Tag Archives: Archbishop Chaput

Freedom fighter

A 2013 Legatus Summit speaker, Baltimore’s Archbishop Lori engages the culture . . .

Imagine picking up your morning paper and reading these headlines: “Priest Fined for not Marrying Same-Sex Couple,” “Catholic Hospital Closed for Refusal to Perform Sterilizations,” and “Notre Dame University to Close, Refuses to Offer Employees Abortion Coverage.”

Though these headlines sound far-fetched, they’re not. Archbishop William Lori, Baltimore’s newly appointed archbishop, has been working day and night to make sure these headlines are never printed. He is the U.S. bishops’ point man on religious freedom — an issue that grows more pressing by the day, despite the fact that it’s all but ignored by the mainstream media.

Secular erosion

Archbishop Lori has been the chairman of the bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty since September 2011. He led last summer’s “Fortnight for Freedom” and speaks regularly to Catholics and the news media. He has testified before Congress several times.

“In the past, there was much more overtly anti-Catholic activity in this country,” he told Legatus magazine. “Today, things are more under the surface. The dangerous things happen behind the curtains. This is why it’s so important for us Catholics to reveal what’s going on and to hold officials accountable for making rules which are anti-Catholic and anti-religious.”

The issue of religious liberty affects an enormous array of human activity, which is why Archbishop Lori believes it’s so important to engage the culture.

“There are challenges to religious liberty in every state with same-sex ‘marriage,’” he said. “Catholic social services are being discriminated against because they don’t offer contraception. Student groups are being decertified because of their Christian principles. There is also the ever-present battle to take all religious symbols out of the public square. Individuals sometimes find their professional licenses revoked because of their Christianity.”

Archbishop Lori, who will be speaking on religious freedom at the Legatus Summit in February, said the threats to our first freedom take place on many levels, especially the judicial and legislative. But the biggest challenge is cultural.

“As secularism takes hold, more and more people marginalize the faith,” he said. “This is when religious liberty is imperiled.”

Solutions

As the bishops’ leader on religious freedom, Archbishop Lori offers various solutions.

“First, like the pro-life movement, we need to pray,” he said. “This must be the engine that drives the protection of religious liberty. Right now we have a rosary novena going on, and there is a national prayer for religious liberty. I foresee that this fight is going to take a long, long time.”

He also believes that Catholics must continue to engage their elected officials. They must write to members of Congress and demand legislative relief.

“It’s good for bishops to testify before Congress, but it’s better for them to hear from the faithful,” he said.

Archbishop Lori believes that Catholics must also become better informed about the issues affecting the Church in the public square.

“It’s sadly apparent that many Catholics are not informed [of the government’s hostility to the Church] because schools and hospitals are still open. It’s not as if these buildings are being burned. But this is a fight which is below the surface through subtle instructions. When you analyze it, it’s a sea change. It’s a real alteration of the way in which the Church and state interact.”

In addition, Catholics must better understand Church teaching and then impart it to others. “The new evangelization takes stock of the new situation in which the Church finds herself, how people find happiness, how they communicate, what they regard as important, where there is brokenness. It’s helping to see how the Gospel responds to our questions, concerns and emptiness.”

Archbishop Lori recalls how Pope John Paul II said that we must show how Jesus is the answer to every person who comes into the world: Jesus is the answer to the needs of every heart.

There are a number of good books, he said, that explain limited government and religious freedom — such as Archbishop Chaput’s Render Unto Caesar. Catholics must equip themselves to speak knowledgeably on this issue.

Catholics can also join legislative networks — like their own state’s Catholic conference. And the U.S. bishops have a text message campaign for religious freedom. If you text the word “freedom” to 377377, you will receive regular texts directly from the USCCB.

Tackling the Issues

The Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate is enemy No. 1 for Catholics who value religious liberty. The mandate demands that all businesses offer employees health insurance that provides contraception, sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs. Religious organizations are exempt if they serve only members of their faith and exist only to propagate their faith’s doctrine.

