The Lion of Denver on Catholics supporting pro-abortion candidate Sen. Obama

With a biretta tip to American Papist for this….

Archbishop criticizes Obama, Catholic allies (AP)

Denver Roman Catholic Archbishop Charles Chaput labeled Barack Obama the "most committed" abortion-rights candidate from a major party in 35 years while accusing a Catholic Obama ally and other Democratic-friendly Catholic groups of doing a "disservice to the church."

Chaput, one of the nation’s most politically outspoken Catholic prelates, delivered the remarks Friday night at a dinner of a Catholic women’s group.

His comments were among the sharpest in a debate over abortion and Catholic political responsibility in a campaign in which Catholics represent a key swing vote.

Coverage here from CNA and Zenit has the full text of the Archbishop’s address.

update, excerpt from Abp. Chaput on the "Catholic" argument for Obama:
To suggest — as some Catholics do — that Senator Obama is this year’s “real” pro-life candidate requires a peculiar kind of self-hypnosis, [OH!  well said!] or moral confusion, or worse. To portray the 2008 Democratic Party presidential ticket as the preferred “pro-life” option is to subvert what the word “pro-life” means.
… I think [Kmiecs'] activism for Senator Obama, and the work of Democratic-friendly groups like Catholics United and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, have done a disservice to the Church, confused the natural priorities of Catholic social teaching, undermined the progress pro-lifers have made, and provided an excuse for some Catholics to abandon the abortion issue instead of fighting within their parties and at the ballot box to protect the unborn.
… The one genuinely new quality to Catholic arguments for Senator Obama is their packaging. Just as the abortion lobby fostered “Catholics for a Free Choice” to challenge Catholic teaching on abortion more than two decades ago, so supporters of Senator Obama have done something similar in seeking to neutralize the witness of bishops and the pro-life movement by offering a “Catholic” alternative to the Church’s priority on sanctity of life issues. I think it’s an intelligent strategy. I also think it’s wrong and often dishonest.

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32 Responses to The Lion of Denver on Catholics supporting pro-abortion candidate Sen. Obama

  1. Pete Morrell says:

    Well done I say! This is the example and leadership I love to see in the Church. A bishop with the courage to stand up and NAME THE MAN who supports the slaughter of the unborn. As the election draws closer, the statements of our bishops appear to be getting stronger – and this is the final step. Eliminate the obfuscations. Teach simply and definitively.
    Abortion is an intrinsic evil. It is currently being carried out on such a scale as to outweigh any other consideration. Obama supports this evil while his opponent does not. Therefore, no Catholic with a well-formed conscience may support or vote for Obama. Period.

    I reject completely the argument that this kind of direct teaching cannot and should not be promulgated throughout the Church. May God bless Archbishop Chaput and all other men of God with the courage to protect, with a full voice, those weakest among us!

  2. Just as Pope Gregory VII had to correct the Holy Roman Emperor Henry II and several Patriarchs had to remonstrate the Byzantine Emperor, so, too, we now have a brave and courageous Archbishop Chaput in our own time. He and Archbishop Burke are a few of the college of bishops who realize that it is necessary at times to state the obvious and to draw the line in the sand. Sadly, too many Catholics have forgotten the failure Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain experienced when tried appeasement to constrain the military expansionism of Adolph Hitler. Accomodation and appeasement only boldens the enemy. Abortion needs to be repudiated with the same vigor the abolitionists did with slavery. The brave clergymen who marched from Selma to Montgomery to oppose segregation and the many religious leaders around the world who condemned apartheid; all these realized that some evils are so vicious in the scope and depth of multitudes of innocent victims that a UNIFIED opposition is imperative. God bless Archbishop Chaput for underscoring the IMMANENT threat to three decades of abortion restriction. Obama has promised to sign FOCA (Freedom of Choice Act) which would negate the Hyde Ammendment and many other Pro-Life victories. Even during an economic crisis, God-fearing Christians must prioritize and be willing to endure incovenience if not suffering so that millions of innocent lives can be saved from IMMANENT threat via abortion and euthanasia. The economy, environment, employment, etc. are serious issues but none can eclipse the moral priority of saving innocent victims from unjust death. Abortion and genocide are too commonplace on this planet and yet many so-called believers worry more about the stock market, the price of oil and their 401K.

