Archbishop Chaput Weighs In Again

Tonight Denver’s Archbishop Charles Chaput gave an address at a dinner for the national Catholic women’s group ENDOW (Educating on the Nature and Dignity of Women), in which he critiqued the arguments of Prof. Doug Kmiec in favor of voting for Senator Obama, despite his stance on abortion. A condensed and adapted version of the address can be found online here at the Witherspoon Institute’s website (the same place one can find the essay by Prof. Robert George on Obama’s abortion extremism which other contributors have previously mentioned).

Rather than recap the entire address by the archbishop, I’ll draw attention to just one portion of the address, notable to me for the strength of their tone and rhetoric:

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. Anyone interested in Senator Obama’s record on abortion and related issues should simply read Prof. Robert P. George’s Public Discourse essay from earlier this week, ”Obama’s Abortion Extremism,” and his follow-up article, ‘‘Obama and Infanticide.” They say everything that needs to be said.

Indeed.

As I’ve noted elsewhere, the complete irrationality and lack of judgment which is required for someone to hold the positions which Senator Obama does on these matters makes it absolutely impossible for me to vote for him. Yet somehow, this complete, utter and thorough lapse in judgment and sound thinking doesn’t deeply trouble pro-life Catholics like Prof. Kmiec and others. It vexes me. I am terribly vexed.

14 Responses to Archbishop Chaput Weighs In Again

  • Donald R. McClarey says:

    I don’t think Kmiec is pro-life, certainly not anymore. Anyone who could vote for Obama obviously doesn’t care a fig for stopping abortion.

  • I agree that it stretches charity to the point of dishonesty to say that Kmiec, Cafardi, and their ilk are voting for Obama in spite of his position on abortion. Their circumlocutions around the issue are indicative of, at best, a near-complete disinterest in the issue of abortion, as well as a total disregard for the teaching of the universal church and the American bishops (except insofar as they can take a quote out of context to support their point) on the question.

    This might actually be the case, but the observed facts are much better explained by positing the theory that Kmiec, Cafardi and the rest are simply pro-abortion. Occam’s Razor, and all that, you know.

    That Kmiec previously supported Romney for President, to my mind, merely serves now to reinforce my earlier mistrust of Romney’s alleged conversion to the pro-life side.

  • Gerard E. says:

    I don’t take Kmiec at his word. I think he’s just a grubby sellout. Or campaigning for a Deputy Attorney General job. Somewhat contagious this time of year. Like our PA Governor Fast Ed Rendell begging pleading imploring the state legislature to agree to a universal health care plan in the Commonwealth. Seemed to me a pursuit of HHS Secretary in the Obama Administration. The legislators in their wisdom broke camp and went home with the matter left on their desks. Oh dear. Eddie may have to complete the full final two years as governor. Such a burden to maintain one’s responsibilitiesw.

  • Kyle R. Cupp says:

    I agree with Chris that while one may disagree with Obama supporters’ arguments in favor of Obama, one should not therefore dismiss their pro-life convictions. First, to do so is illogical. The conclusion that Obama Supporter X isn’t pro-life does not follow logically from the premise that he supports Obama. For example, having bad arguments or misapplying principles doesn’t necessitate having no principles. Second, I think we should strive to understand others as they understand themselves. That’s a prerequisite for honest dialogue and debate. Assuming the worst motives for people with whom one disagrees hinders the goal of persuading them.

  • Donald R. McClarey says:

    I respectfully disagree with both you and Chris, Kyle. It is a trite saying, “Actions speak louder than words.”, but also a true one. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Someone who voted for a pro-slavery candidate in the 1850s forfeited the right to be called an opponent of slavery. Someone who voted for Hitler in the 1920s in Weimar Germany forfeited the right to be considered to be a foe of anti-semitism. Someone who voted for McGovern in 72 could not be considered to be a hawk on Vietnam. To talk in one manner and then to act in another tells us that the talk is only talk.

  • catholicdemocrat says:

    I agree with Chris.

    Neither political party truly encompasses all the “right” positions. Now someone may be sincerely pro-life and decide to vote for a pro-choice candidate for what they believe to be “proportionate reasons.” We certaily (and I think we all do) believe they’re profoundly mistaken, but we cannot objectively judge the convictions in their heart solely based on their actions. Though we can say that their attempts to paint Obama as a more pro-life candidate that Catholics ought to be supporting is intellectual suicide.

  • Donald, to be clear, my previous comment wasn’t meant as a “gotcha”… as is obvious, I don’t buy the logic which would lead a pro-lifer to vote for Obama, but — as my comment indicates, and as catholicdemocrat notes — I think it’s an error to conclude that someone who votes for Obama is therefore actually in support of abortion rights. Archbishop Chaput notes that it is technically possible to vote for a pro-abortion rights candidate as a pro-lifer in good conscience, although perhaps with erroneous reasoning.

  • Donald R. McClarey says:

    I don’t mind “gotcha” resonses Chris, after all I am an attorney! “Gotcha” questions and “gotcha” responses are the common coin of my profession. I do not view yours as a “gotcha” response. We simply disagree.

    I vote for McCain not because he is perfect on pro-life issues. I too deplore his stance on ESR, for instance. I vote for him because he is infinitely better than Obama on abortion and euthanasia. I am a pro-lifer as you are. For pro-lifers abortion should be a make or break issue when it comes to voting. “Pro-lifers” of the Kmiec stamp, in spite of all their talk about the evil of abortion, cast their votes for a man who will do his best to ensure that the abortion on demand regime of Roe is strengthened and made permanent. That is why I view the protestations of such people that they remain pro-life with complete disbelief.

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