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Friday, October 17, 2008


Michael Hallman

I just posted the speech in my blog, as well. Incredibly powerful. The Archbishop is such a strong prophetic voice in the Church today, and one that Catholics everywhere need to here.

Mark Brumley

I'd say Archbishop Chaput has strong words for Barrack Obama as well. It is clear that he is not going to be silenced when it comes to the prolife message by the "go along to get along" crowd. We need more courageous church leaders to speak out. If this had happened 30 years ago, we would not be talking about the issue today--certainly not in the way we are. We would not have the utter scandal of prominent political leaders who identify themselves as Catholics and who take militant positions opposed to Catholic teaching on abortion, embryo experimentation, same-sex unions and other issues.

Many bishops made a serious pastoral error, with dire social consequences, when they for all intents and purposes decided to treat abortion as one more issue. They tried to use the consistent life ethic as a shield to hide behind when they were criticized on abortion. The net effect was to leave many Catholics with the impression that this was not the defining moral issue of our day and that Catholic teaching on abortion was easily counterbalanced by concern for Program X on reduction of poverty or Policy Z on arms reduction, when these programs and policies were highly debatable.

Now, when we have new bishops who are finding their pastoral voices, the laity have not been adequately formed to act. We have clergy abuse scandals that have undermined episcopal credibility. And so on. You can see the diabolical pattern to the history of the last thirty years.


Is this a humour free zone?

Mary Ellen

I believe it was Mother Theresa who said something along the lines of there will be no peace in the world while there is legalized abortion. I am baffled by the "logic" of those who believe B.O. is the candidate of peace! This is absurdity to a very high degree. Here is a candidate who has very little credibility in re: a real day job and real achievements. If anything, his vigorous pro-abortion legislative experience is about the only thing he has actually mounted! And, if his followers bothered to really look closely at everything B.O. says, one would see that his personality profile is to lie quite consistently! The need to change his name from Barry Dunham to Barack Obama speaks volumes in re: his personal psychology, as well as agenda! His followers are so enraptured by his persona and commentary and what they are projecting onto him, they are not listening to what he really is saying about war and peace, which is basically that he will just move the battlefield around. B.O. projects the profile of a cult leader, a guru, who seduces people by spinning a net of fantasies and dreams. Good luck to those who fall into this sticky web! When I look under the mask, I see an angry, narcissistic, dangerous individual who will appease who he has to make up for what he did not get from his abandoning, dysfunctional parents. Finally, I remain amazed at the lovers of peace and justice who see absolutely no conflict with their pro-abortion beliefs! Reality is just a too bitter and dirty landscape for some of these sixties idealists. For the rest of us, it is a kind of heaven.

Dan Deeny

Thank you for this information on the abortion business. But I don't understand the Archbishop when he says these are "simply my views as an author and a private citizen." Would Blessed Cardinal von Galen have added that qualifier?


I couldn't agree more with Billy HW. I wish he would send the same blog to O'Reilly and Hannity & Colmes of Fox News. I'm sure it would be circulated. Go for it!

Mark Brumley

Archbishops as archbishops are not allowed under US tax laws to endorse or oppose particular candidates for office. He made his point. So what is the big deal that he said what he said?


my guess is that archbishop chaput was going as far as he can without endangering the church's tax status. i notice that the non-profits (like catholic answers) do this as well, for similar reasons.

also, it's not appropriate for clergy to endorse or reject specific candidates. so the most they can do is talk about government policies and not specific election items.

so, it ends up being an unfair forum. "catholic" politicians can continue invoking their catholicism and defy the bishops. but bishops can't fully oppose them in the political forum.

this is probably why the "catholic" candidates have been trying to steer clear of abortion and other life issues--and the media have been helping them by not bringing it up. they know that the bishops can't and won't say anything directed at them, unless the candidates talk about church teaching. we saw this happen with pelosi and biden. and it seems that their advisers have learned their lesson.

Ed Peters

Even setting aside tax-status concerns, (which I have long considered exaggerated here), Chaput's comments serve well to remind us that ecclesiastics don't cease being citizens, with ALL the rights of citizens. A point we might need to remind people of in coming years.

Georgia, you greatly over-estimate the impact of Chaput having voted for Jimmy Carter; among pro-lifers I have know for decades, not one is traumatized by Chaput's comments. "Huge blow" my foot.

For the rest, remember Churchill's line: "Show my a young conservative, I'll show you a man with no heart. She me an old liberal, I'll show you a man with no brain." Chaput seems amply endowed with both.


I understand why Archbishop Chaput decided to make it explicit that he was talking as a private citizen. I question, as a legal matter, whether he actually needed to. All citizens are guaranteed freedom of speech under the constitutions of both the state of Colorado (Article II, Section 10) and the United States of America (Amendment I). The archbishop is a citizen. He was not speaking from the pulpit, not was he speaking through a pastoral letter or some other official organ of the Church of Denver, nor did he invoke his binding authority as archbishop to bind the faithful of his diocese to vote for candidate X or not vote for candidate Y.

It seems to me that, all this being true, it cannot be said that he endorsed a candidate or intervened in a political campaign as a representative of the Church of Denver. Treating everything the archbishop says as the official and binding word of the Church of Denver would seem to be a violation of both the right to free speech and the right to freedom of religion he possesses as a citizen of both the state of Colorado and the United States of America. If he had not explicitly stated that he was speaking as a private citizen and some people tried to threaten the tax-exempt status of the Church of Denver, it would seem to me to be a clear case of a frivolous lawsuit and religious bigotry.

I'm not saying that the archbishop should not have made it explicit that he was speaking as a citizen. A legal fight to preserve tax-exempt status would have been time consuming and cost money. But it would be interesting to see such a suit defeated. It would certainly take the wind out of some sails.

I am, of course, not a lawyer, so I may be wrong on the way the law works.

Carl E. Olson

I think the archbishop was simply making explicitly to everyone what was likely obvious to most. He was, in other words, covering his bases, etc. Not a bad thing to do in the current climate.


It may be tempting to wish that the clergy could name names (and kick butt) but there are practical reasons not to do so, beyond the tax code.
There are some, perhaps many Catholics, who would have difficulty distinguishing between objective moral teaching and the application of that teaching. Clearly that is the case right now. If Bishop A were to endorse Candidate X it could easily be construed by some as not just an application of Church teaching but an extension of it.
Moreover, not all clerics will agree, given a murky choice, on the application in a particular situation. We could then have Bishop A endorsing Candidate X and Bishop B endorsing Candidate Y. This presents, at least superficially, an unnecessary face of disunity. And that is presuming a circumstance where everyone is operating in good faith and conscience.
But as we know, there are members of the Catholic clergy in a state of dissent from church teaching itself, who will be inclined to endorse candidates in opposition to Church teaching and further compound the confusion, and at a personal partisan level.
And, it opens up another whole area of temptation for the clergy and the potential for the appearance of evil, even if it isn’t true, when endorsements and political favors could be seen as quid pro quo with the Church and/or the clergy.

And, bottom line, political candidates as a class, are not known for a close affinity with the truth and or clarity. It is risky to throw out endorsements for any politician, in my opinion. I don’t do it myself as a private citizen, for that very reason.

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