Denver Bishop Charles Chaput, whom I had the personal joy of meeting and hearing speak a few years ago, gave an address at a mass for Catholic public officials in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, just before the November elections. Chaput, who is one of my favorite bishops, makes profound and clear moral sense of chaotic sub-Christian thinking on a regular basis.
“The world does need to change, and in your vocation as public leaders, God is calling you to pursue that task with justice and charity with a love for the common good and a reverence for human life. The world needs committed Catholic laypeople like you to lead with humility, courage and love,” said Bishop Chaput.
Chaput further argued that we often treat important things as a “gloss” so as to soften the meaning of the offensive passage thus making it much easier for us to live. St. Francis wanted to live sine glossa, said Chaput, that is without alibis or excuses.
Chaput rightly argues that modern liberalism has created a kingdom of “the imperial autonomous self” and calls it the will of God (or a goddess). Weird and unexpected alliances are the end result, alliances that make no sense except that they join irreconcilable parties in one group that can then put aside their various differences in order to attack Christ.
The bishop rightly noted that there are three political issues that are non-negotiable for morally serious Christians:
- Protecting life
- Promoting marriage
- Protecting a parent’s rights to educate their children
If we do not make these central to our present human situation we fail at the most basic level to protect the weak and to promote true freedom. I am weary of people asking: “How would Jesus vote?” I much like the idea of posing this question through the thought of St. Francis, a true reformer who lived before we even had anything like 16th century Protestant reformers.
John H. Armstrong is founder and director of ACT 3, a ministry aimed at "encouraging the church, through its leadership, to pursue doctrinal and ethical reformation and to foster spiritual awakening."