Archbishop Charles Chaput’s recent opinion column created a stir among Colorado politicians after he stated that Catholic politicians must advocate laws that respect the sanctity of life. The archbishop of Denver also suggested that those who break with Church teachings on sanctity-of-life issues are only “Catholic” by name.
The archbishop made this statement last week in his column that appears in the archdiocesan newspaper, the Denver Catholic Register.
The Denver Post reported that two Republicans publicly supported the archbishop’s statement, while one Democrat spoke out against it.
Republican U.S. Senate hopeful and renowned brewery owner Peter Coors thinks the archbishop is right to challenge Catholic politicians to follow Church teachings, reported the Post. Coors is a staunch Catholic, who opposes abortion rights and the death penalty.
Another Catholic politician, GOP candidate and former Congressman Bob Schaffer, who has a strong pro-life voting record, also supports the archbishop.
However, Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar said that abortion is a question to be settled "between a woman and her God" and that he does not think it's up to the archbishop “to create litmus tests to determine who is Catholic,” reported the newspaper. The candidate, who says he once wanted to become a priest, also supports the death penalty.
"The archbishop can have his point of view as leader of a church, but I think when the archbishop tries to influence the outcome of elections and get involved in government and directing voters, he's gone beyond the line of what should not be breached in our American democracy, where we believe fundamentally in the separation of church and state," Salazar said.
Nevertheless, archdiocesan spokesman Sergio Gutierrez have said that Archbishop Chaput and his assistant, Bishop Jose Gomez, “plan to bring up the issue again in the coming months,” including talks with the Senate hopefuls about how their faith affects their public lives.