  3. Gerry Scheid says:

    Washington Post (A6 Sunday, Oct 19) had a stat that white Catholics have voted with the winner in the last nine presidential contests. If so, this view is even more important to get out to at least Catholics to vote the right choice in this election.

    Gerry

  4. toomey says:

    Too little, too late. Obama is running about 8-1 in San Frandenver.

  5. Boko says:

    The Dems got abortion horribly wrong. At what point do our betters start to question whether the Dems may have gotten economics, crime and punishment, the environment, and health care wrong, too? And yeah, capital punishment and just war theory, too. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad we’re past the embarrassing bishops’ letters of the 80s, but take the next step, thinking Catholics.

  6. Brian says:

    I am thinking that Catholics that support pro-abortion candidates have numbed their consciences to the indisputable fact that unborn children are as human as you or I.

    Consider, if Obama held the same positions he now holds, but was against abortion, and instead said that in order to provide health care to the poorest of the poor, and to protect the mental health of the families that are caring for their aged parents, he was going to kill one million people per year over the age of 75 who are consuming too much health care, would they still vote for him?

    I trust that they would flee from him. Yet, they do not do the same as a result of his extreme support of the deaths of one-million unborn human beings per year. How can this be?

  7. Brian says:

    Naturally, the above proposal would preserve the family’s right to choose.

  8. Woody Jones says:

    That a majority of Catholic voters might vote for the most pro-abortion canadiadet ever to run for president is a tremendous scandal, with all kinds of implications, some of which Father Z does not want to get into, so I will refrain from those areas. On the whole, we seem to face the perennial problem that so many of our Catholic brethren see their faith as part of their identity package, along with membership in or sympathy for the political party of their forebears, ethnic identity, etc., without prioritizing the Faith as the overwhelmingly most important element of the package.

    On the more personal level, I understand from third parties that Prof. Kmiec, whom I have met before and liked, and who teaches at the law school of the university where my late son was an undergraduate, and where one of my wife’s former law clerks is also a law professor, is bitterly unhappy with the current administration over what he believes were their lies to him personally over the Iraq adventure. And of course the candidate of the Republican Party is pretty much joined at the hip on the foreign policy front, to the President, a very unfortunate situation, to be sure.

    That said in the interest of trying to be as charitable as possible, I have to agree most completely with Abp Chaput’s analysis on this matter, and am really sad that Doug Kmiec has seen fit to do what he is doing.

    All of us need to ask for “time for true repentance”, and so here is my suggestion: if as seems to be likely a majority of Catholic voters will vote for the pro-abortion candidate anyway, we should all do extra penance this coming Lent for the whole unfortunate mess, those who will vote for that candidate, for the obvious reason, and those of us who will not vote for him, on the grounds that we have failed to create a Catholic culture in this country where our brethren know what is right and do it; or if one shrinks from this kind of collective guilt concept (if you do, perhaps you will want to read the old testament, or the history of the French Revolution, and the Russian one — remembering, e.g., that the old man told Solzhenitsyn that “this [Communist tyranny] happened to us [i.e. the good as well as the bad] because we [i.e. the nation, as a collective] forgot God”), then as a matter of reparation, anyway.

    I had suggested stronger measures on another blog site (an interdict during Lent) but no seems ready to endure that.

  9. David Osterloh says:

    in order to provide health care to the poorest of the poor, and to protect the mental health of the families that are caring for their aged parents, he was going to kill one million people per year over the age of 75 who are consuming too much health care, would they still vote for him?

    Brian
    Do you think that this very far off??

  10. Woody Jones says:

    And in the same vein, how about the Mass for the Gift of Tears, as from the USCCB web site:

    7:30pm Mass for the Gift of Tears
    Ezekiel 18:21-23, 30-32 — Turn and be converted from all your crimes.
    John 1:5–2:2 — The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.
    Mark 1:1-8, 14-15 — Repent and believe in the Gospel.

