Archbishop Chaput: I Certainly Can’t Vote For Someone Who Is Pro-Choice!

The Archbishop of Philadelphia draws a sharp distinction between “prudential judgments” about care for the poor, and intrinsic evils like abortion.


By: Patrick B. Craine

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 17, 2012 ( – As the November general election approaches, America’s Catholic bishops have been walking a fine line as they strive to avoid appearances of partisanship while at the same time they wage a high-profile battle against the Obama administration over religious freedom.

Earlier this month, one of the leading lights in the U.S. episcopate insisted he “certainly” could not vote for Obama, while not specifically endorsing his Republic opponent Mitt Romney.

Asked whether a Catholic could vote for Obama in good faith, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia replied: “I can only speak in terms of my own personal views. I certainly can’t vote for somebody who’s either pro-choice or pro-abortion.”

In a wide-ranging interview with John Allen, Jr. of the National Catholic Reporter, published Friday, the archbishop drew a sharp distinction between a candidate’s “prudential judgments” about how we care for the poor, and his position on an intrinsic evil like abortion.

Responding to concerns over the budget proposed by Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, which some Catholic bishops and other critics had called immoral because it cut programs to the poor, the archbishop pointed out that people of good faith can legitimately disagree over the role of government in providing aid to the poor.

“Jesus tells us very clearly that if we don’t help the poor, we’re going to go to hell,” he insisted. “But Jesus didn’t say the government has to take care of them, or that we have to pay taxes to take care of them. Those are prudential judgments.”

“You can’t say that somebody’s not Christian because they want to limit taxation,” he continued. “To say that it’s somehow intrinsically evil like abortion doesn’t make any sense at all.”

The archbishop, while noting he is a registered independent, said he has “deep personal concerns about any party that supports changing the definition of marriage, supports abortion in all circumstances, wants to restrict the traditional understanding of religious freedom.”

Chaput also said the bishops’ Fortnight for Freedom campaign in the summer was a success in raising greater awareness among Catholics about the grave threat to religious freedom facing America.

“The history of the world demonstrates that if we aren’t always on guard about religious freedom, we’ll lose it. It happens everywhere, and it could happen in the United States,” he observed.

“I would never have thought, even ten years ago, that we would be dealing with it so quickly,” he added.

On the HHS mandate, Chaput said he “can’t imagine” the courts would not overturn it. “If we don’t win, I’ll be astonished, and I’ll be even more worried about the future of religious freedom in our country,” he said.

“Those who oppose us on the mandates are very insistent. I thought they would back down by now, but they haven’t,” he continued. “We have to fight as vigorously in opposing them as they are in imposing them. Who’s going to win? I don’t know. It will be whoever fights the hardest and wins the hearts and minds of the people.”

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14 comments to Archbishop Chaput: I Certainly Can’t Vote For Someone Who Is Pro-Choice!

  • I agree with Diane. The politicians she mentioned should be excommunicated along with a few others. I have witnessed the damage done to parishioners by the new age mentality. Our shepherds, the bishops and pastors did very little to guide us on the right path. Fear of the Lord, eternity, mortal sin etc. was seldom mentioned and it was also preached to us that everyone goes to Heaven. Therefore few prayers and Masses are offered for the deceased. This is so sad because we know the souls in Purgatory cannot pray for their release but depend on the living. I pray every day for our Catholic Church and especially the clergy.

  • Diane Logan

    The Catholic Church and its bishops stood in support of Obama and his programs and then realized the mistake they made but by then it was too late. ObamaCare is an evil but the church only sees the abortion side of that evil.
    I often write letters that are published in opposition to abortion and political malfeasance and what do I get from my priest…’here comes our resident conservative”. I suspect he might lean too far to the socialist side of the street.
    I am a Catholic and ashamed that people like Pelosi, Biden, Casey, and so many other so-called Catholics can share communion with me. They should be excommunicated for they are the legislators who not only advocate but pass laws that give support to abortion and same sex marriage.
    If they represent Catholicism then I might ask why do I keep the faith?

  • Br. Christopher Sale

    There’s no doubt that Romney is the better man.
    I just don’t think any Catholic should vote for Obama.
    As for Romney being a Mormon I can only revert to the words of Mother Teresa when she said. “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”
    Mother Teresa
    The people in Cacutta thought Mother Teresa was there to convert them. She said no
    ” A good Christian must be a good Christian. A good
    Muslim must be a good Muslim and a Hindu must be a good Hindu.”

