Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deal W. Hudson and Keith A Fournier

10/14/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

We should be more serious about being Catholic than a Democrat or a Republican

"What if you had to choose between our country and Jesus, what would you choose? We have not had to make that choice, yet." With that last comment, a ripple of recognition could be felt in the audience, as if the Archbishop was tapping into the deep concern that brought them into the gymnasium on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in autumn.

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia

Highlights

By Deal W. Hudson and Keith A Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

10/14/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Chaput, Archbishop Chaput, Charles Chaput, Render Unto Caesar, Right to Life, Marriage, Family, catholic vote, social Justice, Solidarity, subsidiarity, catholic action, Deal W Hudson, keith A Fournier


CHESTER SPRINGS, PA. (Catholic Online) - Nearly 500 people packed the gymnasium at St.  Elizabeth Catholic Church in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania late Saturday afternoon to hear Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap address the issue of Catholics in politics.
 
Archbishop Chaput spoke for about 45 minutes, followed by eight questions from the audience. The last question was from a Catholic woman who described herself as a "conservative" who asked the Archbishop why so many Catholics were "liberal." His answer typified the Archbishop's manner and message:
 
"I call you as a Catholic, to forget about the labels, be a liberal sometimes, a conservative sometimes, but a Catholic first."
 
The Archbishop follows his own advice: Chaput's presentation included a strong affirmation of the abortion and marriage issues as belonging to political debate, some very direct criticism of Vice President Biden's comments during the debate this past week, and the admonition, "If you are not for social justice you are not being a Catholic."
 
Archbishop Chaput is no stranger to engaging in political debate. His book Render Unto Caesar: Serving Our Nation by Living our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life, published in August, 2008, infused that year's presidential campaign with an authoritative Catholic voice. The book also drew some harsh criticism for what was called a "partisan" effort by the Archbishop to influence the outcome of the election.
 
Chaput remains unapologetic for his book, which now has been republished with an additional chapter on his habit of addressing controversial issues such as abortion, same sex marriage, and religious liberty. He rejects the accusation that for a priest or bishop to instruct the faithful on these issues is 'partisan'. It is for the clergy to preach and teach and for "the laity to act on what they're taught."
 
He asked for a show of hands of those who were "more serious about being a Democrat than being a Catholic." None appeared. Then, for the hands of those who were "more serious about being a Republican than a Catholic." Again, no hands were raised.  The Archbishop then said, "All of us should be more serious about being Catholic than a Democrat or a Republican."
 
"What if you had to choose between our country and Jesus, what would you choose? We have not had to make that choice, yet." With that last comment, a ripple of recognition could be felt in the audience, as if the Archbishop was tapping into the deep concern that brought them into the gymnasium on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in autumn.
 
"I don't want to go to jail," the Archbishop said with a laugh, as he explained that during the coming year the bishops would have to decide how to respond to the HHS mandate. "Biden was wrong" in what he said about the mandate during the debate, and "he should not get away with saying that in the public square."
 
The archbishop added that the HHS mandate "could lead to the closing of schools and other Catholic institutions. This is a serious matter."
 
Earlier in his lecture he described Biden's debate comments as the "latest outrageous example" of the false division between personal Catholic belief and political action.
 
He singled out President Obama and Secretary Sebelius only in the context of the absurdity of how the mandate defines a religious institution: "Our institutions," Chaput said, "would be considered religious if we served only Catholics -- now that wouldn't be very Catholic, would it?"
 
"We believe in the separation of Church and State, but that is not the same thing as a separation between faith and politics. Faith is what we believe, politics is how we act. We are hypocrites if we fail to act in accord with our beliefs."
 
One point Archbishop Chaput made with a particular note of force in his otherwise gentle voice: "It's a sin if you do not vote in the upcoming election."  He cautioned that Catholics, "should not vote their party line blindly but apply the principles of Catholic social teaching -- such as the common good and subsidiarity to their voting decisions."
 
If your political party is for abortion, Chaput told the crowd, "You can't just be quiet; you must try to change your party." He went on to explain that the reason for abortion on demand in our nation was the historic failure of Catholics to impress pro-life beliefs on both parties.
 
One of the questioners raised the issue of the three exceptions to abortion mentioned by vice presidential candidate Ryan during the debate and urged the bishop to correct him. In response, Chaput explained:
 
"Everyone knows the bishops admit no exceptions. Biden knows where the Church stands, and he chooses not to believe it. Ryan was stating the position of his party led by a Mormon who holds the same position of his faith, Mormonism, which allows those exceptions."
 
During his presentation and answers to questions, Archbishop Chaput made some very penetrating comments about the history of the Church in our nation. For example, he described the present generation of clergy -- those his age or close to his age -- as having been formed during the age of the civil rights struggle, the struggle for social justice. "It's an emotional thing for many priests, and this is why you have nuns attacking Paul Ryan."
 
He explained further that the demand for social justice and human dignity includes a "right to health care but not the right to the government providing health care."  He came back to this distinction during the Q & A period when he reminded the audience of the importance of subsidiarity as a political principle, one that is "often forgotten," he said.
 
The one statement in a very rich speech that drew the loudest applause, was when Chaput described Jesus as having been killed "because he spoke the truth" and refused to back down from it. I think the applause was a response not only to the admonition but also to the example of a bishop who is willing to speak the truth in the public square, Archbishop Charles C. Chaput of Philadelphia.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

Houston: First Amendment Does not apply to Christian ministers? Interview with Keith Fournier Watch

Image of As at the tower of Babel, the confusion spreads until no progress is possible.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Houston officials fired a shot across the bow of Christian ministers, pastors and priests who they think may be encouraging their congregations to oppose the city's controversial "bathroom bill." The request is chilling and violates the First Amendment, but it also ... continue reading


167,000 convicted criminal immigrants walk free within the United States Watch

Image of Deportations from the interior of the United States declined 34 percent this year from last.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With both Islamic State and Ebola posing an imminent threat to the United States through people entering the country illegally, it's distressing to note just how lax the nation's deportation laws have become. According to Breitbart, there remain nearly 167,000 ... continue reading


Obama is advancing 'brutal program' of forced abortions in China, lawmaker says Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Barack Obama and his administration are not only ignoring China's totalitarian edict of "one family, one child" policy but are advancing the "brutal program." That's the words of Representative Chris Smith (R-N.J., who) spoke at the Heritage ... continue reading


Four Kurdish terrorists slipped across Obama's open Mexican border, Homeland Security chief admits Watch

Image of Four members the Kurdistan Workers' Party, known as the PKK, were arrested in September trying to enter the United States illegally from Mexico.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The bad news: Four known Kurdish terrorists crossed into the United States. This has been confirmed by Department of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson. The good news: Johnson says that the four were not affiliated with Islamic States. Which is good news, of a sort. ... continue reading


Evangelical tells faithful not to vote for politicians who support homosexual marriage, abortion Watch

Image of An outspoken evangelical, Pastor Jim Garlow played a major role in organizing Christian groups in support of California's anti-gay marriage Proposition 8.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pastor Jim Garlow of Skyline Church in California stood before his congregation of more than 2,000 and warned his audience against voting for a candidate in who supports gay marriage and abortion. This includes candidates who are republican, including Carl ... continue reading


Obama aides knew more than they let on in 2012 Colombian prostitution scandal Watch

Image of White House spokesman Eric Schultz said Wednesday that President Obama and his advisers did not interfere with the inspector general's investigation.

By Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Obama aides were given information that suggested that a prostitute was an overnight guest in the hotel room of a presidential advance-team member. The 2012 incident was quickly swept under the rug - but more details have since come to light. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


One in five Americans now on food stamps Watch

Image of For more than two years, the number of Americans receiving food stamps has remained above 46 million.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

More than a sixth of all Americans are on food stamps for the 35 straight month in a row, data from the Department of Agriculture (USDA) revealed. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Since September of 2011 through July 2014, more than 46 million Americans have ... continue reading


Report reveals Federal drones are already engaged in domestic surveillance Watch

Image of More spying, on you, by your government.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has logged nearly 2,000 hours of drone flights over the continental U.S. on operations unrelated to immigration enforcement since 2011. This means the DHS is spying on Americans with drones, although they are not reporting ... continue reading


Fifth circuit court defends the rights and sanctity of life in Texas! Watch

Image of Governor Rick Perry signed in a law to protect the lives of those who couldn't protect themselves back in July 2013.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The incredible Texas law that shut down nearly all abortion clinics in that state will go into full effect after an October 2 decision by the fifth U.S. circuit court of appeals. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The fifth U.S. circuit court stayed a federal ... continue reading


'No force on Earth can stop us,' President Obama says to immigration activists Watch

Image of The president's speech was heckled at least twice - indicating that the president's strong support among Hispanics may be slipping.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Speaking at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's annual gala, U.S. President Barack Obama had a message to immigration activists in Washington, D.C.: "no force on earth can stop us." The president's speech was heckled at least twice - indicating that ... continue reading


All Politics & Policy News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 2:1-10
1 And you were dead, through the crimes and the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 100:2, 3, 4, 5
2 serve Yahweh with gladness, come into his presence ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 12:13-21
13 A man in the crowd said to him, 'Master, tell my ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 20th, 2014 Image

St. Paul of the Cross
October 20: St. Paul of the Cross was born at Ovada in the Republic of ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter