Chaput: 'It isn't possible to be pro-life and simultaneously forget the cries of the poor' [CNA], Pa., Nov 28, 2014 / 04:26 am (CNA/Vatican Insider).- “It isn’t possible to be pro-life and simultaneously forget the cries of the poor.” Francis has confirmed his attendance at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia next September. The Archbishop of the great US metropolis, Archbishop Charles Chaput, talks to Vatican Insider about the meaning of this visit and about how Francis’ message has been received in the US.

Pope Francis has now confirmed his participation at the meeting in Philadelphia scheduled for next September. What do you think will be the focus of this papal visit?

“The Holy Father combines two great qualities with unusual skill. He has compassion for people alienated from the Church, and he has courage in speaking the truth with love. He condemns no one. He genuinely shares in the sufferings of persons wounded by the hardships of life. This makes his voice deeply appealing. At the same time, he’s also spoken frequently in support of what Paul VI called the "natural family.” He showed his support again just last week in Rome with his words at the Humanum conference on the complementarity of men and women. A strong natural family is the greatest source of nourishment for healthy human development and the greatest antidote to poverty and loneliness. So I’m sure the Pope will bring that same, simultaneous message of mercy and truth about the family to Philadelphia next year.
Some people waste a great deal of time, and create a great deal of confusion, by trying to interpret what the Holy Father “really” means by his actions. He doesn’t need narrators. Pope Francis is a man thoroughly grounded in Catholic faith and teaching. We need to let him do in his own way what God calls him to do: pastor the Church.”

How is it possible to announce today, in a secularized society, the Gospel of the family? And how is it possible to respond to the needs and suffering of families broken by a separation or a divorce?

“Nothing is stronger than personal witness. If we live our faith as Christian families with generosity and joy, it will naturally attract others. If we don’t, no amount of beautiful words or harsh judgments will substitute for that witness. Today’s crisis of the family, and all the problems that go with it, shouldn’t surprise anyone. In large measure, we created the tragedy ourselves by a combination of poor catechesis of engaged and married couples and by our own poor example of married and family life. The Church needs to do a much better job of evangelizing men and women called to marriage and helping them live out their vocation joyfully. Where divorce does occur, we need to help divorced persons continue on the Christian path, reminding them that God’s love for them endures even in the face of loneliness or abandonment. And we especially need to support the children of divorce, who often end up literally on the margins, caught between the respective lives of their separated parents.”

One and a half years into Francis’ pontificate, what - in your opinion – has been the most important message the new Pope has tried to get across?

“I think he sees the mission of the Church through the eyes of the global South. That’s where the vast majority of Catholics live. So he has different experiences from the Catholic world in the North and a different perspective in weighing the needs of the Church. Also he’s clearly a very intelligent man, but he radiates a mixture of simplicity and joy that people find new and very magnetic.”

Why does it seem so difficult, for certain Catholic groups in the United States, to syntonize themselves with the message of the Pope?

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These comments are often twisted as an okay to vote for pro abortion democrats because they are the “party of the poor”

Yes. The opposite statement also has to be made. You can’t simultaneously care about the needs of the poor and vote pro-choice.

The Social Doctrine of the Church includes all life issues.

As Cicero, the Roman whom St. JPII quoted, once stated, “Meminerimus autem etiam adversus infimos iustitiam esse servandam (I, 41)” Translated, it means " Let us remember that justice must be observed even to the lowest. "

Can’t say I know anyone who is pro-life, but doesn’t care about the poor. Kind of a strange comparison :confused:

Only in caricature by those who think they are the only ones who care about the poor and use that as justification for voting anti-life.

Neither Republicans nor Democrats reflect the Catholic Church’s teachings. Also, most moderate establishment Republicans don’t actually believe what they spout off about social issues. You don’t really think that Mitt Romney cared about social issues, do you?

Trying to fit Catholic teachings neatly into one party platform has caused Catholic Republicans to ignore the Church’s teachings on immigration, war, the death penalty, and economics and Catholic Democrats to ignore the Church’s teachings on sexuality. I know well meaning Catholics who were upset about Pope Francis’ condemnation about capitalism in Evangelii Gaudium because they assumed that neither JPII nor Benedict had made similar comments. They thought because the two previous popes were anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage that they were also supportive of unrestrained free markets. (The opposite is true for Pope Francis; liberals assume that because he is so gung ho about the social gospel that he is pro-choice and pro-gay marriage.)

Well this forum would go crazy against anyone more right wing then Romney so its a lose lose.

Its not even close over which party is more pro catholic. Not wanting to spend more on welfare doesn’t come close to the party that has murdering children in their official platform. Its like the people who try to rationalize that the republican were equally as catholic as the nationalists during the spanish revolution, they aren’t. Im curious is there any political party on earth that in your view is consistent with catholic teachings? You obviously disregard any right wing parties so should catholics just not vote at all?

It’s remarkable that there are people on here who are wondering why the bishop would even need to say such a thing.

Answer: Because the “pro-life” party in America is the same party that philosophically opposes social programs for the poor, usually with the objection that it will be difficult to pay for expansions in medical care, food subsidies, and other welfare benefits that would make life better for people living in poverty.

Someone said they don’t know anyone who is “pro-life” that ignores the poor. I know lots of people like that. Most of them are older, whiter, and living in relative comfort. They confuse protecting America’s pocket book with protecting human interests. They watch television stations that encourage them to oppose helping impoverished immigrants in irregular situations. They listen to radio personalities who blame poor communities for not being like wealthy communities. They read blogs that blame everyone who is not like them for all the problems in the world. They live in insular worlds where they are never challenged to contemplate what it means to be truly poor.

A true pro-life Catholic is no more a party-line Democrat than a party-line Republican. There are lots of single-issue voters that call themselves Catholic, people who have been convinced by the moral majority machine that there are critical issues on which there can be no compromise–unfortunately, that usually translates into siding with the devil who will tell you what you want to hear, against the devil that will be honest with you.


Chaput is a stud (in a very moral, very Catholic kind of way). He’ll make anyone feel uncomfortable…from the liberal Catholic who looks the other way on life issues, to the conservative Catholic who looks the other way on issues of the poor.

My favorite Chaput quote:

Catholic is a word that has real meaning. We don’t control or invent that meaning as individuals. We inherit it from the gospel and the experience of the Church over the centuries. We can choose to be something else, but if we choose to call ourselves Catholic, then that word has consequences for what we believe and how we act. We can’t truthfully claim to be Catholic and then act as though we’re not.

Thanks. I couldn’t have said it better. Being pro-life means being more than just anti-abortion. Pro-lifers cannot just stand up for the unborn and then ignore the billions of people living in poverty who are already born.

I don’t think that it is sinful for people to vote either Republican or Democrat and I think that there are way too many people who confuse Catholic doctrine with a party platform. The Catholic Church is anti-establishment. I remember reading a bishop’s saying a few months ago that it was important for Catholic Republicans to challenge their party on issues like immigration and Catholic Democrats to challenge their party on issues like abortion.

That IS a very good quote :slight_smile:

I’d never thought of it that way before but I like it!

I think the Bishop was speaking to personal responsibility not to government solutions but … it became a bad pro-Life Republicans Vs Good for the Poor pro-Abortion Democrats discussion :confused:

I am pro- Life - and you don’t know the first thing about me … I will tell you that I will not vote for a democrat [again] - even one who claims to be pro-Life [fool me once shame on you - fool me twice shame on me :frowning: ] …

This I know from reading the party platforms - and from looking at voting records … the Democratic platform is militantly pro-death - pro-Abortion - and all pro-Life candidates [yes - they are a rare breed] with a [D] after their name with national aspirations quickly changes their position to match the party platform.

I also know from almost 50 years of observations … The War on Poverty sounded good and was supposed to help the poor …However, it is a failed program for both poor minorities and poor whites - read what Tip O’Neal said about what it had done to the African American community - the dirty secret is it has done the to the white community as well. Abortion is not rare nor safe, in spite of easy cheap birth control, sex education, promiscuity is higher then every - and has become acceptable, even encouraged by parents. Marriage is not something people desire or important [except same sex marriage - that is important]. Children born out of wedlock is at all time highs - as are single parent households. Men no longer have to take responsibility for the offspring they father and women no longer expect them too. Uncle Sam has taken that role.

We live with poverty programs in place that spend and waste tax dollars while encouraging and enabling a lack of responsibility that create the results in the exact condition we say we are trying to alleviate.

I know your heart is in the right place. You are well intentioned to want to assist the poor - but blindly increasing social program spending does not appear to be the solution.

I support programs that actually help people move from the streets into housing, I have volunteered with medical missions and other humanitarian trips to foreign counties, donate and volunteer at food banks, soup kitchens and homeless shelters … I contribute both time and money … I also support homes for unwed mothers ands provide financial and material aid to crisis pregnancy shelters. I also have contributed to a home that provides end of life care to those who have no where and no one to care for them … I am a registered republican because the party platform does reflect Catholic principals …

I hear “Stop the Hate” but then I only hear hate and mis-information directed at me …

Good people can discuss the mechanisms and cost to provide food to those without … you can say that a single parent with two kids needs $2000 in food stamps and I could say we have only enough tax dollars to provide $1000 … we can both be correct - and we can work at the solution …

So let me makes this abundantly clear … The deliberate killing babies in the womb is always and everywhere immoral … there is no middle ground, there is no compromise and there are no rights that matter if first you do not have the right to life. No life - no rights

It is a fact that people need assistance and that government coffers - like my personal bank account have limits to available funds … It is a fact that governments - like me - have to prioritize expenditures …

It is not possible to be pro-Life and support pro-Abortion policies and the people who support that agenda - no matter how vehemently they talk about helping the poor.

And by the way - though unscientific just my observations from working in the trenches - my personal experience with out reach to the poor - the soup kitchens, shelters, medical missions, etc … Financial support - 70% republican - 30% democratic Face to Face work support - almost 50-50 - slightly more republican … Pro-life [end of life and babies] Financial support about 80% republican - 20% democratic - Face to Face support 95% republican and about 5%democrat …

Though the tables are flipped if the baby being saved is a whale, a bald eagle or condor egg :shrug: go figure … destroy a condor egg and go to jail, face fines … destroy a baby … run for Speaker of the House

The Catholic Church supports a robust social safety net, environmental regulations, workers rights, etc. It is against the death penalty, most wars, and institutional poverty. Chaput as well as his boss, Pope Francis, would commend you for giving money to worthy causes but also argue that a strong social safety net is needed as well. The reason is that it is impossible to satisfy all the needs through charity. There is also a need to attack the unjust economic structures and inequalities that contribute to poverty. For instance, charity doesn’t prevent an unscrupulous manager from cheating his workers or prevent unsafe work conditions.

And it is fine to vote Republican, especially if you are pro-life, but I also don’t think that it is sinful to vote Democratic if you believe that the Democrats are better on issues of social justice. Too many conservative American Catholics seem to think that the Catholic Church’s doctrine is the Republican platform. This isn’t the case. Here is another quote from my new archbishop on the subject. In 2008, Cupich said that it was sinful to vote against Obama because of his race and sinful to vote for Obama because of his support for abortion.

In my studies of issues … the republican party more closely supports catholic teaching … you are equating 'robust social safety net" with unlimited federal and state spending in failed social programs - I do not and neither does the Church … your arguments hold about as much water as those that say the Church is rich, it steals money from misguided superstitious minions, that if the Church really cared for the poor the Church should sell all the art pieces held in the Vatican museum and St Peters and use the funds to end poverty around the world … that argument does not hold any water and neither does unlimited spending on failed social programs that do not move people from poverty but keeps them there - generation after generation now …

There would be fewer people in need if families were stronger and helped each other more. There would be fewer people in need if children were born into two parent households. If men and women who had sex were truly committed to each other and the offspring they bring into the world.

There would be more money at the local level [private personal funds, private charitable funds and local taxes] to feed people if we sent less to Washington. Only a fool believes that you can provide more food for the buck if first you send the dollar to Washington to roll around several bureaucracies before returning to the people who need bread and milk.

What we need is good paying jobs … we need policies that encourage business. We need an ethic that encourages employment over government handouts … but we do not have that with the programs we have now …unless you can show me where the War on Poverty has succeeded …I have not witnessed it … sadly, not in my own family and not in my community. But I do care and I do help … and I even pay taxes …

And - yes, I check the Charities that I donate to - carefully. I do not want funds donated to
help a person get off the streets going to “overhead and fund raising” … I only donate to organizations that keep those cost at less then 7% … with 93% going toward the purpose intended … similarly, tax funds need to be used properly - without fraud and abuse - and at the appropriate government level … not every issue needs Washington DC involvement …

And Killing babies via Abortion is never - ever - morally acceptable and any party or politician that olds that view is not worthy of any Christian’s vote no matter how good a “shtick” they speak or position they hold on any other issue … Abortion ends the life of a child … you can not say you care about feeding the hungry child if you would just as like kill it given the time and opportunity … you vote for a pro-abortion candidate and you enable them in the government sanctioned killing of children …

Please - You tell me … is the argument over whether to increase/expand SNAP - food stamp - spending by 57% [R] or by 65% [D] really morally equivalent to sanctioning the killing of a million babies in the US each year? You would vote for the person would vote for abortion - killing babies because of their vote for an INCREASE in SNAP of 8% more then the person who would vote to end abortion and increase [not a cut] SNAP … and feel morally justified?

Is closing the loop hole so lottery winners cannot receive SNAP assistance such a bad thing [and that’s before even wondering why someone on public assistance was spending money on lottery tickets in the first place and then would be so morally bankrupt as to keep taking the food stamps -which has happened more then once … ] and other abuses by people who game the system? Really … It is so important to keep that status quo that the deaths of a million children are less important? And those who advocate for a lessor increase and saving children are evil doers who are against a robust social safety net :shrug:;_ylt=AwrTccmHaXlU1dIAfQsPxQt.;_ylu=X3oDMTByc25qcnVyBHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDNARjb2xvA2dxMQR2dGlkAw–

Actually, what we need is a healthy economy. And so do other countries as well. That means a healthy velocity of money and a healthy exchange of goods and services. As Christ said, the poor will always be with us. And the Law of Distribution says that as well. The only thing that will work is to raise the standard of living for everyone. That means eventually all will have enough to eat, have a decent roof over their heads, as well as be productive and valued members of society. You can’t ignore the dignity aspect. It’s a goal which realistically will never quite be reached because of the bad elements in society, but it’s something that should be constantly pursued.

Catholics who are pro-illegal immigration often turn a blind eye to the devastating effects it has on working class Americans in many parts of the county. Laborers of all sorts, contractors, tree service, landscapers, construction workers, carpenters, etc, who have been effectively priced out of the market by illegal aliens doing the job for less. And yet we seldom hear of there plight.

Within a market economy, there will always be winners and losers. The thing that Pope Francis and the bishops are arguing is that the losers aren’t just statistics; they are people. The theory about capitalism helping everyone is just a theory.

And yes Pope Francis and most bishops consider poverty as important as abortion. You cannot be pro-life if you just advocate against abortion; there are other life issues. It is interesting that Pope Francis uses economic terms to condemn abortion. It is part of his “throwaway culture.” Pope Francis believes that material greed and individualism are the root cause of society’s ills. The impulse to abort a child comes from the same impulse to ruin the environment and trample on the poor.

Maybe we hear so little about it because its just an empty theory supported by isolated anecdotes, whereas in reality illegal immigrants are doing the jobs that most Americans reject.

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