By Kathleen Gilbert

DENVER, Colorado, November 6, 2008 ( – Following Obama’s election Archbishop Chaput of Denver has continued a somewhat heated exchange with Doug Kmiec, the Catholic law professor criticized for actively supporting the pro-abortion president-elect. The archbishop has now challenged Kmiec to press Obama to abandon his extremist agenda against human life.

In a statement appearing on The Witherspoon Institute’s web site, Public Discourse, Kmiec had expressed to Archbishop Chaput his frustration at the hail of criticism he had received from the archbishop and other Catholics for supporting Obama.

“I understand his discomfort with the tone of this election,” replied Archbishop Chaput.  “Nonetheless, good manners do not trump facts.”

“I’m disappointed that in the course of his advocacy, the professor has apparently never faced up to the facts of Sen. Obama’s longstanding and extensive efforts to deprive an entire class of human beings—unborn children—of basic legal protections against homicide,” the archbishop continued.  “Nor does Prof. Kmiec acknowledge that the foundational principle of the entire social Gospel is the right of every member of the human family to protection against unjust violent attack.”

Archbishop Chaput has made headlines in the past election season as perhaps the most outspoken U.S. bishop on the Catholic obligation to vote pro-life.

Having been such a strong supporter of Obama, said Archbishop Chaput, “Prof. Kmiec has a unique opportunity to press a newly elected President Obama to reconsider his most extreme positions, such as his support for partial-birth abortion … and his opposition to the Born Alive Infants Protection Act.”

Kmiec and the archbishop first locked horns when Chaput strongly criticized Kmiec’s idea that Catholic social doctrine could be supported by the most pro-abortion presidential candidate in history.  “To suggest – as some Catholics do – that Senator Obama is this year’s ‘real’ prolife candidate requires a peculiar kind of self-hypnosis, or moral confusion, or worse,” said the archbishop at an October 17 ENDOW dinner address.

“[Kmiec’s] activism for Senator Obama … have done a disservice to the Church, confused the natural priorities of Catholic social teaching, undermined the progress prolifers have made, and provided an excuse for some Catholics to abandon the abortion issue instead of fighting within their parties and at the ballot box to protect the unborn,” the archbishop had continued.

Kmiec responded to the speech earlier this week, saying that while the archbishop is a “well spoken defender of the faith,”  he disagrees “on the intent of Cardinal Ratzinger’s instruction of ‘proportionate reasons’ and … I am fearful that your interpretation will lead many in parishes around the country to neglect what they can do to build up the culture of life through the promotion of the social gospel in its fullest sense.

“I hope you and I might collaborate to enliven in our parishes across the country … a template for protecting ‘Life to the Full,’” said Kmiec.

In his latest response, Archbishop Chaput encouraged Kmiec to put his pro-life beliefs into action by striking at the deepest root of injustice against life – the evil of abortion. 

“Along with many, many other Catholics and prolife citizens, I look forward eagerly to Prof. Kmiec’s vocal advocacy against these profoundly unjust policies,” he said.

To see Archbishop Chaput’s full statement:

See related coverage:

Denver Archbishop Chaput: Obama Supporting Pro-life Catholics “Absurd”


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