Voices for Life would like to extend a Happy Birthday wish to his excellency, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of our home Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
In honor of his birthday, we would like to share several of his provocative and bold pro-life quotes. Many come from articles he was quoted in.
“We’re Catholics before we’re Democrats. We’re Catholics before we’re Republicans. We’re even Catholics before we’re Americans because we know that God has a demand on us prior to any government demand on us. And this has been the story of the martyrs through the centuries.” (Archbishop Chaput: Catholic teaching trumps party loyalty on abortion)
The deliberate killing of innocent life is a uniquely wicked act. No amount of contextualizing or deflecting our attention to other issues can obscure that. (CatholicPhilly.com 8/10/2015)
“But being ‘right’ in such matters can never excuse a wrong choice regarding direct attacks on innocent human life. Indeed, the failure to protect and defend life in its most vulnerable stages renders suspect any claims to the ‘rightness’ of positions in other matters affecting the poorest and least powerful of the human community. If we understand the human person as the ‘temple of the Holy Spirit’ — the living house of God — then these latter issues fall logically into place as the crossbeams and walls of that house. All direct attacks on innocent human life, such as abortion and euthanasia, strike at the house’s foundation. These directly and immediately violate the human person’s most fundamental right — the right to life. Neglect of these issues is the equivalent of building our house on sand. Such attacks cannot help but lull the social conscience in ways ultimately destructive of other human rights.” (Lifenews.com article 10/27/2013).
“Abortion kills a child, it wounds a precious part of a woman’s own dignity and identity, and it steals hope. That’s why it’s wrong. That’s why it needs to end. That’s why we march.” (Georgetown University, January 22nd, 2012)
“There is unity among the bishops about abortion always being wrong, and that you can’t be a Catholic and be in favor of abortion – the bishops all agree to that – but there’s just an inability among the bishops together to speak clearly on this matter and even to say that if you’re Catholic and you’re pro-choice, you can’t receive Holy Communion,” (Notre Dame Right to Life Lecture Series)
“We need to fight for what we believe. Nothing we do to defend the human person, no matter how small, is ever unfruitful or forgotten. Our actions touch other lives and move other hearts in ways we can never fully understand in this world. Don’t ever underestimate the beauty and power of the witness you give in your pro-life work.” (Be courageous Catholics, Archbishop Chaput urges Notre Dame students)
From his 2008 book Render Unto Ceasar. You can order your copy here
“When Catholics oppose abortion, they do so not because of some special Catholic religious doctrine or simply because the church says so. Rather, the church teaches abortion is wrong because it already is. Abortion violates the universal natural law by abusing the inherent human rights of the unborn child. The injustice of genocide, oppressing the poor, the killing of unborn children is not a matter of religious doctrine. It’s a matter of natural law.” – p. 83.
“When the U.S. bishops issued Living the Gospel of Life, they applied the best of John Paul’s encyclical to the American experience. Not surprisingly, no other document ever issued by the American bishops on political responsibility has the clarity, coherence, and force of Living the Gospel of Life. The only sadness is that so few Catholics seem to know about it. In fact, if this book does nothing more than lead more people to read and act on Living the Gospel of Life, it will have partly served its purpose.”– p.3
What needs to be done by Catholics today for their country? The answer is: Don’t lie. If we say we’re Catholic, we need to prove it. America’s public life needs people willing to stand alone, without apologies, for the truth of the Catholic faith and the common human values it defends. One person can make a difference – if that individual has a faith he or she is willing to suffer for.” – p.197
“In our day, sanctity-of-life issues are foundational – not because of anyone’s ‘religious’ views about abortion, although these are important; but because the act of dehumanizing and killing the unborn child attacks human dignity in a uniquely grave way. Deliberately killing the innocent is always, inexcusably wrong. It sets a pattern of contempt for every other aspect of human dignity. In redefining when human life begins and what is and isn’t a human person, the logic behind permissive abortion makes all human rights politically contingent.” – p. 207
“The church claims no right to dominate the secular realm. But she has every right – in fact, an obligation – to engage secular authority and to challenge those wielding it to live the demands of justice. In this sense, the Catholic Church cannot stay, has never stayed, and never will stay ‘out of politics.’ Politics involves the exercise of power. The use of power has moral content and human consequences. And the well-being and destiny of the human person is very much the concern, and the special competence, of the Christian community.” – p. 217-218.
Quotes from his 2017 book Strangers in a Strange Land: Living the Catholic Faith in a Post-Christian World
“It’s rather odd that in the wake of the bloodiest century in history—a twentieth century in which scores of millions of human beings were shot, starved, gassed, blown apart, and incinerated with superhuman ingenuity—even many religious leaders are embarrassed to talk about the devil (Pope Francis is a notable exception). In fact, it’s more than odd. It’s revealing.”
“It’s easier to accept lies by invoking a misguided alibi of tolerance and mutual respect than to live outside the cone of public approval. This is clear in every recent national debate over abortion, marriage, family, sexuality, and rights in general. Many of us are happy to live with half-truths and ambiguity rather than risk being cut out of the herd. The culture of lies thrives on our own complicity, lack of courage, and self-deception.”
“People who hold a classic understanding of sexuality, marriage, and family have gone in just twenty years from pillars of mainstream conviction to the media equivalent of racists and bigots.”
“The right to life is the foundation of every other right, which makes intentionally killing an unborn child, or encouraging, enabling, or deliberately tolerating such a killing, a uniquely vile act. Saying this, of course, absolves no one from working to help the poor, the immigrant, and the homeless. Quite the opposite. If we call ourselves Christians, we have duties on a whole range of urgent social concerns. But sexuality-related issues are not a separate, idiosyncratic corner of Catholic thought.”
“Mercy begins with a deep awareness of one’s own need for it. Whereas Alinsky first sees injustice in others, the man of mercy first sees sin within himself.”
Your excellency, we thank you for your leadership, guidance, wisdom, humility, and your fortitude. But most important of all, your zeal to raise the Catholic Church in Philadelphia from the ashes with you charitable truth. We also thank you for encouraging pro-lifers to never be discouraged but encouraged in all the good that we do to build a culture of life from the moment of conception until natural death.