Since Inauguration Day critics of Donald Trump have marched, rioted, verbally abused and in some cases viciously assaulted their opponents on a scale previously unseen.
Some of the anger is understandable. As I said repeatedly last fall, Mr. Trump’s words and behavior during the presidential campaign, on immigration and other issues, were deeply troubling. But in one of our history’s darker ironies, Mr. Trump benefited from an opposing candidate who had her own equally, though different, ugly and disqualifying baggage.
Mr. Trump is now President Trump, and curiously, some of the harshest, on-going fury directed at him has nothing to do with his personal character. Rather, it’s a very special brand of “progressive” intolerance for the approach his administration may take toward a range of difficult social issues, including abortion.
It involves a visceral media and leadership-class contempt for people like the hundreds of thousands of stubbornly good persons who continue to march each January — peacefully, respectfully and joyfully — in defense of the unborn child. The contrast with their critics is a lesson in what does, and does not, constitute responsible public witness.
When the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalized permissive abortion 44 years ago this month, abortion supporters argued that abortion was a sad necessity. As such, it needed to be made safe, legal and rare. Now it’s celebrated as a sacred right that demands veneration from the whole culture, including the millions of ordinary people who see this kind of officially blessed homicide as a gravely evil act.
One of the more promising signs from the new administration is its apparent sympathy for some key prolife concerns, from the appointment of Supreme Court justices to the defunding of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider.
Of course, being “prolife” involves a great deal more than a defense of the unborn child, though it certainly needs to start there. Maybe the best way to amplify and elevate President Trump’s understanding of that word “prolife” would be for a premier Catholic university – say, for example, the University of Notre Dame – to invite him to campus to offer its commencement address, to explain his personal evolution on the abortion issue, and to share, listen and learn with a cross-section of students and faculty in a respectful dialogue on the meaning of human dignity.
Notre Dame takes pride in its tradition of welcoming to campus U.S. presidents from both parties and with very different views. In that light, the invitation would certainly make sense and might be fruitful in unforeseen ways. God writes straight with crooked lines.
In the meantime, abortion is still with us. As thousands of Catholics and other prolife persons gather in Washington on January 27 and walk together in the annual March for Life, the time has never been better, nor the need more urgent, to pray for our country, to pray for the end of abortion, and to pray for a conversion in the hearts our leaders.
Forty-four years after Roe, a reverence for the sanctity of human life still burns in the spirit of far too many people to ignore.
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The Archbishop appears to have adopted an interesting proverb not often ascribed to the church – “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” This is a dangerous path, especially with someone who has exhibited instability in both his beliefs and temperament. To characterize the march to protect the unborn as being peaceful, respectful and joyful and, in his word, ‘contrast’ that with the Women’s March shows a disrespect for others that I believe would greatly trouble Jesus. Certainly some who attended the Women’s March were angry and disrespectful. But, from my personal experience and conversations with others, the vast majority of marchers in Washington, Denver and the scores of other locations were equally peaceful, respectful and joyful. I believe the Bible teaches us not to label all by the actions of a few. Should those who support abortion brand all of us who believe in protecting the unborn by the man who opened fire and killed people at the Planned Parenthood location in Colorado Springs or by those who use violence during protests at abortion clinics or murdered abortionists? All believe firmly they are protecting the unborn and are therefore justified in their actions. Mr. Trump had ample opportunity to share, listen and learn during the campaign. If the Archbishop’s standard for acceptance is peaceful, joyful and respectful, I would suggest he go back and listen to Mr. Trump’s campaign speeches and read his past and more recent tweets. If the church has adopted “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” as its rallying cry, I fear for its future.
I have recently read several articles In CRUX, Catholic News Service speaking about many US bishops who have actively spoke out against the recent executive orders on immigration signed by President Trump. Where is the voice of out Bishop?
I totally disagreed with President Obama and his position on abortion. But to compare him to who now resides in the white house in terms of character etc. is difficult to understand. President Trump is living up to his campaign rectoric of hate, bigotry, prejudice etc. There is more to being pro life than being anti abortion.. What about the death penalty? Immigration? Equal treatment of all religions? Torture? Black hole prisons? These are all life issues.
Have you read the statement from the Mexican bishops?
Have you read the statements from middle east bishops who have said that Trump’s position on preferential treatment of Christians will ultimately hurt their cause?
Bishop Chaput lets begin to preach the Gospel. Inspire us! Challenge us! Make us feel uncomfortable! Prayerfully we will not walk away from the difficult challenge to love everyone even our enemies. Be a breath of fresh air to we Catholics who want to be challenged. Who are struggling to remain faithful because what we hear from you is the same thing we hear at our parish.
I totally agree and support your thoughtful suggestion ARchbishop. Yet sadly, I think their administration are cowards and too many of their students are weak and ignorant in the faith. We pray for you daily in Denver.
I did not agree with church…Islamic religion teaches all infidels…us…have to be killed. We should welcome the Christians they are persecuting. Even Jesus said when a town won’t accept you, dust off your feet and move on
Thank you, Archbishop for continuing to be a strong proponent of life, which is the point of this article! It is too bad that the left is so focused on Trump-bashing that we can’t even have dialog about the issues as you suggest at Notre Dame. Curious how people can object to President Trump speaking at ND over his executive order, but have no problem with President Obama, the biggest abortion proponent our nation has ever seen in the White House, speak at ND in direct opposition to Catholic teaching? It is also absurd to say that pro-lifers oppose refugee resettlement, food stamps, wage increases and healthcare, etc., just because we may not agree on how these programs should be implemented or how broad they should be. How about we all stop being so partisan and start being Catholic first?
My parents taught me to be charitable but to also be cautious with whom I am dealing. We actually locked our doors and windows. Like a healthy family, a country also needs order and boundaries. This is merely what Trump is trying to do for us. I feel safer because of it.
Archbishop Chaput makes many great points and is right to call out Notre Dame. Will they play fair?
Thank you for your courageous words, and I hope Notre Dame takes your message to heart.
Pres. Trump is successfully dismantling the political class in the Washington Bureaucracy that has spent us out of house and home; he is fighting a leftist media that is unhinged and radical; he is protecting our borders against the globalists who don’t believe in sovereignty but a universal homogenous state governed by the elite; he is defending life in the womb from the get go like no other president of late; he is already cultivating economic conditions favorable to business and thus spurring job creation, and courting labor unions; and the list goes on and on. A list that the leftists hate–leftists who have destroyed our inner cities, attacked marriage, killed babies, and trounced on the natural law roots of this country. God certainly does write straight with crooked lines. What’s concerning is the crooked reaction to his first week, and the hate displayed towards him, and the hate towards the beliefs of most Americans–hatred from a radical left which has basically committed political suicide by leaning too far to the left-thus revealing the seedy underside of their once powerful party. You are seeing the last ditch effort to hold onto power because they fear this man will actually WIN.
Thanks Bishop Chaput! Well said.
Difficult to understand people who equivocate the extermination of innocent life in the womb with qualifications by any country on who may or may not enter, unemployment, climate change etc. The latter are subject to argument both pro and con the former is simply murder and always wrong. How about some rational prioritization here.
When I went to Catholic school I learned the corporal works of mercy. Among them are:
Feed the hungry but this administration wants to throw them over a wall.
Give drink to the thirsty, but this administration wants to throw them back into the sea.
Give shelter to the homeless and clothe the naked but this administration wants to send them away.
Tend to the sick but this administration wants to take away the medical insurance.
I am appalled that the Archbishop defends this administration.
Remember that Christ had the harshest words for the self absorbed, self righteous, authoritarian clergy of his time.
A much more compassionate leadership that walks in the footsteps of the Lord would be most welcome.
Hillary’s problems weren’t her e-mails. Her problems were with white males desperately trying to stop her. In the meantime, Director Comey is most likely doing a dandy job investigating the spy in the Trump administration who helped Russians hack the DNC and RNC e-mails, rewrite them and had Wikileaks publish them. She never said the church was backwards. Good luck with Trump ordering the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, CHIP and all social safety net services that took decades to establish. There are many major problems caused by DJT. He does not deserve to attend any commencement exercise.
God made us imperfect for a reason. With the said, neither candidate was perfect. One was an admitted molester said he felt he had the right to grab women. The other supported a woman’s right to abortion. So, the question is not to cherry-pick, but look at both from the perspectives of our religious, social and political views.
As a lifelong Catholic, who believes in the concept of Commonwealth and Social Compact, and saw my immigrant grandparents and succeeded generations benefit from a progressive political agenda, I had to vote for Clinton.