    Opening Prayer
    Almighty and most gentle God, who from a rock made flow
    a fountain of living water
    for your thirsting people,
    draw now from the hardness of our hearts
    tears of sorrow
    that we may weep for our sins
    and, by your continued mercy,
    be made ready to accept their pardon.
    We ask this through our Lord, Jesus Christ…

    Prayer Over the Gifts
    We ask you to look with favor upon these gifts, O Lord,
    the Gifts and receive our offering
    to your sovereign majesty on account of our sins,
    that this sacrifice from which pardon flows
    as from a fountain
    may bestow by your Holy Spirit
    the gift of tears for our offenses.
    We ask this through Christ our Lord.

    Prayer after Communion
    O Lord, may the reverent reception of your Sacrament
    wash away the stains of our sins with sighings and tears
    and, by your bounty,
    obtain for us the pardon we desire.
    We ask this through Christ our Lord

  11. Robert A. Harder says:

    Reading this, I am not sure how Archbishop Chaput is to be understood in our diocese.

    For example, in the Feb. 6, 2008 edition of the Wyoming Catholic Register, we have an article by Archbishop Chaput with the headline, “10 points for Catholic citizens to remember.” The first sentence in point number 7 asks, “But how do we make good political choices when so many different issues are so important and complex?” Point number 10 asks, “So can a Catholic in good conscience support a pro-abortion candidate?” The answer is: I can’t and I won’t. But I do know some serious Catholics — people whom I admire — who will. I think their reasoning is mistaken. But at least they do sincerely struggle with the issue of abortion and it causes them real pain. And even more importantly, they don’t keep quiet about it; they don’t give up their efforts to end abortion; they keep lobbying their party and their elected representatives to change their pro-abortion views and protect the unborn. Catholics can support pro-abortion candidates if they support them despite — not because of — their pro-abortion views. But they also need a compelling proportionate reason to justify it.

    Wouldn’t health care, a collapsed economy, reversing tax breaks for the rich, and tax cuts for the middle class add up to proportionate reasons?

    Obviously, beginning with the prohibition of the “old” liturgy which was never abrogated, and the permission to vote in favor of abortion, it would appear that Catholic moral teaching is arbitrary.

    Bob H.

  12. ED says:

    Because there has been a total loss of the reason for the Catholic faith (The only Faith JESUS actually established,the rest man-made frauds) the Salvation of Souls from going to HELL (where they are headed by the way if they dont take action)i am astonished that so many “Catholics” are just worried about the election win. Archbishop Chaput a successor of thge original 12 apostles is doing his job by warning these immoral politicians and their deviant followers what will happen at the judgement day if they dont repent and change. This was very clearly spoken out by the current apostolic administrater of the Archdiocese of St. Louis Robert Herman. To all those who support abortion the words of JESUS ring out loud about those who hurt children “It would be better off if they had never been born” I would ponder that warning if i were you!!!!!

  13. Brian says:

    Bob H,

    No, “health care, a collapsed economy, reversing tax breaks for the rich, and tax cuts for the middle class” is clearly NOT proportional to supporting the legality of murdering one-million human beings per year.

    If a politician supported legalizing the right to choose to take the lives of some other group of innocent human beings, would you similarly argue that a politician’s policies on “health care, a collapsed economy, reversing tax breaks for the rich, and tax cuts for the middle class” provided a proportionate reason to support that candidate?

  14. Central Valley Catholic says:

    Why have the bishops waited so long to speak out. The Archbishop is doing a fine job, but are any pro-abortion elected officials in the diocese barred from communion? At least the DEnver Archbishop speaks out. The diocese of Fresno Ca. is silent as usual. We recently had a priest state he was gay and encouraged people to vote against a man/woman marriage ballot initiative in California. I may sound like a broken record but if bishops and priests had been teaching the true faith, I think catholics would be better informed and would never consider voting for a pro-sodomite pro-abortion candidate.

  15. Larry says:

    toomey,
    Denver ain’t Colorado! While the Queen city of the Plains pun intended is just a little liberal we have more than a few other citizens who have a habit of voting. It will be close this year but there is still a good chance that 9 electors will not be blue.
    All depends on prayer and dare I say FASTING!.

