03/17/2009 - Catholic civic engagement plays a central role in American politics, and the question of how Catholic convictions translate to the public square is a matter of frequent discussion. In his recent book Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life (2008), the Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput, archbishop of Denver, argues that Catholics should take an active, vocal and morally consistent role in public debates, particularly on issues such as abortion, the death penalty and other matters they consider central to social justice.
How should members of the Catholic Church, especially elected officials, balance their religious beliefs and obligations with their political priorities? And what should we expect from Catholic leaders with respect to the policy decisions of President Barack Obama and those of future administrations?
To discuss these issues, the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life invited Archbishop Chaput, who was appointed by Pope John Paul II in 1997 and who is the first Native American archbishop to be ordained in the U.S.
The Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput, Archbishop of Denver
Michael Cromartie, Vice President, Ethics and Public Policy Center; Senior Advisor, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life
Read the full transcript The Political Obligations of Catholics: A Conversation With the Most Rev. Charles Chaput, Archbishop of Denver on the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life's Web site.