“The HHS mandate goes too far,” said Chris Gunty, associate publisher of the Catholic Review, Baltimore’s archdiocesan newspaper. “Because Catholic Charities hires people who are not Catholic and serves people who are not Catholic, they are not exempt.”

In fact, every Catholic hospital, university, and charity could be fined excessively under the mandate, forcing them to close.

More than 100 plaintiffs in more than 35 lawsuits are fighting the mandate in court, said Kim Daniels, co-director of Catholic Voices USA. “Archbishop Lori has been a tremendous leader in defending religious freedom. He’s been involved in this issue for a long time, and he’s really engaged.”

Maureen Ferguson, senior policy advisor for the Catholic Association, agrees. “He has been everywhere on this issue. The bishops have called for lay people to get involved in this fight, but the flock needs a shepherd. And he has been an incredible shepherd. His leadership has been stellar and invaluable.”

Archbishop Lori also led the fight to defeat Maryland’s same-sex “marriage” ballot measure. However, it failed on Nov. 6, losing by a narrow margin (52-48%). “We will continue to witness to the values of marriage … the union of one man and one woman, as the most sound, secure and loving way to bring children into the world,” he said in a statement.

Though Maryland law allows religious organizations to opt out of renting property or performing services for gays, Archbishop Lori knows there are deeper problems. Once a state allows gay “marriage,” religious liberty begins to erode.

Gunty, a member of Legatus’ Baltimore Chapter, concurs. “There was a bed and breakfast in Vermont that refused to rent their location for a same-sex ‘marriage’ ceremony. They were sued. The ramification is that they can’t rent out their facility for anything anymore.

When same-sex ‘marriage’ becomes the law of the land, then to hold another opinion becomes politically incorrect, and people will take action against you.”

Archbishop Lori says the fight for religious liberty will be an ongoing battle — and it will require lay leadership, and Catholic business leaders will be invaluable.

“People are looking for leadership,” he said. “If a person is a leader in business, for example, and a totally committed Catholic, they can give a reason for their hope. The way we overcome indifference is by a burning love for Christ and by asserting that faith confidently.”

Sabrina Arena Ferrisi is Legatus magazine’s senior sta“ff writer.

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Your invitation to the 2013 Summit

Jeb Bush

The clock is ticking down to Legatus’ 2013 Summit — and excitement is building toward the Feb. 7-9 event at the Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz. Because a capacity crowd of more than 500 participants is anticipated, organizers suggest booking a room as early as possible.

“The schedule is full of speakers that will entertain, educate and enrich our spiritual lives,” said Laura Sacha, Legatus’ conference director. “Even though we will be in Arizona with the desert as our backdrop, we will be immersed in the Louisiana culture as our host, the Baton Rouge Chapter, brings their flavor to the Summit.”

Jose H. Gomez

The Summit’s theme, “The Door of Faith: A Summons to a Deeper Conversion,” takes its inspiration from Pope Benedict XVI’s apostolic letter Porta Fidei (The Door of Faith). The roster of speakers and special guests is impressive. Confirmed faculty include:

• Gov. Jeb Bush, former Florida governor and convert to the Catholic faith

Matthew Kelly

• Baltimore Archbishop William Lori

• Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gómez, Legatus’ ecclesiastical advisor

• Legatus’ international chaplain Bishop Sam Jacobs, Houma-Thibodaux (La.) diocese

• Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmsted

• George Weigel, papal biographer and author of Witness to Hope and The End and the Beginning

Ken Cuccinelli

• Catholic author and motivational speaker Matthew Kelly

• Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb), author of the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act

• Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia’s attorney general

• Tommy Lasorda, former L.A. Dodgers manager

• Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God, formerly Rosalind Moss, a convert form Judaism and foundress of the Daughters of Mary, mother of Israel’s Hope

• Mike Piazza, former Major League Baseball catcher with the New York Mets, L.A. Dodgers, Florida Marlins, San Diego Padres and Oakland A’s

• Fr. Frank “Rocky” Hoffman, executive director of Relevant Radio

• EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo, master of ceremonies

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ENDOW embodies the ‘genius of women’

Ministry counters radical secular feminism

For most of the last century, Catholic women of substance found themselves in a box. Betrayed by a secular feminism with a frantic pro-abortion agenda and unsure of their place in a supposedly male-dominated Church, they looked for a way to exercise what Pope John Paul II called “the true genius of women.”

