UP Catholic 10 28 2016 E Edition Page 7

www.upcatholic.org THE U.P. CATHOLIC COMMENTARY October 28, 2016 7 Cretens Furniture Factory & Showroom 5954 Perkins 30.5 Road Perkins, MI 49872 (906) 359-4033 www.cretensfurniture.com A special thank you to Father Jamie, Father Brian, Monsignor Michael, and all the tremendous priests, deacons and women religious who have nourished our souls throughout the years! Q uestion: Why does the Church seem to only care about abortion when it comes to politics? Thanks be to God that Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia did a fantastic job of explaining this in Sex, Family, and the Liberty of the Church, a lecture delivered at Notre Dame University on Sept. 15, 2016. About midway through the arch- bishop said: In his classic work Democracy in America, (Alexis de) Tocqueville noted that the success of American democracy depended, in large part, on the strong American attachment to family and religious faith. In effect, families and churches stand between the individual and the state. They protect the auton- omy of the individual by hem- ming in the power of government, resisting its tendency to claim the entirety of life. But they also pull us out of ourselves and teach us to engage generously with others. As families and religious faith break down, the power of the state grows. Government fills in the spaces left behind by mediating institutions. The individual is freed from his traditional obligations. But he inherits a harder master in the state. Left to itself, as Tocque- ville saw, democracy tends toward a kind of soft totalitarianism in which even a persons most inti- mate concerns, from his sexual relations to his religious convic- tions, are swallowed by the politi- cal process. We now live in a country where marriage, family and traditional religion all seem to be failing. And inevitably support for democ- racy itself has dropped. Fewer than 30 percent of U.S. millen- nials think that its vital to live in a nation ruled democratically. Nearly a quarter of those born in the 1980s or later see democracy as a bad way to run a country. And nearly half of Americans surveyed feel that experts, not government, should make decisions according to what they think is best for the country. Undemocratic feelings have risen especially among the wealthy. This didnt happen overnight. And it didnt happen by accident. We behaved ourselves into this mess by living a collection of lies. And the essence of those lies is summed up in the so-called mys- tery clause of the 1992 Planned Parenthood vs. Casey Supreme Court decision upholding the Roe vs. Wade abortion decision. Writing for the majority in Casey, Justice Anthony Kennedy claimed that At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the uni- verse, and of the mystery of human life. This is the perfect manifesto of a liberal democratic fantasy: the sovereign, self-creating self. But its a lie. Its the very opposite of real Christian freedom. And to the degree we excuse or cooperate with it, we make ourselves liars. The Gospel of John reminds us that the truth, and only the truth, makes us free. Were fully human and free only when we live under the authority of the truth. And in that light, no issue has made us more dishonest and less free as believers and as a nation than abortion. People uncomfortable with the abortion issue argue, quite properly, that Catholic teaching is bigger than just one issue. Other urgent issues also need our atten- tion. Being pro-birth is not the same as being pro-life. And being truly pro-life doesnt end with defending the unborn child. But it does and it must begin there. To borrow some words from one of Notre Dames distinguished alumni (Bill McGurn): Abortion has been the beachhead for an entire ethic that is hostile to life, hostile to marriage and, as we see from the [HHS] contraceptive mandate, increasingly hostile to religion, religious Americans and religious institutions. Abortion poisons everything. There can never be anything progressive in killing an unborn child, or standing aside tolerantly while others do it. In every abortion, an innocent life always dies. This is why no equivalence can ever exist between the intentional killing involved in abortion, infanticide and euthana- sia on the one hand, and issues like homelessness, the death penalty and anti-poverty policy on the other. Again, all of these issues are important. But trying to reason or imply them into having the same moral weight is a debasement of Christian thought. No additional comment is needed. May God bless and guide you as you go to the polls on Nov. 8th! The full text of Archbishop Chaputs lecture is available online at www. catholicphilly.com under the heading Archbishop Chaputs speeches. Editor's note: This question and answer column is written for The U.P. Catholic by four priests of the diocese. If you have a question you'd like to be considered for an upcom- ing issue, please submit it by email to news@dioceseofmarquette.org or by U.S. Mail to Ask our Priests, c/o The U.P. Catholic, 1004 Harbor Hills Dr., Marquette MI 49855. Ask our priests Why does the Church seem to only care about abortion when it comes to politics? WE'RE FULLY HUMAN AND FREE ONLY WHEN WE LIVE UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE TRUTH. AND IN THAT LIGHT, NO ISSUE HAS MADE US MORE DISHONEST AND LESS FREE AS BELIEVERS AND AS A NATION THAN ABORTION. Archbishop Charles Chaput Archbishop of Philadelphia Follow us on Twitter! Visit www.twitter.com and follow @ TheUPCatholic

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