True character of nation revealed by 80% abortion rate for disabled, says Archbishop Chaput

By Michelle Bauman

Washington, D.C. (CNA/EWTN News) — An 80 percent abortion rate of those with disabilities shows the need to restore a fundamental respect for human dignity in America, said Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia.

He underscored that the plight of disabled babies highlights “a struggle within the American soul” that will shape the future of the nation.

“These children with disabilities are not a burden; they’re a priceless gift to all of us,” the archbishop said. “They’re a doorway to the real meaning of our humanity.”

Archbishop Chaput delivered the keynote address at the 13th annual Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life on Jan. 22. 

The conference, which was held at Georgetown University, took place one day before the March for Life, at which hundreds of thousands of Americans annually gather in the nation’s capital to protest abortion and show their support for the dignity of all human life.

“Abortion kills a child, it wounds a precious part of a woman’s own dignity and identity, and it steals hope,” the archbishop said. “That’s why it’s wrong. That’s why it needs to end. That’s why we march.”

He warned that without a strong foundation of faith and morals, America becomes “alien and hostile” to its founding ideals. This threat is clearly demonstrated in the country’s treatment of the poor and disabled, which the archbishop said “shows what we really believe about human dignity.”

In his talk, Archbishop Chaput focused on children with Down syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects development, appearance and cognitive function, and can cause other health problems.

He observed that prenatal testing is now able to detect up to 95 percent of pregnancies that have a strong risk of Down syndrome, and more than 80 percent of the unborn babies who are diagnosed with the disorder are aborted.

These babies are killed because of a flaw in their chromosomes that is “neither fatal nor contagious, but merely undesirable,” he said.

The archbishop lamented the growing tendency of medical professionals to emphasize the possible defects of Down syndrome, thus steering expectant mothers of children with the disorder toward abortion.

Parents and doctors should be realistic about the challenges, understanding that raising a disabled child will involve “some degree of suffering,” he said. However, they should also see the potential and beauty of children with special needs, realizing that no child is perfect.

Archbishop Chaput noted that today, individuals with Down syndrome have longer life expectancies than ever before and can generally “enjoy happy, productive lives.”

“The real choice in accepting or rejecting a child with special needs is between love and unlove; between courage and cowardice; between trust and fear,” he said.

This is a choice that must be faced on both an individual level and as a society, he added, emphasizing that “God will demand an accounting” of how we have used our freedom.

If we really “take God seriously,” we will work to uphold the sanctity of human life and dignity of sexuality in our daily lives, he said.

This means that public officials should live out their Catholic faith in the laws that they support; doctors in the procedures they perform and the drugs they prescribe; and citizens in their actions on public issues, he explained.

He praised the work of people and organizations who aid those with disabilities, recognizing in them “an invitation to learn how to love deeply and without counting the cost.”

Archbishop Chaput urged those present at the conference not to be afraid as they persevere in being an apostle to those around them.

“Fear is beneath your dignity as sons and daughters of the God of life,” he said. “Never give up the struggle that the March for Life embodies,” he added. “Your pro-life witness gives glory to God.”

Although changing the culture is “a huge task,” we must recognize that we are being called by God to do so, the archbishop said. “He’s waiting, and now we need to answer him.”



Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 12:23 AM By Abeca Christian
From Douay-Rheims Bible, Proverbs 15:33: The fear of the Lord is the lesson of wisdom: and humility goeth before glory.

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 4:06 AM By Juergensen
Is the true character of Amchurch revealed by the 52% rate of Catholics who voted for abortionist Obama? Can everyone say “Faithful Citizenship”?

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 5:47 AM By Andrea
The Obama Administration and his Senators are promoting the murder of babies through abortion. Upon potential re-election look for the murder of the elderly, and the physcially and mentally impared. (Sounds like Hitler.) When those in power have no respect or love for human life, we can expect much more evil from them. Let’s not only VOTE, but work for decent candidates.