Enter ENDOW.

Feminine genius

ENDOW — Educating on the Nature and Dignity of Women — is a ministry dedicated to educating women in order to transform and humanize society. It has blossomed among women in all walks of life because of its low-key approach and its promotion of “the feminine genius.”

“It’s refreshing,” said Joanie Todd, a member of both Legatus’ Denver Chapter and the ENDOW board of directors. “I fell in love with what it meant to be a Catholic woman. ENDOW has really become a passion of mine and has changed my life.”

One of those changes was to take the two Todd children out of public schools and send them to Catholic schools; another was Todd’s transformation into an advocate for authentic feminism.

Terry Polakovic, ENDOW’s executive director, was also changed by the ministry. She said her participation helped bring order to her life and gave her a clear sense of her vocation.

ENDOW provides weekly small group studies with a trained facilitator. Groups study papal encyclicals and other source documents that educate them on fundamental Catholic Church teachings and highlight women’s roles in the Church and in society. Each study guide is made up of eight sessions, each with the imprimatur of Archbishop Charles Chaput. ENDOW is active in 54 dioceses across the country.

The new feminism

John Paul II wrote extensively about motherhood and women’s unique dignity and vocation. “The personal resources of femininity are certainly no less than the resources of masculinity: they are merely different,” he wrote in his 1988 apostolic letter Mulieris Dignitatem. “Full respect for women and their identity,” he wrote in his 1995 Letter to Women, “must first and foremost be won … beginning with a universal recognition of the dignity of women.” (Emphasis his.)

ENDOW began five years ago with a pilot program based on John Paul’s writings. It has grown to include 3,800 participants.

“ENDOW’s mission is to change the culture, from a culture of death to a culture of life,” Todd said. “It emphasizes the complementarity of men and women.”

Polakovic said ENDOW fills a void.

“Women are hungry for an alternative to what our culture is offering as far as feminism goes,” she explained. “I think they know in their hearts that it’s false, and they want to have the truth articulated by people like Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict and backed up with Scripture and scholarship. It opens a brand new world to them.”

Women in the Church

Archbishop Chaput, who vetted the initial ENDOW program, said that women need a “Catholic brand of feminism … one that is faithful to the Gospel in every way.”

ENDOW helps refute the misconception that leadership in the Catholic Church is only for men. Archbishop Chaput said the Church will be stronger with more women leaders.

“We have to overcome the feeling that so many Catholic women today have that the Church isn’t interested in them or in their leadership,” he said. “ENDOW will provide the resources to make them aware that they are loved and welcomed – and at the heart of the Church.”

Teresa Tomeo, a member of the Detroit NE Chapter of Legatus, is a writer and nationally syndicated talk show host. She was a delegate to the Vatican’s international congress for women last February and the keynote speaker at ENDOW’s 2007 annual conference. She thinks the perception of inequality in the Church persists because women don’t know the truth.

“Women are poorly catechized and unaware of all the opportunities in the Church,” Tomeo said.

Women’s perspective would change, she contends, if they knew what the Church actually teaches, instead of getting their information from the biased secular media.

“Whether they realize it or not, the secular media is indoctrinating them into an anti-Catholic approach to life,” she said.

“Radical feminism takes the position that the priesthood is no more than a career, rather than a calling, and so it represents the last glass ceiling that women can break through,” Tomeo explained. “Education is the key to correcting this misperception, and ENDOW can make a huge difference in the lives of women.”

Youth focus

Although the study guides are at the heart of ENDOW’s ministry, the organization also holds an annual conference and luncheons with speakers who address topics of interest to Catholic women.

The ministry has also developed an outreach to young women and girls, according to Brigid Sweeney, who heads up ENDOW’s youth development. Classes for middle and high school girls are in the early stages, and the programs are expanding quickly.

