‘It’s always important to know what our faith actually teaches‘
By Bob Unruh
Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput
DENVER – Denver Catholic Archbishop Charles Chaput says Democrats simply don’t know Christianity if they insist on continuing to spin the Bible’s teachings on abortion.
“It’s always important to know what our faith actually teaches,” he said in a “clarification” for Catholics in northern Colorado as Democratic National Committee members met in Denver this week to hear a speaker from the National Abortion Rights Action League promote Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, as the next “pro-choice” president.
Chaput’s also appeared at a pro-life prayer vigil outside the massive new Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Denver, reportedly the largest abortion megaclinic in the nation.
“The future of a community, a people, a church and a nation depends on the children who will inherit it,” he said at the event. “If we prevent our children from being born, we remove ourselves from the future. It’s really that simple. No children, no future.
“We need to remember two basic truths. Here’s the first truth. Society has an obligation – and Christians have a Gospel duty – to provide adequate and compassionate support for unwed and abandoned mothers women facing unintended pregnancies; and women struggling with the aftermath of an abortion. It’s not enough to talk about ‘pro-life politics,’ The label ‘pro-life’ demands that we work to ensure social policies that will protect young women and families, and help them generously in their need. In the archdiocese of Denver we try very hard to do that through the Gabriel Project and other forms of outreach and support.
“Here’s the second truth. Killing an unborn child is never the right answer to a woman’s or society’s problems. Acts of violence create a culture of violence-and abortion is the most intimate form of violence there is. It wounds the woman, it kills the unborn child and it poisons the roots of justice and charity that bind us all into one human family,” he said.
In his clarification for church members, he denounced the “spin” among politicians seeking to justify abortion and appease militant pro-abortion interests, including the billion-dollar Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest player in its abortion industry.
“Catholic public leaders inconvenienced by the abortion debate tend to take a hard line in talking about the ‘separation of church and state.’ But their idea of separation often seems to work one way. In fact, some officials also seem comfortable in the role of theologian. And that warrants some interest, not as a ‘political’ issue, but as a matter of accuracy and justice,” he wrote.
“Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is a gifted public servant of strong convictions and many professional skills. Regrettable, knowledge of Catholic history and teaching does not seem to be one of them,” Chaput continued.
The archbishop pointed to Pelosi’s interview Sunday on the NBC’s “Meet the Press” when she was asked when human life begins. The House speaker said:
I would say that as an ardent, practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time. And what I know is over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition … St. Augustine said at three months. We don’t know. The point is, is that it shouldn’t have an impact on the woman’s right to choose.
Chaput said Pelosi, because of her “study,” must know the conclusions from Jesuit John Connery’s “Abortion: The Development of the Roman Catholic Perspective.”
Connery concludes with: “The Christian tradition from the earliest days reveals a firm antiabortion attitude … The condemnation of abortion did not depend on and was not limited in any way by theories regarding the time of fetal animation. Even during the many centuries when church penal and penitential practice was based on the theory of delayed animation, the condemnation of abortion was never affected by it. Whatever one would want to hold about the time of animation, or when the fetus became a human being in the strict sense of the term, abortion from the time of conception was considered wrong, and the time of animation was never looked on as a moral dividing line between permissible and impermissible abortion.”
Chaput continued: “Or to put it in the blunter words of the great Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer: ‘Destruction of the embryo in the mother’s womb is a violation of the right to live which God has bestowed on this nascent life. To raise the question whether we are here concerned already with a human being or not is merely to confuse the issue. The simple fact is that God certainly intended to create a human being and that this nascent human being has been deliberately deprived of his life. And that is nothing but murder.'”
He said the church’s early fathers held abortion was homicide; “others that it was tantamount to homicide.”
“None diminished the unique evil of abortion as an attack on life itself, and the early church closely associated abortion with infanticide,” he said.
Members of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy also agreed with Chaput, issuing a statement that not only were Pelosi’s statements inaccurate, “Catholics, especially politicians, who publicly defend abortion should not receive communion, and … ministers of communion should be responsibly charitable in denying it to them if they ask for it, ‘until they have reformed their lives.'”
“Abortion (including the willful destruction of human embryos) and euthanasia are always intrinsically evil since they involve the intentional killing of innocent life,” the group said.
Such issues hit home with the Democratic Party in this 2008 campaign, since Obama, who has called himself a Christian, opposed a measure as an Illinois state senator to protect babies who survive abortion procedures, because, among other reasons, it would be too burdensome on abortionists.
“From the beginning, the believing Christian community held that abortion was always, gravely wrong,” Chaput said. “Of course, we now know with biological certainly exactly when human life begins. Thus, today’s religious alibis for abortion and a so-called ‘right to chose’ are nothing more than that – alibis that break radically with historic Christian and Catholic belief,” he said.
“Abortion kills an unborn, developing human life. It is always gravely evil, and so are the evasions employed to justify it,” he said. “The duty of the church and other religious communities is moral witness. The duty of the state and its officials is to serve the common good, which is always rooted in moral truth. A proper understanding of the ‘separation of church and state’ does not imply a separation of faith from political life. But of course, it’s always important to know what our faith actually teaches.“
At the vigil in front of the Planned Parenthood business, where he was joined by Alveda King, Chaput said the project “would offend every African-American and Latino family, and all of us, because every child lost to abortion here subtracts one more life, one more universe of possibilities and talent, from the future of this community. … The business of Planned Parenthood is the prevention of the future – and business is good, and very profitable, at the expense of this community.”
A report by the Associated Press highlighted the faith of Sen. Joe Biden, Obama’s pick to be vice president. The report told how he underwent brain surgery for a life-threatening aneurysm in 1988 and asked if doctors would allow him to tuck his rosary beads under his pillow.
But Chaput told AP Biden should refrain even from taking communion because of his support for abortion.
While Obama has been documented as being more pro-abortion than even NARAL, Biden has said he’ll “accept” Catholic church teaching that life starts at conception. However, he said allowing virtually unlimited abortions under Roe vs. Wade “is as close” as society can get to respecting different religious views.
Chaput has stated that such deviancy from church teachings disqualifies those individuals from partaking of communion, which in the Catholic church is believed to involve the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ.