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10/22/2004

Republican by Faith

Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput has an op-ed in the NYT attacking pro-choice Catholics:

For Catholics to take a "pro-choice" view toward abortion contradicts our identity and makes us complicit in how the choice plays out. The "choice" in abortion always involves the choice to end the life of an unborn human being. For anyone who sees this fact clearly, neutrality, silence or private disapproval are not options. They are evils almost as grave as abortion itself. If religious believers do not advance their convictions about public morality in public debate, they are demonstrating not tolerance but cowardice.
Chaput has been a leading figure in the charge that Kerry shouldn't receive communion and that Catholics must support "pro-life" candidates.
Candidates who claim to be "Catholic" but who publicly ignore Catholic teaching about the sanctity of human life are offering a dishonest public witness. They may try to look Catholic and sound Catholic, but unless they act Catholic in their public service and political choices, they're really a very different kind of creature.

And real Catholics should vote accordingly.
The NYT recently wrote about Chaput:
For Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, the highest-ranking Roman Catholic prelate in Colorado, there is only one way for a faithful Catholic to vote in this presidential election, for President Bush and against Senator John Kerry.

"The church says abortion is a foundational issue,'' the archbishop explained to a group of Catholic college students gathered in a sports bar here in this swing state on Friday night. He stopped short of telling them whom to vote for, but he reminded them of Mr. Kerry's support for abortion rights. And he pointed out the potential impact his re-election could have on Roe v. Wade.

"Supreme Court cases can be overturned, right?" he asked.

Archbishop Chaput, who has never explicitly endorsed a candidate, is part of a group of bishops intent on throwing the weight of the church into the elections. Galvanized by battles against same-sex marriage and stem cell research and alarmed at the prospect of a President Kerry - who is Catholic but supports abortion rights - these bishops and like-minded Catholic groups are blanketing churches with guides identifying abortion, gay marriage and the stem cell debate as among a handful of "non-negotiable issues."
I'm certainly not qualified to dispute the Archbishop's theological arguments (thought they are dramatically different from what I learned at my conservative Catholic high school). His logic, though, is another story. The question: does electing politicians with the legal and political positions on abortion held by President Bush constitute a moral good in itself? Or is the key question actually the impact a politician has on the rate of pregnancy termination? Is it the number of abortions or the political posturing of the candidate that is most important? Abortion rates have increased during Bush's term.

 

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