Chaput on ‘Probama’ Catholics

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver.
Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver. (photo: UPI)

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver is not one to mince words on important subjects.

On Friday, in a talk he delivered in Denver, Archbishop Chaput dismissed claims that a candidate as pro-abortion as Barack Obama can be considered an acceptable choice for Catholic voters.

And he specifically rejected the arguments put forward by Catholic law professor Doug Kmiec in trying to make the case that Obama deserves Catholic support.

Noted Archbishop Chaput, “I believe that Senator Obama, whatever his other talents, is the most committed ‘abortion-rights’ presidential candidate of either major party since the Roe v. Wade abortion decision in 1973. Despite what Prof. Kmiec suggests, the party platform Senator Obama runs on this year is not only aggressively ‘pro-choice’; it has also removed any suggestion that killing an unborn child might be a regrettable thing. On the question of homicide against the unborn child — and let’s remember that the great Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer explicitly called abortion ‘murder’ — the Democratic platform that emerged from Denver in August 2008 is clearly anti-life.”

Said the archbishop, “Prof. Kmiec argues that there are defensible motives to support Senator Obama. Speaking for myself, I do not know any proportionate reason that could outweigh more than 40 million unborn children killed by abortion and the many millions of women deeply wounded by the loss and regret abortion creates. To suggest — as some Catholics do — that Senator Obama is this year’s ‘real’ prolife candidate requires a peculiar kind of self-hypnosis, or moral confusion, or worse. To portray the 2008 Democratic Party presidential ticket as the preferred ‘prolife’ option is to subvert what the word ‘prolife’ means.”

Continued Archbishop Chaput, “Of course, these are simply my personal views as an author and private citizen. But I’m grateful to Prof. Kmiec for quoting me in his book and giving me the reason to speak so clearly about our differences. I think his activism for Senator Obama, and the work of Democratic-friendly groups like Catholics United and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, have done a disservice to the Church, confused the natural priorities of Catholic social teaching, undermined the progress pro-lifers have made, and provided an excuse for some Catholics to abandon the abortion issue instead of fighting within their parties and at the ballot box to protect the unborn.

“And here’s the irony. None of the Catholic arguments advanced in favor of Senator Obama are new. They’ve been around, in one form or another, for more than 25 years. All of them seek to ‘get beyond’ abortion, or economically reduce the number of abortions, or create a better society where abortion won’t be necessary. All of them involve a misuse of the seamless garment imagery in Catholic social teaching. And all of them, in practice, seek to contextualize, demote and then counterbalance the evil of abortion with other important but less foundational social issues. This is a great sadness. As Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George said recently, too many Americans have ‘no recognition of the fact that children continue to be killed [by abortion], and we live therefore, in a country drenched in blood. This can’t be something you start playing off pragmatically against other issues.’”

The above is only the start of Archbishop Chaput’s forceful and eloquent demolition of the arguments of pro-Obama Catholics like Kmiec. A condensed version of his entire talk on the subject is available here.

It’s a must-read for Catholic voters.