“Kids are bombarded by the media, the music, the shows they watch, the books they read,” she said. “Everything is telling them: ‘Your value is in your physical appearance and what you can do.’ But we know their value comes from their dignity, in being created in the image and likeness of God. Our goal is to deconstruct the lies and to help them see the truth.”

Paul A. Barra is a freelance journalist based in Reidville, South Carolina.

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Learn more

Joanie Todd, a member of the Denver Chapter of Legatus, speaks about “the feminine genius” at Legatus chapter events nationwide. Learn more about authentic feminism and the work ENDOW is doing. For more information, visit endowonline.com or write Todd at: toddswim@comcast.net.

The future of America

Life issues divide Obama and McCain

Like many U.S. Catholics, Umberto Fedeli believes this year’s presidential election presents Catholic voters with a clear choice — one that hinges on the sanctity of human life.

“If you’re not right on that issue, it has me concerned about your compass or your direction on other issues,” said Fedeli, a member of Legatus’ Cleveland Chapter.

Life issues

When it comes to the life issues, there’s little doubt that the differences between Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama are profound. According to a nonpartisan voter guide prepared by Priests for Life,McCain has voted to oppose Roe v.Wade, the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, while Obama has made unrestricted abortion a priority.

McCain also supported legislation providing protection for infants who survive abortion while Obama opposed a similar bill in the Illinois State Senate.

But with both McCain and Obama touting their positions on an array of other issues from the economy to the Iraq war, some Catholics may wonder whether a single issue like abortion should hold sway over others in their choice of a candidate.

After all, faithful Catholics should also be concerned about poverty, marriage and a host of other social issues. Many question whether war, for example, isn’t as evil as abortion — or whether providing healthcare for the poor isn’t as important as helping unborn children.

The answer, according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, is that “not all issues are equal.” The USCCB’s 2007 statement on political responsibility, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, draws a line between issues involving “matters of intrinsic evil” such as abortion and “affirmative obligations to seek the common good,” such as helping the poor.

Faithful Citizenship lays out 10 policy goals intended to help guide Catholics as they weigh the moral dimensions of their voting choices. Topping the list is protecting “the weakest in our midst — innocent unborn children” through an end to abortion, followed by such issues as immigration reform (on which Obama and McCain have nearly the same voting record), poverty, prejudice, peace, human rights and healthcare.

Guides developed by Priests for Life and Catholic Answers Action differ slightly in approach, but emphasize the pre-eminence of abortion and other life issues.

The Catholic Answers Voter’s Guide for Serious Catholics identifies five non-negotiables involving intrinsically evil actions: abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning and homosexual “marriage.” The guide also says Catholics should “avoid to the greatest extent possible voting for candidates who endorse or promote intrinsically evil policies.”

All issues are not equal

Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput has staunchly defended Catholic teaching on the life issues this election season.

“One of the pillars of Catholic social thought is this: Don’t intentionally kill the innocent, and don’t allow others to do it. That’s where our political reasoning needs to start,” he explained. In Render Unto Caesar, his new book about the Catholic citizen’s role in public life, Archbishop Chaput calls abortion “the foundational issue of our age.”

“Obviously we face many other issues this fall — the war in Iraq, the economy, the need for immigration reform and others,” the archbishop told Legatus Magazine. “These are urgent and important. But they can’t be used as an alibi or counterweight to avoid defending the unborn child.”

Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, said common sense also dictates that all issues are not equal. For example, he said, although every life has the same value, the number of those being lost through abortion far exceeds that of other tragedies, including war. The key difference, he added, is that in war, although innocent people are sometimes killed, the government does not authorize their deliberate killing, as is the case with every single abortion.

The U.S. bishops’ Faithful Citizenship document further notes, “It is essential for Catholics to be guided by a well-formed conscience that recognizes that all issues do not carry the same moral weight and that the moral obligation to oppose intrinsically evil acts has a special claim on our consciences and our actions…. In the end, this is a decision to be made by each Catholic, guided by a conscience formed by Catholic moral teaching.”

