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Archbishop Warns Against Worshipping Obama

While Americans hope President Obama's plans will be the savior the economy needs, a Catholic archbishop has warned against treating Obama like a savior. Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver maintains that "in democracies, we elect public servants, not messiahs."

Speaking at a lecture in Canada, Chaput also shared his criticism of Obama's policy. He said:

Whatever his strengths, there’s no way to reinvent his record on abortion and related issues with rosy marketing about unity, hope, and change. Of course, that can change. Some things really do change when a person reaches the White House. Power ennobles some men. It diminishes others. Bad policy ideas can be improved. Good policy ideas can find a way to flourish. But as Catholics, we at least need to be honest with ourselves and each other about the political facts we start with.

The Archbishop delivered a hard message to American Catholics, telling them that they have been "absorbed and bleached and digested" by American culture. Do his words strike a cord with you?


Join The Conversation
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
:oy: Did Bush intentionally kill, or call for the murder of Iraqi civilians?? No. Please don't accuse Bush of murder.
ylovely ylovely 8 years
Did the Bishop call out Bush for all of the murders committed against innocent babies in Iraq?
momma-tikita momma-tikita 8 years
You took the words out of my mouth Roar! Very true.
janneth janneth 8 years
Also, lecturing people about Obama not being messianic is silly. He must think his audience is not very smart.
janneth janneth 8 years
I do not believe that the Archbishop's audience generally agrees with him. Didn't more Catholics vote for Obama than for the other guy? The archbishop is inserting his one issue into the politics of his flock, ignoring many other issues such as war, capital punishment, poverty. That is why Catholic voters generally ignore these statements and instead vote their own Catholic conscience, looking at the totality of Jesus' teachings.
genesisrocks genesisrocks 8 years
And kranky I'm pleasantly surprised by everyone's politeness too.
kranky kranky 8 years
Nyara- I understand it's a horribly awful and complicated situation, and the Catholic Church is not allowed a strong presence in the country. However, the plight of the nation is in the Catholic consciousness and (at least at my church) we pray for peace and send money for refugees when given the opportunity. I don't know if it makes you feel better, but there are millions of people around the world who are pulling for your nation.
genesisrocks genesisrocks 8 years
Eh all that may be true. Too bad he didn't take the time to address all the people I see on facebook and blogs spreading rumors that Obama is the anti-Christ.
kranky kranky 8 years
"That's why I don't understand why Citizen brought it here. I'm just getting a bit tired of all of these one dimensional posts that reduces everyone, liberal, conservative, religious, atheist, etc., into a 3 to 4 point summary aimed to get everyone to fight. I'm all for intelligent debate, but there really is nothing to say here without being nasty or dismissive. You either agree or you don't. " I couldn't agree with you more, Jessie. I could respond to the post as a Catholic and wax rhapsodic about how much I liked his message, but I doubt anyone here cares and quite frankly, I don't feel comfortable doing so on these boards. It isn't appropriate. What I do like about the current conversation is that everyone is being respectful of others' opinions. I will say this, I am sometimes humbled by the graciousness and class of my fellow posters. :)
Jessiebanana Jessiebanana 8 years
I mean the Archbishop didn't say anything new. He simply presented the Catholic perspective of Obama and how they believe we should be looking at changing government. There is nothing new or newsworthy here. It is very common for significant figures in culture to give lectures. I've attended many. They can be authors, scientists, religious figures, political figures, artists or activists. I don't think that many people view Obama as the messiah, I generally only hear him called that by those who don't like him. He is important though to many people and to dismiss the cultural importance he has to other people isn't being very empathetic or open minded. Religion has always been a bit on the paranoid side when it comes to iconography though, it's nothing new to get worked up about. I'm sure they said the same thing about Elvis.
liliblu liliblu 8 years
I agree Roarman, I've never heard an Obama supporter claim he is their Savior. The only people I've heard use the term Messiah in regards to Obama are detractors.
nyaradzom2001 nyaradzom2001 8 years
kranky as a zimbabwean i can tell you the church cannot do much in zimbabwe especialy since NGOs were banned. our parish priests have been deported for criticising the president, and on the ground we haven't heard much from the church about zimbabwe from the church.Desmond Tutu and the Archbishop of york in england have been the most vocal critics and the methodist pastor who has fought his own government in south africa by housing hundreds of refugees in his church, they aren't catholic, of what has happened and our own archbishop had to step down after criticising the government for years and finally being screwed over by the secret police. to tell the truth canada and the scandinavian nations have done the most really for us with one even going so far as to pay the salaties of civil servants apparently.
