By Dave Andrusko
Last week we posted four items the day Pope Benedict XVI appointed Archbishop Charles J. Chaput to be the new Archbishop of the Diocese of Philadelphia. (To cite just one, there is www.nationalrighttolifenews.org/news/2011/07/archbishop-charles-j-chaput-to-head-diocese-of-philadelphia.)
Those posts were intended to help the reader not familiar with Chaput, currently the Archbishop of the Diocese of Denver, understand why we felt it was such an outstanding selection. We talked about his articulate and passionate opposition to abortion, his keen insight, his ability to cut through the fog of complexity to get to the nub of the issue, and his willingness to call Catholic politicians on the carpet when they distorted the Church’s historic position on abortion.
Over the weekend the Denver Post added other reasons why it editorially offered “Congratulations to the archbishop on his new assignment.” I was greatly encouraged by this observation: “Chaput called them as he saw them, in other words, based upon his understanding of church teachings and his conviction that people motivated by faith have as much right as anyone else to participate in public debate. And under our Constitution, of course, they do.” Alas, not every media outlet agrees with what ought to be self-explanatory.
But I was almost taken aback when the Post also wrote that “it was hardly a radical position for a church leader” to demonstrate an “outspoken opposition to abortion” and “belie[ve] that Catholic politicians have a duty to espouse pro-life views.” Of course, but coming from a secular source…
Finally the Denver Post also (correctly) refused to peg Archbishop Chaput as a “conservative” just because he is pro-life. Not to get off on my favorite hobby horse, but let me just add that as the greatest issue of social justice of our time, the Right to Life transcends the usual liberal and conservative labels.
I’ve reprinted the congratulatory message that National Right to Life issued when Archbishop Chaput’s appointment was made.
National Right to Life Congratulates Archbishop Charles Chaput on Appointment to Philadelphia Archdiocese
WASHINGTON – A press conference in Philadelphia today [July 19] announced the appointment by Pope Benedict XVI of Denver Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M Cap., D.D., as the new Archbishop of Philadelphia. He replaces Cardinal-Archbishop Justin Rigali who is retiring after serving as archbishop for eight years. An outspoken pro-life advocate, Archbishop Chaput was honored with the National Right to Life Proudly Pro-Life Award in 2005.
“On behalf of the National Right to Life board of directors, our fifty state affiliates, and more than 3,000 local chapters, I’m honored to congratulate Archbishop Chaput on his appointment to the Philadelphia archdiocese,” said National Right to Life President Carol Tobias. “From his post in Denver, Archbishop Chaput has reached out to all Americans to embrace the restoration of legal protection for the unborn and the protection of all innocent human life. We know his appointment to Philadelphia will expand the opportunities for his advocacy of the defenseless.”
Speaking to Notre Dame Right to Life in April, Archbishop Chaput stated, ”Abortion is the foundational human rights issue of our lifetime…you can’t build a just society and at the same time legally sanctify the destruction of generations of unborn human life.”
Born September 26, 1944, in Concordia, Kansas, he attended Our Lady of Perpetual Help Grade School in Concordia and St. Francis Seminary High School in Victoria, Kansas. He was ordained to the priesthood on August 29, 1970, and was ordained Bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota, on July 26, 1988. On April 7, 1997, he was installed as the Archbishop of Denver. A member of the Prairie Band of the Potawatomi Tribe, Archbishop Chaput is only the second Native American to become a Catholic bishop and the first to become an archbishop.
“We look forward to Archbishop Chaput’s continued pro-life advocacy from his new post in Philadelphia,” Tobias added.