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abp. chaput and the political football of abortion

In a recent column in Commonweal (subscription required), Melinda Henneberger interviews Archbishop Chaput of Denver on the question of “Catholic” politics.
Related to politics, I only know of the uproar after Archbishop Chaput criticized John Kerry’s indifference to the abortion issue while claiming to be Catholic.
The interview gives him a much more balanced light than the secular media did after the comments. I respect Commonweal’s copyright, so I won’t go too into it besides this quote:
“I’ve never spoken about either candidate personally [Kerry or Bush], but I would say taht, theoretically, someone who says he’s against abortion is further along the road to doing something about it than someone who’s indifferent to the question… You can have good Catholics who say they’re not for the criminalization of abortion, or they want to take gradual steps toward eliminating it by convincing the public that this is a bad thing. Those are all legitimate political positions–as long as you’re really moving toward the goal of protecting unborn human life. You at least have to have the goal.”
All this from the Archbishop that was seen during the election as being one of the most hardcore right-wing promoters.
Another interesting point, the Archbishop makes earlier in the interview:
“One thing I do hope flows from [the Catholic-political question of the 2004 campaign] is that we all come to understand that labeling ourselves as Catholic doesn’t mean we are. It isn’t a heritage we recieve from our families; it’s a choice we make personally… I’ve never been convinced that the fact that someone says, ‘I’m a Catholic,’ or ‘Gosh, I was an altar boy,’ qualified him to claim that he’s Catholic. And we’re all sinners, of course, but its a different kind of violation of God’s law to claim that the law doesn’t make a difference than [it is] to break the law.”
If you’re interested in receiving Commonweal and you’ll be a current student next academic year at UT, let me know. For next school year, they usually offer a very limited number of subscriptions to college students.

By Brandon Kraft

My life is an open-source book.

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