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October 12, 2009

Archbishop Chaput on the Struggle Between "Caesar" and Belmont Abbey College

Here is an important section of Archbishop Charles J. Chaput's extraordinary address to the
Envoy Institute of Belmont Abbey College "Envoy of the Year" award banquet last Thursday, October 8th, in Charlotte. I found his words that evening to be prophetic and inspiring.

One of the Archbishop's insights was this gem of an aphorism:

"If we stand up to evil, we may lose. If we don't stand up to evil, we will lose."

" . . . Today the bigots we face are different. Caesar wears a different suit. He has great media handlers. He bullies religion while he claims to respect it. He talks piously about the law and equality and tolerance and fairness. But he still confuses himself with God -- and he still violates the rights of Catholic believers and institutions by intruding himself where he has no right to be.

"It‟s one of the great ironies of the moment that tiny Belmont Abbey would have the courage to challenge Caesar over its right to be faithfully Catholic in its policies, while so many other American Catholics seem eager to give Caesar honors. But God is a God of ironies, as the Philistines discovered, among others.

"One of the deepest truths of the human predicament is this: If you stand up to evil, you may lose. But if you don’t stand up, you will lose. Belmont Abbey [College], to its very great credit, has the character to stand up and defend its right to be Catholic. The Becket Fund stands with it. Patrick Madrid and the Envoy Institute have been standing up for the Catholic faith for many years.

"We have the duty to support all of them with our prayers, our financial resources and pressure on our public officials to stop today‟s government interference with the identity and policies of faithful Catholic institutions. . . . (complete text of speech)


  1. About ten years ago I started reading Cardinal Ratzinger's writtings, I started to have a feeling that he was still working towards a Cod-given destiny. As I read more and more of Archbishop Chaput's writtings, I start getting the same sorrt of feeling.Coinsidence?

  2. Sorry, I can't resist.

    I too was wondering if we have a Cod-given destiny when I was reading a Porpoise Driven Life. It was a whale of book. But one part frustrated me so much I exclaimed "Holy Mackeral!" and got such a haddock I had to sit down. I had a halibut time just finishing it.

    I try not to be shellfish about what the world has to otter, but in the corporate struggle, it can be a feeding frenzy. You look at your coworkers and think 'with fronds like these, who needs anemonies?'.

    I tried to talk to my wife about it, she just wanted to cuttle up and talk about how happy we are with our beautiful squids. And you know, I do feel batter.

    Seriously, God Bless Archbishop Chaput!

  3. I knew there was something fishy about your comments, Ben. Then I realized you were just saying things bass ackwards.

  4. I have been reading about this issue lately. I think it is great that Belmont Abbey wants to support a Catholic, Pro-life position, and that should be supported.
    However, someone raised an interesting concern to me on this issue that I would love to run by you, Mr. Madrid. I remember when Patrick Reilly of the Cardinal Newman Society wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal. A commenter on the article, David Neipert, made a very interesting claim. He said that Belmont Abbey went to court a few years ago to prove that they were not a religious institution, in order to get state funding. He is irked that now they are saying that they are religious, when state funding is not on the line.
    Obviously, the idea that not giving contraceptive coverage is gender descrimination is absurd. I am not arguing that. I do wonder, though, if this information is true, why Belmont Abbey did not call themselves a religious institution when they wanted money a few years ago.


  5. Seems like Belmont Abbey should have hired Catholic educators from the beginning . . . why is standing up to a law suit now more noble than ensuring the integrity of a Catholic institution from the get-go?

  6. Bakerstreetrider,

    I am curious to hear what Mr. Madrid thinks about the court decision as well. The one where Belmont Abbey College argued that it was not a religious institution in order to get public funds. I would like to know what people told Mr. Madrid about that case because I think it was before Mr. Madrid became associated with Belmont Abbey College. Thank you.

  7. It's true that my association with BAC began about two and a half years ago, so I'm not very familiar with the details of that situation.

    Ken Davison, Belmont Abbey College's VP for college relations, would be a good person to contact if you'd like more information about this. His e-mail address is kendavison at bac dot edu.

  8. But Mr. Madrid, I would like YOU to weigh in on this. I think it is important to the way we look at the college and this EEOC incident. Bakerstreetrider has a good point. Why should I give money to that Beckett Fund effort?

  9. Yes, I know you would, "Illumination," that was obvious.

    But as I explained, I am not sufficiently familiar with the facts pertaining to the allegation Mr. Neipert made to be able to "weigh in on this."

    As an aside, I find it interesting that while you are keen on my commenting publicly on this matter, you hide your identity behind a pseudonym and your blog is closed to the public. Why is that?