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Archbishop Chaput is Aweseome

  /   Wednesday March 03, 2010  

I just received a link to this speech by Archbishop Charles Chaput.  It was given at, of all places, Houston Baptist University.  In it, he talks about how John F. Kennedy’s Houston speech caused major problems for the role of Christians in public life.  I learned quite a bit about the historical background of the use of the phrase “separation of church and state” which appears nowhere in the U.S. Constitution.

I wouldn’t limit the applicability of what he said to politics.  During my first year in pharmacy school, a well-known professor of one of our classes stated that they should have vending machines for birth control in every school.  He said that “personally, I’m against it.”  He went on to say that our “professional duty” comes before our “personal beliefs.”

Even today, you hear people often debating on whether one may do or not do something on the basis of “personal beliefs.”  It’s as if they’ve forgotten that there might really be a God who will one day judge them, or they have decided that such a concern is of no consequence.  Whether such is true has little to do with one’s “personal beliefs.” Here’s a quote on this from Archbishop Chaput:

Too many Catholics confuse their personal opinions with a real Christian conscience.  Too many live their faith as if it were a private idiosyncrasy – the kind that they’ll never allow to become a public nuisance.  And too many just don’t really believe.  Maybe it’s different in Protestant circles.  But I hope you’ll forgive me if I say, “I doubt it.”

“Too many just don’t really believe.”  I can never know for sure what is in someone’s heart.  However, the actions and attitudes I’ve seen displayed on the part of many people show so little concern for God. I have talked to many people in my life who seem quite satisfied to believe that neither they nor anyone else knows anything about God. Either there is a God, or there isn’t.  God cannot exist and not exist at the same time.  Either he has revealed himself or not.  This has eternal significance, so take time to find these things out.

Archbishop Chaput gives us an answer that is both simple but yet very difficult in today’s world.  We must all have, first and foremost, “a zeal for Jesus Christ and his Church.”  The Archbishop himself states that he is a Catholic Christian first and then an American citizen.  We most certainly must love our country, but we are citizens of Heaven first.

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