Oh, boy. This is interesting in many ways...
It surprised me that with all of the professional media outlets and worthy pro-life groups, Archbishop Burke would allow such an interview with Mr. Terry. Now we get the much needed clarification. It was a classic case of exploitation.
According to His Excellency, Randall Terry misled him as to how the videotape would be used. In it, the archbishop discussed Canon 915. The archbishop is dismayed with how it is being used to attack his fellow bishops.
Archbishop Burke does not criticize specific bishops in the interview, but in one question - which was somewhat awkwardly asked, Mr. Terry takes a jab at a few archbishops, naming their location and referring to their not denying Holy Communion ahead of the election. In watching the actual video of the interview (which has been added to my original post), I'm wondering if Archbishop Burke caught the jab made by Terry in the question.
Setting aside that question, if you listen to Burke's response it stands well on it's own, not as a criticism of other bishops, but as an invitation for everyone to look closer at Canon 915.
The Archbishop has released this statement:
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.”
Tom Peters got it right when he suggested that folks in the Vatican start using "google" to do some quick checks.
EDIT 5:00AM March 27th: InPhiladelphia's, The Bulletin, an article, Catholic Archbishop Remorseful for misuse of his comments, points out:
Mr. Terry responded Archbishop Burke knew the goal of the campaign and the interview would be distributed [he just doesn't get it - he exploited the archbishop and the headlines in the news are a manifestation of that exploitation]Here is the full Associated Press version that will be plastered all over the nation this morning - it does not show the context. Note even the title which makes it sound like the Archbishop is sorry for his comments - which were in accord with Catholic teaching - as opposed to being remorseful for the exploitation of his words.
While many media outlets are attributing the archbishop with having said President Barack Obama is an “agent of death,” the following is the actual quote given by Archbishop Burke:“But in any case, no matter who is the President of the United States, here is a world leader with a tremendous capacity to promote the common good, but at the same time sadly, who could — by promoting and implementing anti-life legislation measures — could be an agent of death.”
For myself, it is pretty much confirmed, that Archbishop Burke had no clue who he was dealing with in Randall Terry. I'm sure I'm not the only one who was raising an eyebrow about the interview when it was first announced. I always saw Terry as a loose canon, but had not heard anything about him in decades, aside from the fact that he became Catholic in 2005. I thought that perhaps he had lost his militant edge, but it is clear he has not.
In my personal opinion - an opinion I have held for many years, Randall Terry has done considerable damage to the pro-life movement through "in your face" tactics. Exploiting Archbishop Burke to call for Abp Wuerl and other archbishops to be removed from their post for not denying Holy Communion is just one more example. Pray for him, and pray for Archbishop Burke, Archbishop Wuerl and others who were harmed by this stunt.
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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!