Chaput, Charles J.
24 Articles at


In the Courts of Three Popes: An Insider's Insight

Faithfully living what we claim to believe as Catholic Christians shapes the future. And the fact is, we can no longer afford a sclerotic Church, a comfortable Church, a get-along Church. We need to be a confessing Church, not just in our diocesan structures, but in the pews and family homes of every parish.

Date posted: 2024-04-19

Things Worth Dying For: The Nature of a Life Worth Living

It's a good thing, a vital thing, to consider what we're willing to die for. What do we love more than life? To even ask that question is an act of rebellion against a loveless age. And to answer it with conviction is to become a revolutionary; the kind of loving revolutionary who will survive and resist - and someday redeem a late modern West that can no longer imagine anything worth dying for, and thus, in the long run, anything worth living for. This essay is adapted from a lecture delivered on October 11, 2019, for the Constitutional Studies Program at the University of Notre Dame.

Date posted: 2019-10-19

Building A Culture of Religious Freedom

Serve the poor. Help the weak. Protect the unborn child. Speak the truth about the beauty and order of creation: Male and female he created them (Gen 5:2). Fight for your right to love and serve God, and for others to do the same. Defend the dignity of marriage and the family, and witness their meaning and hope to others by the example of your lives. Adapted from an address delivered at the Alliance Defending Freedom Summit on July 9, 2019.

Date posted: 2019-07-23

Law and Morality in Public Discourse: How Christians Can Rebuild Our Culture

Three Key Points to Win Hearts and Minds: First, the natural law should undergird our positive laws. Second, our positive laws can teach us to live or not live in harmony with the natural law. Third, the law can't teach effectively without the support of a surrounding moral culture, because law arises from that culture.

Date posted: 2014-08-21

Our First Right: Religious Liberty

America's founding documents assume an implicitly religious anthropology -- an idea of human nature, nature's God, and natural rights -- that many of our leaders no longer share. Adapted from testimony submitted to the United States Commission on Civil Rights.

Date posted: 2013-06-08

The Gosnell story and its lessons

Some stories, no matter how unsettling, just can't be ignored - even when some people are determined to look away.

Date posted: 2013-05-05

A Man for This Season, and All Seasons

There is only one Thomas More: A man of tender nobility, subtle intellect, and forceful conviction, all rooted in profound fidelity to the larger commonwealth of Christendom outside and above Tudor England.

Date posted: 2013-02-07

Building a Culture of Religious Freedom

If we want a culture of religious freedom, we need to begin it here, today, now. We live it by giving ourselves wholeheartedly to God with passion and joy, confidence and courage; and by holding nothing back. God will take care of the rest. Adapted from remarks delivered at the Napa Institute's 2012 annual conference.

Date posted: 2012-10-09

Disability: A Thread for Weaving Joy

While some people resent the imperfection, the inconvenience, and the expense of persons with disabilities, others see in them an invitation to learn how to love deeply without counting the cost. God will demand an accounting. Adapted from remarks delivered at the Cardinal O'Connor Conference on Life.

Date posted: 2012-02-20

Being Human in an Age of Unbelief

It's important for our own integrity and the integrity of our country to fight for our pro-life convictions in the public square. Anything less is a kind of cowardice. But it's even more important to live what it means to be genuinely human and "pro-life" by our actions - fidelity to God; love for spouse and children; loyalty to friends; generosity to the poor; honesty and mercy in dealing with others; trust in the goodness of people; discipline and humility in demanding the most from ourselves.

Date posted: 2011-12-03

In Embryonic Stem Cell Research, End Does Not Justify the Means

Let's be clear on this: Catholics do indeed oppose medical research that requires the destruction of human embryos. Millions of other Americans, religious and otherwise, share this moral conviction. We emphatically support science and medical advances - but we oppose the use of immoral means to achieve seemingly good goals, even when they include possible medical cures. Why? Because if the bloody legacy of the last century has taught us anything, it's that the end never justifies the means.

Date posted: 2010-01-01

We need to end the death penalty now

The death penalty is a bad idea because it diminishes the society that employs it. It doesn't deter capital crime. It doesn't bring back the dead. It doesn't give anyone "peace." It sometimes kills the innocent. It coarsens our own humanity and sense of justice. And while both Scripture and long Catholic tradition do support the legitimacy of capital punishment in extraordinary cases, the conditions that would justify its use in developed countries like the United States almost never exist.

Date posted: 2007-07-06

Religion and the Common Good

Brothers, we most truly serve the common good by having the courage to be disciples of Jesus Christ. God gave us a free will, but we need to use it. Discipleship has a cost. Jesus never said that we didn't need a spine. The world doesn't need affirmation. It needs conversion. It doesn't need the approval of Catholics. It needs their witness. And that work needs to begin with us.

Date posted: 2007-04-28

A Lenten prayer: restore us as a culture of life

As God shows His mercy to us, so we should show His mercy to others. Lent is a time to reflect on our sinfulness, to learn humility and gratitude, and to turn toward the greatness of God's love. God's Son gave up his own life so that we might have eternal life. Shouldn't we show our gratitude for this gift of life in the ways we honor and respect all life, as Christ did?

Date posted: 2007-02-21

We need to end the death penalty now

The death penalty is a bad idea because it diminishes the society that employs it. It doesn't deter capital crime. It doesn't bring back the dead. It doesn't give anyone "peace." It sometimes kills the innocent. It coarsens our own humanity and sense of justice.

Date posted: 2007-02-18

The Role of Women in Building a Culture of Life

Denver's Archbishop Charles Chaput frequently speaks out in defense of the Church's teaching on life and family issues when many others choose to remain silent. Here the outspoken bishop talks about women's role in the Culture of Life.

Date posted: 2007-01-13

Of Human Life

Thirty years ago this week, Pope Paul VI issued his encyclical letter Humanae Vitae (Of Human Life), which reaffirmed the Church's constant teaching on the regulation of births. It is certainly the most misunderstood papal intervention of this century. It was the spark which led to three decades of doubt and dissent among many Catholics, especially in the developed countries. With the passage of time, however, it has also proven prophetic. It teaches the truth. My purpose in this pastoral letter, therefore, is simple. I believe the message of Humanae Vitae is not a burden but a joy. I believe this encyclical offers a key to deeper, richer marriages. And so what I seek from the family of our local Church is not just a respectful nod toward a document which critics dismiss as irrelevant, but an active and sustained effort to study Humanae Vitae; to teach it faithfully in our parishes; and to encourage our married couples to live it.

Date posted: 2005-06-18

Faith and Patriotism

Words are cheap. Actions matter. If we believe in the sanctity of life from conception to natural death, we need to prove that by our actions, including our political choices. Anything less leads to the corruption of our integrity. Patriotism, which is a virtue for people of all faiths, requires that we fight, ethically and nonviolently, for what we believe. Claiming that "we don't want to impose our beliefs on society" is not merely politically convenient; it is morally incoherent and irresponsible.

Date posted: 2004-10-23

How to tell a duck from a fox

"If it quacks like a duck and looks like a duck and walks like a duck, it's probably a duck. A fox can claim to be a duck all day long. But he's still a fox."

Date posted: 2004-04-17

The Family's Role in Pro-Life Activites and Society

The dignity of the human person is what all Catholic teaching seeks to advance. We learn this first and most fruitfully in the "school of love", which is the family. We can't remove abortion and contraception from our priorities in Catholic social teaching anymore than we can forget about our duty to ensure proper food, clothing and shelter for children once they're born.

Date posted: 2002-09-02

The Family's Role in the Development of Society

Familiaris Consortio encourages families to become involved in forms of social service, especially those which favor the poor; to cultivate the practice of hospitality and to engage themselves politically. The Pope especially encourages families to "be the first to take steps to see that the laws and institutions of the state not only do not offend, but support and positively defend the rights and duties of the family." The Pope also reminds us that in many places around the world, the family is under siege from a hostile society and state. And in response to these abuses, he outlines a charter of 14 family rights that range from the right to political and economic security, to freedom of education, of worship and of movement to seek better living conditions.

Date posted: 2002-03-17

The Evil of Embryo Destruction

In the debate over federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, some of the massive media coverage has been fair, accurate and thorough, but much of it—too much of it—has fallen short of reasonable journalistic standards.

Date posted: 2001-12-31

The True Road to Justice

But as Jesus showed again and again by His words and in His actions, the only true road to justice passes through mercy. Justice cannot be served by more violence. "Frying the killer" may sound funny to some, righteous to others. But make no mistake: Capital punishment is just another drug we take to ease other, much deeper anxieties about the direction of our culture. Executions may take away some of the symptoms for a time (symptoms who have names and their own stories before God), but the underlying illness -- today's contempt for human life -- remains and grows worse.

Date posted: 2001-12-31

Killing the killer is not the solution

A culture ultimately defines its moral character by the value it places on each human life, particularly those lives which seem burdensome, inconsequential or unworthy. Violent criminals present an especially difficult moral challenge for us, because their own cruelty has forced them to the margins of society. Recognizing a criminal's humanity is difficult when our hearts are clouded by anger and pain.

Date posted: 2001-12-31