24 March 2009

The Annunciation: Celebrating Life

El Greco, The Annunciation 1600s
Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio, USA
The Annunciation was a favourite theme of El Greco

The Solemnity of the Annunciation is an appropriate time to highlight the sacredness of the life of the pre-born. A tireless defender of the rights of all human beings, especially those still in their mothers' wombs is Archbishop Charles J. Chaput OFMCap of Denver, Colorado.
Detroit, Mich., Mar 21, 2009 / 12:32 pm (CNA).-

Archbishop of Denver Charles J. Chaput delivered a speech on Saturday reflecting on the significance of the November 2008 election. Warning that media “narratives” should not obscure truth, he blamed the indifference and complacency of many U.S. Catholics for the country’s failures on abortion, poverty and immigration issues.
He also advised Catholics to “master the language of popular culture” and to refuse to be afraid, saying “fear is the disease of our age.”

The archbishop’s comments were delivered in his keynote address at the Hands-On Conference Celebrating the Year of St. Paul, which was hosted at the Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit.

You can read the full report here.

Archbishop Chaput is media-savvy and speaks calmly but clearly. He is not the caricature often depicted of those who defend the right of the pre-born to be born but who, allegedly, don't care for the child once its born. Here is one part of the report with my emphases and comments:

Noting that there was no question about President Barack Obama’s views on abortion “rights,” embryonic stem cell research and other “problematic issues,” he commented:

“Some Catholics in both political parties are deeply troubled by these issues. But too many Catholics just don’t really care. That’s the truth of it. If they cared, our political environment would be different. If 65 million Catholics really cared about their faith and cared about what it teaches, neither political party could ignore what we believe about justice for the poor, or the homeless, or immigrants, or the unborn child. If 65 million American Catholics really understood their faith, we wouldn’t need to waste each other’s time arguing about whether the legalized killing of an unborn child is somehow ‘balanced out’ or excused by three other good social policies.” (I've heard this point of view from priests, none of whom would ever say that abortion is right or good. But there seems to be an unwillingness to look at the horror of what it is).

Offering a sober evaluation of the state of American Catholicism, he added:

“We need to stop over-counting our numbers, our influence, our institutions and our resources, because they’re not real. We can’t talk about following St. Paul and converting our culture until we sober up and get honest about what we’ve allowed ourselves to become. We need to stop lying to each other, to ourselves and to God by claiming to ‘personally oppose’ some homicidal evil -- but then allowing it to be legal at the same time.” (I've often heard Archbishop Chaput speak on the internet and he is a mild-mannered person, but his language here isn't fuzzy).

Commenting on society’s attitude towards Catholic beliefs, Archbishop Chaput said, “we have to make ourselves stupid to believe some of the things American Catholics are now expected to accept.”

You can listen to Archbishop Chaput's Sunday homilies in Denver Cathedral here and, starting only with last Sunday's homily, listen to and view them here.

No comments: