Archbishop Chaput: Democrats Have ‘Gotten Worse’ on Abortion Because Catholics Haven’t Abandoned Them

Posted on Oct 23, 2012
In a video interview with Catholic News Service, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia said that the position of the Democrat Party on abortion has “gotten worse” over time because Catholics within the party haven’t taken a strong moral stand and shown a willingness to abandon the Democrat Party. “I think...

In a video interview with Catholic News Service, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia said that the position of the Democrat Party on abortion has “gotten worse” over time because Catholics within the party haven’t taken a strong moral stand and shown a willingness to abandon the Democrat Party.

“I think many of the Democrats have [taken] Democrat Catholic votes for granted because they’ll go with them no matter what the party position might be on abortion,” Archbishop Chaput said. “That’s why the position of the Democrat Party has gotten worse, and worse, and worse as time goes on because Catholics haven’t abandoned them as they’ve moved in that direction.”

Chaput said that in the earliest days of the abortion debate in the United States, most people probably thought that the Republican Party would’ve “easily embraced abortion,” and that Democrats would have been the political party standing for the defense of life because of the large number of Catholics within the party.

“Catholics have been historically part of the Democrat Party in great numbers, and I think really could’ve stopped that great development movement if they tried, but they didn’t in order to accommodate people from the other side of the issue,” he said.

The Archbishop also said that you can’t always trust the Republican Party to stand for the defense of life either.

“You know you can’t trust the Republicans to be pro-life 20 years from now. You can’t let any party take your vote for granted,” said Chaput.

Archbishop Chaput called on Catholics in the United States to put their Catholic identity ahead of their political party, and even their American citizenship, to stand united with the Church’s moral teaching opposing abortion.

“We’re Catholics before we’re Democrats. We’re Catholics before we’re Republicans. We’re even Catholics before we’re Americans because we know that God has a demand on us prior to any government demand on us,” he said. “And this has been the story of the martyrs through the centuries.”

“[Abortion] is a very serious issue that requires absolute adherence on the part of Catholics,” the Archbishop said, “and if we don’t stand united on this issue we’re bound to failure—not only in the area of protecting unborn human life but in maintaining our religious freedom.”

Full Transcript of Archbishop Chaput’s Statements:

“I think in the earliest days of the abortion debate in the United States, if people had to guess which party would’ve embraced abortion and which one wouldn’t have, people would’ve thought the Republicans would’ve easily embraced that and the Democrats never would.

“The development of party politics around the issue of abortion is very interesting. What’s especially interesting about it is that Catholics have been historically part of the Democrat Party in great numbers, and I think really could’ve stopped that great development movement if they tried, but they didn’t in order to accommodate people from the other side of the issue.

“It really is a big issue today, and I think what it requires of Catholics is a loyalty to the Church prior to their political Party. We’re Catholics before we’re Democrats. We’re Catholics before we’re Republicans. We’re even Catholics before we’re Americans because we know that God has a demand on us prior to any government demand on us. And this has been the story of the martyrs through the centuries. That doesn’t mean we’re not being good citizens, because being good citizens means giving God his rights prior to the government making its claims upon us. So I think this is a very serious issue that requires absolute adherence on the part of Catholics, and if we don’t stand united on this issue we’re bound to failure—not only in the area of protecting unborn human life but in maintaining our religious freedom.

“You know you can’t trust the Republicans to be pro-life 20 years from now. You can’t let any party take your vote for granted. And that’s unfortunately what’s happened. I think many of the Democrats have [taken] Democrat Catholic votes for granted because they’ll go with them no matter what the Party position might be on abortion. That’s why the position of the Democrat Party has gotten worse, and worse, and worse as time goes on because Catholics haven’t abandoned them as they’ve moved in that direction. So we just have to be insistent on that Catholic identity takes precedence over everything.”