.- Speaking to a sometimes hostile crowd of civic and business leaders on Tuesday, Denver’s Archbishop Charles Chaput set out to defend the role of the Church in public life.
Archbishop Chaput’s address to about 120 people at the City Club of Denver was followed by a sometimes-tense period of question and answer in which Chaput pulled no punches in defending the work of the Church.
In his speech, the Archbishop cited the Church’s exhaustive work defending the poor and helpless and being voice on issues like the death penalty.
“As a Church,” he said, “more than 80 percent of our time, resources, ministry personnel and lobbying efforts go to issues that have nothing to do with abortion. But you’ll never see that on anybody’s front-page either, because it isn’t news.”
The Archbishop pointed out that “Catholics have always been active on a very wide range of political issues, both individually and as a Church. This is normal and sensible. It’s so normal that nobody pays attention – until they disagree.”
During the luncheon’s question and answer period, one woman asked Archbishop Chaput, "Why do (religions) feel they have to impose their views on us?"
“If we don’t”, the Archbishop quickly retorted, “you’ll impose your views on us.”
Another asked, to the applause of many audience members, “When is the Church going to agree to pay taxes?”
Archbishop Chaput shot back, “I run 50 Catholic schools that keep you from paying more taxes - is that worth it to you?”
He added that it’s the state, which recognizes that tax exemptions allow religious groups to mount massive social service programs, which benefit all society.
Inevitably, the question of abortion came up and the Archbishop’s passion for the subject became audible in his voice. “That dear baby who gets aborted is who I'm protecting. Somebody doesn't just get hurt with abortion - they get killed”, he said.
He also added, when asked about unwanted children, that, “I'll take any child that's unwanted and find them a home and take care of the mother. You have my personal pledge on that.”