.- This morning at the 2nd annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, held in Washington, Denver’s Archbishop Charles Chaput urged Catholics and Christians to make their voices heard in government and public life.
“Catholics”, he said, “see politics as part of the history of salvation. For us, no one is a minor actor in that drama. Each person is important. And one of the most important duties we have is to use our gifts in every way possible for the glory of God and for the common good.”
He added that, “That’s why Catholics and other Christians have always taken an active role in public life. What we believe about God shapes how we think about men and women. It also shapes what we do about promoting human dignity.”
The Archbishop, who was joined by President George Bush, San Antonio Archbishop Jose Gomez and an estimated 2,000 other participants in what is said to be the only major event of its kind.
Archbishop Chaput, who was criticized during the recent presidential election for adding his own voice to the public square, said that, “If God is the center of our lives, then of course that fact will influence our behavior, including our political decisions. That’s natural and healthy.”
“What’s unnatural and unhealthy”, he said, “is the kind of public square where religious faith is seen as unwelcome and dangerous. But that seems to be exactly what some people want: a public square stripped of God and stripped of religious faith.”
Archbishop Chaput chided what he sees as a false idea of religious pluralism, saying that often, people are afraid of being “too Catholic” and offending others.
That, he said, is “not democracy. Democracy and pluralism depend on people of conviction fighting for what they believe through public debate – peacefully, legally, charitably and justly; but also vigorously and without excuses.”
“Divorcing our personal convictions from our public choices and actions is not ‘good manners,’” he said. “On the contrary, it can be a very serious kind of theft from the moral treasury of the nation, because the most precious thing anyone can bring to any political conversation is an honest witness to what he or she really believes.”
Calling on all members of society, from politicians to average folks, the Archbishop said that the Church is Christ’s—not ours.
“Only God is God, and only Jesus is Lord,” he said in closing. “When our actions finally follow our words, then so will our nation, and so will the world.”