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Catholic colleges must combat secularism, says Cardinal Burke in Boston


Cardinal Raymond Burke, the head of the Vatican's supreme court, speaks at the Thomas More College President's Council Dinner held at the Harvard Club in Boston on Dec. 4. Pilot photo/ Christine Williams

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BOSTON -- "The name 'Catholic' accepts no qualifiers," Cardinal Raymond Burke said in his first public address since elevated to join the College of Cardinals on Nov. 20.

His comment was met with resounding applause from supporters of Thomas More College in Merrimack, N.H. at their annual President's Council Dinner. The event was held at the Harvard Club in Boston on Dec. 4.

Cardinal Burke has served as prefect of the Vatican's supreme court, the Apostolic Signatura, since 2008 and was archbishop of the Archdiocese of St. Louis before that.

Known for speaking with conviction about moral issues, most often the protection of the dignity of human life, Cardinal Burke has announced publicly that he would deny Communion to Catholic politicians who take positions contrary to Church teaching. He has also stated that Catholics can never vote for a candidate who advocates an absolute right to abortion.

To a culture full of ambiguity and moral relativism, Burke speaks decisively about right and wrong.

He told those gathered at the Thomas More College dinner to be wary of Catholic organizations that brand their names with adjectives and modifying phrases. He lamented the practice of many colleges qualifying their identity, calling themselves things like "Catholic university in the Franciscan or Jesuit tradition." This 'tradition' has little to do with the great tradition of the universal Church, he said.

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