PHILADELPHIA (ChurchMilitant.com) - Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia is saying U.S. Catholics and Protestants are heroes and not haters for collaborating in defense of religious freedom.
On Tuesday, the archbishop refuted what he called "willfully ignorant" points made in an article co-authored by Fr. Antonio Spadaro and published July 13 in the prestigious, Rome-based journal La Civiltà Cattolica. Spadaro's article referred to the united efforts of Catholics and Evangelicals, fighting in the areas of "abortion, same-sex marriage, religious education in schools and other matters generally considered moral" as an "ecumenism of hate."
In his rebuttal, Abp. Chaput affirmed "groups that fight for religious liberty in our courts, legislatures and in the public square ... are heroes, not 'haters.'" The archbishop questioned Spadaro's attack on such people. "So it's an especially odd kind of surprise," Abp. Chaput reasoned "when believers are attacked by their co-religionists merely for fighting for what their Churches have always held to be true."
The archbishop took Spadaro to task for dismissing the attacks on religious freedom in the United States as what Spadaro called a "narrative of fear." Catholics, evangelicals, Mormons and Orthodox Christians have so many differences says the archbishop, that "only real and present danger could draw them together" and that not to see this danger to "religious liberty" was being "willfully ignorant." He added, "And if their efforts draw Catholics, evangelicals and other people of good will together in common cause, we should thank God for the unity it brings."
Archbishop Chaput lauded these for joining forces "to push back against abortion on demand, to defend marriage and the family and to resist LGBT efforts to weaken religious freedom protections through coercive SOGI (sexual orientation/gender identity) 'anti-discrimination' laws." Spadaro's article labeled such people "integralists," who are united "in the nostalgic dream of a theocratic type of state." Correcting this bias, Abp. Chaput asserted the efforts of such people were based on "shared concerns and principles, not ambition for political power."
In his article, the archbishop notes that certain LGBT activists have stated openly their goal is not merely legal freedom to practice sexual license but to punish moral people, who are morally opposed to their perverse lifestyle. "The goal of at least some gay activism is not simply to assure equality for the same-sex attracted but to 'punish the wicked' – in other words, to punish those who oppose the LGBT cultural agenda," said the archbishop. He adds, "It doesn't take a genius to figure out whom that might include."
Church Militant believes one of the reasons it was singled out for attack is owing to its high-profile stance against homosexual clerics at a time when so many gay clerics are in positions of power in the Vatican. It should be noted that Spadaro was so obsessed with gay novelist Pier Vittorio Tondelli, who died of AIDS, that he established a website to promote him. He's also downplayed many of the homosexual themes contained in Tondelli's novels.
Repelling the homosexualists, who wage war on religious liberty, Abp. Chaput affirms that "charity and justice can't be separated from truth." He says there's no detouring around Scriptural passages such as Romans 1:26–27 that reads:
For their women have changed the natural use into that use which is against nature. And, in like manner, the men also, leaving the natural use of the women, have burned in their lusts one towards another, men with men working that which is filthy, and receiving in themselves the recompense which was due to their error.
To soften or ignore the truth of such passages in the realm of politics warns Abp. Chaput, "reduces us to useful tools of those who would smother the Faith that so many other Christians have suffered and are now suffering."