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11 / 02 / 2009 - Archbishop Chaput Warns Ireland against Compromising with `Pluralism` and `Abortion Reduction Strategies`
Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver brought his experience in America's pro-life movement across the Atlantic in a recent trip to Ireland, where he told pro-lifers to avoid pitfalls such as being silenced by calls for "pluralism," compromising with "abortion reduction" strategists, or succumbing to party politics.
Chaput, one of the leading voices among U.S. bishops in the pro-life movement, began by noting the "schizophrenia" legalized abortion has inflicted on America's culturally religious society. "Most believe abortion is wrong. But most also want it legal under some limited circumstances," said the archbishop.
Chaput then offered the crowd a list of "do's" and "don'ts" for the pro-life movement. First, he said, don't give in to those who say "religion is divisive, or intellectually backward, or that it has no proper place in the public square.
"This wrong thinking is now so common that any religiously grounded political action can be portrayed as crossing the border between Church and state affairs." The archbishop likened the use of the word "pluralism" in America to "a kind of voodoo shield to get religious people to stop talking about right and wrong."
"In reality, our moral beliefs always shape social policy. Real pluralism actually demands that people with different beliefs should pursue their beliefs energetically in the public square. This is the only way a public debate can be honest and fruitful."
The archbishop also warned against the American tendency to equate the abortion debate with party politics. "The fast pace of party politics, and the illusion that politics rules the 'commanding heights' of our society and can fulfill our Christian social obligations, makes political life very addictive," noted Chaput. "And this illusion gets dangerous when defending the unborn child is too closely identified with any particular politician or, even worse, one specific party. The more pro-lifers tie themselves to a single political party, the less they can speak to society at large."
Chaput also issued a warning against those who insist that pro-lifers should compromise with "pro-choice" supporters to establish "common ground" by tackling economic and health issues to reduce abortions, rather than pursuing the "divisive" goal of making abortion illegal.
But Americans, said Chaput, did not take the "gradual, social improvement" road to eliminating the evil of slavery. "Nor have I ever heard anyone suggest that the best way to deal with murder, rape or domestic abuse is to improve the availability of health care and job training," said the archbishop. "We make rape illegal - even though we know it will still sometimes tragically occur - because rape is gravely evil. It's an act of violence, and the law should proscribe it.
"If we really believe that abortion is an intimate act of violence, then we can't aim at anything less than ending abortion. It doesn't matter that some abortions have always occurred, and some will always occur. If we really believe that abortion kills a developing unborn life, then we can never be satisfied with mere 'reductions' in the body count."
Chaput noted that when Obama opened taxpayer funding to overseas abortion organizations by repealing the Mexico City Policy, his explanation was "that it was time to put this 'divisive issue behind us,' once and for all."
"There's something a little odd about rhetoric that tells that we're the 'divisive' ones, and lectures adult citizens about what we should challenge, and when we should stop. In a democracy, we get to decide that for ourselves," said Chaput.
Urging the audience to keep the Christian spirit of joy and hope alive, Chaput mused, "I've never in my life seen a joy-filled pro-abortion event. And I've always found that instructive."
The final point Chaput offered was to remember that "renewing the culture, not gaining power, is our ultimate goal" - one he said the pro-life movement is already beginning to achieve, as evidenced by the numbers showing rising support for life among Americans.
"We need to work to change the culture," he said, "And that demands a lifelong commitment to education, Christian formation and, ultimately, conversion. Only saints really change the world. And there lies our ultimate victory: If we change one heart at a time, while we save one unborn life at a time, the day will come when we won't need to worry about saving babies, because they'll be surrounded by a loving, welcoming culture."
(To view Archbishop Chaput's full address, go to: http://www.archden.org/index.cfm/ID/1406 )
Source: Kathleen Gilbert - LifeSiteNews.com