People of Faith Deserve a Public Voice, Says Archbishop

Denver Prelate Says Politics Without God Is Unhealthy

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WASHINGTON, D.C., MAY 29, 2005 ( A «public square» that excludes people of faith is unhealthy, says the archbishop of Denver.

Rather, everyone should have a voice in the life of a nation’s public life, insisted Archbishop Charles Caput when he addressed the recent National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington.

«That’s the way it should be. That’s what the founders of our country intended,» he said.

«Catholics and other Christians have always taken an active role in public life. What we believe about God shapes how we think about men and women. It also shapes what we do about promoting human dignity,» said the archbishop.

Talking about the tension in today’s public square between religion and politics, the archbishop commented that «what’s unnatural and unhealthy is the kind of public square where religious faith is seen as unwelcome and dangerous.»

«Since the 1960s, many American Catholics have been acting like we’re lucky just to be tolerated in the public square,» he said. «In other words, we’d better not be too Catholic or somebody will be offended. That’s a mistake.

«That’s not pluralism. It’s not democracy. Democracy and pluralism depend on people of conviction fighting for what they believe through public debate — peacefully, legally, charitably and justly; but also vigorously and without excuses.

«This applies to elected officials. It applies to voters. It applies to you and me. Belief in God has profoundly shaped what Americans believe about human dignity; the law; the common good; and justice. To cut God out of the public square is to cut the head and heart from our public life.»

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