Conscience, however, is not a matter of personal preference or opinion, as Archbishop Chaput points out in Render Unto Caesar. “For Catholics, ‘conscience’ demands a mind and heart well formed in the truth of Jesus Christ. And these come foremost through the teaching of the Catholic faith.”

Archbishop Chaput is quick to point out that he doesn’t tell Catholics who to vote for. “I don’t do that,” he said. “But if we describe ourselves as ‘Catholic,’ then we need to act in accord with Catholic teaching.”

Dissenting Catholics

Nonetheless, there are Catholics who, while claiming to accept Church teaching on human life, support pro-abortion candidates.

Among these is constitutional law scholar Douglas Kmiec of Pepperdine University, who has outlined his reasons for backing Obama in a new book, Can a Catholic Support Him? Asking the Big Question about Barack Obama.

Although Obama is a co-sponsor of the Freedom of Choice Act, which would undo nearly all state and federal limits on abortion, including partial-birth abortion, Kmiec said he thinks the Democratic candidate has better ideas than McCain on how to reduce abortion.

McCain and the Republicans, Kmiec argued, are focused on overturning Roe v.Wade, which Kmiec considers a “failed and uncertain path” because it would return the matter to the states, allowing them to become pro-abortion.

Kmiec said Obama’s approach, while retaining legal abortion, would provide prenatal and income support, paid maternity leave and greater access to adoption as means of reducing the incidence of abortion.

Archbishop Chaput, however, said all public leaders should be working to offer abortion alternatives.

“But ‘pro-choice’ candidates have used this bogus approach while running for office for 35 years with virtually no results,” the archbishop said. “We still have more than 1 million abortions a year.”

Kmiec also argues that Obama’s positions on the living wage, healthcare, family home foreclosures and the needs of the disadvantaged are more consistent with the Church’s social justice mission.

But Archbishop Chaput said the problem with that line of thinking is that “there’s no way to justify or ‘balance out’ killing an innocent unborn child by weighing it against other social benefits. No amount of good social welfare legislation can excuse support for a phony ‘right’ to abortion.”

Catholic outreach

Both McCain and Obama have reached out to Catholic voters, who make up nearly a quarter of the country’s electorate.

McCain launched a Catholics for McCain effort in December, setting up conference calls with key Catholic leaders and organizing groups in various states, particularly battlegrounds like Ohio.

The Obama campaign followed suit in April, appointing a 26-member National Catholic Advisory Council. In late September, Obama’s campaign revived its religious outreach by announcing a “faith, family and values” tour in key battleground states targeting voters less concerned about abortion or same-sex “marriage.”

Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), national co-chair of Catholics for McCain, said the Republican candidate’s campaign resonates with Catholics on core issues like abortion, euthanasia and marriage — and on social justice matters such as immigration.

Fedeli, who co-chairs Catholics for McCain in Ohio, agrees.

McCain wants to create a culture where all Americans will want to serve an interest greater than themselves, Fedeli said. “He is shy to talk about his faith and doesn’t talk much about religion, but when he says things like that, he’s saying we are called to be men for others.”

Brownback told Legatus Magazine that McCain’s position on core issues resonates with Catholics, whose vote will be critical in this election.

“We’re one vote away from overturning Roe v.Wade,” Brownback said. “If McCain wins, we’re likely to get one to three Supreme Court judges. If Obama wins, he will get to appoint the same number and we could well lose the chance to overturn Roe for 20 to 40 years. That’s at the core of this election. I would hope people would pray about it before they vote.”

Judy Roberts is freelance journalist based in Graytown, Ohio.

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Resources for Catholic voters

Booklet: Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States. www.faithfulcitizenship.org

Statement: Living the Gospel of Life: A Challenge to American Catholics. U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.usccb.org/prolife

Various: Voter guides comparing the Republican and Democrat presidential candidates and party platforms, Voting with a Clear Conscience and more. Priests for Life Political Responsibility Center. www.priestsforlife.org/elections

Booklet: Voter’s Guide for Serious Catholics. Catholic Answers Action. www.caaction.com

Book: Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life by Archbishop Charles Chaput (Doubleday, 2008) Available at book stores everywhere or call toll-free (800) 726-0600.