by WorldTribune Staff, June 14, 2019
Democrat presidential hopeful Joe Biden’s flip-flop on barring federal funding for abortion is not surprising given his party’s demand of “a candidate’s allegiance and full-throated reverence” on abortion “or else,” the Archbishop of Philadelphia said.
“The unborn child means exactly zero in the calculus of power for Democratic Party leaders, and the right to an abortion, once described as a tragic necessity, is now a perverse kind of ‘sacrament most holy,’ ” Archbishop Charles Chaput wrote in his weekly column for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia on June 10.
Until last week, Biden had supported the Hyde Amendment, which bars the use of federal funds for abortion. Chaput likened the former vice president’s abandonment of Catholic belief to a “silent apostasy.”
Chaput referred to a speech he made at the University of Notre Dame in October 2016, where he said:
“Quite a few of us American Catholics have worked our way into a leadership class that the rest of the country both envies and resents. And the price of our entry has been the transfer of our real loyalties and convictions from the old Church of our baptism to the new ‘Church’ of our ambitions and appetites. People like Nancy Pelosi, Anthony Kennedy, Joe Biden and Tim Kaine are not anomalies. They’re part of a very large crowd that cuts across all professions and both major political parties.
“During his years as bishop of Rome, Benedict XVI had the talent of being very frank about naming sin and calling people back to fidelity. Yet at the same time he modeled that fidelity with a kind of personal warmth that revealed its beauty and disarmed the people who heard him. He spoke several times about the ‘silent apostasy’ of so many Catholic laypeople today and even many priests; and his words have stayed with me over the years because he said them in a spirit of compassion and love, not rebuke.
“Apostasy is an interesting word. It comes from the Greek verb apostanai – which means to revolt or desert; literally ‘to stand away from.’ For Benedict, laypeople and priests don’t need to publicly renounce their baptism to be apostates. They simply need to be silent when their Catholic faith demands that they speak out; to be cowards when Jesus asks them to have courage; to ‘stand away’ from the truth when they need to work for it and fight for it.”
Chaput noted that his speech at Notre Dame had “displeased some who see Mr. Biden as a veteran public servant and a well-intentioned, decent man trying honestly to balance his religious faith with the demands of a complicated political terrain. On the complicated nature of today’s politics, there can be no dispute. But complexity is never an all-purpose excuse, especially on matters of principle, and most especially when the innocent and voiceless stand to pay the price for a bad choice.”
In a sharp rebuke, the archbishop ends his column by citing the character of Thomas More from the film A Man for All Seasons and applying it to the current political climate.
“When statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their own public duties, they lead their country by a short route to chaos.”