Jul 23, 2008
Charles J. Chaput, the Archbishop of Denver, has written a new book about Catholic participation in public life, where faith and politics intersect. Titled “Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life,” the book will be published by Doubleday in August 2008.
Explaining that Catholics must bring their convictions into the voting booth, he argues that Catholics’ citizenship must be grounded in religious belief as a moral duty and a gift to American life. Among the issues the archbishop urges Catholics to strengthen their voice on for are abortion, the death penalty, immigration, poverty, and other social justice issues. The debate on these matters is crucial and the teachings of the Catholic Church can make a strong contribution to the common good, the archbishop says.
His book reaffirms the close link between personal Catholic faith and public action and also defends the right of religious believers to challenge secular authority in the name of human dignity. “In this sense, the Catholic church cannot stay, has never stayed, and never will stay out of politics,” he writes.
Catholic faith is “always personal, but never private,” he continues. “Citizens serve their country best when they take their moral convictions respectfully, but unapologetically, into public debate… American Catholics are better citizens when they first live as more faithful Catholics.”