Archbishop Chaput: ‘exhausted’ US political system needs spiritual renewal

Archbishop Chaput: ‘exhausted’ US political system needs spiritual renewal

[His comments on the 2016 presidential race repeat those of his August 12, 2016 column in the Philadelphia archdiocesan newspaper: “A pox on both your houses”]

Catholic World News – September 16, 2016

In a major address on American political affairs, Philadelphia’s Archbishop Charles Chaput lamented that this year’s presidential election features “two such deeply flawed” candidates, but went on to say that American society as a whole is facing a crisis.

“We’ve reached a moment when our political thinking and vocabulary as a nation seem exhausted,” the archbishop said. Delivering the Tocqueville Lecture at the University of Notre Dame, he said that Christians must take action to revive a moral vision for American society.

Without naming the two major presidential candidate, Archbishop Chaput delivered a powerful negative judgment:

One candidate, in the view of a lot of people, is a belligerent demagogue with an impulse-control problem. And the other, also in the view of a lot of people, is a criminal liar, uniquely rich in stale ideas and bad priorities.

However, the archbishop went on to say that the problems facing the American political system run deeper than the year’s presidential choices. Speaking from his perspective as a priest who has heard confessions for nearly 50 years, he reported:


.. a huge spike in people – both men and women – confessing promiscuity, infidelity, sexual violence and sexual confusion as an ordinary part of life, and the massive role of pornography in wrecking marriages, families and even the vocations of clergy and religious.

The archbishop concluded that today’s Americans are living in “a dysfunctional culture of frustrated and wounded people increasingly incapable of permanent commitments, self-sacrifice and sustained intimacy, and unwilling to face the reality of their own problems.” A self-governing nation cannot be sustained by that sort of people, he said; the nation’s future “belongs to people who believe in something beyond themselves, and who live and sacrifice accordingly.”

Archbishop Chaput welcomed the emphasis that Pope Francis has placed on God’s mercy. But he cautioned that the term “mercy” can be misunderstood. God’s mercy is dispensed in the confessional, he said, but penitents come to confession only “when they already understand, at least dimly, that they need to change their lives and seek God’s mercy.”

The archbishop said: “Mercy means nothing– it’s just an exercise in sentimentality– without clarity about moral truth.”

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4 comments on “Archbishop Chaput: ‘exhausted’ US political system needs spiritual renewal

  1. The Catholic World News report of Abp. Chaput’s Notre Dame address overlooks an important part headlined by two divergent sources in their reports:

    LifeNews: Archbishop Slams Notre Dame for Honoring Pro-Abortion Joe Biden: You Betrayed Your Catholic Identity

    National un-Catholic Reporter: At Notre Dame, Chaput slams its honor of Biden as ‘baffling error of judgment’

  2. TRUMP NEWS: Chaput Doubles Down on Trump. Trump Doubles Down on the Hyde Amendment

    Written by Michael Matt | 9/15/16 is reporting that Archbishop Chaput is doubling down up there on the Never Trump bandwagon:

    In a speech Thursday at the University of Notre Dame, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput called presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton “very bad news for our country.”

    Chaput said that since he first voted in 1966, “the major parties have never, at the same time, offered two such deeply flawed candidates.”

    He said he believes each candidate is detrimental to the nation in different ways. “One candidate, in the view of a lot of people, is a belligerent demagogue with an impulse-control problem. And the other, also in the view of a lot of people, is a criminal liar, uniquely rich in stale ideas and bad priorities,” Chaput said. – See more at:

    His eminence fails to mention that Catholics can morally vote for only one of these two choices and, at this stage in the game, should vote for Trump if they care about the unborn or the very religious liberty Chaput came to Notre Dame to speak about.

    A spokesman for Catholics4Trump gave us the following statement today:

    Chaput acts as if the two candidates are equally bad from a Catholic point of view. This is completely false and contrary to the facts. One promises to appoint pro-life, pro-religious liberty judges. The other openly supports partial-birth abortion and believes religious views on these and other issues must be changed! Chaput is negligent in his moral duty as a Catholic bishop to teach his flock proper Catholic morality regarding voting. Instead of doing this he is implicitly encouraging Catholics to feel justified in voting for Hillary or staying home. This helps ensure America will become openly hostile to Catholicism and Christianity for the foreseeable future.

    In other news, is reporting that Donald Trump has also doubled down…on his pro-life position. He issued a call to make permanent the Hyde Amendment that bans almost all federal taxpayer funding of abortions and is credited with saving the lives of over 1 million Americans from abortion:

    Trump’s call comes as Hillary Clinton is campaigning in reversing Hyde and forcing Americans to fund free abortions for women with their tax dollars.

    Every year, Congress is forced to fight the battle to protect Americans from being forced to pay for abortions with their tax dollars. Democrats annually fight the pro-life budget provision and hope they can eventually reverse it should they take control of both the White House and Congress.

    That has led to pro-life groups calling to the adoption of a permanent law putting Hyde in place long-term and making it more difficult for pro-abortion forces to reverse. Today, Trump announced his support for such a law.

    The call for banning taxpayer funding of abortions comes in a new letter from Trump. Trump commits to a new policy: “Making the Hyde Amendment permanent law to protect taxpayers from having to pay for abortions.”

    “Hillary Clinton’s unwavering commitment to advancing taxpayer-funded abortion on-demand stands in stark contrast to the commitments I’ve made,” Trump writes, “to advance the rights of unborn children and their mothers when elected president.”

    Marjorie Dannenfelser of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List praised Trump for calling for banning taxpayer funding of abortions.

    “Not only has Mr. Trump doubled down on his three existing commitments to the pro-life movement, he has gone a step further in pledging to protect the Hyde Amendment and the conscience rights of millions of pro-life taxpayers. For a candidate to make additional commitments during a general election is almost unheard of,” Dannenfelser said. READ HERE

    Not sure what Archbishop Chaput is doing but we certainly hope it has nothing to do with The Money Trail: Why Catholic Bishops Are Silent on Hillary

  3. So a modernist prelate fails to distinguish between Trump’s personality flaws, which may be distasteful, from Hillary’s abortion-on-demand agenda which is gravely evil. Is this what modernist seminaries are producing? How will the Catholic Church in the U.S. lead a spiritual renewal without Catholic identity at Catholic colleges and high schools? How does the bishop expect to achieve Catholic spiritual renewal by closing Catholic schools and parishes throughout his diocese? The U.S. could survive a Trump presidency. Civilization ends with a Hillary dictatorship. If he can’t figure that out maybe it is time to hand in the mitre and retire.

  4. The one question that Chaput should be forced to answer is: “Your Excellency, do you believe in absolutes?” I’d venture to say his answer would be clouded in the relativistic claptrap we so often hear from modernist prelates who are so enraptured with Vatican II. Our Lord said it very plainly: “Let your yes be yes, and your no NO!” Equating the two candidates as simply “flawed” is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. Instead, look for this “flawed” individual to be elevated to the red hat at first opportunity.

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