(CNSNews.com) – Archbishop Raymond Burke – who said in 2004 he would not serve Communion to then-presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) because of his pro-abortion views and has indicated the same about other pro-abortion Catholic politicians – is scheduled to give the keynote speech at the annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast on May 8 in Washington, D.C.
Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia will also speak at the breakfast.
Burke, the archbishop emeritus of St. Louis, Mo., is an American who serves in Rome as Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, the highest court at the Vatican.
While Burke in 2004 said that Kerry should not receive Communion, Burke said this year that President Obama’s nominee for secretary of Health and Human Services, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D), should also not receive Communion because of her pro-abortion views.
“Whether Governor Sebelius is in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, or in any other diocese, she should not present herself for Holy Communion, because after pastoral admonition, she obstinately persists in serious sin,” Archbishop Burke said in a March 13 interview with Catholicaction.org.
Sebelius “is well known for her support of the right to procured abortion and for her public association with some of the more notorious agents of the culture of death,” said Burke.
“As a Roman Catholic, her appointment is the source of the greatest embarrassment because she has publicly and repeatedly betrayed her Catholic faith, in the most fundamental tenet of the moral law, that is, the law to safeguard and foster human life from the moment of its inception to the moment of natural death,” Burke said.
“What is more, she has obstinately remained in her moral error after being admonished by, at least, three of her bishops …” he added.
In 2007, Burke was asked by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch whether he would deny Communion to Rudy Giuliani, a Republican and former presidential contender.
“If the question is about a Catholic who is publicly espousing positions contrary to the moral law, and I know that person knows it, yes I would,” Burked told the newspaper. “I can’t imagine that, as a Catholic, he [Giuliani] doesn’t know that his stance on the protection of human life is wrong. If someone is publicly sinning, they should not approach to receive Holy Communion.”
In explaining his statements about pro-abortion politicians, Archbishop Burke cites Canon Law 915 – canon law is the law that governs the administration of the Catholic Church.
Canon 915 reads: “Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy communion.”
In a 2007 article about Canon 915, published in Periodica, Burke cited a memorandum written by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – the current pope – when he served as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Pope John Paul II.
Burke states that Ratzinger’s memo, “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion,” “makes it clear that a Catholic politician’s formal cooperation in abortion or euthanasia, that is, ‘his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws,’ constitutes an ‘objective situation of sin,’ and that, therefore, ‘he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin.’”
In a March 3, 2009, interview in Rome, Burke said that Canon 915 “is completely clear,” explaining that “when someone is publicly and obstinately in grave sin, we may not administer Holy Communion to the person.”
According to its Web site, the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast is a charitable organization that gathers for “worship and fellowship,” to “thank Our Lord for his abundant blessings upon this land,” and to “renew our dedication to this great Republic.”
President George W. Bush gave the keynote speech at the 2008 National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, where he spoke about his pro-life policies, the Catholic school system, and his support for Pope Benedict’s drive to further inter-religious dialogue.