.- In Denver this evening, Archbishop Charles Chaput spoke to a group dedicated to promoting the âgenius of womenâ and what they contribute to society. During his talk, Chaput sharply disagreed with Doug Kmiecâs promotion of Sen. Obama, calling him the âmost committed âabortion-rightsâ presidential candidate â¦ since the Roe v. Wade abortion decision in 1973.â
The Archbishop of Denver began his thoughts by offering what one of his friends calls his âLitany to the IRSâ: âIâm not here tonight to tell you how to vote. I donât want to do that, I wonât do that, and I donât use code language -- so you donât need to spend any time looking for secret political endorsements.â
Moreover, Chaput emphasized that what he had to say was âas an author and private citizenâ and not on behalf of âthe Holy See, or the American bishops, or any other bishop, or even officially for the Archdiocese of Denver.â He did, however, say that he believes that he believes his views are âpretty solidly grounded in Catholic teaching and the heart of the Church.â
After speaking about the role of Catholics in the public square and why he wrote his recently published book âRender Unto Caesar,â Chaput then turned to how it has been treated by Pepperdine Law School professor Douglas Kmiec.
âI began work on âRender Unto Caesarâ in July 2006. I made the final changes to the text in November 2007. Thatâs a long time before anyone was nominated for president, and it was Doubleday, not I, that set the bookâs release date for August 2008,â he noted.
âSo -- unlike Prof. Douglas Kmiecâs recent book, âCan a Catholic Support Him? Asking the Big Question about Barack Obama,â which argues a Catholic case for Senator Obama -- I wrote âRender Unto Caesarâ with no interest in supporting or attacking any candidate or any political party,â Chaput explained.
While noting that âProf. Kmiec has a strong record of service to the Church and the nation in his past,â Chaput took exception to Kmiecâs claim that âhis reasoning and mine are ânot far distant on the moral inquiry necessary in the election of 2008â.â
âUnfortunately, he either misunderstands or misuses my words, and he couldnât be more mistaken,â Chaput stated.
Archbishop Chaput even further specified his stance saying, âI believe that Senator Obama, whatever his other talents, is the most committed âabortion-rightsâ presidential candidate of either major party since the Roe v. Wade abortion decision in 1973.â
âDespite what Prof. Kmiec suggests,â he continued, âthe party platform Senator Obama runs on this year is not only aggressively âpro-choice;â it has also removed any suggestion that killing an unborn child might be a regrettable thing. On the question of homicide against the unborn child â and letâs remember that the great Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer explicitly called abortion âmurderâ â the Democratic platform that emerged from Denver in August 2008 is clearly anti-life.â
Chaput also addressed Kmiecâs assertion that there are âdefensible motivesâ to support Obama. âSpeaking for myself,â he said, âI do not know any proportionate reason that could outweigh more than 40 million unborn children killed by abortion and the many millions of women deeply wounded by the loss and regret abortion creates.â
The archbishop also offered his analysis of Catholics who argue that âSenator Obama is this yearâs ârealâ prolife candidate.â For Catholics to believe this ârequires a peculiar kind of self-hypnosis, or moral confusion, or worse,â he stated.
Such a portrayal of the â2008 Democratic Party presidential ticket as the preferred âprolifeâ option is to subvert what the word âprolifeâ means,â he charged, pointing his audience towards Prof. Robert Georgeâs essay âObamaâs Abortion Extremism,â which was published earlier this week on the web site of The Public Discourse.
Groups friendly to the Democrat Party such as âCatholics United and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Goodâ were also criticized by Chaput.
In his words, they have âdone a disservice to the Church, confused the natural priorities of Catholic social teaching, undermined the progress prolifers 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.â
According to Archbishop Chaput, there is irony to be found in all of the arguments being made by Catholics in favor of Sen. Barack Obamaânone of them are new. âTheyâve been around, in one form or another, for more than 25 years.â
âAll of them seek to âget beyondâ abortion, or economically reduce the number of abortions, or create a better society where abortion wonât be necessary. All of them involve a misuse of the seamless garment imagery in Catholic social teaching. And all of them, in practice, seek to contextualize, demote and then counterbalance the evil of abortion with other important but less foundational social issues.â
âThis is a great sadness,â Chaput said.
âMeanwhile, the basic human rights violation at the heart of abortion â the intentional destruction of an innocent, developing human life -- is wordsmithed away as a terrible crime that just canât be fixed by the law. I donât believe that. I think that argument is a fraud. And I donât think any serious believer can accept that argument without damaging his or her credibility. We still have more than a million abortions a year, and we canât blame them all on Republican social policies. After all, it was a Democratic president, not a Republican, who vetoed the partial birth abortion ban â twice.â
Archbishop Chaput, did not flinch from calling out those Catholics who are uncomfortable with fighting against abortion. Describing the cause as ânot the kind of social justice they like to talk about,â he alleged that, âIt interferes with their natural political alliances.â
The novelty to Catholic Obama supportersâ approach, explained the archbishop, is âtheir packaging,â charging that they have mimicked the abortion lobbiesâ attempt to undermine the bishops teaching authority in the 70s.
âI think itâs an intelligent strategy,â he commented, adding, âI also think itâs wrong and often dishonest.â
Chaput also disputed the charge leveled by some, including Prof. Nicholas Cafardi, who claim that the struggle over abortion is legally lost. These people âare not just wrong; theyâre betraying the witness of every person who continues the work of defending the unborn child. And I hope they know how to explain that, because someday theyâll be required to,â he said.
The archbishop closed his remarks on political life by noting that the country is undergoing difficult times and that âa deep spirit of conflict and anxietyâ has crept into this election in particular. Nevertheless, Chaput pointed to Christ saying, âI do believe Scripture when it tells us not to be afraid. God uses each of us to renew the world if we let him.â