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Leading Catholic Cardinal: The Church 'Should Be Afraid' Of Islam

Cardinal Raymond Burke, a staunch religious conservative who was reaching the highest echelons of the Roman Catholic Church until he criticized Pope Francis, saying, "There is a strong sense that the church is like a ship without a rudder,” bluntly said in an interview titled Hope for the World: To Unite All Things in Christ: “If you really understand Islam, you understand that the Church really should be afraid of it.”

Burke currently serves as the patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta; he was demoted by Francis from his position as the Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura,

Burke said in the interview: “There’s no question that Islam wants to govern the world,” citing the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 and the Battle of Vienna in 1683. The Battle of Lepanto, on October 7, 1571, in which the Holy League of European Catholic states defeated the Ottoman Empire, prevented the Ottoman Empire from expanding into Europe; the Battle of Vienna took place on September 11-12, 18683; the Habsburg monarchy, the Holy Roman Empire and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth joined to defeat the Muslim Ottoman Empire, catalyzing the decline of the Ottoman Empire.

Burke stated:

When [Muslims] become a majority in any country then they have the religious obligation to govern that country. If that’s what the citizens of a nation want, well, then, they should just allow this to go on. But if that’s not what they want, then they have to find a way to deal with it … There is no place for other religions...as long as Islam has not succeeded in establishing its sovereignty over the nations and over the world. It is important for Christians to realize the radical differences between Islam and Christianity in matters concerning their teaching about God, about conscience, etc. If you really understand Islam, you understand that the Church really should be afraid of it. Islam is a religion that, according to its own interpretation, must also become the State.

Burke said the West should “be firm about the Christian origin of our own nation, and certainly in Europe, and the Christian foundations of the government, and to fortify those.” Turing to Catholic leaders who think Islam is “a religion like the Catholic faith or the Jewish faith,” he fired back, “That simply is not objectively the case.”

Burke was born on June 30, 1948, in Richland Center, Wisconsin, Between 1968 and 1971, he studied at The Catholic University of America, obtaining a bachelor’s and master’s degree in philosophy. He completed studies for the priesthood at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome in 1975. He was ordained a priest by Pope Paul VI in 1975 at St. Peter’s Basilica. He studied canon law at Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome between 1980-84, then was named the Moderator of the Curia and Vice Chancellor of the La Crosse diocese. In 1989, he was named the first American Defender of the Bond of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the highest ecclesiastical court in the Catholic Church, by Pope John Paul II, who named him Bishop of La Crosse, Wisconsin in 1994.

On December 2, 2003, Burke was named Archbishop of St. Louis; in July 2006, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Burke to the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura; in 2008 he was named its Prefect, thus making him the second-highest ranking American prelate at the Vatican after Cardinal Willam Levada, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

On November 20, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI elevated Burke to the cardinalate. On November 8, 2014, Burke was removed as Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, by Francis.

"It is important for Christians to realize the radical differences between Islam and Christianity in matters concerning their teaching about God, about conscience."

Cardinal Raymond Burke

Burke has been outspoken throughout his career; he said in 2004 that he would not give the Eucharist to John Kerry or other Catholic politicians who publicly support legalized abortion. He stated that Catholics should not vote for politicians who supported abortion. In 2008, he said, "the Democratic Party risks transforming itself definitively into a 'party of death', because of its choices on bioethical questions," especially elective abortion.

In May 2009, Burke stated, "Since President Obama clearly announced, during the election campaign, his anti-life and anti-family agenda, a Catholic who knew his agenda regarding, for example, procured abortion, embryonic-stem-cell research, and same-sex marriage, could not have voted for him with a clear conscience.

In October 2014, Burke referred to gay relationships as "profoundly disordered and harmful.” After the May 2015 same-sex marriage referendum in Ireland, Burke said, “I mean, this is a defiance of God. It’s just incredible. Pagans may have tolerated homosexual behaviors, they never dared to say this was marriage.”

 
 
 

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