Skip to comments.Archbishop Chaput's column: Some personal thoughts on the months ahead [Trump, Hillary equally bad.]
Posted on 08/13/2016 8:43:50 PM PDT by Arthur McGowan
My column this week is a collection of personal comments. Read it as thoughts from a brother in the faith, not as teachings from an archbishop.
Presidential campaigns typically hit full stride after Labor Day in an election year. But 2016 is a year in which two prominent Catholics a sitting vice president, and the next vice presidential nominee of his party both seem to publicly ignore or invent the content of their Catholic faith as they go along. And meanwhile, both candidates for the nations top residence, the White House, have astonishing flaws.
This is depressing and liberating at the same time. Depressing, because its proof of how polarized the nation has become. Liberating, because for the honest voter, its much easier this year to ignore the routine tribal loyalty chants of both the Democratic and Republican camps. Ive been a registered independent for a long time and never more happily so than in this election season. Both major candidates are whats the right word? so problematic that NEITHER IS CLEARLY BETTER THAN THE OTHER. [Emphasis added.]
As Forbes magazine pointed out some months ago, the Republican candidate is worth roughly $4.5 billion. The Democratic candidate is worth roughly $45 million. Compare that with the average American household, which is worth about $144,000. The median U.S. income is about $56,000. Neither major candidate lives anywhere near the solar system where most Americans live, work and raise families. Nonetheless, were asked to trust them.
Thats a big ask. One candidate in the view of a lot of people is an eccentric businessman of defective ethics whose bombast and buffoonery make him inconceivable as president. And the other in the view of a lot of people should be under criminal indictment. The fact that shes not again, in the view of a lot of people proves Orwells Animal Farm principle that all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.
So what are we to do this election cycle as Catholic voters? Note that by Catholic, I mean people who take their faith seriously; people who actually believe what the Catholic faith holds to be true; people who place it first in their loyalty, thoughts and actions; people who submit their lives to Jesus Christ, to Scripture and to the guidance of the community of belief we know as the Church.
Anyone else who claims the Catholic label is simply fooling himself or herself and even more importantly, misleading others.
The American bishops offer valuable counsel in their document Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship (available from the USCCB), and this year especially, they ask us to pray before we vote. This is hardly new news. Prayer is always important. In a year when each Catholic voter must choose between deeply flawed options, prayer is essential. And prayer involves more than mumbling a Hail Mary before we pull the voting booth lever for someone we see as the lesser of two evils. Prayer is a conversation, an engagement of the soul with God. It involves listening for Gods voice and educating our consciences.
Its absurd in fact, its blasphemous to assume that God prefers any political party in any election year. But God, by his nature, is always concerned with good and evil and the choices we make between the two. For Catholics, no political or social issue stands in isolation. But neither are all pressing issues equal in foundational importance or gravity. The right to life undergirds all other rights and all genuine social progress. It cannot be set aside or contextualized in the name of other rights or priorities without prostituting the whole idea of human dignity.
God created us with good brains. It follows that he will hold us accountable to think deeply and clearly, rightly ordering the factors that guide us, before we act politically. And yet modern American life, from its pervasive social media that too often resemble a mobocracy, to the relentless catechesis of consumption on our TVs, seems designed to do the opposite. It seems bent on turning us into opinionated and distracted cattle unable to gain mastery over our own appetites and thoughts. Thinking and praying require silence, and the only way we can get silence is by deciding to step back and unplug.
This year, a lot of good people will skip voting for president but vote for the down ticket names on their partys ballot; or vote for a third party presidential candidate; or not vote at all; or find some mysterious calculus that will allow them to vote for one or the other of the major candidates. I dont yet know which course Ill personally choose. Its a matter properly reserved for every citizens informed conscience.
But I do know a few of the things Ill be reading between now and November. The list is not exclusive or comprehensive. But this year these particular titles seem especially urgent:
Living the Gospel of Life. This 1998 pastoral letter of the U.S. bishops remains the best brief guide to American Catholic political reflection yet produced. Resurrecting the Idea of a Christian Society by R.R. Reno (Regnery) and Its Dangerous to Believe: Religious Freedom and Its Enemies by Mary Eberstadt (HarperCollins). Both of these books are new, important, a key to understanding the current moment in our national life, and deeply engaging. They need to be discussed and shared widely.
