Catholic Archbishop Burke calls for pressure on fellow bishops, then recants (sort of)

This is plain weird.

Yesterday, Randall Terry, the longtime anti-abortion activist, held a news conference at the National Press Conference in Washington to share a videotaped interview he did with Archbishop Raymond Burke, formerly of St. Louis and now head of the Vatican supreme court in Rome.

In the videotape, Burke takes the very unusual step of urging pro-lifers to press U.S. bishops to withhold Communion from Catholic politicians who are pro-choice.

Burke seemed to be calling many of his fellow bishops on the carpet.

You can see a video of the interview HERE in two parts.

Today, National Catholic Reporter is saying that Burke has released a statement apologizing for his comments. So far, I can’t find the statement anywhere. ADD: HERE IT IS.

NCR says that Burke says that he only gave the interview to Terry “to share with pro-life workers.” Burke says that Terry’s use of the interview, as part of a media campaign to put pressure on bishops, is “objectionable.”

NCR says Burke’s statement includes this: “If I had known what the true purpose of the interview was, I would never have agreed to participate in it.”

What am I missing here? Is Burke saying that he wants people to put pressure on bishops to withhold Communion — but he doesn’t want the bishops know he takes this stand?

What is another way to interpret this?

Much quoted St. Louis archbishop to head top Vatican court

burke.jpgSt. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke, who has become a major player on the national Catholic scene because of his outspoken opposition to giving Communion to pro-choice Catholic pols, is getting a promotion of sorts.

He’s leaving St. Louis — and the country — to head the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican’s highest court. The court generally operates out of public view, but has been busy in recent years dealing with sex-abuse cases, particularly those that involve the defrocking of a priest.

In a message on the archdiocese’s website, Burke says:

I am deeply humbled by the trust which His Holiness has placed in me, and, in priestly obedience, I have pledged to serve our Holy Father to the best of my abilities. Although you will no longer pray for me as your archbishop, especially during the celebration of the Holy Mass, I ask your prayers for me, that I may faithfully and generously cooperate with God’s grace in fulfilling my new responsibilities.

No doubt, many will see the pope’s choice of Burke to head the court as a blessing for his position on denying Communion to John Kerry four years ago.

The Rev. Thomas Reese, the oft-quoted Jesuit and church analyst, said in a statement: “The appointment should make pro-choice Catholic politicians very nervous. He will be a strong voice in the Vatican for cracking down on pro-choice politicians.”

On another matter…Looking at the calendar, I see it’s June 27.

I’ve heard countless rumors through the past two months about when the pope might accept Cardinal Egan’s retirement (several times I heard it was imminent). But you have to figure that if it doesn’t happen soon, before things slow down for the summer, the cardinal will still be here for football season (that’s what I call autumn).