Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

Archbishop Chaput: About Those Unthinking, Backward Catholics

flag religion we the peoplefrom – – Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.

Back in 2008, in the weeks leading up to the Obama-McCain presidential election, two young men visited me in Denver.  They were from Catholics United, a group describing itself as committed to social justice issues.  They voiced great concern at the manipulative skill of Catholic agents for the Republican Party.  And they hoped my brother bishops and I would resist identifying the Church with single-issue and partisan (read: abortion) politics.

It was an interesting experience.  Both men were obvious flacks for the Obama campaign and the Democratic Party — creatures of a political machine, not men of the Church; less concerned with Catholic teaching than with its influence.  And presumably (for them) bishops were dumb enough to be used as tools, or at least prevented from helping the other side.  Yet these two young men not only equaled but surpassed their Republican cousins in the talents of servile partisan hustling.  Thanks to their work, and activists like them, American Catholics helped to elect an administration that has been the most stubbornly unfriendly to religious believers, institutions, concerns and liberty in generations.

I never saw either young man again.  The cultural damage done by the current White House has – apparently — made courting America’s bishops unnecessary.

But bad can always get worse.  I’m thinking, of course, of the contemptuously anti-Catholic emails exchanged among members of the Clinton Democratic presidential campaign team and released this week by WikiLeaks. A sample:  Sandy Newman, president of Voices for Progress, emailed John Podesta, now the head of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, to ask about whether “the bishops opposing contraceptive coverage” could be the tinder for a revolution. “There needs to be a Catholic Spring, in which Catholics themselves demand the end of a middle ages [sic] dictatorship,” Newman writes.

Of course, Newman added, “this idea may just reveal my total lack of understanding of the Catholic church, the economic power it can bring to bear against nuns and priests who count on it for their maintenance.” Still, he wondered, how would one “plant the seeds of a revolution”? John Podesta replied that “We created Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good to organize for a moment like this . . . likewise Catholics United” (emphasis added).

Another Clinton-related email, from John Halpin of the Center for American Progress, mocks Catholics in the so-called conservative movement, especially converts: “They must be attracted to the systematic thought and severely backwards gender relations and must be totally unaware of Christian democracy.” In a follow-up, he adds “They can throw around ‘Thomistic’ thought and ‘subsidiarity’ and sound sophisticated because no one knows what . . . they’re talking about.”

On the evening these WikiLeaks emails were released, I received the following angry email myself, this one from a nationally respected (non-Catholic) attorney experienced in Church-state affairs:

I was deeply offended by the [Clinton team] emails, which are some of the worst bigotry by a political machine I have seen.  [A] Church has an absolute right to protect itself when under attack as a faith and Church by civil political forces. That certainly applies here . . .

 “Over the last eight years there has been strong evidence that the current administration, with which these people share values, has been very hostile to religious organizations.  Now there is clear proof that this approach is deliberate and will accelerate if these actors have any continuing, let alone louder, say in government.  

 “These bigots are actively strategizing how to shape Catholicism not to be Catholic or consistent with Jesus’ teachings, but to be the ‘religion’ they want.  They are, at the very core, trying to turn religion to their secular view of right and wrong consistent with their politics.  This is fundamentally why the Founders left England and demanded that government not have any voice in religion.  Look where we are now.  We have political actors trying to orchestrate a coup to destroy Catholic values, and they even analogize their takeover to a coup in the Middle East, which amplifies their bigotry and hatred of the Church.  I had hoped I would never see this day — a day like so many dark days in Eastern Europe that led to the death of my [Protestant minister] great grandfather at the hands of communists who also hated and wanted to destroy religion.”

 Of course it would be wonderful for the Clinton campaign to repudiate the content of these ugly WikiLeaks emails. All of us backward-thinking Catholics who actually believe what Scripture and the Church teach would be so very grateful.

In the meantime, a friend describes the choice facing voters in November this way: A vulgar, boorish lout and disrespecter of women, with a serious impulse control problem; or a scheming, robotic liar with a lifelong appetite for power and an entourage riddled with anti-Catholic bigots.

In a nation where “choice” is now the unofficial state religion, the menu for dinner is remarkably small.

If You Enjoy Articles Like This - Subscribe to the AMAC Daily Newsletter!

Sign Up Today

Leave a Reply

95 Comment threads
162 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
147 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of

The phrase separation of church and state comes from a supreme Court decision. Not the Constitution. The liberals have hijacked this phrase for their agenda. The founders intended the government to stay out of religion, not for religion to stay out of government.

