Cardinal Raymond Burke: Trump will defend human life from conception

(RNS) The conservative prelate said Trump understood the values of fundamental importance to Catholics and would do anything possible to halt abortion.

Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke attends a news conference by the conservative Catholic group Voice of the Family in Rome on Oct. 15, 2015. Photo by Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

ROME (RNS) President-elect Donald Trump will uphold Christian values, a prominent U.S. cardinal has said.

In an interview published in the Italian conservative daily Il Giornale on Thursday (Nov. 10), Cardinal Raymond Burke said he believed the election result reflected a long-running crisis in the U.S. and hoped the country can rediscover the “right path to follow.”

Burke, a conservative prelate who served previously as archbishop of St. Louis, said Trump understood the values of fundamental importance to Catholics and would do anything possible to halt abortion.

“I am convinced as he said he will hold the defense of human life from conception … and put in place every action possible to fight abortion,” Burke said.

On immigration, he said “prudence” was needed and “an awareness about whom immigrants are, the reasons that force them to emigrate and the capacity of communities to accept them.”

“I don’t think the new president will be inspired by hatred in his handling of the immigration issue,” Burke said.

Burke has openly challenged Pope Francis’ conciliatory approach to gays and the divisive issue of offering Communion to Catholics who remarry after divorce. He created a furor in 2014 when he likened the church under Francis’ leadership to “a ship without a rudder” in a Spanish media interview.

In November 2014 the pope removed him from his role as head of the Vatican’s highest judicial body and appointed him patron of the Knights of Malta.

According to the Pew Research Center, Catholics and evangelical Christians played a critical role in Trump’s election — 52 percent of Catholics voted for Trump.

On a visit to Rome on Thursday, Cardinal-elect Blase J. Cupich, the archbishop of Chicago, said there was no doubt that a majority of Catholics had voted for Trump but he declined to comment further.

Cupich joined the Vatican Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, at the launch of a new book featuring the homilies and speeches of Pope Francis from his years as archbishop of Buenos Aires (1998-2013).

Cupich has urged those from opposing political sides in the U.S. campaign to come together.

“We must never tire of living our tradition of service to the needy, to those at society’s margins,” he said in a statement released Wednesday. “Our common goals must be to demonstrate our commitment to those ideals, to recover our solidarity as a nation.”

Parolin, who is second in the Vatican hierarchy after the pope, said the Holy See had not extended an invitation for Trump to visit and said the Vatican does not typically extend such invitations to heads of state.

(Josephine McKenna is RNS’ Vatican correspondent)

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