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Written by Sherry   
Monday, 25 August 2008 16:59
Archbishop Chaput of Denver is smart, savvy, and extremely articulate. I am sure that the image of Nancy Pelosi trying to portray herself as ardent Catholic who was reluctantly convinced by long study of the unsettled state of the Church's teaching on the subject of abortion lifted him to new heights of eloquence.

When I say Chaput is smart, i mean that he carefully retains the distinctions that Catholic teaching on the subject demands even while making as strong a case as he can against abortion.

From the Townhall blog comes these illuminating words from Chaput in an interview about his recent book, Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life.

"But it’s on Page 229. “My friends often ask me if Catholics in genuinely good conscience can vote for a pro-choice candidate. The answer is I couldn’t. Supporting a right to choose abortion simply masks and evades what abortion really is, the deliberate killing of innocent life. I know of nothing that can morally offset that kind of evil.

"I couldn't" The Archbishop carefully retains the distinction between his personal prudential judgement of the situation and his teaching office as Bishop.

And then goes to outline a different scenario in response to another question:

"Archbishop, I want to go back to the abortion discussion. Quoting again from one of the later chapters in your book, “One of the pillars of Catholic thought is this – don’t deliberately kill the innocent, and don’t collude in allowing it. We sin if we support candidates because they support a false right to abortion. We sin if we support pro-choice candidates without a truly proportionate reason for doing so, that is a reason grave enough to outweigh our obligation to end the killing of the unborn. And what would a proportionate reason look like? It would be a reason we could, with an honest heart, expect the unborn victims of abortion to accept when we meet them and need to explain our actions as we someday will.” Are you aware of any such proportionate actions out there, proportionate reasons right now, Archbishop?

CC: Well, let me give you two answers to that. You know, as I say, it’s hard for me to come to the conclusion there are proportionate reasons.

But here’s a case where I’m certain there would be. If you have two candidates running for the same office, they’re the only choices, both of them are pro-choice, but one is much better on the other issues than the other. I think that you can choose the lesser of two evils with a clear conscience.

You don’t have to. You can decide not to vote, or you can vote for a third person who couldn’t be elected. But in those circumstances, you would be voting for a pro-choice candidate, but not because the person is pro-choice, but because the alternative is a worse situation.

I also know that, and this is the second point, I know many good Catholics who have given a lot of serious thought to the abortion issue, and will still vote for a candidate who is pro-choice. They’ll try to discourage that person from holding that position, they’ll work really hard within their party to get the party to change its platform if it’s pro-abortion. But they’ve kind of examined all the issues, and weighed them together, and still feel that in a particular situation, that the candidate that they are going to vote for who is pro-choice is a better of the two. And the Church, you know, says you can do that if you have a truly proportionate reason.

And I hope they work hard at it, and I don’t always understand how they arrive at their conclusion. It’s hard to imagine in my mind anything worse than the destruction of more than a million unborn children in our country every year through abortion. But I think that sincere people really do arrive at those conclusions sometimes."

 

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