Denver Archbp. Chaput on Sen. Biden’s comments on Meet The Press

Denver’s Archbishop, Most Reverend Charles Chaput, and Most Rev. James D. Conley, Auxiliary Bishop of Denver, have weighed in on the comments of VP candidate Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE) on Meet The Press.  Archbp. Chaput also drilled into the issues in the matter of the outrageous scandal caused by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

Here is the link and here is the text with my emphases and comments:

Public Servants and Moral Reasoning:  [Out of the box very strong]

A notice to the Catholic community in northern Colorado

To Catholics of the Archdiocese of Denver:

When Catholics serve on the national stage, their actions and words impact the faith of Catholics around the country. [The perfect starting point.  He introduces immediately the problem of public figures and their widespread influence.]  As a result, they open themselves to legitimate scrutiny by local Catholics and local bishops on matters of Catholic belief. [This is not interference in "politics".] In 2008, although NBC probably didn’t intend it, Meet the Press has become a national window on the flawed moral reasoning of some Catholic public servants.

On August 24, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, describing herself as an ardent, practicing Catholic, misrepresented the overwhelming body of Catholic teaching against abortion to the show’s nationwide audience, while defending her "pro-choice" abortion views. On September 7, Sen. Joseph Biden compounded the problem to the same Meet the Press audience.

Sen. Biden is a man of distinguished public service. That doesn’t excuse poor logic or bad facts. Asked when life begins, Sen. Biden said that, "it’s a personal and private issue." But in reality, modern biology knows exactly when human life begins: at the moment of conception. Religion has nothing to do with it. [Exactly!  You don't have to argue from religious tenets!] People might argue when human personhood" begins – though that leads public policy in very dangerous directions [indeed it does... and it opens up problems about when it ends, as well] – but no one can any longer claim that the beginning of life is a matter of religious opinion.

Sen. Biden also confused the nature of pluralism. [This was a point I raised too.  I am glad to see Arcbhp. Chaput address it.] Real pluralism thrives on healthy, non-violent disagreement; it requires an environment where people of conviction will struggle respectfully but vigorously to advance their beliefs. [RIGHT!   And in the voting some will win and some will lose, but the issues can be raised and people can be moved.]  In his interview, the senator observed that other people with strong religious views disagree with the Catholic approach to abortion. It’s certainly true that we need to acknowledge the views of other people and compromise whenever possible – but not at the expense of a developing child’s right to life. Abortion is a foundational issue; it is not an issue like housing policy or the price of foreign oil[Many pro-abortion Catholics try to draw moral equivalence between various social issues so that they can diminish the importance of the overriding issue of right to life.] It always involves the intentional killing of an innocent life, and it is always, grievously wrong. If, as Sen. Biden said, "I’m prepared as a matter of faith [emphasis added] to accept that life begins at the moment of conception," then he is not merely wrong about the science of new life; he also fails to defend the innocent life he already knows is there[Right!  And, no matter what the Senator says, defending life from a conviction that it begins at conception is not an imposition of his religious views.]

As the senator said in his interview, he has opposed public funding for abortions. To his great credit, he also backed a successful ban on partial-birth abortions. But his strong support for the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade and the false "right" to abortion it enshrines, can’t be excused by any serious Catholic[Thank you, Your Excellency.] Support for Roe and the "right to choose" an abortion simply masks what abortion is, and what abortion does. Roe is bad law. As long as it stands, it prevents returning the abortion issue to the states where it belongs, [YES!] so that the American people can decide its future through fair debate and legislation.

In his Meet the Press interview, Sen. Biden used a morally exhausted argument that American Catholics have been hearing for 40 years: i.e., that Catholics can’t "impose" their religiously based views on the rest of the country. But resistance to abortion is a matter of human rights, not religious opinion. And the senator knows very well as a lawmaker that all law involves the imposition of some people’s convictions on everyone else. That is the nature of the law. American Catholics have allowed themselves to be bullied into accepting the destruction of more than a million developing unborn children a year. Other people have imposed their "pro-choice" beliefs on American society without any remorse for decades[Masterful.]

If we claim to be Catholic, then American Catholics, including public officials who describe themselves as Catholic, need to act accordingly. We need to put an end to Roe and the industry of permissive abortion it enables. Otherwise all of us – from senators and members of Congress, to Catholic laypeople in the pews – fail not only as believers and disciples, but also as citizens.

+Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
Archbishop of Denver
+James D. Conley
Auxiliary Bishop of Denver

 

Wonderful!  Kudos to Archbishop Chaput!  Thank you Bishop Conley!

In interesting news, Denver’s Archbishop Charles Chaput’s book Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life is on the New York Times Beseller List.

I wonder if you readers can help push it upward? 

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15 Responses to Denver Archbp. Chaput on Sen. Biden’s comments on Meet The Press

  1. Central Valley Catholic says:

    God bless Archbishop Chaput. In the diocese of Fresno we wait for a sheperd who will speak the truth like Archbishop Chaput, until that sheperd comes, we suffer under Bp. John Steinbock, always silent on great moral issues of the day.

  2. Brian says:

    “American Catholics have allowed themselves to be bullied into accepting the destruction of more than a million developing unborn children a year. Other people have imposed their ‘pro-choice’ beliefs on American society without any remorse for decades.”

    Tragically, in the current scandal, the bullies that wish to justify and impose legalized murder are Catholic politicians.

    Thank you Archbishop Chaput for correcting Sen. Biden’s “poor logic” and “bad facts.”

  3. Woody Jones says:

    For more on the legal front you will want to consult the concurring opinion in McCorvey v. Hill, at http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data2/circs/5th/0310711p.pdf.

    It has been said that this “marker” laid down by Her Honor kept her off the short lists for the Roberts and Alito slots on the Supreme Court.

  4. Bill Haley says:

    I bet the Democrats are wishing they had never gone to Denver.

    Way to go Chaput and Conley!

  5. Thomas says:

    Let’s not forget to give our thanks to Bishop Conley, too.

  6. TJM says:

    I just wish we had had bishops like Chaput, etal, around in 1974 when Roe v Wade came down. I think the Dems would have caved instead of making abortion the centerpiece of the party’s raison d’etre (please spare me the “social justice” nonsense.) If you are not just to the unborn, you cannot truly be just to anyone. Tom

  7. Anna says:

    I believe that over two dozen American bishops have spoken out against the recent comments made by Senators Pelosi and Biden. I am surprised at the large number – or have I become too cynical? It is very satisfying to read Archbishop Chaput. He is logical, convincing and courageous – just what the Catholic church in America needs. Though really, what we need is dozens more like him.

  8. Tom Lanter says:

    Fr. Z;

    May the good Lord send us more courageous men like Archbishop Charles Chaput, a little chutzspah now and then, I think, can be a good thing. Too many of our Local Ordinaries are just that ordinary, no reflection on them. We all have been given certain talents, some more some less. We should pray for all of them. A few of our Shepherds are exceptional, thank God.

    JMJ

    Tom Lanter

  9. Trubador says:

    I wish Archbishop Chaput and the other bishops would also mention the companion case Doe v. Bolton along with the more famous Roe v. Wade (both were decided on the same day by the U.S. Supreme Court).

    Also, I wonder how much affect this whole national discussion and instruction/correction from these bishops is having on one Supreme Court Justice – Anthony Kennedy (the one Catholic on the court who’s been on the wrong side of this issue).

    Thank God for the other four Catholic justices: Thomas, Scalia, Roberts and Alito!

  10. Thomas says:

    “People might argue when human personhood begins – though that leads public policy in very dangerous directions.”

    Indeed, they might. Moreover, “danger” is not a relevant concept here. We must pursue the truth whatever the danger.

    Is there a point at which a human being is not a person? Is it the case that only human persons have rights? Given that so many millions of women perceive the unborn humans inside them as threats and, as a consequence, kill them, is it really accurate to refer to “innocent” life? “Innocent” of what? “Innocent” to whom? Is there “biologism” at work here, the worship of life in itself, regardless of the status– incommunicative, vegetative, parasitic, and so on– of that life? Is the right to life so absolute that one can take over the life of another in order to preserve and promote it? Will we ever be able to make a woman stay pregnant when she does not want to be pregnant? How shall we punish abortion when it is discovered? Does this take public policy in “dangerous directions”?

    These are some of the questions I am often asked by pro-choice friends. I would appreciate help with answers.

  11. John Enright says:

    I really like the Archbishop. He’s not afraid to shout the truth when it becomes necessary. Since I’m a bit selfish, I hope that when my Archbishop, Justin Cardinal Rigali, is elevated to a post in the Curia, that Archbishop Chaput is named as his successor. Sorry, Denver, but we all have to look after our own interests! LOL!

