Cardinal Raymond Burke has revealed that his mother was advised to abort him.
In a new book-length interview with the French journalist Guillaume d’Alançon, Cardinal Burke says that when his mother was pregnant with him, she became seriously ill and a doctor advised her to have an abortion.
According to Cardinal Burke, the doctor said: “You already have five children, it is important for you to be in good health so as to take care of them".
“My parents refused," says the cardinal, who is now chaplain to the Order of Malta. “My parents told him that they believed in God and that Christ would give them the necessary help. My mother gave birth to me, and everything went well.
“I was therefore quite touched by this question of defending human life, because I could very well have been killed."
In the book, entitled Hope for the World, Cardinal Burke argues that the “ferocious attack against life today" results from “the distortion of the sexual act by contraception", and urges Catholics to defend human life.
He adds: “The devil, of course, wants to discourage us: he tries to sow doubt in our minds about defending human life publicly. And he subtly tempts us to remain silent, to mute our conscience, to tell ourselves that we are personally against abortion but do not have to express our faith and moral convictions in public."
Elsewhere in the book, the cardinal claims Barack Obama “wants to push the Church back behind the walls of her church buildings". He appears to be referring to the legal battles over President Obama’s healthcare mandate, the ongoing conflict surrounding religious freedom, and the administration’s demand that public schools, including Catholic ones, adopt gender neutral bathrooms.
“The federal government is trying to reduce religious liberty, contrary to the Constitution of the United States," Cardinal Burke says in the interview.
“President Obama wants to push the Church back behind the walls of her church buildings and to prevent her applying her law to her own hospitals and schools.
“He claims that the Church may not intervene on the question of abortion, of homosexuality, but that the state alone must manage these questions."
Cardinal Burke has previously said Obama seems to be “a totally secularised man who aggressively promotes anti-life and anti-family policies".
In the book, which covers the cardinal’s own life, his thoughts on the history of the Church in his lifetime, and the current situation in the Church and the world, Cardinal Burke talks about “the rejection of God and the culture of death".
He argues that the French Revolution began a process of secularisation which has led to “the grand capitalism of those who adore mammon" and to Marxism. “All those who have turned away from Christ have seen that Satan is a bloody tyrant," the cardinal says.
He says that Protestant and Anglican communities compromised with the world in the 1930s by accepting contraception. But he believes that in the 50s and 60s, the Catholic Church was also weakened because Catholics took the faith for granted and were swept up by “a very strong but erroneous feeling of human progress".
The cardinal, who was made a cardinal and prefect of the Vatican’s highest court by Pope Benedict XVI, cites Benedict’s analysis of “the dictatorship of relativism". The cardinal says the “greatest danger" today is “the loss of a sound metaphysics and, consequently, of a sense of an objective reality".