Lynda McKinney Lambert

I cannot even imagine a Catholic or any Christian who lives in the service our Lord, Jesus Christ, could vote for HRC. The agenda is so clear, and she stands there smiling and laughing as she mocks the principals of faith. I am proud to be in her basket of Deplorable – I am not catholic but I love my fellow-Christians in Faith. I am inspired and uplifted by the programs I watch on EWTN, and the Catholic friends I have. I am thankful that the corruption of this ungodly government we presently have is coming to light as it is. We will continue to keep our faith in God and his Divine purpose for us all – please pray for the election of Donald Trump, for there are no other options for us at this time. He has taken a strong stand to uphold our faith and the Constitution.

John Keenan

As a lifelong catholic and father of five children, I am yearning for the leaders of the church to publicly denounce the bigotry that controls the Democratic Party. Especially the so-called “Catholic” politicians, Pelosi, Kaine, Casey, McGinty, Biden, Cuomo, Leahy, and their like. All these pro-abortion “Catholics” need to be denounced weekly from every pulpit in every church in the land. Unless they agree to follow the church’s teaching on respecting human life, they should be refused the sacraments. Will the church leaders ever have the courage to take a real stand against the worst thing we allow in our country?

Kristy McTaggart

Dear Archbishop, thank you for writing this. I encourage you and all Catholics to get behind, and pray for, Donald Trump. We will not have another opportunity in our lifetimes to vote in a total outsider with no secret ties to lobbyists and political organizations. The network attached to the Clintons is wide, deep, mostly undiscoverable in spite of all the hacked emails. ( One wonders what the contents on the server purged with “Bleachbit” held.). They represent a sinister threat to the American way of life we have taken for granted. And it is indisputable that they are Godless. Just read the Democrat Party Platform vs the Republican Platform. Imagine a devout Catholic doctor hounded from his profession and perhaps sued for everything he has because he refuses to perform a hideous late term abortion. Under Ms Clinton, this assault on our Christian values is planned.

Mark kananen

Give me a break, you cannot lump these two together. There really is no comparison where one has a history of evil and the other is just average Joe. Boring, yes, but only an accused disrespector of women. They are just all unfounded accusations. And pretending it is true is propogating a lie. Innocent until proven guilty is one of the biblical tenets of our nation and Church. And if we are talking about the disrespect of objectification, we’ll now, guilty as charged. Those allegations can be applied to almost all men including most of our clergy. That does not make it right, it only makes him as human as the rest of us. The point is, on a moral ground, Hillary has proven herself time and time again to be a horrible person. I call on our bishops and priests and deacons to quit pandering to the people and… Read more »


I will choose the “boorish lout” over the “robotic liar” every time! At least our safety and religious freedom have a chance with him. Whereas it is blindingly apparent, (to those who are paying attention anyway), that she is a PROVEN LIAR and a control freak who believes in killing babies and taking away the means of law abiding citizens to defend themselves and their families, (dare I say it), from the very government itself as well as the criminal element we face daily. No thank you. No “robotic liar” for me.


As we come closer to the election I pray that we overlook the flaws of the candidates, for we all have them, and look carefully where they stand for LIFE, RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, THE CONSTITUTION (which protects the rights of us as individual citizens), POLITICS as USUAL (hidden agendas behind politically correct words and lies and deception i.e. private email server) and vote for the person (flawed as he may be) who has pledged to protect the constitution, protect the unborn and support religious freedom, and keep out those who would choose to promote Shria Law above American Law. I am offended that anyone would attack our Judeo-Christian heritage for the purpose of a secular political agenda based on progressive principles which cast out God. America is great because America was good. The only standard which helps us to know what is good is our Christian heritage based on the Bible.… Read more »

Jim Michalek

Until the Catholic Bishops and Priests ( I am a practicing Catholic) grow a pair and start using the pulpit to constantly tell it directly and quit using oblique references to who is pro-life and who isn’t and once again place pro-life over pro-ILLEGAL immigration, we have only ourselves to blame as to the type of government we get.
Social justice is part of the fabric of who we are but when that fabric becomes more important than the thread ( dignity of life) that holds it together then the whole garment comes apart and is walked on by the ruling class.
How sad that we are afraid to remind the flock who is really who and that our souls are at risk for looking the other way in the voting booth.

Kathryn Premeaux

My pastor (a Canon lawyer) compared Trump to David in the old testament: an imperfect messenger shepherding a much more perfect message. He pointed out that the Republicans have support for pro-life measures in their platform while the Democrats platform supports federal support for anortion.

Ronald Carney

While this article is directed to specific attacks on the Catholic church, it is really an attack on all Judeo-Christian beliefs. Look at all the decrees and court rthe ulings over the past 60 years and note how many related to the destruction of the Ten Commandments. The so called elite, or intelligensia of this nation have strived to create a new religion, secularism, and it will eventually lead to aetheistic communism or facism.

