Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deal W Hudson and Keith A Fournier

10/25/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Was Archbishop Chaput predicting the future in the interview?

We're Catholics before we're Democrats. We're Catholics before we're Republicans. We're even Catholics before we're Americans because we know that God has a demand on us prior to any government demand on us.... and this has been the story of the martyrs through the centuries

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia

Highlights

By Deal W Hudson and Keith A Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

10/25/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Declaration, Inalienable Rights, HHS Mandate, health Care, Obamacare, campaign 2012, Catholic, Mormon, Protestant, pro-Life, Religious liberty, Archbishop Chaput, Deal W Hudson, Keith A Fournier


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - "We're Catholics before we're Democrats. We're Catholics before we're Republicans. We're even Catholics before we're Americans because we know that God has a demand on us prior to any government demand on us.... and this has been the story of the martyrs through the centuries."

This line from Archbishop Chaput's video interview with the Catholic News Service prompted one reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer to call a publicist to ask, "Has he EVER said this before?" The implication of the reporter's query, and his tone of voice, suggested that he was surprised and shocked that the Archbishop of Philadelphia would say such a thing.

Well, he if was shocked, we are even more shocked - at his shock!  Has our nation  become so secularized that a news reporter, from a major daily, would find the claim, "We're Catholics before we're Americans," something troubling, perhaps scandalous?

When the reporter found out that Archbishop Chaput was not saying this publicly for the first time, that, in fact, he had said it as recently as his Oct. 14 speech in Chester Springs, PA, he evidently decided not to pursue it.  What he was unaware of is this: The story inside the story is not what Chaput said, but the fact that he, the reporter, was shocked enough to check it out. 

Off the top of our heads, we wonder if the reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer -- yes, Philadelphia! -- remembered reading the Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776) as a schoolboy:

"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

We quote the Declaration's first full paragraph not to be pedantic, but to remind the reporter, and anyone else who needs it, that the entire justification for the creation of the United States was based upon our prior relationship to God. In other words, before any identity we may have belonging to a nation or a political party, we are a creature of God, subject to His laws and the beneficiary of the inherent dignity and rights He bestowed upon us.

Note that by quoting the Declaration of Independence, we haven't yet gotten to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, much less to Holy Scripture! This is to say, you shouldn't have to be a person of faith to understand that every human person answers to God first; it's a first principle of the American Founding and, as such, ought to be taught to school children from 1st grade to 12th. (But is it, we may ask?)

Archbishop Chaput may not have had it in mind, but when he said "we" are Catholics first, not Americans, that "we" could be applied to every citizen in respect of their own faith or lack of it.  A Methodist is a Methodist first, a Baptist, a Baptist first, a Mormon, a Mormon first -- because these are the denominal expressions of their belief in transcendence.

The non-believer, too, is a creature of God first, and by virtue of American citizenship implicitly affirms, claims it, and is protected by it.  Martin Luther King's "Letter from the Birmingham Jail" (April 16, 1963) is one of our nation's elegant testimonies to the political implications of our Declaration of Independence:

"One may want to ask: 'How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?' The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that 'an unjust law is no law at all.'"

Indeed, there may be more theological letters written from the confines of jail cells in the near future, as the Catholic bishops quickly approach the end of a one-year deadline given to them by the Obama administration to obey the HHS mandate or face the consequences.  Not a single bishop has signaled any other intention than to embrace the consequences with the joy of serving Christ. 

Was Archbishop Chaput predicting the future in the interview when he concluded, "This has been the story of the martyrs through the centuries"? We know it has crossed his mind: At Chester Springs, he said, but only half-jokingly, "I don't want to go to jail."

If the election affirms the Obama administration's HHS mandate, there is a 100 percent chance that there will be civil disobedience in the Catholic Church, led by its bishops. Whether jail will follow is anyone's guess.

