Archbishop of Denver Charles J. Chaput, appealing to the “greatest qualities” of Americans, has called on Christians to oppose pro-abortion Congressional and presidential initiatives. He also urged Catholics to sign an anti-FOCA petition protesting abortion laws in a “new moment” that requires “great vigilance and sustained action” from pro-lifers.
Writing in his column in the Jan. 21 issue of the Denver Catholic Register, Archbishop Chaput said that Christians have an obligation to love their country and to “build on its greatest qualities and serve its best ideals.” Christians must also pray for their country’s leaders and obey its just laws.
However, he added, “When bad laws and court decisions cripple the soul of a society, Christians must work to change them as a matter both of justice and charity. Otherwise we risk colluding in the evil of their outcome.”
Calling President Barack Obama “a man of extraordinary skill and intelligence,” the archbishop said his “worthy goals” of national renewal, unity and hope should be “wholeheartedly” supported.
His election to the presidency, Archbishop Chaput said, shows that America is “still a place where people can succeed on their ability; where politics can actually matter; and where evil structures and laws can be changed by sustained, peaceful witness.”
The archbishop, noting the Jan. 22 anniversary of the 1973 pro-abortion rights Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, then turned to President Obama’s record on abortion.
“By legalizing permissive abortion and drastically limiting voters’ ability to restrict it in any way,” Archbishop Chaput wrote, “Roe set the foundations for an abortion industry that has wounded countless women and resulted in the killing of more than 40 million unborn children. President Obama’s past record of support for abortion ‘rights,’ embryonic stem cell research and other violations of human dignity is deeply troubling, and also deeply ironic, given his sensitivity to other human rights.”
The archbishop then noted President Obama’s declared support for the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). According to the archbishop, FOCA would strike down all state restrictions on abortion and destroy the “many modest but important gains” of pro-life advocacy.
Saying that President Obama’s Catholic supporters claim that FOCA is unlikely to pass in the upcoming congressional session, the archbishop argued:
“We can hope this is true. But of course, the form and timing of FOCA-like efforts are irrelevant. It’s the political intent behind them that matters. We have to work with what we know to be true by the president’s own words.”
Claiming that President Obama was elected on the economic issues, Archbishop Chaput said this mandate is accompanied by his “forcefully abortion ‘rights’ public record and party platform.”
“Nothing in the president’s words or actions has suggested a change in his fundamental goals.”
The archbishop reported that in the coming weeks Catholics across the United States and in every parish in the Archdiocese of Denver will be asked to sign the U.S. bishops’ anti-FOCA petition addressed to elected officials, asking them “to respect the dignity of unborn human life.”
“Whether FOCA actually materializes in the coming session of Congress is not finally important; the message we send is,” the archbishop insisted. He also warned that Congress, the Obama administration and the abortion lobby could implement its “destructive agenda” by low-profile “incremental legislative and executive steps” which will have “the same bloody effect.”
“We’re in a new moment for our country; a moment that offers great promise, but also requires great vigilance and sustained action to defend the dignity of human life at its earliest and most vulnerable stage,” the archbishop continued.
He asked Catholics to sign the petition “enthusiastically” and to encourage others to do the same.
Protecting unborn human life, he concluded, is an issue that “transcends party affiliation and needs all of us as believers to speak clearly with one voice.”