Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput - Denver CO

Denver's Catholic Archbishop Charles Chaput was interviewed on Colorado Public Radio about his position in the debate over giving communion for Catholic public officials who support abortion. He wrote a column, one of a continuing series, in which he said that Catholics' who support abortion are not really Catholics, but "a very different kind of creature."

A local political candidate accused his archbishop of crossing the line between Church and State and said that Catholic prelates should not preach to Catholic politicians. However, in the interview the Archbishop, defended his statement saying, "If you don't accept what the Church teaches on issues of faith and morals you can't claim to be a Catholic." He went on to say, "I would say if you're in favour of the choice to kill babies it isn't compatible with Catholic faith."

Throughout the interview Chaput avoided the question of whether he would directly refuse someone like John Kerry communion if he should present himself in a Denver-area Catholic church. "One cannot be a pro-choice catholic," he said. "There are Catholics who don't understand that and think they're Catholics… We believe that if you don't accept what the church teaches in the grave matters of faith and morals, and we know what those are in the Catholic Church, then you're not in communion with what the Church teaches and therefore you shouldn't go to communion. Communion isn't about personal worthiness, it's about faith, what you believe."

When asked about the issue of separation of Church and State that is frequently used to attempt to silence Catholic or other Christian voices, the Archbishop became emphatic. He said that the tactic was unscrupulous and un-American and would never have been used against Church leaders who spoke out against slavery or segregation. "(Separation of Church and State) doesn't mean that the Church should be silent. It doesn't mean that a politician should tell me to shut up. It doesn't mean that any member of the Church can't talk about the issues that are important to the Church."

"Abortion is a matter of human dignity and human rights," Chaput said.

He then became more blunt. "It's not a religious principle; we're not against abortion for religious reasons. We're against it because it kills babies. No one should tell us to be quiet about that any more than we were quiet about segregation. It's very important that we're active; we encourage our people to vote their conscience. That's not interfering with the government."

Source: "Denver Archbishop says those who Support Abortion "Rights" Cannot be Catholic" July 14, 2004.