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.(Please God, give him LA and let him go to town on the liberals there. This man is probably the best all-around bishop in the country.)
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. The latest flare-up was set off last April, when during the Masses with the pope on his visits to Washington and New York, the “pro-choice” Catholics Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, and Rudolph Giuliani received communion.
But Chaput’s book goes much deeper. It urges Catholics to live their faith to the full, without compromise. If American Catholics are going through a crisis of faith, of mission, and of leadership – he writes – the task of overcoming this belongs to all, to the faithful as to the bishops.
And this task has repercussions for the entire world. American Catholics cannot tolerate it if the United States exports violence, greed, and disdain for human life. They must work actively to bring their nation back to being a beacon of civilization, of religious harmony, of freedom, of respect for the person.
Chaput’s book has also elicited strong interest in Rome. The same day on which it came out in the bookstores, August 12, “L’Osservatore Romano” dedicated an extensive review to it, written by Robert Imbelli, a priest of the archdiocese of New York and a professor of theology at Boston College.
Here below is an extract from the book, followed by the review published in “L’Osservatore Romano”
A tale of two bishops
From “Render Unto Caesar”, beginning of chapter 4, pages 55-58.
by Charles J. Chaput
Archbishop Joseph Rummel served the Catholic people of New Orleans from 1935 until his death in 1964. By the 1950s, he faced an increasingly ugly problem. The Archdiocese of New Orleans had the largest Catholic population in the Deep South and many thousands of black Catholics. It also had segregated schools. Rummel and previous bishops had always ensured that black students had access to Catholic education. However, segregated parochial schools had the same scarce money and poor quality as the segregated public schools.
After World War II, Rummel began desegregating the local Church. In 1948, his seminary welcomed two black students. In 1951, Rummel pulled the “white” and “colored” signs from Catholic parishes. In 1953, a year before the U.S. Supreme Court struck down segregation in public schools, he issued the first of two strong pastoral letters: “Blessed Are the Peacemakers.” Pastors read it to their people at every Mass one Sunday. In it, Rummel condemned segregation. It drew a quick response. Some parishioners bitterly resented hearing from the pulpit that “there be no further discrimination or segregation in the pews, at the Communion rail, at the confessional and in parish meetings, just as there will be no segregation in the kingdom of heaven.”
In 1956, Rummel said he intended to desegregate Catholic schools. Tempers ran hot. Most parish school boards voted against desegregation. Rummel didn’t budge. A year earlier, he had closed a parish when its people objected to their newly assigned black priest. But to compound the archbishop’s troubles, many parents had moved their children from public to Catholic schools, hoping to avoid desegregation. Members of the Louisiana legislature threatened to withhold then-available public funds for Catholic schools if Rummel went ahead with his plans.
In early 1962, Rummel said that in the following year, Catholic schools would integrate. Several Catholic politicians organized public protests and letter-writing campaigns. They threatened a boycott of Catholic schools. On April 16, 1962, Rummel excommunicated three prominent Catholics – a judge, a political writer and a community organizer – for publicly defying the teaching of their Church.
The New Orleans events made national news, covered by “Time” magazine and the “New York Times.” The “Times” editorial board gushed that “men of all faiths must admire [Rummel’s] unwavering courage” because he has “set an example founded on religious principle and is responsive to the social conscience of our time.”
In 2004, another archbishop, Raymond Burke of St. Louis, drew national headlines. In his final weeks as bishop of La Crosse, Wisconsin, he asked three Catholic public figures to refrain from presenting themselves for Communion. He then asked his priests to withhold Communion from Catholic public officials who supported abortion rights. The three offending politicians claimed merely to be pro-choice. In Burke’s view, though, their actions showed a material support for abortion and a stubborn disregard for their own faith. All three had voted for or otherwise supported forcing Catholic hospitals to provide abortions. In effect, they had publicly tried to coerce the Church to violate her teaching on a serious sanctity-of-life issue.
Burke’s action, though softer than Rummel’s, made quite a few enemies, even among people who saw themselves as Catholic. Unlike Rummel, Burke received no glowing praise from the “New York Times”. He got rather different treatment from the news media. But again like Rummel, he hadn’t checked with the “Times” for its approval. What the “Times” thought didn’t matter. What the Church believed, did.
The moral of our story is this: First, when Catholics take their Church seriously and act on her teaching in the world, somebody, and often somebody with power, won’t like it. Second, in recent American politics, the line that divides “prophetic witness” from “violating the separation of Church and state” usually depends on who draws the line, who gets offended–and by what issue. The line wanders conveniently. But Catholics, in seeking to live their faith, can’t follow convenience…. (Source)
The pinheads in our political culture (predominantly from the Left) who want to pigeon hole the Catholic Church into “conservative” or “liberal” can only do so through their silly myopia. They don’t understand the Church as an institution which has spanned over 2000 years and can be on either side of a political issue. Instead today, they treat the Church as some kind of “conservative boogeyman”. Not that that is a bad thing in this wicked age, of course, because if the Church did not oppose the sexologists, we’d have no hope, but there was a time, as + Chaput mentions above, when Catholics were on the other side of the aisle. In those days, the good ol’ boys were trying to teach the Church about how segregation was a great and necessary thing and how Blacks were inferior to Whites. Archbishop Rummel corrected them and later excommunicated three of them. Back in the early ’60s, the Catholic Church in the Southern U.S. was considered a liberal rag in the Southern States because of its position on the equality of the races. It’s not that the Church changed her position, it’s that She has the courage to call her people to the Gospel. The same challenge exists today, except it’s with the pro-aborts who style themselves Catholic. It’s not too different than a good ol’ boy putting on his mask for a KKK meeting on Saturday evening (even though the Klan hated Catholics, of course), then showing up for Mass on Sunday morning. That’s kind of what pro-abort “Catholics” do today.
And the same thing has to happen to them as what happened to the good ol’ boys in 1962.
Kick them out if they remain obstinate in their support for murdering unborn children.