Chaput: Clinton, Trump 'very bad news for our country'

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput spoke about the presidential candidates Thursday at the University of Notre Dame.

In a speech Thursday at the University of Notre Dame, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput called presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton "very bad news for our country."

Chaput said that since he first voted in 1966, "the major parties have never, at the same time, offered two such deeply flawed candidates."

He said he believes each candidate is detrimental to the nation in different ways.

"One candidate, in the view of a lot of people, is a belligerent demagogue with an impulse-control problem. And the other, also in the view of a lot of people, is a criminal liar, uniquely rich in stale ideas and bad priorities," Chaput said.

It was not the first time the archbishop criticized the Republican and Democratic nominees. Last month he wrote that Trump and Clinton "both have astonishing flaws."

Also characterizing his descriptions as the views of "a lot of people," he said Trump was "an eccentric businessman of defective ethics whose bombast and buffoonery make him inconceivable as president."

And in the view "of a lot of people," Chaput wrote that Clinton "should be under political indictment."

The religiously conservative Chaput has often been outspoken and at times has sparked controversy with his views.

Earlier this year, when Chaput insisted that Catholics living in sinful relationships may not receive Holy Communion or hold positions of responsibility in parishes, Mayor Kenney denounced the decision as "not Christian."

Though Chaput was at Notre Dame, in South Bend, Ind., to deliver the 2016 Tocqueville Lecture on Religious Liberty, the university was not spared from his criticism.

He said many Catholics were deeply troubled that Notre Dame honored Vice President Biden this year with the prestigious Laetare Medal. The event was open to the public and was held in the Hesburgh Library.

"For the nation's leading Catholic university to honor a Catholic public official who supports abortion rights and then goes on to conduct a same-sex civil marriage ceremony just weeks later, is - to put it kindly - a contradiction of Notre Dame's identity," Chaput said.

"It's a baffling error of judgment. What matters isn't the vice president's personal decency or the university's admirable intentions. The problem, and it's a serious problem, is one of public witness and the damage it causes both to the faithful and to the uninformed," the archbishop said.

Chaput previously has chastised Biden for not following the church's opposition to abortion.

The embarrassing spectacle of political corruption in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania also got their turns in Chaput's speech.

"I come from a place where the state attorney general was just convicted of nine [criminal counts]. The FBI is investigating Philadelphia's district attorney. Philadelphia's Second District U.S. Congressman, Chaka Fattah, was forced to resign and then convicted of racketeering and influence-peddling. And several members of the state assembly from the Philadelphia area, as well as three state Supreme Court justices, were caught in various scandals," Chaput said.

He called those cases of corruption "almost reassuring in the modesty of their appetites and lack of imagination."

Such cases, he said, don't shake the foundations of the republic.

"Regrettably, other things do," he said as he segued to his warnings about Trump and Clinton.

As he opened his remarks, he said the theme of his talk was "sex, family, and the liberty of the Church."

Chaput said the nation was suffering from promiscuity, infidelity, sexual violence, "sexual confusion," and the "massive role of pornography in wrecking marriages, families and even the vocations of clergy and religious."

Permissive attitudes on these issues have "political consequences. People unwilling to rule their appetites will inevitably be ruled by them - and eventually, they'll be ruled by someone else."

Chaput emphasized the power of heterosexual families in building a future with virtue and morality. He said the resistance of millennials to having children was troubling.

"The future belongs to people who believe in something beyond themselves, and who live and sacrifice accordingly. It belongs to people who think and hope intergenerationally," he said.

"If you want a portrait of what I mean, consider this: The most common name given to newborn babies in London for the past four years in a row is Muhammad," Chaput said.

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