Archbishop Charles Chaput on Health care reform, the Catholic Health Association, and Obama at Notre Dame

That’s a lot of things together. Health care, of course, is one of the things the church has done in imitation of Jesus Christ, who came to heal the sick and to drive out evil in the world. It’s very important for us to be involved, but in a way that Jesus is involved, and not to do anything at all that would contravene the teachings of the Gospel. I stood with the president of the bishops’ conference, Cardinal George, when it came to the health care bill.

I was very disappointed when the Catholic Health Association took a position that really undermined the authority of the bishops. I wish that hadn’t happened. I think it was a severe moment of lack of communion in the church. I think we ought to continue to insist that when it comes to matters of faith and morals, bishops, in the name of Jesus Christ, have to be the ones who make the final decisions.

With regard to Notre Dame, I wrote a column in our Denver Catholic paper following the example of the local bishop, Bishop D’Arcy. I was very disappointed in the decision by Notre Dame. When the bishops met in Denver in 2004, we made a decision that Catholic universities shouldn’t give honors to people who are actively engaged in promoting abortion. That has happened with the current administration, so it seems to me that it was inappropriate for Notre Dame to give the President an honorary doctorate. I’m sure the President is a good man, and that he’s following his own conscience on the matter, but it isn’t the conscience of the church and he shouldn’t be honored because of that.
Interview by John Allen

Michael Miller, Jr.