The following comes from an October 15 posting on Catholic Online by Deal Hudson and Keith Fournier
Nearly 500 people packed the gymnasium at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania late Saturday afternoon to hear Archbishop Charles Chaput address the issue of Catholics in politics.
Archbishop Chaput spoke for about 45 minutes, followed by eight questions from the audience. The last question was from a Catholic woman who described herself as a “conservative” who asked the archbishop why so many Catholics were “liberal.” His answer typified the archbishop’s manner and message:
“I call you as a Catholic, to forget about the labels, be a liberal sometimes, a conservative sometimes, but a Catholic first….”
“I don’t want to go to jail,” the Archbishop said with a laugh, as he explained that during the coming year the bishops would have to decide how to respond to the HHS mandate.
“Biden was wrong” in what he said about the mandate during the debate, and “he should not get away with saying that in the public square….”
One of the questioners raised the issue of the three exceptions to abortion mentioned by vice presidential candidate Ryan during the debate and urged the bishop to correct him. In response, Chaput explained:
“Everyone knows the bishops admit no exceptions. Biden knows where the Church stands, and he chooses not to believe it. Ryan was stating the position of his party led by a Mormon who holds the same position of his faith, Mormonism, which allows those exceptions.”
During his presentation and answers to questions, Archbishop Chaput made some very penetrating comments about the history of the Church in our nation. For example, he described the present generation of clergy—those his age or close to his age—as having been formed during the age of the civil rights struggle, the struggle for social justice. “It’s an emotional thing for many priests, and this is why you have nuns attacking Paul Ryan.”
He explained further that the demand for social justice and human dignity includes a “right to health care but not the right to the government providing health care.” He came back to this distinction during the Q & A period when he reminded the audience of the importance of subsidiarity as a political principle, one that is “often forgotten,” he said.
The one statement in a very rich speech that drew the loudest applause, was when Chaput described Jesus as having been killed “because he spoke the truth” and refused to back down from it. I think the applause was a response not only to the admonition but also to the example of a bishop who is willing to speak the truth in the public square, Archbishop Charles C. Chaput of Philadelphia.
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