Franciscan Focus

Just a simple blog of a Secular Franciscan trying to live with a Franciscan focus.
(And one of these days I'll fix the template and add a Search feature. :-P)

12 September 2008

Catholic first 

When asked in an interview, "What should it mean when I'm 'voting Catholic?' ", Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM Cap. replied:

"We should see ourselves as Catholic first -- not white or black, or young or old, or Democrat or Republican, or labor militant or business owner, but Catholic first as the main way we identify ourselves. Our faith should shape our lives, including our political choices. Of course, that demands that we actually study and deepen our Catholic faith. The Catholic faith isn't a set of clothes that we can tailor to a personal fit. We don't 'invent' our faith, and we don't 'own' it. If we really want to be Catholic, then we'll live by Catholic teaching. Otherwise we're just fooling ourselves and abusing the belief of other Catholics who really do try to practice what the Church teaches."

And here's another gem (and please do read the whole interview; it's Most Excellent) in response to the question, "Whenever I write about Catholics and abortion, I am immediately asked, 'What about war? What about the death penalty?' What about them? Can a Catholic vote for Senator 'Surge'? We have killed people in Iraq, after all.' ":

"I've written and spoken against the death penalty for more than 30 years. And along with most other American bishops, I opposed our intervention in Iraq. But these issues are different in kind, not merely degree, from the violence involved in abortion. Anyone rooted in Scripture and Catholic tradition will understand the distinction if he or she reasons honestly. Genocide, euthanasia, abortion, and deliberately targeting civilians in war -- these things are always grievously wrong. But in Catholic thought, war and capital punishment can be morally legitimate under certain carefully defined circumstances. Abortion is never morally justified."

I <3 Archbishop Chaput.

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Blogger Jeff Miller said...

The thing about dissenters is that if you present them with something intrinsically evil they will bring up something that is a prudential decision.

then-Cardinal Ratzinger wrote that people can have differing opinions on the application of the death penalty but not on abortion.

I for one agree with JP2 and would like to see the death penalty severely restricted and I think we should work towards outlawing abortion and restricting the death penalty. But to compare the two is pure relativism. Less than an hour results in more killing than a year of the death penalty. To work towards this goal we need to stop killing the innocent and work towards a culture of life where everyone is treated humanely form conception to natural death.

Next of course they bring up the war in Iraq. I think the invasion of Iraq was quite questionable under just war theory and certainly based on bad intelligence. But now we certainly need to complete the situation as it now stands and pulling out would only lead to a worse situation. The Vatican seems to have this view also. It does drive me crazy when someone will tell me that JP2 or Pope Benedict said the Iraq war was unjust. I always tell them to give me the quote, which of course does not exist. Under just war theory is the government that makes the decision, not the Vatican. Individual Catholics can take their own view based on the evidence, but once again it not the same as something intrinsically evil such as abortion, ESCR, homosexual marriage etc.

Coming back to the great Archbishop Chaput this is one of my favorite quotes.

"What is a proportionate reason when it comes to abortion? It's the kind of reason we will be able to explain, with a clean heart, to the victims of abortion when we meet them in the next life which we certainly will. If we're confident that these victims will accept our motives, then we can proceed."

This cuts to the root of it.

12 September, 2008 21:56  
Blogger Lisa, ofs said...

"The thing about dissenters is that if you present them with something intrinsically evil they will bring up something that is a prudential decision."

Yes, that's exactly what I'd also observed, and for me, it's mostly from my fellow Franciscans. :-(

For just one example, an OFM wrote in a newsletter article, "I know some of you work strenuously to oppose abortion and to provide for other alternatives for women who are facing unwanted pregnancies. I hope you are just as strenuous in opposing the death penalty."

Not. the. same.


12 September, 2008 22:31  
Blogger A Secular Franciscan said...

I am reading Chaput's book,and I am very impressed.

I can't imagine any Catholic not taking abortion into account when voting - yet I hear so many rationalizing voting for a pro-choice candidate because of these other issues. I just keep praying!

14 September, 2008 04:58  

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