---


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


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2014
Christmas, hope for humanity:
That the birth of the Redeemer may bring peace and hope to all people of good will.
Parents: That parents may be true evangelizers, passing on to their children the precious gift of faith.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

Obama's right, he has issued fewer executive orders than his predecessors, BUT... Watch

Image of Obama signs a bill while on vacation.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

What's in a name? President Obama has ruled more from his desk, without the consent of Congress, more than any other president, but liberals are right to point out that these are not "executive actions" and don't count against his tally compared to other presidents. ... continue reading


Federal judge warned: Don't interfere with Obama's plan for deportation amnesty Watch

Image of U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about immigration reforms during a visit to Casa Azafran in Nashville,

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In unusually strong language, the Obama administration warned a federal judge to stay out of the debate over President Obama's deportation amnesty. "Federal courts sit to decide cases and controversies, not to resolve disagreements about policy or politics," ... continue reading


Rick Santorum Seems Poised to Launch a 2016 Presidential Campaign Watch

Image of Rick Santorum

By Keith A. Fournier

I don't think I've met a 'suit' yet. It's very much heart of America, average Americans who have found a place where they see someone who will stand up and fight for them. If the Republican Party has a future - and I sometimes question if it does - it's in middle ... continue reading


You should be outraged! While Obama distracted you with a government shutdown, look what Senate Democrats snuck into this bill! Watch

Image of The White House has just received unprecedented surveillance powers thanks to an amendment to the Intelligence Authorization Act for the 2015 fiscal year.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Overshadowed by the potential government shutdown and funding vote in the House, another bill was passed this week by Congress, one with much more sinister, and flagrantly un-American, goals. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Congress passed a bill that gives a ... continue reading


What are they covering up? White House attempts to delay CIA torture probe Watch

Image of Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday reportedly called Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, to tell her that the report's release should be delayed.

By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online

A Senate report, years in the making, which accuses the Central Intelligence Agency, or CIA of using banned torture techniques while evading oversight may never be released, According to Bloomberg, there have been ongoing efforts by the White House efforts to ... continue reading


Landmark pregnancy discrimination case heard by Supreme Court Watch

Image of Depending on the high court's ruling, companies may be required to afford mothers-to-be the same

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A landmark case involving the rights of expectant mothers in the workplace was heard by the Supreme Court this week. Depending on the high court's ruling, companies may be required to afford mothers-to-be the same "reasonable accommodation" as they would ... continue reading


17 states REBEL against Obama, join lawsuit over immigration scandal Watch

Image of 17 states have banded together to sue Obama over his illegal action to refuse to enforce immigration reform, hoping the courts will block his attempts at providing amnesty to 5 million illegal immigrants.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Seventeen states have allied together in order to sue President Obama's administration, citing the president's disregard for constitutional limits to presidential power, and refused to fulfill his obligation to enforce U.S. laws when he attempted to dismiss ... continue reading


A distinct euphemism: Health care reform was 'political miscalculation,' Schumer says Watch

Image of When the Democratic Party focused in exclusion to all else, on health care, he added,

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

One apt euphemism - which is essentially a nice term very a not-at-all-nice term, is the phrase, "Economical with the truth," i.e. lying. Senator Charles Schumer of New York, in summarizing the massive loss by democrats in elections earlier this month, said ... continue reading


The man behind the mess of Obamacare wants you to encourage abortion! Watch

Image of John Gruber, the man behind Obamacare, is an ardent supporter of abortion.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The architect of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), John Gruber, has made a fool of President Obama and the Democrats in his administration once again. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Gruber has been recorded numerous times admitting that the ACA was written and ... continue reading


Should Obama be able to use the IRS as a weapon to target conservative opponents? Watch

Image of President Obama has used the IRS as a weapon to target Tea Party and conservative opponents.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It should come as a surprise to no one that fraud and power abuse is rampant in President Obama's White House, and the new scandal fall on the heals of the old IRS tax scandals of the last few years. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Treasury Inspector ... 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, Genesis 49:2, 8-10
2 Gather round, sons of Jacob, and listen; listen to ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 72:3-4, 7-8, 17
3 Mountains and hills, bring peace to the people! ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 1:1-17
1 Roll of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 17th, 2014 Image

St. Olympias
December 17: Olympias born into a wealthy noble Constantinople family. She ... 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