Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, Denver CO

In this week's column for the Denver Catholic Register, Denver Archbishop Chaput corrects dissenting Catholics on "what Vatican II did, and didn't, teach about conscience":
Vatican II can never be invoked as an alibi for Catholics ignoring grave public evil or failing to act on their faith in the political sphere. That's a distortion of the council's message. It also misreads the U.S. Constitution. America's Founding Fathers did not say, and never intended, that religious faith should be excluded from civic debate. They intended one thing only: to prevent the establishment of an official state church. A purely secular interpretation of the "separation of church and state" would actually result in the "separation of state and morality." And that would be a catastrophe for real pluralism and the democratic process.

If we're sincere about our faith, "conscience" can never be used as an excuse for dismissing what the Church teaches by pointing to her theological critics, voter surveys or public opinion polls, and then doing what we find more convenient. That's dishonest. And God made us for something better than that.

Chaput's latest column, by the way, appears to be motivated by the overwhelming response (positive and negative) from Denver Catholics to his previous column.