And finally two essays by the late, great Czech writer, Václav Havel, Politics and Conscience and The Power of the Powerless. Both are collected in Open Letters: Selected Writings, 1965-1990 (Vintage Books). Havel was not (to my knowledge) a religious believer, and he wrote as a dissident during an era of Soviet Bloc repression. But his commitment to what he called living in the truth, and his understanding and critique of the weaknesses in Western societies like our own not just Marxist ones were remarkable. They remain relevant right now, today.
The next few months will determine the next decade and more of our nations life. We need to be awake, we need to clear our heads of media noise, and we need to think quietly and carefully before we vote. None of us can afford to live the coming weeks on autopilot.
This might be true but Trump is “bad” for invading foreign criminal freeloaders and refugihadis. Clintoon is “bad” for the American people so I guess you have to decide which group of people you care most about.
Let’s assume that Trump is as crooked as Hillary.
With the press and the government and all the 3 letter agencies hating him like they do he won’t be able to get away with .000001% of the stuff that the Billaries get away with.
That alone makes him a million times more desirable guarding the national assets and the American people.
US Catholic Bishops: Living the Gospel of Life:
Priests for Life Study Guide to the above:
Neither candidate is better than the other? Who is he fooling? Trump for limits on abortion, religious freedom, and re-vamped health care for all, and freedom from government control and subsidiarity. Hillary against or weaker on all? He is wrong.
As a Catholic, I just don’t understand why someone with such a high position in the church, and all his influence, just fails to see the corruption from the Clintons and the democrat party. This is very disappointing.
Almost all of the Catholic bishops, including Chaput, are for unlimited importation of raping, murdering, tubercular illegal aliens, and Muslim warriors. Twenty-five percent of Mexico is now in the U.S. The bishops have never hinted that that’s a problem. Or that 50%, 75%, or 100% would be a problem. The bishops have never hinted that importing more Muslim warriors would be a problem. The bishops have never hinted that the death of 25 Americans each day at the hands of an illegal alien is a problem.
They don’t dare say such things. The wrath of Bergoglio would descend on them like fire and brimstone.
Immigrants vote about 70-80% pro-abortion. The Catholic bishops’ only response is to call for more immigrants.
Guess this Bishop also doesn’t give a hoot about life in the womb, marriage between a man and a women, and religious liberty. He needs to get back into the BOOK.
I read the whole thing, and was going to try to point out a couple of the errors with scriptural references, but you summed it up: “This guy is an idiot.”
Note his implication that anyone who is rich knows nothing about “the common people,” and cannot be trusted. That is pure class envy. Also a common trait of the kind of bishops Paul VI and John Paul II appointed.
It sounds like Charlie Chaput considers abortion to be a minor issue, highlighting the old adage that the road to hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.
“Resurrecting the Idea of a Christian Society” by R. R. Reno
“It’s Dangerous to Believe: Religious Freedom and Its Enemies” by Mary Eberstadt
“Open Letters: Selected Writings, 1965-1990” Reprint Edition
by Vaclav Havel
“Read it as thoughts from a brother in the faith, not as teachings from an archbishop.”
". . . NEITHER IS CLEARLY BETTER THAN THE OTHER. [Emphasis added.] "
Now there's a bit of bearing false witness if I ever saw it. Well, it could be gross ignorance but if that's the case, this guy has no business being a bishop (but in JMHo, that's true of about 2/3 of US Bishops for one reason or another)
If a bishop uses his PROMINENCE and his diocesan newspaper, etc., to broadcast his PERSONAL OPINIONS, then he is abusing his office.
The only time a Catholic bishop should speak or write is when what he is saying MUST BE BELIEVED by all Catholics. In all other cases, he is abusing his office.
I stopped reading at this point. The author is obviously an idiot. I don't waste my time reading the opinions of leftists and other morons.
Notice later, he says that anyone who DOES vote for Trump or Hillary is using “some strange calculus.”
I.e., another way to say that Trump and Hillary are EQUALLY EVIL.
Think he is Native American, and as many are, full of a class envy that affects his thoughts. I base that on his personal correspondences of which I have knowledge. Otherwise, he is smart and orthodox