How to Conduct Politics as Catholics. The Denver Memorandum
A book by American archbishop Chaput is making a stir ahead of the presidential elections, against those who want to water down the faith or remove it from the public sphere. "L'Osservatore Romano" is the first to review it, and recommends that it be read "in the United States and elsewhere"
by Sandro Magister
ROMA, August 13, 2008 – A few days ago, a book was released in the United States that will be widely discussed, especially in the run-up to the presidential elections. The author is Charles J. Chaput, archbishop of Denver.
Chaput, 64, born to a farming family in Kansas, is a member of the Native American tribe of the Prairie Band Potawatomi. He is a Franciscan, of the Capuchin order. Before going to Denver, he was bishop of Rapid City in South Dakota. He is among the candidates for two top-level archdioceses waiting for new archbishops: New York and Detroit.
The title of the book itself gives a hint to its contents: "Render Unto Caesar. Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life." It is right to give Caesar what belongs to him. But one serves the nation by living out one's own Catholic faith in political life.
Chaput moves decisively against the prevailing cultural tide in the media, in the universities, among political activists, a tide that wants to thrust the faith from the public stage.
But he is also issuing a challenge to the American Catholic community. There are 69 million Catholics in the United States, one fourth of the population. More than 150 congressmen say they are Catholic. In the Senate, the Catholics are one out of four. They are the majority on the Supreme Court. But, the author of the book asks, what difference do they make?
Among the American bishops, Chaput is one of the most decisive in taking clear positions on abortion, the death penalty, immigration. In the controversy over giving communion to "pro-choice" Catholic politicians, he maintains that those who ignore the Church's teaching on abortion are no longer in communion with the faith. They separate themselves from the community of the faithful. And therefore, if they take Eucharistic communion, they commit an act of dishonesty.
In the United States, this controversy remains highly charged....
continue reading at Chiesa where Sandro Magister has an excerpt from Archbishop Chaput's book. I'm reading it now and it is interesting as he discusses a "Tale of Two Bishops" reaching back in time when Bishop Rummel had fought segregation, discrimination and bigotry in the deep south, then fast-forwarding to 2004 with something Archbishop Burke did.
Good stuff. Read it and pass it along.
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