  16. Larry says:

    By the way toomey the Archbishop said tonight that his eamils have come from around the world. So his impact is far ranging. The Holy Spirit can make this happen,so let us pray very hard over the next two weeks. Our Lady of Perpetual Help devotion would be a good idea. Our country needs our prayers as never before.

  17. I find a certain irony in the fact that while Pope Pius XII is being condemned by some for allegedly not having spoken out clearly enough against the slaughter of Jews under Hitler, bishops like Archbishop Chaput are being condemned by some, including ‘Catholics’, for speaking out clearly against the slaughter of unborn children.

    I noticed too that John McCain, at the end of his speech at the Alfred E. Smith dinner, spoke briefly but clearly on the rights of the unborn, as he clearly spoke to the Reverend Rick Warren that a baby’s rights begin at the moment of conception, unlike Barack Obama who waffled on about the question of when human rights begin as being ‘above his pay grade’. He did later apologize for his flippancy.

  18. TJM says:

    Well done, Archbishop Chaput. I think the logical next step is to excommunicate a big-time politician who markets him or herself as a Catholic but trumpets they are pro-abortion. Then the Faithful will know the Church really means business, that the game, the charade is over. We wouldn’t call someone Catholic who rejects the Real Presence, why would be call someone Catholic who is supportive of destroying that most innocent of all life,life in the
    womb. Tom

  19. Sacerdos Christi says:

    How odd a position by those Obama “Catholics”! Do not these people realize that abortion belong to the most fundamental of all human rights and denying life to a defenseless human in the womb shakes all other arguments for human rights in society? An “OBAMA NATION” that promises great benefits to American society with all its talk about economy and blah blahs on fixing society’s woes stands on shaky ground to bring ABOMINATION to all when treatment for the most basic of human right is arbitrarily decided upon by courts. Hey wake up to this ABOMINATION America! And cheers for Archbishop Chaput. I think what he did does true and great service to the Church and to the cause of human rights than those who talk about change but think they can tinker with the beginnings of human life and human rights.

  20. Veritas says:

    “I think [Kmiecs’] activism for Senator Obama, and the work of Democratic-friendly groups like Catholics United and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, have done a disservice to the Church, confused the natural priorities of Catholic social teaching, undermined the progress pro-lifers have made, and provided an excuse for some Catholics to abandon the abortion issue instead of fighting within their parties and at the ballot box to protect the unborn.”

    In other words, His Excellency concedes that these groups were (sadly) successful. What better way to fight the pro-life cause than to confuse and muddle the issues. That’s been a tactic for decades.

  21. Robert A. Harder says:

    It would be wonderful if people could read and translate with common sense, the comments made by others.

    For example, in our diocesan newspaper, Archbishop Chaput asked, “So can a Catholic in good conscience support a pro-abortion candidate? The answer is, I can’t and I won’t. But I do know some serious Catholics — people whom I admire — who will.” The Archbishop concludes by saying, “Catholics can support pro abortion candidates if they support them despite — not because of — their pro-abortion views. But they also need a compelling proportionate reason to justify it.”

    Putting this with the appropriate moral reference, let’s say, “Catholics can support the murder of Catholic bishops if they support them despite — not because of — their bishop murdering views. But they also need a ‘compelling proportionate reason’ to justify it.” If those, such as Jihadist Muslims, have been taught that the source of evil in the world is Christianity, couldn’t they assert “compelling moral reason” to murder bishops?

    If someone asserts teaching authority over that which is proclaimed to be a secular political issue, is that authority not obligated to spell out the “compelling proportionate reason” to justify that teaching? Have not the Catholic bishops, from time to time, advised us that we need not be “one issue voters?” Is it reasonable to assume that “serious” Catholics — those admired by Archbishop Chaput — do not have “compelling proportionate reasons” for their political positions? After all, the majority of Catholic (Federal) legislators are pro-abortion and the majority religion represented in both the House and the Senate are said to be Catholic.

    I fully agree that Catholics who are publicly for abortion should be excommunicated. This can never happen so long as it is reasonable that bishops can be defended for equivocating.

