Friday, September 26, 2008

Politics and Catholics with Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver

The National Review Online has a TV outlet (video) titled "Uncommon Knowledge" and this week they are interviewing Archbishop Charles Chaput O.F.M. Cap. (born in Kansas, former Bishop of Rapid City and Archbishop of Denver since 1997. He also is partly of Native American heritage). The interview is in five parts. The interviewer is Peter Robinson.

Part One -- Archbishop Charles Chaput corrects House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has said the Catholic Church’s teachings on abortion aren’t clear. On the contrary, Chaput says the Church has long held that abortion is always and in all circumstances wrong. He also says Sen. Joe Biden’s position on abortion — that people should not impose their beliefs on the subject on others — is highly flawed.

Part Two -- Archbishop Chaput describes Vatican II as the “primary grace of God to the Catholic Church in the 20th century.” And yet, since Vatican II, the Catholic Church in America has suffered greatly. In particular, the numbers of Catholic seminarians, priests, and nuns have plummeted. Chaput explains why this is, and is not, a dilemma.

Part Three -- The Relationship Between Jesus and Caesar, or between Catholics and the state: First, Jesus acknowledged his responsibilities to Caesar. Second, Jesus demoted Caesar, making clear that “God is God and Caesar is not.” Third, Jesus remained silent about what belongs to Caesar and what belongs to God, allowing for individual determinations on the duties of citizens.

Part Four --
Archbishop Chaput has written that “The logic behind abortion makes all human rights politically contingent.” For example, Chaput explains that if our leaders can decide when life begins, they also can make determinations about when life should end. Overall, Chaput describes what is a coarsening of the value of life in the Western world.

Part Five --
Archbishop Chaput says Catholic Democrats have an obligation to change their party’s platform on abortion, just as Catholic Republicans are responsible for keeping their party pro-life. Moreover, he says the Catholic position on abortion need not be just a Catholic position, but an American position.

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