DENVER, October 20, 2004 ( – In an October 6 interview with New York Times writer David Kirkpatrick, Denver Archbishop Charles J. Chaput laid out the Catholic Church’s reasoning as to why voting for known pro-abortion politicians is sinful.

Responding to a question about voting for pro-abortion politicians and it’s sinfulness, the Archbishop explained, “Does our voting for someone make us responsible for what that person does as a legislator or as a judge?…And the answer is yes, because we are in some ways materially—we use the word “materially”—cooperating in that person’s activity because we’ve given [him or her] the platform to be elected.”

Chaput continued, “Now, if the person does something wrong, are we responsible for that? Well, if we didn’t know they were going to something wrong, our participation is remote, but if we knew they were going to do something wrong and we approved of it, our responsibility would really be close, even if we knew they were going to do something wrong and we voted for them for another reason, we would still be responsible in some ways.”  Concluding the point, he said, “The standing is that if you know someone is going to do evil and you participate in that in some way, you are responsible. So it’s not…‘if you vote this way, should you go to confession?’ The question is, ‘if you vote this way, are you cooperating in evil?’ Now, if you know you are cooperating in evil, should you go to confession? The answer is yes.”  Archbishop Chaput also criticized the controversial ‘seamless garment’ philosophy which attempts to equate abortion with other issues affecting life such as poverty and environmental concerns.  “A lot of Catholic Democrats, whether they are clergy or laity, have used the “seamless garment” as an excuse to sideline the abortion issue, making it one among many others. And, we can’t do that,” he said.  The Denver church leader encouraged Catholics to be as “determined and stubborn … persistent” in their pro-life stand as abortion supporters are in their stand.

Chaput used strong language in an attempt to drive his point home to a generation of Catholics who are uneducated in the teachings of the faith.  “I think Catholics have to grapple with the fact that their moral positions impact their relationship with the Church. And they haven’t often thought of that, you know? ‘I know abortion is wrong, but if I vote for abortion, that doesn’t have any impact on me.’ Well the Church says, ‘Like heck it doesn’t. It means you’re not a Catholic and you shouldn’t receive communion, if you are in favor of abortion.’”  See the full interview (pdf) from the Archdiocesan website:   jhw


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