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 6:39 AM By Joseph Wagner
Hi Abortion is always murder – not wanted by God. Every human being is created by God, and deserves a chance to live.

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 6:41 AM By Nick
WOW! As a parent with a child with Down Syndrome, I couldn’t agree more with the Archbishop’s words or said it better myself! The Archbishop is truly a gifted speaker. God Bless you.

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 6:41 AM By Prof Helen
So what is the difference between the U.S. and national Socialist Germany? Efficiency that’s all.

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 6:59 AM By Sandra
Thank you AB Chaput. I really needed this spiritual direction. Saturday, as I headed out to the Walk for Life for the 8th year in a row, I was so depressed with the knowledge that for 39yrs this terrible legislation is still the law of the land and is reinforced at every juncture by the President of the United States of America. Over 50 million unborn babies murdered and over 100 million suffering souls living aimlessly and without joy–many taking down those around them because of their anger and fear. Your words today and Mother Teresa’s words that we are called to be “faithful, not successful”. A hard teaching, but one that keeps me witnessing for LIFE.

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 7:27 AM By jm
Thank, Archbishop Chaput, for your inspiring words. We should never give up this fight to defend life. We know how the story ends: the enemy is defeated and God wins!

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 8:15 AM By Brad
“If we really “take God seriously,””…if “we” is defined by mankind, then no, we do not need to wonder: we do not take God seriously. We never have since the fall. We love the dark and reject light as a kneejerk reaction. We have darkened intellects and weakened wills. Any exemplars to the contrary are only exemplars because of an enormous amount of grace they have received from the Most Holy Trinity. Lacking such supernatural aid, those souls would have also chosen to stay in the gutter with their backs turned toward God.

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 8:39 AM By James deLaunay
Thank You!

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 8:52 AM By Victor R. Claveau
“These children with disabilities are not a burden; they’re a priceless gift to all of us,” Caring for these children, with love, is our gift back to God. To deny these children is to deny God’s will.

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 9:03 AM By Life Lady 
OK so as the old saying goes “fish or cut bait”. Stand and be counted either with or against the core and center of our calling as Catholics. As I have said before we would all be asked some day to this moment where we would have to declare ourselves and then live it. I declare myself for Jesus so everyone and everything that flows from Him I will defend with my life. God help me to stay the course!

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 10:33 AM By Anne T.
Some would get rid of the Little People (dwarves) too, but as we know from C.S. Lewis’s “The Chronicles of Narnia” Aslan (a symbol for Jesus Christ the great Lion of Judah) has the dwarves on his side. They know who their firiends really are.

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 11:09 AM By JOHN
The good Archbishop must start saying that “Abortionists kill babies.” All too often, we as prolife people blame “abortion” as if it could kill without a killer, the abortionist.

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 1:01 PM By Catherine
Juergensen, Thank you for always bringing the core truth to the forefront. I wrote to Archbishop Chaput and respectfully asked the Archbishop if he regretted helping pro-abortion Jimmy Carter get elected. Archbishop Chaput responded that he of course regretted doing this as a young priest. Archbishop Chaput’s *words* are beautiful as shown in his sensitive words regarding children with disabilities. It took many years for Archbishop Chaput to finally realize that helping a pro-abortion candidate was wrong. How many years will it take before our lead shepherds take an action to properly catechize Catholics and also enforce Canon 915? The core of our Catholic faith is the Blessed Sacrament. Who is defending the dignity due to Christ when obstinate politicians profane Our Lord? When you are the parent of a handicapped child you are consistently forced to *take actions* to defend your child. I remember on one occasion at a school function, I witnessed a young boy come up and slug my handicapped daughter in the stomach. I walked over and asked this young boy to come and talk with me. I asked him why he slugged my daughter? He responded, “I hit her because everyone else hits her at school too.” I asked him if he had a brother or a sister and he suddenly looked very sad. He told me that his mom and dad had gotten a divorce and that his dad moved away and took his sister with him. He now had tears in his eyes. I asked this young boy how did it make his heart feel when his father moved away with his sister? He responded, “It feels like my heart is on fire.” I told him that I was sorry for his pain and I told him that when children hit my daughter, my heart feels the same way. Then this young boy looked up and said, “I am so sorry!” I gave this young boy a hug and told him that I forgive you for doing what you did and please never do this again. This boy never disrespected my daughter again. Our daughter is precious to us. How precious should Our Lord be treated?

