Leading the Charge Against Notre Dame, Randall Terry Has His Own Bishop Problems

The antiabortion activist has been criticized by Archbishop Burke for his Communion campaign.

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By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country

Operation Rescue's Randall Terry, who's been helping lead the charge against Notre Dame University for inviting President Obama to deliver this year's commencement address, is himself in hot water with a highly placed Roman Catholic bishop. Yesterday, Terry held a press conference in Washington to promote his campaign to pressure more U.S. Catholic bishops to deny Communion to politicians who support abortion rights. The effort centers on strict adherence to Canon 915, the Catholic Church law stating that "those . . . who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy communion."

As part of his press conference, Terry played a videotaped interview (above) that he recently conducted in Rome with Archbishop Raymond L. Burke, a top Vatican official. But Burke has quickly issued a statement disavowing Terry's campaign:

ROME, Italy—In response to the March 25, 2009 press conference of Mr. Randall Terry in Washington, D.C., the Most Reverend Raymond L. Burke, Archbishop Emeritus of Saint Louis and Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, issued the following statement:

"Recently, Mr. Randall Terry and some of his associates visited me in Rome and asked to videotape an interview with me to share with pro-life workers for the purpose of their encouragement. The interview was conducted on March 2, 2009.

"Sadly, Mr. Terry has used the videotape for another purpose which I find most objectionable.

"First, Mr. Terry issued a media advisory which gave the impression that I would be physically present at the press conference during which he played the videotape, when, in fact, I was in Rome.

"Second, I was never informed that the videotape would become part of a press conference.

"Third, I gave the interview as a Bishop from the United States to encourage those engaged in the respect life apostolate, not as the Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.

"Fourth, I was never informed that the videotape would be used as part of a campaign of severe criticism of certain fellow bishops regarding the application of Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law.

"If I had known what the true purpose of the interview was, I would never have agreed to participate in it.

"I am deeply sorry for the confusion and hurt which the wrong use of the videotape has caused to anyone, particularly, to my brother bishops."

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