  • @Jacqueline: “Then, there is Romney who as a Mormon does not believe that Jesus is God (what an insult to Our Lord?) and he recently changed his posture to pro-life just for votes. (lies) His sister during an interview on TV stated that he would never go against Roe vs. Wade, the law that made abortion legal. His past certainly attests to this by virtue of his healthcare program in MA that is the basis for Obamacare[.]”

    Dear Jacqueline, I want to suggest that Catholics do have a choice.

    1st, Constantine was not a Christian but God used him to create the Holy Roman Empire. Many stellar Bishops throughout history were not Christians when they were chosen but were baptized & then ordained. God can use anyone.

    2nd, Catholics may vote to limit evil. Romney has acted in support of life in the past: vetoed bills (which the legislature overturned), counseling women to carry their children to term, etc. In 2004, when being told that embryos used in embryonic stem cell research were destroyed by 14 days, he was stunned & has remained stunned – this was when he was hoping to find a cure for his wife’s illness, MS. Those who know him & many who don’t believe he has changed & is truly pro-life. But, if you disagree, as long as you believe he will do less evil than BHO, you may vote for him.

    As for 0-care & MassCare, they are radically different. Romney never tried to force healthcare on the citizens of MA. He worked to balance the budget & when there was a huge (1.5 billion, I think) deficit to pay for it. MassCare was never for everyone, just those w/o insurance. Finally, the states are supposed to be “individual laboratories” according to the Founding Fathers. That BHO took MassCare, which the majority of people in MA still like, & used it to force 0-care on the nation is not Romney’s fault. BHO might take something that works in TX, my state, & try to force it on all of America but that would not be Perry’s fault. No one spoke w/ Romney about MassCare they just used it as a template to create evil. (And the inexpensive contraceptives were not added to MassCare by Romney but by the courts.)

    You must follow the dictates of your conscience as long as you’re not choosing intrinsic evil. It’s also important to realize that only part of the story is coming out. Romney is not another BHO. He’s an imperfect human being but he has & does try to do what is right even though he’s not a Christian. God bless. I’ll keep you & all those who feel there is no choice in my prayers, that you may have peace following Christ as well as you can.

  • Dear Br. Christopher, please continue being “old school.” We need it so badly. My parents died when I was 5 & I was raised by a Baptist minister who would not allow me to practice my faith. I waited 11 years until I was at university to be confirmed only to discover a church that taught what I knew to be lies: sex outside of marriage was not if a if one were “honest,” faith was a matter of feeling & not action – so many lies I was terrified & when I finished university, I went in search of a parish that taught the truth. One day I wandered into an Episcopal church that looked Catholic & by the time I discovered it was not, I had joined the St. Catherine of Sienna Sodality & begun taking an enquirers’ class. When I was told I could continue believing what I had always believed & that the Pope was the Bishop of Rome (that squared w/ what I’d been taught), I decided I would e received. But 1st, I asked Catholic priests I knew if it was okay & they told me there was no difference.

    After 10 years & trying to pretend lies were true, God sent me a Catholic friend who is as crazy as I am & as orthodox as I wanted to be. I realized if he could be Catholic, there must be room for me so I returned & am still working to unlearn the lies I was taught. So please, remain old school. I know so many young people who are entering seminary & they’re very orthodox. I will pray that God makes your community to flourish & that the hearts of the “New School” priests be converted.

    Dear Kathleen, thank you for reminding me to pray for priests. They’re added to the top of the list.

  • Br. Christopher Sale

    Hi Kathleen, I totally agree with you on this issue. I’m 61 and
    I would say the church was a much better place when I was
    younger. Back in my day I had to learn latin to be an altar boy.
    Those years had such a profound impact on my life. In 2008
    I founded the Brothers of Padre Pio here in Los Angeles. We
    follow much of the old tradition. Sadly I’m ridiculed by mostly
    younger priest saying I’m out of touch with the church. What
    I have found is I’m very much in touch with what Catholic are
    craving. I’ve been openly bashed by younger priest for wearing
    a habit. Yet that faithful tell me to keep it on. Just recently a priest
    told me that I must now teach that the sexual act of homosexuality
    is no longer a sin. Oh how wrong this priest is. So I’ve been
    criticize for being too “Old School”. Well I could never use the
    name Padre Pio and be “New School.” The church sometimes
    get on me about this, but I will not follow Christ in any other way.
    God bless,
    Br. Christopher B.P.P.

