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Abortion, other moral ills are not equivalent: Archbishop Chaput

August 11, 2015

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia has described abortion as “a uniquely wicked act” which cannot be described as morally equivalent to other sinful deeds.

In a column for his archdiocesan newspaper, Archbishop Chaput expresses his approval for the “seamless garment” approach popularized by the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin. Citing a statement by the US bishops, he says: “Opposition to abortion and euthanasia does not excuse indifference to those who suffer from poverty, violence and injustice.”

Nevertheless the archbishop insists that moral distinctions remain among different offenses against human dignity. “Indeed, the failure to protect and defend life in its most vulnerable stages renders suspect any claims to the ‘rightness’ of positions in other matters affecting the poorest and least powerful of the human community,” he says.

“No amount of contextualizing or deflecting our attention to other issues can obscure” the intrinsic evil of abortion, Archbishop Chaput writes.

The archbishop’s statement, written in response to the effort to stop taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood, contrasts with an earlier statement by Chicago’s Archbishop Blaise Cupich, who said:

While commerce in the remains of defenseless children is particularly repulsive, we should be no less appalled by the indifference toward the thousands of people who die daily for lack of decent medical care; who are denied rights by a broken immigration system and by racism; who suffer in hunger, joblessness and want; who pay the price of violence in gun-saturated neighborhoods; or who are executed by the state in the name of justice.


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  • Posted by: Frodo1945 - Aug. 12, 2015 10:48 AM ET USA

    You can count on Archbishop Chaput. His head is on straight!

  • Posted by: brenda22890 - Aug. 12, 2015 9:46 AM ET USA

    Thank God for Archbishop Chaput, (and the few others), for being willing to speak clearly about the issues of the day, against the increasing tendency within the Church to couch everything in liberal, secular terms.

  • Posted by: Sed contra - Aug. 11, 2015 3:33 PM ET USA

    Abp. Chaput is absolutely right and what he says is completely in line with what then-Cardinal Ratzinger wrote in 2004 to the US Bishops: "Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia." Abp. Cupich's claim that "thousands" die "daily" for lack of medical care seems exaggerated. Furthermore, the Church doesn't consider capital punishment an intrinsic evil (CCC, 2267), so not all those "executed by the state" are necessarily the victims of injustice.