Jessiebanana Jessiebanana 8 years
Kranky Hey, I said annoys because of the way he phrased it, as if it is automatically a bad position because he believes so. On the other hand I do understand he is speaking to an audience who generally agrees with him. That's why I don't understand why Citizen brought it here. I'm just getting a bit tired of all of these one dimensional posts that reduces everyone, liberal, conservative, religious, atheist, etc., into a 3 to 4 point summary aimed to get everyone to fight. I'm all for intelligent debate, but there really is nothing to say here without being nasty or dismissive. You either agree or you don't. The only place to have a reasonable debate would be within a religious forum and this just isn't the place, you know? I guess I'm also a bit curious as to what he considers to be related issues and why?
kranky kranky 8 years
I disagree genesis, I think this quote does a good job of summing up his stance: In a reference to the messianic treatment the Barack Obama received from some Americans during the presidential primaries, Archbishop Chaput delivered his second point: "in democracies, we elect public servants, not messiahs."
kranky kranky 8 years
steph- You have a point, certainly. However, Biden and Pelosi falsely presented pro-abortion arguments as canonical - would you expect the Church to let them go uncensured? I wouldn't. On the other hand, how many US politicians have directly and publically participated in abusing women, impoverishing or enslaving people, etc...? I suppose that bishops could have denied communion to Cheney and Bush for their involvement in Gitmo, but as neither are Catholic, it would have been an empty gesture.
genesisrocks genesisrocks 8 years
I don't know kranky, it seems to me those are his main reasons why Obama isn't the messiah. Personally I thought he should have brought up the fact that he can't walk on water and hasn't brought anybody back from the dead yet, but that's just me
Roarman Roarman 8 years
The only people who describe Obama as a Messiah, are his detractors and those mocking him. It is typically used in a negative context.
stephley stephley 8 years
That's true Kranky, a lot of very important work goes unmentioned - but how often do you hear of priests publicly threatening to deny the sacraments to any politician other than over abortion (in the U.S.)?
kranky kranky 8 years
refuge=refugee (sorry)
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
He's a genuine Catholic and his statement reflects his beliefs and ideology. What's all the hubbub about? In regards to treating Obama like a savior or messiah I can see how that sentiment can be perceived. You have two groups the down and out regardless of race and people of color. I think we all understand even African Americans who are old know to know Jim Crow and the fight for civil rights understand that President Obama is simply a vehicle a symbol of achievement for people of color who know what it is to be denied a seat at a counter, a vote, a front seat on the city bus, a job, a loan because of prejudice. What we are witnessing is the escape of pure joy and redemption of all people of color who identify with those experiences. IMO their fever pitch of hope is not directed at one man but rather directed at each other. In regards to the down and out regardless of race when you're laid off from work, behind in bills and a life that took years of careful planning and execution is suddenly dismantled in a matter of weeks. The natural thing to do is to look to authority for direction God or otherwise depending on your out look. But regardless of what a legislative bill might unfold or divine inspiration might yield the change ultimately comes from each individual. We understand that the President is not going to do it for us and as for any divine intervention as my mother used to say God helps those who help them selves. Of course you will have some way word souls but I believe the clear majority of us are centered enough to know better.
kranky kranky 8 years
Maybe I'm an exception, but I see a lot of stuff about the Church's work in refuge camps, among the impoverished, for women, etc... I will concede that it's work in those areas are not covered in the mass media very often, but if you attend church regularly (or at least one like mine) and/or read Catholic news circulators, you would see a lot of information about the Church's 'other' charitable works. The Catholic Church ahs been especially vocal about the situation in Zimbabwe and active in helping refuges, nyara.
em1282 em1282 8 years
"As a Catholic I would love to see the church become as vocal about war and child and women trafficking and torture as they are about abortion." I agree, nya!
nyaradzom2001 nyaradzom2001 8 years
As a Catholic I would love to see the church become as vocal about war and child and women trafficking and torture as they are about abortion.
kranky kranky 8 years
"The way he said it made it sound like Obama would be the messiah if he agreed with them about it, when he's not the messiah either way." I agree that Obama is not the messiah, but I do not agree that the Archbishop insinuated that he would consider Obama perfect if he reversed his stance on abortion and 'related issues.' I think the last paragraph reiterates that. Gee... I guess maybe we can have a dialogue about the article. My bad.
mydiadem mydiadem 8 years
Good points, he could have meant IVF and stem cell research and the like as well as birth control.
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