In his 50 years of voting in US elections, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput has said he has never seen the two major parties offer “two such deeply flawed” presidential nominees “at the same time,” according to the Catholic News Service.
“One candidate, in the view of a lot of people, is a belligerent demagogue with an impulse control problem,” he said in a speech at the University of Notre Dame. “And the other, also in the view of a lot of people, is a criminal liar, uniquely rich in stale ideas and bad priorities.”
Archbishop Chaput delivered the 2016 Tocqueville lecture on religious liberty, sponsored by the school’s Tocqueville Program for Inquiry Into Religion and Public Life.
His wide-ranging talk also addressed the moral threats facing society, the necessity of strong families, and the controversy surrounding Notre Dame and its awarding of the Laetare Medal to Vice President Joe Biden.
Though faced with flawed presidential candidates, he said, Catholics and other Christians do not have “the luxury of cynicism,” because if they “leave the public square, other people with much worse intentions won’t.”
Many “honest public officials” are serving our country well, and both parties have “good candidates for other public offices,” he added, offering other reasons not to be cynical.
Christians “have a duty to leave the world better than we found it,” the Archbishop said.
“One of the ways we do that, however imperfectly, is through politics.”
“Elections do matter,” he said, emphasising that the next president will likely appoint several Supreme Court justices. One seat is vacant, with the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, and the oldest of the justices are Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 83, and Anthony Kennedy, 80.
The next president will “make vital foreign policy decisions, and shape the huge federal administrative machinery in ways over which Congress has little control,” Archbishop Chaput said.