An October 12 New York Times story featuring an interview with Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput that presents the archbishop as saying that Catholics must vote for Bush and against Kerry in this election, has been shown by the original transcripts, released by the Archdiocese of Denver this afternoon, to be misleading.
The New York Times article, penned by David Kirkpatrick, opens by saying that “For Archbishop Charles J. Chaput…there is only one way for a faithful Catholic to vote in this presidential election, for President Bush and against Senator John Kerry.”
“Archbishop Chaput,” writes Kirkpatrick, “said a vote for a candidate like Mr. Kerry who supports abortion rights or embryonic stem cell research would be a sin that must be confessed before receiving Communion.”
However, the original transcript of the interview, recorded by Denver archdiocesan staff, reveal the New York Times report to be heavily truncated and thus slanted to present Archbishop Chaput as a Bush or Republican partisan.
Concerning the statement of confessing after voting for Kerry, Archbishop Chaput said: “The standing is that if you know someone is going to do evil and you participate in that in some way, you are responsible. So it’s not…“if you vote this way, should you go to confession?” The question is, “if you vote this way, are you cooperating in evil?” Now, if you know you are cooperating in evil, should you go to confession? The answer is yes.”
“There’s a more sophisticated thing here,” he continued, “it’s not so crude. The reason I want to stress that is because it is not like bishops are issuing edicts about who should vote for whom. It’s issuing statements about how a Catholic forms her conscience, or his conscience,” said the Archbishop.
Msgr. Chaput, who has spoken out repeatedly during the last seven years on the foundational issue of abortion for Catholic voters, and the need for Catholics to let their faith influence their positions, made clear that neither he, nor the Church, supports or rejects any particular political party, but has a duty to inform the faithful on Church teaching concerning issues.
“Political parties change their positions, Churches don’t and shouldn’t,” he said. “If the Republican Party would stay with us on these issues, I think there would be sympathy there. If the Democratic Party would be with us on these issues, there would be sympathy there. If they both were, it would be a non-issue in the election perhaps. So, it’s not like we’re with Republicans, it’s that they’re with us.”
“I think if the Republican candidate is pro-life,” added Archbishop Chaput, “he will attract a whole lot of Catholic voters. If a Democrat candidate is pro-life, he’ll attract a whole lot of Catholic voters…It’s not partisan, it’s issue.”
Read the New York Times story at:
Read the full transcript of the original interview at:
Interview PDF Format: