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battles old & new

By Diogenes (articles ) | Nov 05, 2007

Great remarks by Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver given at St. John's University Law School in Queens. Take a glance at the excerpts below, and consider the impact they'd have were they delivered by an Archbishop Niederauer or a Cardinal Mahony:

As this audience already knows, Christian reverence for the unborn child is no medieval development. It comes from the very beginnings of our faith. The early Church had no debates over politicians and communion. There wasn't any need. No persons who tolerated or promoted abortion would have dared to approach the Eucharistic table, let alone dared to call themselves true Christians.

And here's why: The early Christians understood that they were the offspring of a new worldwide family of God. They saw the culture around them as a culture of death, a society that was slowly extinguishing itself. ...

There's an interesting line in a Second Century apologetic work written by Minucius Felix. He was a Roman lawyer and a convert. He's talking about a birth-control drug that works as an abortifacient. He describes its effects this way: "There are women who swallow drugs to stifle in their own womb the beginnings" of a person to be.

That's what the first Christians saw around them in their world. They believed the world was snuffing out its own future. It was stifling future generations before they could come to be. It was slowly killing itself.

Since we see similar signs in our own day, we need to find the courage those first Christians had in challenging their culture. We need to believe not only what they believed. We need to believe those things with the same deep fervor. ...

It's time for all of us who claim to be "Catholic" to recover our Catholic identity as disciples of Jesus Christ and missionaries of his Church. In the long run, we serve our country best by remembering that we're citizens of heaven first. We're better Americans by being more truly Catholic -- and the reason why, is that unless we live our Catholic faith authentically, with our whole heart and our whole strength, we have nothing worthwhile to bring to the public debates that will determine the course of our nation.

Pluralism in a democracy doesn't mean shutting up about inconvenient issues. It means speaking up -- respectfully, in a spirit of justice and charity, but also vigorously and without apologies. Jesus said that we will know the truth, and the truth will make us free.

If pagan Rome could be won for Jesus Christ, surely we can do the same in our own world. What it takes is the zeal and courage to live what we claim to believe.

Worth a read in its entirety. Tip to Rich Leonardi.

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Show 8 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Nov. 09, 2007 9:21 PM ET USA

    "on staff a non-Catholic professionals who will refer rape victims to hospitals that will administer Plan B." That reminds me of the Roman occupation of Judea in which certain Jews (despised by their fellow Jews of course) would "turn" for the Roman authorities.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 08, 2007 9:05 AM ET USA

    Judas: let me rephrase my statement: "Will Bp Chaput remove the Catholic identity from the hospitals in the Denver archdiocese that are now required by law to either administer or refer rape victims for Plan B abortifacients?" Bp Sheridan of Colorado Springs has been quoted by LifeNews that he would withdraw the Catholic identity from the Catholic hospital in Colo Springs if it got tied up in the Plan B referral/administration business. Right now, there is talk that in Denver the Catholic hospitals will keep the title Catholic (over which the Bp has complete control) and have on staff a non-Catholic professionals who will refer rape victims to hospitals that will administer Plan B. Plan B acts as an abortifacient if it is administered more than 36 hours (I think) after the insemination. Such a plan by Chaput would make him an accessory to abortion. We have been here before. In 1988, the BP of Cleveland pulled the title Catholic from St Thomas hospital in Akron, after it was found they were referring girls for abortions.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 07, 2007 9:26 AM ET USA

    Shrink, I do not believe that Bishop Sheridan has the power or authority to close any "Catholic" hospital. Catholic hospitals, like Catholic colleges are generally quite independent of local episcopal control, are are set up intentionally to make diocesan oversight difficult. At best, Bp. Sheridan may elect to remove the "Catholic"identity of the hospital, but most decisions are made by largely non-Catholic hospital boards.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 06, 2007 7:01 AM ET USA

    I wish there were a hundred more bishops like Chaput, but the comments on the differences between all of the bishops' "talk" and "walk" are valid. "What you do speaks so loud I can not hear what you say."

  • Posted by: - Nov. 05, 2007 7:45 PM ET USA

    Shrink: The answer to question one is no, and the answer to question 2 is yes.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 05, 2007 7:13 PM ET USA

    Excellent. Archbishop Pell of Australia also has very insightful and challenging comments in his talks... see Catholic Culture website.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 05, 2007 5:00 PM ET USA

    The Archbishop has “walked the walk” for years, and there is no reason to suspect that he will not continue to do so. The U.S. would be so much better off if there were a dozen or more Bishops like Archbishop Chaput.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 05, 2007 11:41 AM ET USA

    All very interesting. Bishop Chaput talks the talk, but does he walk the walk? These questions remain unanswered for Bishop Chaput (1) Will Chaput take the same step as Bishop Sheridan and close his Catholic hospitals in the diocese as a response to the Colorado's "Catholic" Governor's "Plan B" initiative (which mandates referral for the morning after pill after rape)? (2) Will the Kennedys, Bidens, Dodds, and Kerrys be welcome in the holy communion lines come next August when the Democrat National Conventions comes to Denver?

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