How hopeful I became when I saw that this past Saturday, September 10, 2011 Raymond Cardinal Burke presided at a Pontifical High Mas at the Shrine to Our Lady of Knock. Cardinal Burke's pilgrimage to the shrine included being the keynote speaker for a pro-life gathering. I can not think of a more fitting place than at the Knock shrine, the site of an apparition of the Holy Family, for these two events to coincide. The Knock apparition draws us to the importance of the Holy Family at the center of which is the Lamb of God on the altar of sacrifice. The Pontifical High Mass in the beautifully ordered old Knock chapel springs eternal hope in the Gospel of Life. Its that simple and that beautiful. How I wish I could have been there.
Pat Buckley at the blog European Life Network described the topic of Cardinal Burke's talk "He spoke powerfully of the need to be witnesses to life in today’s world, and not to be afraid to stand up and defend the inviolability of all human life from the moment of conception until natural death. In doing so, he also of course spoke of the evil of embryonic stem cell research and any manipulation or experimental use of the human embryo. He didn’t leave things at that – he spoke very sternly about the role of politicians, Catholic politicians in particular, and of how they must not sacrifice the protection of human life to political expediency. Their faith must inform their conscience."
This is the same Cardinal Burke that I remember from his time in my own town of St. Louis. It was during the time of John Kerry's campaign for the Presidency, the political pressure on then Archbishop Burke for his statements regarding Catholic politicians and Communion was intense and we all felt it. My friends and I worked diligintly at a statement to defend Archbishop Burke from the attacks that twisted every word he said. Its that very last sentence in Buckley's summary about forming one's conscience with faith, an education in reality, that the public did not seem to grasp. The very nature of political discourse on policies and legislation regarding human life rests on the foundation set by how we understand the human person. The decision of Catholic politicians to "keep their faith out of their politics" is a decision to allow some other group to lay the foundation for how our laws and our culture are formed. The foundation has been layed for us by Christ and Raymond Cardinal Burke has just called us to build on it.
Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. Unless the Lord guard the city, he watcheth in vain that guardeth it. - Psalm 126
To see photos of the Mass visit the Our Lady of Knock group on Facebook. Below is the You Tube video.