â€œWhen people claim theyâ€™re Catholic but do nothing in the public square to advance the Christian understanding of each human personâ€™s dignity, theyâ€™re deceiving themselves and other people — but theyâ€™re not fooling God,â€ the archbishop said, naming areas of concern to Catholics, such as embryonic stem-cell research, abortion, assisted suicide, marriage, immigration, poverty and the disabled.
â€œWe need to drill it into our heads that defending the sanctity of the human person and serving the common good canâ€™t be separated,â€ he said. â€œStuffing our Catholic faith in a closet when we enter the public square or join a public debate isnâ€™t good manners, and it isnâ€™t political courtesy. Itâ€™s cowardice. And weâ€™ll be judged for that cowardice by the God who created us.â€
â€œItâ€™s always easier to talk about social justice or political reform when the target of the reform is â€˜out there,â€™ rather than in here,â€ he continued.
And he’s right, because talk is cheap. Much cheaper in fact than paying (in the secular sense) for the sins of the Fathers:
HARRISBURG – Advocates for tougher sex abuse laws picketed the Diocese of Harrisburg’s annual “Red Mass” for jurists and lawmakers yesterday, protesting its homilist as a strident foe of legislation that child sex abuse victims are seeking.
The homilist, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver, “is a hero to the bishops but not to us,” said Paul Keller, who drove from Boston to carry photos of young abuse victims outside St. Lawrence Chapel near the statehouse.
Three other demonstrators – including two from Philadelphia – handed out literature arguing that Chaput was hostile to victims and their advocates.
In April, Chaput led a strident but successful campaign to thwart Colorado legislation that would have given adult victims of child sex abuse a one-year “window” of opportunity to sue their abusers.
Chaput had repeatedly denounced advocates of the Colorado legislation as “anti-Catholic,” saying it targeted the Catholic Church because it did not extend to abusers in secular institutions.
“We see him as the spokesman of the opposition to any legislative changes, and maintenance of the status quo,” said Bud Bretschneider of Philadelphia, former president of the Catholic reform group Voice of the Faithful. “I think they [the bishops] want to do same thing here.”
But the leafleting efforts won little apparent sympathy from the Mass-goers. Several accepted the literature with warm smiles as they entered the church, thinking it was programs for the Red Mass service, and returned it angrily – or put it on the steps – when they read about Chaput’s “bare-knuckled opposition” to the proposed change in Colorado’s statute of limitation.
“I think it’s not appropriate,” one woman said.
Interviewed after the Mass, Chaput said his choice as homilist in a Harrisburg church five blocks from the statehouse just as lawmakers are considering a dozen abuse-related bills had “nothing to do” with his aggressive denunciation of the statute window in Colorado.
“I was asked to come here a year ago,” he said.
Chaput also defended his characterization of that Colorado legislation as anti-Catholic.
“It was directed at the Catholic Church, but not at public schools. If that’s not anti-Catholic, what is it?” he asked, standing on a sidewalk outside the chapel.
“The church has to have a spine in situations like this,” he said.
I’m sure that Chaput’s God will understand that Chaput’s church should get a free pass on child molesting because “everyone else was doing it too“. Using that reasoning, we’re all getting into heaven.