    Bob H.

  22. Jordanes says:

    Bob H. said: Putting this with the appropriate moral reference, let’s say, “Catholics can support the murder of Catholic bishops if they support them despite—not because of—their bishop murdering views. But they also need a ‘compelling proportionate reason’ to justify it.”

    Bob, you reasoning is utterly illogical. “A pro-abortion candidate” is not the equivalent of “the murder of Catholic bishops.” You’re comparing a person made in the image of God with an intrinsically evil act. Persons are always good, even when they advocate for evil policies, but murder is always evil. We cannot compare political support for a particular person, which may or may not be sinful, with acts that are always sinful under every circumstance.

    I think someone like Archbishop Chaput understands Catholic moral theology better than you do.

  23. Patrick says:

    Good exhaustive listing of Obama’s long standing and vicious defense of everyhthing abortion. Answers so called Catholic wiggle room arguments quite well as well. Email to Catholics.

    http://thepublicdiscourse.com/viewarticle.php?selectedarticle=2008.10.14_George_Robert_Obama%27s%20Abortion%20Extremism_.xml

  24. John Paul says:

    I first saw the Archbishop’s comments in a link to the Denver Post. The
    comments that followed, by supposed Catholics, were disturbing. All the usual
    drek: “keep religion out of politics,” “the war/poverty/economic policies are
    also ‘pro-life’ issues,” etc.. It gets pretty discouraging to see how
    some Catholics have gone off the rails with their thinking, and no amount
    of trying to reason with them can get them to come back.

  25. Everyone prays daily for our bishops, right? Especially the holy Rosary? Nobody said we had to like it, but I’m pretty sure it is our job to do it. I can’t think of anything more charitable to another that will return such a high yield to the one who prayed for them.

    As far as those who spew the drek…they need prayers too. Many will choose evil for evil’s sake but there are some who will still respond to grace, I’m sure. I hope. If I were one lost to their madness, and found myself condemned to Hell for it, the first thing I would say would be “Why didn’t anybody pray for me?”

    These former Catholics in good standing want that Democratic candidate for the very reason that he DOES promote evil.

  26. ben says:

    Archbishop Chaput is my ordinary, and I have really been struggling with some of his political statements lately. While I totally applaud the remarks referenced in the post above, I completely baffled by some of the other things he has said lately.

    In Colorado this year we will be voting an simple ballot initiative that constitutionally defines legal personhood as begining at the moment of fertilization. Abp. Chaput has not supported this initiative because he thinks it is the wrong strategy to end abortion. At the same time he has asked the faithful to vote for Amendment 59, which allows the state to keep surplus tax revenues to fund public schools. I just don’t get it. I can’t, in conscience as a catholic, send my kids to public schools, yet Abp. Chaput has asked me to vote to spend more of my tax money on them.

    I just don’t get it. Isn’t ending abortion more important that public education?

  27. Chris M says:

    ben,

    Changing the definition of legal personhood without adjusting other laws that could be affected could have some possibly disastrous unforseen fallout. I’m not an expert on it, but perhaps Abp Chaput thinks that some more legal groundwork needs to be done before we make such a sweeping change which underlies a lot of other laws.

    Again, you’re more familiar with the situation in Denver, so you could be right and +Chaput wrong, but he’s been pretty consistent on life issues from what I’ve seen.

  28. Robert A. Harder says:

    Jordanes,

    Using the skill you demonstrate in the interpretation of my comments, I would say that it appears you believe that murdering an unborn baby is not as evil as murdering a bishop, considering the context of the Archbishop’s public admiration for “serious Catholics” who will vote for a pro-abortion candidate.

    If that is your view, then let me remind you that the murder of an unborn baby is the murder of an innocent human being.

    If you would understand that a citizen of the United States has no earthly power to stop legalized abortion except by his vote for particular candidates, then it shouldn’t be too mysterious to you that a vote for a pro-abortion candidate is a vote for the continued and perhaps broadening facilitation of the murder of babies. Do you deny this? Also,I would argue that such votes will eventually lead to the murder of the faithful, including bishops.

