Catholic Bishop Raymond L. Burke, who has just been named Archbishop over St. Louis, has ruffled political feathers in his current posting in Madison. Burke recently sent letters to Catholic elected officials there warning them that if they do not tow the Vatican line on social issues like abortion, homosexuality, etc. he would "ask them not to present themselves to receive the sacraments because they would not be Catholics in good standing."
"Certainly, the bishop has every right to express his own views to an elected official. But to invoke the moral authority of the church in a threatening way to a legislator seems to cross over a line that has been very carefully drawn and is very well-respected in this country,” said William Bablitch, a former state Supreme Court justice and former state senator. Bablitch is Roman Catholic.
Burke is known as a very conservative supporter of the Pope. His actions here are disheartening. Threatening to withhold sacraments to punish people for their political leanings is upsetting to people in many different faiths. Hopefully, the recipients of his letters will continue to vote without fear of punishment in a free society.