Archbishop Blasts Sheryl Crow Appearance

The Associated Press
Wednesday, April 25, 2007; 10:24 PM

ST. LOUIS -- Archbishop Raymond Burke denounced a Catholic charity Wednesday for scheduling a benefit-concert appearance by Sheryl Crow, who supports abortion rights.

Burke submitted his resignation as chairman of the board for the Cardinal Glennon Children's Foundation, saying the decision to let Crow sing on Saturday left him no other choice.

"It's very painful for me," Burke said during a news conference Wednesday. "But I have to answer to God for the responsibility I have as archbishop.

"A Catholic institution featuring a performer who promotes moral evil gives the impression that the church is somehow inconsistent in its teaching," Burke said.

Crow is set to appear at the 19th annual benefit for the Bob Costas Cancer Center at Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center. Costas will host the event, which will also feature comedian Billy Crystal.

Crow's publicist didn't return a message seeking comment Wednesday.

Event organizer Allen Allred said he was disappointed with Burke's decision, but that Crow would appear Saturday as scheduled.

"This is not an event that's about ideology," Allred said. "This is about helping kids."

Burke said it was a "scandal" to let Crow sing at the event and amounted to an act that could lead others to evil. He cited Crow's support for stem cell research and "procured abortion."

Crow appeared in television ads throughout Missouri last year asking voters to approve an initiative that enshrined the right to conduct stem-cell research in the state constitution.

Burke said he became aware of Crow's participation in the cancer benefit in February and asked other board members to cancel her appearance.

"They didn't accept my concerns," Burke said.

Allred said board members didn't honor Burke's request because they didn't want to play politics with performers at the annual event, which has featured big-name entertainers like Jay Leno in the past.

Costas released a statement supporting the board's decision.

"I have never applied a litmus test, Catholic or otherwise, concerning the politics or religious beliefs of any of the generous performers who have come to St. Louis to help this worthy cause, nor do I intend to ... ," Costas wrote.

Burke made national news during the 2004 U.S. presidential campaign by saying he would deny Communion to Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, a Catholic who supports abortion rights. He later clarified the statement to say Catholics can vote for such candidates if they believe the candidate's stance on other moral issues outweighs the abortion-rights stance.


Associated Press Reporter Cheryl Wittenauer contributed to this report.

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