Tom Peters, the American Papist, excerpts portions of a speech given by Archbishop Raymond Burke, the "Chief Justice" of the Church's Supreme Court. The excerpted portions speak boldly to an old and on-going problem in the Church:
[...Our joy today is] overshadowed by the public and obstinate betrayal of religious life by certain religious. Who ever could have imagined that religious congregations of pontifical right, would openly organize to resist and attempt to frustrate an apostolic visitation, that is, a visit to their congregations carried out under the authority of the vicar of Christ on earth, to whom all religious are bound by the strongest bonds of loyalty and obedience?
Who could imagine that consecrated religious would openly, and in defiance of the bishops as successors of the apostles publicly endorse legislation containing provisions which violated the natural moral law in its most fundamental tenets – the safeguarding and promoting of innocence and defenseless life, and fail to safeguard the demands of the free exercise of conscience for health care workers?
We witness a growing tendency among certain consecrated religious to view themselves outside and above the body of Christ as a parallel institution looking in upon the Church with an autonomy which contradicts their very nature. We have certainly come a long way from the total loyalty to the Roman Pontiff which was at the heart of the foundation of the Society of Jesus and of every religious congregation. Religious life lived in the heart of the Church, and for that reason religious congregations are, by their very nature, bound in strictest loyalty to the Roman Pontiff. It is of course an absurdity of the most tragic kind to have consecrated religious knowingly and obstinately acting against the moral law.
The spiritual harm done to the individual religious who are disobedient and also the grave scandal caused to the faithful and people in general are of incalculable dimensions.
[Do not doubt the influence of consecrated persons] … Was not the Speaker of the House [Nancy Pelosi] glowing to report that so many religious sisters were in support of her proposed health care plan? Was not a religious sister [Sr. Carol Keehan, President of CHA] one of the recipients of a pen used by the President of the United States to sign the health care plan into law?
Now is the time for us all, and in particular for consecrated persons to stand up for the truth and to call upon our fellow Catholics in leadership to do the same or to cease identifying themselves as Catholics.
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