by Steven Ertelt
February 13, 2008
Denver, CO (LifeNews.com) — Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput says pro-life Catholics should only considering backing pro-abortion politicians in very limited circumstances — such as cases when both candidates are pro-abortion. Even then, Chaput admonished Catholics to lobby the candidate to change his abortion views.
Chaput addressed the thorny issue of abortion and voting during a speech at the new Augustine Institute, a Catholic graduate school in Denver.
Asked whether Catholics should not vote or vote for the candidate who is least pro-abortion, Chaput said "there’s no one Catholic answer to the question."
"If you’re a Democrat can you legitimately vote for someone who is pro-choice? I imagine so," Chaput told the audience, according to a Rocky Mountain News report.
However, Catholics shouldn’t vote for pro-abortion candidates without making a concerned effort to tell them their views are wrong.
"But you have to tell them forcefully you want them to change . . . voting is (just) the minimum," he said, the newspaper indicated.
The newspaper said he urged pro-life Catholics who are Democrats to work within the political party to change its abortion views. He instructed pro-life Catholics to "be an active part of (that) community."
Ultimately, Chaput told the crowd, "I’m not giving people permission to vote for anybody. That’s not my role."
Chaput was the subject of a pro-abortion group’s complaint with the IRS saying he unduly influenced past elections with his discussion of important political issues such as abortion that Catholic parishioners should consider when voting.
Catholics for a Free Choice filed a complaint in October 2004 saying Chaput has repeatedly urged voters to reject candidates opposed to the organization’s views."
The complaint alleged Chaput put the 501(c)3 nonprofit tax status of the diocese at risk by "explicitly urging Catholics to vote against candidates who support abortion rights and embryonic stem cell research."
It cited columns in the Denver Catholic Register, as well as speeches, interviews and an opinion piece Chaput wrote in the New York Times.
"If we believe in the sanctity of life from conception to natural death, we need to prove that by our actions, including our political choices," the Archbishop said in the column. "Anything less leads to the corruption of our integrity."
"The ‘choice’ in abortion always involves the choice to end the life of an unborn human being," Archbishop Chaput wrote. "For anyone who sees this fact clearly, neutrality, silence or private disapproval are not options. They are evils almost as grave as abortion itself."
The IRS never acted on the complaint.