Catholics must be coherent in their political choices and vote for political leaders whose platforms are in line with their faith and clearly prioritize the right to life, said Archbishop Charles Chaput.
The archbishop said pro-choice political candidates, who claim to be Catholic, have placed some Catholic citizens in a political bind. He warned Catholics not get fooled this election year by candidates who claim to be Catholic but who publicly ignore Catholic teaching about the sanctity of human life.
The archbishop’s statement, which appears in the latest issue of the Denver Catholic Register, has already caused a stir among “pro-choice” Catholics.
“A lot of Catholic candidates don't know their own faith,” said the archbishop, explaining why some Catholic politicians continue to advocate legislation that is pro-choice and “that threatens and destroys life.”
It is for this reason that the Vatican issued a little document last year On Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Public Life, he said.
Drawing from the document, the archbishops said: “Unless our personal faith shapes our public choices and actions, it's just a pious delusion. Private faith, if it's genuine, always becomes public witness — including political witness.”
Christians must recognize differing points of view in the political sphere, but they must also “reject, as injurious to democratic life, a conception of pluralism that reflects moral relativism,” he said, quoting the Pope.
He warned against “phony” definitions of pluralism and tolerance and argued that Catholics can only ensure “real” pluralism by living and acting in conformity with their religious convictions, even in their political choices.
“Politics is the exercise of power. Power always has moral implications. And God will hold each of us accountable … for how well we have used our political power to serve the common good and the human person,” he said.Right to life, first and foremost
Despite all of the important political and social issues, “the right to life comes first,” said the archbishop. “It precedes and undergirds every other social issue or group of issues,” he said.
Catholics have a duty to work tirelessly for human dignity at every stage of life, and to demand the same of their lawmakers, he said.
“Catholic lawmakers, who do not vigorously seek to protect human dignity and the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death, are not serving democracy,” he said, but “betraying it.”