  12. John Enright says:

    I’m sorry for the double post, but I forgot to mention something important. If for some reason Archbishop Chaput doesn’t become the next Archbishop of Philadelphia, then I’d really like to see Bishop Nickless of Sioux City.

  13. Jordanes says:

    Thomas asked: Is there a point at which a human being is not a person?

    No. All human beings are persons, all the time. Human beings that are not persons are human beings that have not yet been created by God.

    Is it the case that only human persons have rights?

    From the standpoint of life on earth, yes, only human persons have rights. The Divine Persons have “rights” too, but that’s another subject, a different sort of “rights.”

    Given that so many millions of women perceive the unborn humans inside them as threats and, as a consequence, kill them, is it really accurate to refer to “innocent” life?

    Yes, it is accurate to refer to unborn humans as “innocent,” regardless of how a woman may perceive her unborn child. The unborn have committed no act nor expressed any ill will that would require lethal force to be used against them, so they are innocent of any offense that would call for them to be killed.

    “Innocent” of what?

    Innocent of all sin and of every crime but original sin. The unborn are incapable of doing or attempting to do anything that could justify their being killed.

    “Innocent” to whom?

    Innocent to everyone.

    Is there “biologism” at work here, the worship of life in itself, regardless of the status—incommunicative, vegetative, parasitic, and so on— of that life?

    No, in this context it is not “life” in itself that is sacred, it is human life alone. Animals and plants have no rights, because they lack an intellect and a will (or the potential for an intellect and a will) and therefore are not persons.

    Unborn babies are not parasites, by the way: a parasite must necessarily be of a different species than the host in which it lives and which it devours. It is a sick and twisted notion to equate natural procreation with a parasitic infestation.

    Is the right to life so absolute that one can take over the life of another in order to preserve and promote it?

    No. There are times, for example, when it is wrong to try to keep a dying person alive (though euthanasia is never justified).

    But the right to life of the unborn does mean that mothers may never kill their unborn children, and they may lawfully be restrained from attempting to do so.

    Will we ever be able to make a woman stay pregnant when she does not want to be pregnant?

    Hopefully.

    How shall we punish abortion when it is discovered?

    There are any number of ways to penalise the crime of abortion. For myself, I would favor a fine for the woman and prison for the abortionist.

    Does this take public policy in “dangerous directions”?

    No. Public policy has already been taken in dangerous directions: criminalising abortion would take it back to safety and sanity.

  14. Thomas says:

    Excellent. Thank you, Jordanes.

    Further point: “ill will” is not required for a person to be a threat. It’s a mistake, I think, to discount the threat that a woman perceives. Women would not have abortions if they did not think they were somehow being threatened. Women who have abortions are afraid, and I think we need to be attentive to their fear. In some cases, they may well have good reason to be afraid (I recall a great deal of fear and anxiety before my children were born). What can be done to minimize their fear? Is their fear a sign of our failure as a Church?

    I always liked this quote from Bonhoeffer: “A great many motives may lead to an action of this kind; indeed in cases where it is an act of despair, performed in circumstances of extreme human or economic destitution and misery, the guilt may often lie rather with the community than with the individual. Precisely in this connection money may conceal many a wanton deed, while the poor man’s more reluctant lapse may far more easily be disclosed. All these considerations must no doubt have a quite decisive influence on our personal and pastoral attitude towards the person concerned, but they cannot in any way alter the fact of murder.”

    The key is minimizing unwanted pregnancies. Of course, doing that within a culture that views sex as either a public health “problem” or as a form of recreation is no small task.

  15. Jordanes says:

    Thomas said: Further point: “ill will” is not required for a person to be a threat. It’s a mistake, I think, to discount the threat that a woman perceives.

    I only discount it in the question of whether or not an unborn child is “innocent.” It is true, of course, that women who abort often perceive their children as threats, but their perception is erroneous. It does go toward understanding why they do what they do, even if it does not exculpify them.

    The key is minimizing unwanted pregnancies. Of course, doing that within a culture that views sex as either a public health “problem” or as a form of recreation is no small task.

    The key to minimising unwanted pregnancies is raising our children to understand what sex is for, what marriage is for, and ending the hypersexualisation and pornographicisation (how’s that for some clunky neologisms?) of our culture and entertainment. No small task? Indeed! In our current culture, doing that is next to impossible!

    That said, we also must do what we can to help all mothers to want their pregnancies, whether or not they wanted or expected to get pregnant.