Just three days before a Vatican pro-life summit, Cardinal Raymond L. Burke urged people to actively resist efforts to pass anti-life legislation, because “many strong forces are at work.”
“Catholics should be involved in various groups, which are organized to influence legislation so that it can respect the dignity of human life,” Cardinal Burke told CNA in an exclusive June 11 interview.
“They should make it a point to be in contact with their legislators and with others who are responsible for their local and national political life in order to promote the cause of life,” he said.
He also called on everyone, especially faithful Catholics, to “be alert and awake against the forces of death” and give “strong witness” to the dignity of human life.
“In all of these democratic countries, the people have a voice, and if they insist on this, the government will have to change,” said Cardinal Burke.
“But if the people do not insist and if there is not a strong teaching by Church leaders and a strong support for the good lay faithful who are leading the pro-life movement, then the Church is failing,” he added.
Cardinal Burke, who is the head of the Church’s highest court – the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura – will give the keynote speech in English on June 15 for a weekend pro-life gathering at the Vatican.
The “Evangelium vitae” (Gospel of Life) weekend is being organized by the Vatican as part of the celebrations for the Year of Faith.
It will include talks in different languages based on Blessed John Paul II’s encyclical “Evangelium vitae,” which he wrote to defend the dignity of life at all stages.
Thousands of pilgrims will also take part in Eucharistic Adoration, a pilgrimage to the tomb of Saint Peter and a candlelit procession down Via della Conciliazione to affirm their stance against abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide and same-sex “marriage.”
Cardinal Burke emphasized, “it is important that good Catholics enter into politics to influence a change in the direction in which a number of nations are going, which is very anti life and anti family.”
He also spoke about the growing European pressure for Poland and Ireland to legalize abortion and same-sex “marriage.”
“The Church has a very critical role to play in Ireland and Poland,” he stated.
“I can’t believe that the people of Poland and Ireland, once they understand what is happening, will not stand up in defense of human life.”
“The important thing is that the citizens be well informed about what is happening, which is against the most fundamental moral truth, and that they be encouraged to resist,” the cardinal said.
He believes there are “many strong forces at work, which are not open to life, for many reasons, including the so-called agents of death, who have made of abortion an industry.”
“They want to eliminate those that are weak and feeble because they are no longer so-called useful to society,” he said. “It is a completely totalitarian view of human life.”
Cardinal Burke believes that although those forces “are great,” there are also “many good people.”
“They understand that if there is no respect for human life, then all of society is reduced to violence and death and society destroys itself,” said the Vatican’s Supreme Court head.
And that makes Blessed John Paul II’s call in “Evangelium vitae” for conscientious objection by the people who know and understand the moral law necessary, he said.
“The attacks on human life are more true today than ever,” the cardinal alerted.
“What Blessed John Paul II urges in order to establish a civilization of love and life is also more timely than ever.”
“He was prophetic in many aspects but especially regarding human life because having suffered himself so many attacks on human life in his homeland during the Nazis, he was especially sensitive,” he said.
The culture of life is not just Catholic, Cardinal Burke emphasized, but is “written in the hearts of everyone.”