Jim Breslin

While Catholic only by baptism, I do relish meeting and listening to many priests who’s straight talk and deep research behind their conviction, I find enlightening. While Mr. Trump is no angel, he certainly is not a criminal bent on trading our nations safety for money and what her highness, Hillary, believes is her rightful source of “power”. Without a political background (thanks to God) Trump’s platform or “contract” makes sense and he has the drive and energy to accomplish each point when guided by Mike Pense, a true gentleman. Not so strangely, this combination could easily save our nation and, with God’s guidance made radiant through Pense, turn Donald into one of God’s most valuable tools. Thinking of God’s grace through my personal life long experiences, I can vote for the Trump/Pense ticket with a very low level of fear.

Samantha Carlson

As a non-Catholic (born again Christian), I am horrified by the attacks on the multiple attacks on the Catholic Church for I know when they finish with you they will come for the rest of us “backward” people. You have my full support in this battle. Put on the full armor of God.

James Gerace

Any reputation by Clinton will be a lie. Far too many Catholics are Catholic in name only or are Democrat first and Catholic second. I hope you recognize that bishops have had a role in producing weak Catholics and with members leaving the church. Many who left went for a better message and became evangelicals. You cannot have both ways. Conservative here, liberal there. Your so called social justice is socialistic and communistice. Both are evil and dehumanizing. Georgetown covered up the cross when Obama visited! Catholic universities with safe spaces for gay, lesbian, transgender, muslims, and any devency that pops up are a disgrace. Diversity as practiced is sick and twisted. Certainly diversity of though and speech is not allowed on campus. I pullled my support from Loyola, Chicago and now support Hillsdale College, a real Christian school teaching and supporting Christian values, liberty and dignity of each individual… Read more »

betty godfrey

Trump has apologized for his talk and actions that happened ten years ago and God will forgive him as I do. He has so much faith in himself that he tends to brag about it, and he sometimes says thinks without thinking about how it sounds. sometimes he says things, like he’s telling a joke. But when it comes to business and important things he is very serious. He is very knowledgeable and knows what he’s doing. Hires the best people to help him make it work. He doesn’t hire people because there friends or owes them a favor, but hires them because he knows they can do the best job. He doesn’t take big money for the campaign from people who expect favors when he elected.

Roy Althiser Jr

When this season started I did not support Trump and did not vote for him in the primary but this is the candidate selected by the majority of Republicans and he has no political baggage. I am fed up with political correctness from both sides of the isle. we voted for Republican control the last election and they have done nothing to defend Christian beliefs from what i have seen. The public elected and re-elected an incompetent self serving man for POTUS and look where we are today. One of these two people will be the next POTUS and to continue down the path of the Democrats will end many more of our freedoms. The right to life, freedom of religious choice, our second amendment, secure borders, appointment of supreme court justices who judge by the Constitution of the United States not political correctness or opinions of corrupt officials are… Read more »

Tom Wilde

On the contrary! The current administration is NOT anti-religion. It and its leader are decidedly pro-ISLAM. Any other religion is considered enemy.

As far as the Catholic church goes, as long as that Communist/One World Pope, Francis, is in charge they will continue to kow-tow to and stand in support of the current administration and its Globalist beliefs. Any Pope who says all religions worship the same God then goes to a Mosque to pray is a dupe of Satan and a Liar.

The Catholic church is bent on self-destruction and their current administration is taking them there.

Gary Seaton

I met and knew of Archbishop Chaput years ago, when he held a lesser position in South Dakota. He is an honorable man of keen insight. I am a Protestant Evangelical, with tremendous respect for this wonderful leader within the Catholic Church. In these dark days, we need every voice, every vote possible for a return to sanity (or at the very least a sharp turn back from the major left shift of the past 8 years. God forbid this nation elect the unholy Hillary.

Susan Haines

Thank you, Archbishop Chaput. The anti-religious campaign exposes how far this nation has drifted from the Constitution.

Tom Williams

How can a Catholic in good conscience vote for a pro-abortion candidate? Its like saying “I didn’t rob the bank, I just drove the getaway car”. If their premise is that they look at all of the issues, then please tell me what issue is more important than life. For them to vote against this basic Catholic principle and teaching is a grave sin and most hypocritical of their Catholic faith.


Trump at least has no agenda against the Catholic Church nor any other in particular. And he is the unartful irreverent leader of ‘deplorables,’ myself aligned among them. As far as Islam is concerned, his adversarial posture is defensive reaction to counter the extremist violent jihadists and is ideologicl/political, not based on religious doctrine, any hate, nor desire to expunge the Muslim faith. If only they would cease their attacks. As far as Hillary is concerned her acolytes are secular atheists with no comprehension of how people of faith think and operate, as best quoted by the unamed eloquent “nationally respected (non Catholic) attorney experienced in Church-state affairs.” While both candidates may be unpleasant Hillary’s consulaires are proactively plotting to do harm and giving aid and comfort to our deadly enemies, while the Donald though crude and clumsey is at least endeavoring to serve and protect our interests.