the U.S. to task for being softies. Rocco has the text of Burke’s mea culpa:

ROME, Italy – In response to the March 25, 2009 press conference of Mr. Randall Terry in Washington, D.C., the Most Reverend Raymond L. Burke, Archbishop Emeritus of Saint Louis and Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, issued the following statement:

“Recently, Mr. Randall Terry and some of his associates visited me in Rome and asked to videotape an interview with me to share with pro-life workers for the purpose of their encouragement. The interview was conducted on March 2, 2009.


“Sadly, Mr. Terry has used the videotape for another purpose which I find most objectionable.

“First, Mr. Terry issued a media advisory which gave the impression that I would be physically present at the press conference during which he played the videotape, when, in fact, I was in Rome.

“Second, I was never informed that the videotape would become part of a press conference.

“Third, I gave the interview as a Bishop from the United States to encourage those engaged in the respect life apostolate, not as the Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.

“Fourth, I was never informed that the videotape would be used as part of a campaign of severe criticism of certain fellow bishops regarding the application of Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law.


“If I had known what the true purpose of the interview was, I would never have agreed to participate in it.

“I am deeply sorry for the confusion and hurt which the wrong use of the videotape has caused to anyone, particularly, to my brother bishops.”

(Most Rev.) Raymond L. Burke

March 26, 2009

As to why this turn of events came about, well, methinks the Archbishop protesteth his innocence too much. He knows Terry, knew what he was getting in to-he gave a TV interview after all-and he was repeating tropes he has used before. I think he was understandably upset at how Terry exploited him (well, duh) and I strongly suspect someone made it clear his statements and real and perceived criticisms of his brother bishops (and he did take them to task, as he has before) were not appreciated.


Also, a must-read is Michael Sean Winters’ post at America on Terry’s rollout of the Burke interview at the National Press Club. A taste is enough to show why Burke may have done a U-turn:

Mr. Terry, who was introduced at the press conference as “a great warrior for life,” boasted that the Vatican officials were sympathetic to his pleas [to crack down on “soft bishops”]. He had a copy of the document that was presented to the officials, including Archbishop Burke, which explicitly calls for the removal of Archbishop Wuerl and Bishop Loverde. The document is online here. During the press conference, Terry repeatedly called them “treacherous.” During the interview, Terry specifically asked Archbishop Burke about “the bishops who stepped up such as in Washington, D.C. Virginia, others…Massachusetts…[and] said that we will serve communion.” Burke did not endorse Terry’s call for the bishops’ removal but neither did he say anything in their defense. It was the Vatican equivalent of throwing them under the bus.


In the course of a Q-and-A, Terry also said Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley had “done a great disservice to the Church” for failing to excommunicate Sen. John Kerry. Terry did not, at first, object to Cardinal Edward Egan inviting candidate Obama to the Al Smith dinner, until it was pointed out to him that Obama did speak at the event. “That was very bad then,” Terry concluded.

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A Disappointed Convert

posted March 26, 2009 at 10:18 pm

You don’t get to be a His Highness by “not being aware.”
He was just fine until he started the moonwalking.
Another one gone soft after a sit down….
Right is right…Wrong is wrong.
Oh, unless a superior says differently. Sheesh.

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Gerard Nadal

posted March 27, 2009 at 12:38 am

I respect Randall Terry’s pro-life zeal. Apart from that, having met the man, I could tell that he is way too hard driving for an archbishop to entrust him with a taped interview. Terry has been militating against the American Bishop’s meekness for some time now. This is not news.
If anyone allows an interview to be recorded, they had better expect to see it played, out of context, on the six o’clock news. Archbishop Burke is too much of an old campaigner to have fallen for this one. Terry is a zealot’s zealot. I hope he enjoyed this moment with Archbishop Burke, as only a fool would even give Terry the time of day from this point on. Can anyone say ‘RADIOACTIVE’?

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Holly Hansen

posted March 27, 2009 at 6:11 am

Archbishop Burke’s U-Tube moment ! God truly is a JUST JUDGE.

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Steve T

posted March 27, 2009 at 8:00 am

What a bunch of …

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posted March 27, 2009 at 8:37 am

I’m glad he made the statement. Clarity is a process, and it continues along the arc of communication. He has, wittingly or not, contributed to a muddying of the waters because now his comments will also be taken out of context and used and reused by both sides. Pity he didn’t think about this beforehand.
As the Archbishop is saying here, one cannot use Canon Law out of context or to prove a point. It is not the use for which Canon Law exists.
It is a basic teaching that Canon Law and the Catechism of the Catholic Church are for the education, guidance and formation of our Church faithful. They are to be used in totality and under the exegesis of a trained theologian within the Church. To make use of them in any other way is misleading and mistaken.

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Your Name

posted March 27, 2009 at 7:17 pm

Eagan let Obama speak? Eagan paid for his dinner and laughed him up that’s cooporation with evil if I ever heard of any!

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Your Name

posted March 30, 2009 at 6:22 pm

A word for the good Archbishop:
If one man calls you an ass, ignore it. If two or three call you an ass, start looking for a saddle.
If you need a source for saddles, let me know.

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