Archbishop Chaput’s Sage Advice

Editor’s note.  The following appeared in Today’s News & Views on February 17, 2009. The reference is to a talk Archbishop Chaput had delivered February 7 to the John Paul II Society of  Ireland.

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput

I’ve long since learned that when I am in the presence of someone blessed with outsized intellectual and moral discernment, I better be awfully careful how I summarize what they say. I will honor that self-admonition when talking today about some of the wonderfully thought-provoking comments made by Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver in a recent overseas talk.

Based on the lengthy American experience with fighting abortion, Archbishop Chaput offered a five “dos” and six “don’ts.” I will take just a moment to focus on two of the “don’ts.”

I’m don’t know if there was a particular reason for making “don’t let yourselves be tricked into an inferiority complex” #1, but it surely is of huge importance. Note that Archbishop Chaput is talking here about authentic pluralism, not the bogus slogan that is used as a hammer by pro-abortionists to pulverize pro-lifers for having the audacity to take part in the public square.

“In America the word ‘pluralism’ is often conjured up like a kind of voodoo shield to get religious people to stop talking about right and wrong,” Archbishop Chaput told his audience. “In reality, our moral beliefs always shape social policy.  Real pluralism actually demands that people with different beliefs should pursue their beliefs energetically in the public square.  This is the only way a public debate can be honest and fruitful.”

I would add whether we are Catholics, Protestants, a member of another faith, or profess no faith at all, we must never apologize for standing up for those who cannot defend themselves.

Let me mention one other “don’t”–“Don’t create or accept false oppositions.” The evil genius (my words) that we saw throughout the 2008 campaign and which will be used to grease the skids each and every time President Obama undertakes a pro-abortion initiative is what Archbishop Chaput called “Dialectical thinking”– “the idea that most of our options involve ‘either/or’ choices.” 

As he explained, “During the last U.S. election, we saw the emergence of so-called pro-life organizations that argued we should stop fighting the legal struggle over abortion.  Instead we should join with ‘pro-choice’ supporters to seek ‘common ground’”—aka drop the “divisive” political battle.

As we have noted in this space many, many times, this is a two-sided distortion. Pro-lifers refuse to accept either/or—to pit mother against child. We have always, will always work from the both/and perspective at the same time we toil to end abortion on demand.

“We need to help women facing problem pregnancies with good health care and economic support,” Archbishop Chaput said, “and we need to pass laws that will end legal abortion.  We need to do both.”

And what does dropping the “divisive” political battle mean? It means heads the pro-abortionists win, tails pro-lifers lose. It boils down to this: Give pro-abortionists everything they want and be grateful if they take it a piece at a time, rather than in one fell swoop.

Thanks, but no thanks.

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