In a recent article published in First Things, Archbishop Charles Chaput, the Archbishop emeritus of Philadelphia, provided valuable clarification on some foundational moral and doctrinal principles that are very much being called into question in our own time, namely, the extremely grave evil of abortion, the consistent teaching of the Catholic Church on worthiness to receive Holy Communion, and the responsibility of Catholics in public life.

In addition to the July 2004 memorandum of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion: General Principles) and the Catechism of the Catholic Church which he cites in his article, the U.S. bishops themselves reaffirmed these timeless teachings in their own pastoral letter of 2006, “‘Happy Are Those Who Are Called to His Supper’: On Preparing to Receive Christ Worthily in the Eucharist.”

I could not agree with Archbishop Chaput more when he says, “This is not a ‘political’ matter, and those who would describe it as such are either ignorant or willfully confusing the issue.  This is a matter of bishops’ unique responsibility before the Lord for the integrity of the sacraments.”  Especially compelling is the situation of Catholics who are prominent in public life, precisely because of the great influence they have on shaping the cultural attitudes and moral values of our society.  It is a cause of no little scandal when such people profess to be observant Catholics while championing causes that directly violate the inherent dignity of human life, one of the fundamental natural truths integral to the core teachings of the Catholic faith.

I pray that Archbishop Chaput’s timely and thoughtful article will motivate a more candid and honest discussion and resolution of these issues among the Church’s pastors and lay Catholics who are prominent in public life in our country.

The above comes from a Dec. 14 story in Catholic San Francisco.