  • Kathleen Riney

    Sorry Br. Sale, I truly meant NO disrespect. I’m 71 & have been watching this war progress against Our Holy Church for over 40 yrs. I’ve lost 3 “children” to both heretical & just plain poor instruction from priests, who ridiculed my “Pre-Vat II faith” to my kids. Of our 5 children, 2 are practicing Catholics, one started out her marriage as Catholic but has crossed over to a small “Home Church”, one daughter is “Non-Denominational” & quite a good, devoted Christian, & one believes she will keep her faith in God privately..(so she doesn’t need a church affiliation) I was “shown” in prayer, about 3 months ago, that the Laity of the RC Church bears a huge responsibility for the shape it’s in now, because we did NOT pray for our Consecrated Clergy…About 3-4 days after this, I went to Confession locally & told the priest, totally unknown to me, what I was given in prayer, & apologized to him for my lack of prayers & sacrifices in the past. He seemed almost overwhelmed, (he’s late 50’s, early 60’s) He thanked me profusely & told me that what I received was truly Authentic. Since then, I’ve been very much aware of the need you all have for prayer & have tried to do better. But, I see in my post, I failed to apologize to you AND Bishop Chaput, for my lack of prayers in the past. For that I’m very sorry. God bless & keep you. Thank you for saying “yes” to your Vocation.

  • Br. Christopher Sale

    Thank you Kathleen, You are right it would be worse. But fear not, I’m extremely committed to my vows and the teachings of the church. In fact I have friends and Catholic friends who tell me all the time that I’m just too Catholic. lol! There’s no such thing though. I love the church more then you know.
    My entire life revolves around my ministry.
    God bless.

  • Kathleen Riney

    Br. Sale, since you are a member of the Clergy, it would be much worse than a ‘mortal sin’…..You stood before Christ Himself & VOWED to serve Him through His Church..I don’t say this to be hurtful or mean, just to make you aware of how tremendous your Vocation to Serve is.

  • Jacqueline

    Thank you, Archbishop Chaput for being a faithful servant of our Lord Jesus Christ. We must pray that all Catholics realize that they must employ their Catholic morals and Catholic Teachings to the way and candidate when voting. Presently, we, Catholics do not have a choice. Both candidates would never be chosen by Jesus. Firstly, both are for the culture of death. Jesus is the culture of Life….Obama’s obsession with abortion, rationing of healthcare to the elderly, mentally ill and the disabled, same sex marriage, and his hatred for Catholics and America would not be chosen by Jesus. Then, there is Romney who as a Mormon does not believe that Jesus is God (what an insult to Our Lord?) and he recently changed his posture to pro-life just for votes. (lies) His sister during an interview on TV stated that he would never go against Roe vs. Wade, the law that made abortion legal. His past certainly attests to this by virtue of his healthcare program in MA that is the basis for Obamacare…both evil No healthcare programs. Jesus would never choose the lesser of the two evils…EVIL IS EVIL…PERIOD!
    Consider the fate of your soul and either sit this election out or write in a vote for a true Pro-lifer, Dr. Ron Paul who had introduced into the House a bill called “The Sanctity of Life” that was knocked out by the Democrats in the majority at that time. He will definitely overturn Roe vs. Wade because as a pro-lifer and a Constitutionalilst, Abortion is unconstitutional! Amen to that! Vote God’s way for the one who keeps His Commands! Write in Dr. Ron Paul. God bless America.

  • Br. Christopher Sale

    For me peronally, it would be a mortal sin to vote for Obama.

  • lisag

    Jesus did not come to wipe out poverty or get rid of all sicknesses. He came to change the way people dealt with each other. He came to change hearts. It seems to me a heart that would perform an abortion is a cold one indeed. Who could look at their abortion work and call it good. What so called Christian could look Jesus in the eye and say that he performed a work of charity. There are poor people and there will always be poor people. Trillions of dollars have been spent on the poor, but there has not been the amount of abortion in the whole history of the world compared to the last 50 years. Tens of millions of unborn babies murdered, because of greed. Yes greed to make money, to save money, to have more time, to get ahead, and to keep from being embarrassed or inconvenienced. Forced abortions are acts of terror and rape and incest are crimes. Delivering a baby after a committed crime would be an act so rewarded by Our Lord. What a sacrifice of love.

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