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 2:53 PM By A Lady
Victor — thank you for your wise words. May I use them when asked why God “allows” birth defects, etc to occur?

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 3:06 PM By Juergensen
Catherine: Thank you for your kind words. May God bless you and your daughter. I have children too, and would kill to defend them. And so it is that I don’t understand how only a handful (literally) of the 250 or so American bishops enforce Canon 915 and protect the Holy Eucharist from profanation by known abortionist and homosexualist politicians. It’s baffling. In short, I can’t grasp how one can believe that the Holy Eucharist is the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ, and then stand idly by while minions of Satan profane Him.

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 4:36 PM By MIKE
JOHN,you have gotten it wrong in regard to Abp Chaput. He is one of the good guys. QUOTE: – But Catholics who support legal abortion, Chaput continued, must be told they cannot receive Communion and told they should never approach Holy Communion. Along with other bishops, Chaput said he has been attempting for some years to have the USCCB speak publicly on the matter.” UNQUOTE – Abp Chaput – April 12, 2011 LifeSiteNews.

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 6:02 PM By Teresa
Thank you AB Chaput! You are a true warrior for the faith and truth! We stand behind you.

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 8:34 PM By william wendt

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 10:35 PM By Abeca Christian
Juergensen I second that of Catherine’s comments. I appreciate you for always speaking up. Also I praise God for Abp Chaput, we love you in Jesus!

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 10:36 PM By SoCal
Thanks from the Faithful of San Bernardino diocese. Would that we had a bishop like Archbishop Chaput.

Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 1:20 AM By Kenneth M. Fisher
Yes great words, but when will he do his duty and enforce Canon 915? God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher

Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 5:49 AM By lisag
Bishop Vasa of Santa Rosa,CA is on record that public officials who support abortion should not be receiving communion. More strong stances are needed across the country. The Catholic representative Mike Thompson says he separates his faith and his job. This is not going to be a good line of defense in front of Jesus.

Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 8:21 AM By Catherine
MIKE, The April 12, 2011 Lifesite quote of Archbishop Chaput is a *good* quote. I would like to ask Kenneth Fisher the approximate year that he (Mr. Fisher) and many others personally heard Archbishop Chaput say that he would himself deny giving Holy Communion to obstinate politicians who call themselves Catholic. It has been a few years if I recall correctly. MIKE, I sincerely believe that it has been the continuing knocking on the door of Archbishop Chaput that has led to that Lifesite quote. The point is.. Since there are only a handful of courageous bishops, the word *good* is simply not enough. Do you remember this quote? Good, better, best, never let it rest….until your good is better and your better is best. MIKE, It was an exceptional action for you to write letters asking bishops to promote the CCC, second edition. Many pro-life workers and pro-life leaders have been writing and ardently knocking on the doors of our bishops. MIKE, If you were to view some of the responses that are received, you would know that we do not just need *good*. We are battling the devil himself! The devil knows how to trample good. The devil does battle with the exceptional such as St. Padre Pio whose exceptional courage and exceptional holiness influenced millions. We need exceptionally courageous lead shepherds who are willing to set an example for their brother bishops. These exceptionally courageous men have the God given authority to raise the bar of holiness for their brother bishops. The athlete who runs a local “good” race is not the same as the exceptional athlete whose sacrificial dedication finds himself winning the Olympic Gold Medal. These are different standards that bring in two different results. Our Lady of Akita warned us about shepherds making compromises. Is it extremely important to encourage our bishops when they say something good? Yes, it is, but even more important is our encouraging reminders or knocking on the door, for them to be exceptional.

Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 8:41 AM By julian
very true, I would say that it is definitely a good measure of character.

Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 8:58 AM By Catherine
Juergensen, Thank you for your response. Of all of the posts that you have courageously written on CCD , your Jan. 24, 2012, 3:06 PM last sentence most profoundly demonstrates a heart on fire for Christ. Juergensen, You wrote… “In short, I can’t grasp how one can believe that the Holy Eucharist is the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ, and then stand idly by while minions of Satan profane Him. ” That exceptional statement is surely pleasing to Our Lord. Let anyone who accuses you of profaning bishops read God’s words in Holy Scripture….”But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:16

Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 9:10 AM By Trimelda
The day we eliminate the last “defective” child is the day that the Lord will end the world. It is the life breath of the innocent, hurting and weak that keeps the world covered from the reign of evil. Kill babies and the disabled, kill innocence and enable evil.

Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 11:10 AM By Juergensen
Catherine and Abeca: Thank you. Yes, Revelation 3:16 is quite apropos. Indeed, “lukewarm” is a spot on adjective to describe that which has transpired in America since Roe v. Wade and the march of the sodomites across the land. What has transpired, actually, could be described as something LESS than “lukewarm.”

Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 11:29 AM By Abeca Christian
I read the mention of a good measure of Character and I pray that our youth today will grow more virtuous and with better measure of Character than what many ill willed adults are displaying in these modern times.

Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 12:29 PM By Sister Paula
Archbishop Chaput is a shepherd who has internalized the Gospel and proclaims it in a clear manner. Bishops need the prayers of the faithful to lead souls to God. It is very important to pray for those who do not seem to be effective in teaching the Truth. We are all sons and daughters of Adam and Eve and depart from virtue in times of weakness. Bishops need our prayerful support too.

Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 1:49 PM By Catherine
Sister Paula, Your words are beautiful and your words about prayer are excellent. They are so excellent that they inspired me to write the following. St. Peter internalized the gospel and was crucified upside down. Are you comparing the sacrificial excruciating pain of an upside down crucifixion to the discomfort of giving an announcement of the united enforcement of Canon 915? The faithful have been praying for many, many years and will continue to pray for our bishops to be courageous and effective. Unfortunately your words did not halt today’s murdering of 3,500 to 3,700 human beings made in the image and likeness of God. Many pro-abortion, pro-same sex marriage politicians will walk up and receive Holy Communion on Sunday. Have our bishops been given more time in prayer than these babies were given time to live? Saint Teresa of Avila loved to tell her sisters, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Sister Paula, It is time for our bishops to not depart in weakness but to take flight in virtue.

Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 4:52 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
Catherine, 8:21 AM, It was at the PLAN Conference in his then Diocese of Sioux City, and I have since reminded him of it on several occasions. He is absolutely one of the better Shepherds, but he is seriously remiss on fulfilling that solemn promise he made to us and on obedience to Canon 915. God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher

Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 8:00 PM By Catherine
Thank you Kenneth. Let us continue to pray for Archbishop Chaput so that he will fulfill that solemn promise he made to you and other dedicated pro-life Catholics on obedience to Canon 915.

Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 8:18 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
Catherine, Present that day were, the late Fr. Paul Marx, OSB, Joe Scheidler of Pro-Life Action League, Judy Brown of American Life League, the late Pro-Life Andy Anderson, and many others. In fact, since then, Joe and I have discussed it, and I believe I also discussed it with Fr. Marx. God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher

Posted Saturday, January 28, 2012 11:42 PM By Abeca Christian
May God’s graces be received as so that these messages can mean something to the lost and fallen away!

Posted Monday, January 30, 2012 5:07 PM By Catherine
Kenneth Fisher, That is most certainly a very powerful and grace filled group of pro-life people that Archbishop Chaput, made the promise to enforce Canon 915 to. May Obama’s recent removal of religious freedom inspire all of our bishops to unite and courageously enforce Canon 915. St. Peter almost lost courage too but he gathered all of his strength and he returned to Rome to be crucified upside down. Better to be late in courage than never attempted at all.