    You do understand that there is no “Initiative” at the Federal level, don’t you? Also, if you and others do not believe that many folks, including those who claim to be Catholic, do not accept Obama’s concern for the “middle class” as an acceptable proportionate reason to vote for him as an abortion candidate, you are out of touch with reality. I would suggest that after Mass on Sunday, you talk to those Catholics with “Obama” bumper stickers on their cars and you will be jolted back to understanding political reality.

    The recent public comments by Archbishop Chaput certainly are excellent. However,they conflict with the “instruction” which we received from him in the February 6, 2008 edition of the Wyoming Catholic Register. Is there a compelling proportionate reason for this?

    Bob H.

  29. Charivari Rob says:

    Ben:

    I wanted to reply before now, but I needed to wait until I had to time to find and read the actual text of the ballot question.

    http://www.state.co.us/gov_dir/leg_dir/lcsstaff/bluebook/2008EnglishVersionforInternet.pdf (see pages 44 & 9 (of 71))

    Just a quick question (or two) so we don’t drift too far away from the original topic. How does this ballot question/initiative process work (regarding constitutional amendments) in Colorado? By that I mean – is it binding or not? Would a ‘yes’ victory enact a change effective some given date, or merely mandate that a constitutional convention be convened?

  30. ben says:

    Charivi Rob,

    The initiative process in Colorado directly amends the state constitution. The result of the passage of Amendment 48 would be that “person” would be legally defined in the constitution of the state of Colorado as any human being from the moment of fertilization. I beleive this would be effective by the begining of the next legislative session in January.

    Certainly this definition accurately reflects the truth about human persosns as it is known by the Church, so supporting such a measure should be obvious. Certainly the federal courts would issue an injunction preventing the ballot initiative from being implemented, but I don’t see how this changes our dudty to speak the truth at all times.

  31. Jordanes says:

    Bob H. said: Using the skill you demonstrate in the interpretation of my comments, I would say that it appears you believe that murdering an unborn baby is not as evil as murdering a bishop, considering the context of the Archbishop’s public admiration for “serious Catholics” who will vote for a pro-abortion candidate.

    Sorry, but your analysis doesn’t display the same level of interpretive skill. Rather, it displays the same degree of illogic that your previous comment displays. There is simply no logical way to get from “Persons are always good, even when they advocate for evil policies, but murder is always evil,” to “Murdering an unborn baby is not as evil as murdering a bishop.” It is simply impossible for someone using his intellect properly to come up with the notion that I don’t think murdering a baby is as bad as murdering a bishop.

    If you would understand that a citizen of the United States has no earthly power to stop legalized abortion except by his vote for particular candidates, then it shouldn’t be too mysterious to you that a vote for a pro-abortion candidate is a vote for the continued and perhaps broadening facilitation of the murder of babies.

    You seem to be under the delusion that I think it is morally licit to vote for pro-abortion candidates. I have no idea where you could have gotten that idea. I have pointed out that your logic is unsound. I have not said nor implied that abortion is ever acceptable, nor less evil than other forms of homicide.

    You do understand that there is no “Initiative” at the Federal level, don’t you?

    Yeah, I know, but that has nothing to do with the subject of your faulty reasoning.

    Also, if you and others do not believe that many folks, including those who claim to be Catholic, do not accept Obama’s concern for the “middle class” as an acceptable proportionate reason to vote for him as an abortion candidate, you are out of touch with reality.

    Again, I can’t imagine where you could have gotten the idea that I might not be aware of the erroneous reasoning that far too many Catholics have been using to justify their support for a candidate whom it is morally illicit to support.

    I would suggest that after Mass on Sunday, you talk to those Catholics with “Obama” bumper stickers on their cars and you will be jolted back to understanding political reality.

    I would if we had any at our parish. Four years ago there were a few Kerry stickers in our church parking lot, but it’s remarkable that this year there’s not a single Obama sticker in sight. Oh, I don’t doubt that many of our parishioners will probably commit the objective sin of voting for Obama, but it’s interesting the way they’re laying low and flying under the radar this year. In their hearts they know they’re wrong.