Former St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke, now head of the Vatican's supreme court, is determined to stop President Barack Obama from delivering the commencement speech May 17 at University of Notre Dame.
On Friday, Burke told Catholics
at a prayer breakfast: "The proposed granting of an honorary doctorate at Notre Dame
University to our president, who is so aggressively advancing an
anti-life and anti-family agenda, is rightly the source of the greatest
Burke made similar overtures back in 2004 when he announced that he would deny communion to presidential candidate -- and fellow Catholic -- John Kerry for his pro-choice stand.
On Friday Burke told Catholics that if they are not willing to stand up for the church's teachings, "We are not worthy of the name Catholic."
But could the hard-line stance of Burke and fellow Catholic leaders threaten the church?
That's what Patrick Whelan president of the Catholic Democrats tells the Associated Press today
"There are unintended consequences to this kind of angry, vituperative
language about their opponents," Whelan says. "By making themselves
pawns of the conservative right, the bishops are playing into a cycle
of decline for our church."
Burke, meanwhile, seems to be ignoring the fact that 54 percent of Catholics voted for Obama in last year's general election. A poll of Notre Dame students concluded that 57 percent of the student body favored Obama as their commencement speaker. John McCain got just 41 percent of the vote.