Not sectarian to criticise pro-abortion politicians: US bishop

On a visit to Australia, American Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver says that it is not sectarian to criticise pro-abortion policies and politicians.

Catholic News Service reports that Archbishop Chaput was visiting Canberra to address a national congress of Catholic students and young adults.

He said that the abortion issue is one of basic human dignity and not just an issue of concern to Catholic sectarians.

"We're not saying Catholic legislators ought to promote belief in the Trinity," he said.

"Abortion is about killing somebody else. It's about human beings," he said. "Do you keep quiet if someone's going to kill someone else, or do you speak up? And if you don't speak up or you say people have a right to kill someone else, can you honestly say you're in communion with the church?"

Archbishop Chaput said that those American bishops who spoke out on abortion during the last presidential election campaign in 2004, including himself, were not trying to make a name for themselves.

"We're just trying to be faithful to our role as bishops, and we want to remind our people that you can't be a Catholic if you're not a Catholic in ritual and how you lead your life," he said. "And how one votes, and how one leads if one's a political leader is the way you live your life."

Archbishop Chaput was in Australia for a young adult congress called "2028 Congress: The Church and the Next Generation."

Archbishop Chaput, who regularly is outspoken on immigration issues in the US, said he was fascinated by the contrasting receptions received by his comments about the two topics.

"The people who were strongly critical of me for speaking about life issues at the time of the last presidential election have been very encouraging for me to speak up on the immigration issues," he said.

"It seems to me that those who claim separation of the church and state often do that because of a particular issue, not because they have a particular theoretical commitment to separation," he said. "If I speak about something they don't like, I should be separated. If I speak about something they support, they're happy. It's very odd."

He added, "And it cuts both ways, liberal and conservative. What I hope we develop are people who are Catholics, who aren't actually liberal or conservative, but who are just simply Catholic."

Archdiocese of Denver
Australian Catholic Students Association | Towards 2008

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