Archbishop Burke must be doing something right if he deserves an absolute hit piece in the Washington Post. This piece is something to behold. The piece runs through the litany of areas where Archbishop Burke has tried to bring his flock “back into line” even though the Catholic ‘faithful’ don’t want any part of.

What are the Bishop’s sins according to the WaPost?

Burke memorably declared that he would deny Communion to Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) because the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee supports abortion rights. He fought unsuccessfully to keep singer Sheryl Crow, who supports embryonic stem cell research, from headlining an April fundraiser for the Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center, then resigned from the hospital foundation’s board in protest.

Just this month, his office pushed St. Joseph’s Academy, a Catholic high school, to renege on its invitation to Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) to deliver this year’s commencement address because of her abortion-rights position, even though McCaskill’s daughter was in the graduating class. McCaskill was uninvited.

He took a strong stand last year against a Missouri constitutional amendment designed to protect embryonic stem cell research, a high-profile political fight that pitted social conservatives against the likes of Crow, actor Michael J. Fox and former senator John C. Danforth (R-Mo.). He called it a moral crisis for Missouri and said taxpayer money would be spent on “intrinsically immoral research.”

Shudder. It further goes on to tell the tale of the horrible things the Bishop did even before he went to St. Louis.

The bishop’s determination to challenge Catholic public figures was clear in his previous post, as bishop of La Crosse, Wis. Among those he contacted was Rep. David R. Obey, a long-serving Wisconsin Democrat, who traded letters with Burke after the bishop privately voiced unhappiness with Obey’s votes on abortion-related issues.

Burke urged Obey to vote to deny permission to U.S. servicewomen seeking abortions in military hospitals. He also wanted him to oppose embryonic stem cell research.

But the heroic Obey (quite an ironic name eh?) stood up to the fascist Burke.

“A few months ago, he wrote to me threatening to use his ecclesiastical authority to punish me if I did not conform my voting record to his view of what Catholic dogma required,” Obey wrote in an essay titled “My Conscience, My Vote,” in America, a Jesuit magazine. “I told him I could not do that.”

The piece goes on and on. It quotes ex-catholics saying that Burke is an “embarrassment” and lambastes the Bishop for excommunicating the leaders of St. Stanislaus Kostka church because “They ran afoul of the archbishop by insisting that their property remain independent of diocesan control”. Now I don’t know all the details of this particular brouhaha, but I suspect there is more to it. The Post couldn’t bother to find out the details either. Nor could it find a single Catholic in a diocese of 500,000 that likes Burke. Now that is investigative reporting. In fact, the only defense of Burke issued in the entire article was from a professor at St. Louis University who said:

“He sees himself as being obliged to do what he thinks is the right thing, and he’s not too concerned with strategy or how he might finesse the thing,”

That is it. This is pathetic journalism and the Washington Post ought to be ashamed of themselves. I hope Archbishop Burke keeps up the good work, since he is clearly getting to them.

You can contact the author Peter Slevin here to tell him how much you appreciate his efforts.