Cardinal Raymond Burke, patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, and ecclesiastical advisor to The Cardinal Newman Society, rebuked the University of Notre Dame for the “great scandal” of awarding abortion and same-sex marriage advocate Vice President Joe Biden the University’s “oldest and most prestigious honor accorded to American Catholics.”
In an interview with Catholic Action for Faith and Family’s Thomas McKenna, Cardinal Burke said that Biden’s positions regarding human life and marriage are contradictory “to the teaching of Our Lord Jesus Christ,” and are in “grievous violation of the moral law and therefore make him ineligible to receive such an award from a Catholic university.”
“I find it difficult to imagine that a Catholic university would assign its highest honor to any politician who favors abortion and who also advocates for the recognition of the sexual liaison of two people of the same sex as equal to marriage,” he said. “It is even more difficult to imagine that the university would confer such an honor upon a Roman Catholic who supports these anti-life and anti-family policies and legislation.”
“It is my hope that Notre Dame University will hear the voice of their shepherd, the successor of the Apostles in their midst, and change this gravely wrong and most scandalous decision,” he continued.
Cardinal Burke was referring to the statement issued by Fort Wayne – South Bend, Ind., Bishop Kevin Rhoades, who severely criticized the University for honoring Biden with the 2016 Laetare Medal, saying the controversial choice could “provoke scandal” by giving the impression “that one can be ‘a good Catholic’ while also supporting or advocating for positions that contradict our fundamental moral and social principles and teachings”
Bishop Rhoades was “exercising his responsibility as a teacher of the faith and as a bishop who has the care of a prominent Catholic university in his diocese,” Cardinal Burke said, “and what he says is absolutely true and most commendable.”
Commenting on the implications of the scandal caused by the award, Cardinal Burke said:
As St. John Paul II observed in his apostolic exhortation on the laity, one of the greatest evils of our times is the tendency of Catholics to separate their faith from their daily living. And this is exactly what we have here. So we have the impression, given to other Catholics and to the population in general, that one can believe one thing and act in a completely contrary way. The fact of the matter is that most people will simply conclude that the Catholic teaching with regard to the inviolable dignity of innocent and defenseless human life and the integrity of marriage as the faithful, indissoluble and procreative union of one man and one woman, is not very firm and that it can easily be violated.
“Therefore it is a great scandal within the Church,” he added, “but it is also a great scandal within society in general which depends upon the Church to give a witness to the truth about human life and the family.”
The Newman Society responded to the University’s announcement that Biden would receive the prestigious award stating that the situation “creates a toxic religious environment on Notre Dame’s campus and in the broader public, betrays the University’s religious mission, and sends the clear message that a Catholic who unrepentantly and publicly opposes Catholic moral teaching deserves a Catholic university honor for being a model Catholic citizen.”
“It’s not enough for Notre Dame — or any Catholic university— to simply issue a disclaimer and pretend there isn’t a scandal when honoring public figures who publicly oppose and violate Catholic moral teaching,” the Society added. “The Cardinal Newman Society emphatically condemns the awarding of the Laetare Medal to Vice President Biden.”
LifeNews Note: Catholic Education Daily is an online publication of The Cardinal Newman Society, where this originally appeared. Reprinted with permission. Letter reprinted with permission. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of LifeNews.com.