While Cardinal George, the president of the U.S. bishops conference, is otherwise occupied (see below), Denver’s indefatigable archbishop, Charles J. Chaput, is continuing to take the lead (it seems to me) as the most visible and outspoken member of the American hierarchy.
Chaput is at it again today with a strongly-worded post at the First Things blog, where in an essay called “Vote for Real Hope and Change” (the archbishop doesn’t disguise his intentions!) he takes aim at Obama’s campaign slogan “Yes, we can” and says it might better be reversed to “No, we can’t,” as in no we can’t allow abortion, and no policies to “reduce the need” for abortion are sufficient:
Obviously, we have other important issues facing us this fall: the economy, the war in Iraq, immigration justice. But we can’t build a healthy society while ignoring the routine and very profitable legalized homicide that goes on every day against America’s unborn children. The right to life is foundational. Every other right depends on it. Efforts to reduce abortions, or to create alternatives to abortion, or to foster an environment where more women will choose to keep their unborn child, can have great merit–but not if they serve to cover over or distract from the brutality and fundamental injustice of abortion itself. We should remember that one of the crucial things that set early Christians apart from the pagan culture around them was their rejection of abortion and infanticide. Yet for thirty-five years I’ve watched prominent “pro-choice” Catholics justify themselves with the kind of moral and verbal gymnastics that should qualify as an Olympic event. All they’ve really done is capitulate to Roe v. Wade.
(He also gets a late-but-good lick at the Oba-messiah trend, saying, “The last thing we need in 2008 is the kind of bogus hope rooted in mystical good feeling.”)
As noted in previous posts, he has taken on pro-Obama Catholics (like Doug Kmiec et al) and he has a book coming out just in time for the election’s silly season, “Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life.”
Chaput is taking some novel approaches to arguing his case. Matt Boudway over at dotCommonweal prompted an interesting discussion here about Chaput’s challenge to Catholics who believe they have “proportionate” reasons for voting for Obama:
What is a “proportionate” reason when it comes to the abortion issue? 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 face to face in the next life–which we most certainly will. If we’re confident that these victims will accept our motives as something more than an alibi, then we can proceed.
Is there anyone else out there who matches Chaput–especially now that St. Louis’s Burke has gone to Rome?