In which I say something nice about Archbishop Chaput


I've written about Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput either in the newspaper (what is this?) or here on the blog several times since he's arrived in town, and I've usually made the same point. Like the broader Roman Catholic Church, Chaput's politics are actually a blur of hard right views on most social issues -- most notably gay marriage, abortion, and school choice -- sprinkled with some fairly liberal ideas on poverty, immigration, etc. The thing about Chaput is that he whispers his progressive ideas, while screaming the conservative ones from a bullhorn.

So it would be hypocratical for me if I didn't praise Chaput for a column he put out (via email, no link yet) this afternoon on the looming execution of Pennsylvania Death Row inmate Terrance Williams. He wrote:

Terrance Williams deserves punishment.  No one disputes that.  But he doesn't need to die to satisfy justice.  We should think very carefully in the coming days about the kind of justice we want to witness to our young people.  Most American Catholics, like many of their fellow citizens, support the death penalty.  That doesn't make it right.  But it does ensure that the wrong-headed lesson of violence "fixing" the violent among us will be taught to another generation. 

As children of God, we're better than this, and we need to start acting like it.  We need to end the death penalty now.

From his keyboard to God's iPad. For more on Terrance Williams and the case for the state not killing this man, read this.