After a mere ten days as President, Mr. Trump has more than affirmed that my vote was correct. We are watching a person who see himself as a ruler and has little regard for governing. His actions will not only put this nation at greater risk of terrorism, but the Christians in the Middle East will face more persecution. His wanting to end Obamacare, not because of the birth control provisions, but because he doesn’t believe access to health care is right, threatens 20,000,000 Americans.
Finally, as a husband, father of a daughter and grandfather of granddaughter, I will never accept or respect a man who talks about his daughter in sexually explicit ways and believes, because of his social and economic status, he has the right to grab any women’s private parts – and have sex with them. These women are some’s daughters and granddaughters.
You may support the President’s action on abortion, but looking at entire man and his views and actions, there is no way any Catholic should support him.
The argument about pro-life gets contentious when the term is used with Catholics who oppose abortion and who also oppose refugee resettlement, food stamps, wage increases, healthcare and housing choice (or any kind of social, care-net).
Catholics who oppose these latter issues are usually labeled “Pro-Birth”.
Please help explain what is a pro-life stance when life is not supported after birth or from another country?
The Catholic voter has 5 non-negotiable moral issues:
President Trump was elected to protect the moral values mostly held by Catholics. And the president is following through on his promises.
Glad you are stating the truth about the rabid unfairness we haven’t seen the likes of yet . I don’t feel it correct of you to say that Hillary s baggage was equally ugly and disqualifying. She has been much worse because its not just individual sins as it was for both of them but she is also responsible for causing others to sin by her activism and policy making for millions of people. No comparison when comparing the sheer influence. Just defending as you do And praying you keep your pen sharp and your backbone strong.
Mr Trump should not be honored by Notre DameUniversity or any other religious institution. His recent Executive Order banning refugees who are trying to escape from war and poverty goes against basic Christian principles. Archbishop Chaput’s admiration this immoral and unethical president is baffling at best.
And President Obama who actively supported abortion rights was welcomed to Notre Dame!!?? Sounds like your position is biased politically.
Sadly, Patricia, it seems that you have bought into the media hype surrounding the President’s temporary halt on immigration from certain countries. Experience is the best teacher, and looking at what is going on in Europe and the UK, and the attacks we’ve experienced on our own soil, gives reason for us to pause and re-evaluate our vetting process. This isn’t un-Christian or discriminatory, it is common sense. it is not a ban it is a TEMPORARY halt. Please see it for what it is before jumping on the anti-Trump train.
The late great Catholic Governor of PA – Robert Casey – talked about being seamlessly Pro-Life. He opposed abortion and opposed the death penalty. He also believed about protecting those between birth and death. I can’t speak for him personally, but I suspect he would be calling on access to health care as being Pro-life. The protection of those in the Middle East as being Pro-Life.
The American Catholic Church while professing to agree with Mr. Casey’s views, spends a disproportionate amount of time and resources focusing on abortion and lip service to the other things, where the lives lost from these other areas are tens or hundreds times greater than those lost to abortion.
In today’s readings, the Gospel tells us the story of the Eight Beatitudes. These are the pillars and set the Values of our Catholic faith. All of Christianity is guided by these. Except the President. Please reflect on the Beatitudes and tie them into the direction that the country is going since Trump was sworn into office. I find this direction is offensive to my Faith, to what I cherish, and to my family. Donald Trump is everything that my mother taught me not to be. He an abomination to the Office of the President of the United States.
You should be outraged, too!
Where was the public outrage when President Obama did the EXACT same travel moritium (not “ban” because this is temporary) against IRAQ when Mosul and other Iraqi cities were falling? Caldean Catholics in Iraq were being murdered, yet there was no out cry.
Why the double standard? If it was “ok” for Obama to do it, why is it bad for Trump to do the exact same thing. Wait – Trump isn’t doing the same thing – he’s allowing an exception for Christians and other minority religions who are facing extermination to still seek refuge.
Also, where is the outrage for Hillary’s obsession with abortion, allowing it up to the day of birth? Where is the outrage with her (an others like her) regarding forcing tax payer to pay for abortion? Where is the outrage with declaring war on Little Sisters of the Poor?
How about people be Catholic first.
I voted for Obama twice… And now I know it was a mortal sin both times.
To vote for a Pro Choice candidate is a grave sin because nothing is more evil and I just than abortion.
World War III would be better than Abortion, because at least in a Third World War, the people who die would have had the chance to be baptized.
God Bless and may we give this country back to our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.