Friday, September 9, 2011

Nicholas Cafardi on Chaput, the Republican Party, and Pro-Life Politics

Nicholas Cafardi is underwhelmed by the record of the new archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles J. Chaput, and--as does Frank Cocozzelli--he wonders whether Chaput will continue his political activism on behalf of the Republican party from his powerful new see, now that's been installed as archbishop.  Cafardi writes, in what might almost be a gloss to the posting I just uploaded about Rick Perry and the death penalty,

A disproportionate focus on criticizing politicians who do not accept that criminalizing abortion is the only way to solve this terrible problem [i.e., of building a moral economy that serves the needs of all, particularly the poor] gives the false impression that the Catholic Church is a religious wing of the Republican Party. Elected officials who support the death penalty, demonize immigrants and slash programs that protect the poor and most vulnerable, all in contradiction to church teaching, rarely receive the sort of public rebukes Chaput and other conservative Catholic bishops direct at those who deviate from the church position on abortion.

Cafardi's right, though I seriously doubt that Chaput, who is stubbornly belligerent if anything at all, will pay much attention to Cafardi's critique.  I'm convinced with Frank Cocozzelli that the Vatican and its handlers have put Chaput into his new high-profile position in a swing state full of fairly conservative Catholic voters precisely to do the bidding of the Republican party from his lofty new perch.  And the window-dressing explanation for his promotion--that he's going to clean up the mess created by Bevilacqua and Rigali in the Philadelphia archdiocese--is just that: an insincere impression-management game that's all about manipulating public opinion and not about substance in the least.

As David Clohessy tells Edward Kelly in this incisive article noting that Msgr. William Lynn of Philadelphia is the first clergyman in history indicted on felony charges of endangering child welfare, Chaput's record vis-a-vis abuse cases is deplorable, and he exhibits constant brutality towards victims of clerical sexual abuse when they come forward to report their abuse.

He's hardly likely to alter that course in his new position as primate of Philadelphia.

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