Monday, November 03, 2008

The Closer

As the buzzer nears, the final intervention of this general election's historic exercise in hierarchical firepower arrived late today from the prelate whose candor in the 2004 cycle led an emboldened, unprecedented minority of the US bishops to imitate his example this time around: the now-prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, Archbishop Raymond Burke, who gave his last-minute comments to the Rome-based Inside the Vatican:
In your country an election is about to take place in a couple of days. Archbishop Chaput says Obama is the biggest supporter ever of abortion rights, in a presidential candidate. Should Americans be concerned if he becomes president?

My fellow citizens of the United States of America should be deeply concerned about any candidate for the presidency who supports legislation which permits the destruction of human life at its very beginning, the killing of babies in the womb, or legislation which violates the integrity of marriage and family life. The safeguarding and promoting of human life, from the moment of its inception, and of the integrity of marriage must be the fundamental planks of any political agenda. A good citizen must support and vote for the candidate who most supports the inalienable dignity of innocent and defenseless life, and the integrity of marriage. To do otherwise, is to participate, in some way, in the culture of death which pervades the life of the nation and has led to so much violence, even in the home and in educational institutions.

In a recent interview you were quoted saying the Democratic Party is fast becoming "the party of death". Is this a fair statement, when you consider that the Republican administration has become involved in an unpopular war?

It is not my intention to engage in partisan politics. I wish that both of the major political parties in the United States of America were more coherent regarding the right to life. The Democratic Party, however has, over the years, put forth and defended a political agenda which is grievously anti-life, favoring the right to procured abortion and "marriage" between persons of the same sex. One can legitimately question the wisdom of the decisions taken in the war in Iraq, but war in itself is not always and everywhere evil, as are, for example, procured abortion, human cloning, embryonic stem-cell research, and the so-called "marriage" of persons of the same sex. Engagement of the nation in a war cannot be placed on the same moral level as the nation making laws which permit the wholesale killing of the unborn or the artificial generation of human life or experimentation on embryonic human life or "marriage" between persons of the same sex.

By emphasizing the issue of abortion, are some of the US bishops taking single issue politics too far, when the world's economies are in financial meltdown, obviously a product in part of government policies?

Procured abortion is the fundamental moral issue in the safeguarding and fostering of human life. To make economics or the environment the fundamental political issue, when life itself, in its most innocent and defenseless form, remains unprotected is morally irresponsible. Yes, the government of the United States must address a number of critical issues, including the current and most serious economic crisis. But it must address first its duty to promote the common good by defending the life of every human being, from the moment of its inception, and by safeguarding the integrity of marriage and the family.
Lest anyone presumed that the "Great Divide" stopped at the water's edge, however, the thoughts of the global church's new "Chief Justice" can be compared and contrasted with those of its first "Grand Inquisitor" ever to vote for an American President.

PHOTO: AP/Tom Gannam