By Kathleen Gilbert

DENVER, Colorado, October 20, 2008 ( – In an address delivered to a women’s group last week, Archbishop Charles Chaput of the Archdiocese of Denver strongly criticized Obama-supporting Catholic Doug Kmeic, and called it absurd for self-professedly pro-life Catholics to support Obama, “the most committed ‘abortion-rights’ candidate … since the Roe v. Wade decision of 1973.”

“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, who emphasized that his address at the ENDOW (‘Educating on the Nature and Dignity of Women’) dinner expressed his views as a private citizen, and not as a representative of the Church.

Archbishop Chaput made his remarks as he spoke about his recently published book, “Render Unto Caesar,” in which he delineates the role of Catholics in the political life of the nation. He then mentioned Prof. Doug Kmeic’s book, “Can a Catholic Support Him? Asking the Big Question about Barack Obama,” in which Kmeic had quoted part of Chaput’s book and claimed that the archbishop’s reasoning and his are “not far distant on the moral inquiry necessary in the election of 2008.”

“Unfortunately, he either misunderstands or misuses my words, and he couldn’t be more mistaken,” said the archbishop in reply. Kmeic, whose “strong record of service to the church” the archbishop commended, recently went public with his support of Obama, and has encouraged Catholics to vote for the virulently pro-abortion Obama as a morally viable option.

“His activism for Senator Obama, and the work of Democratic-friendly groups like Catholics United and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, 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,” continued the archbishop.

“To portray the 2008 Democratic Party presidential ticket as the preferred ‘prolife’ option is to subvert what the word ‘prolife’ means,” he said. Archbishop Chaput also criticized rampant misuse of the “seamless garment” theory, whereby left-leaning Catholics “seek to contextualize, demote and then counterbalance the evil of abortion with other important but less foundational social issues.

“This is a great sadness. As Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George said recently, too many Americans have ‘no recognition of the fact that children continue to be killed [by abortion], and we live therefore, in a country drenched in blood. This can’t be something you start playing off pragmatically against other issues.'”

Archbishop Chaput complained that, because “the abortion issue has never been a comfortable cause,” and is “embarrassing” to some Catholics, these citizens refuse to alter their political alliances simply because the homicides of abortion are ”little murders” – a hidden evil that is easily “wordsmithed away” as a crime the law is helpless to stop.

“I think that people who claim that the abortion struggle is ‘lost’ as a matter of law … are not just wrong; they’re betraying the witness of every person who continues the work of defending the unborn child,” said the archbishop. “And I hope they know how to explain that, because someday they’ll be required to.”

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, a former Democratic Party activist, is one of the most outspoken bishops in the U.S. about the pro-life cause in American politics.

See related article:

Archbishop Chaput to Obama Catholics: If You’re Serious Catholics, You’ll Be Serious About Making Your Candidate Pro-Life, Not Editing My Words