It was my honor on Tuesday night to introduce the Archbishop Charles Chaput of the Denver Archdiocese to the Cleveland Right To Life dinner. In my introduction and in remarks earlier in the day, I pointed to the long-standing tradition of Christian intellectuals in church leadership engaging the broader culture with arguments and noted that this tradition had fallen on hard times in recent decades, especially among Roman Catholic leadership who chose in the past few decades to speak almost exclusively through the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, which especially in the Reagan years, led to staff-driven, left-of-center exercises that often allowed the Church's central teaching on the dignity and value of the not-yet-born to be eclipsed.
In recent years, the tradition of great Catholic churchmen engaging the culture has been rekindled, and the spirit of John Henry Newman seems to be reviving. "Standing apart from the world," the Times of London said of the leader of England's Catholics in the 19th century, Newman "has long been on excellent terms with it." That relationship allowed Newman to prod and push and influence.
Archbishop Chaput has embraced this calling and Newman's posture and repeatedly engages the broader world in principled arguments about first principles. His address on Tuesday night was a wonderful example of this approach, a wide-ranging essay on the subjects of science and citizenship and especially the future of the pro-life movement. With his permission, I reprint it here, and encourage all readers to regularly check the website of the Archdiocese for other addresses and articles authored by Archbishop Chaput:
WHY THIS WORK MATTERS: HUMAN DIGNITY AND THE ROAD AHEAD
+Charles J. Chaput
People who do pro-life work very quickly learn that there really aren’t any strangers in this movement. It’s held together by a friendship of shared beliefs and sacrifices that doesn’t care about age or social background or distance. So coming here tonight actually feels a lot like home -- and I’m very grateful to Molly Smith, Andrew Trew, the rest of the great Cleveland-area pro-life leadership and the good people from Salem Communications for welcoming me with such outstanding kindness.
I also want to thank Bishop Lennon in a special way for being here. The bishop and I have known each other a long time. He’s a man of wonderful heart and spirit, and it’s a privilege to call him a brother in ministry.