Archbishop Chaput: Kennedy religion speech “wrong” (video)
Fifty years ago in Houston, John F. Kennedy declared in a famous speech to Protestant ministers that his Catholic faith would not influence the public policy decisions he made as President. But Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput told an audience at Houston Baptist University on Monday that Americans of all faiths are still “paying for the damage” from a speech that was “sincere, compelling, articulate – and wrong.”
“Real Christian faith is always personal, but it’s never private,” said Chaput. “And we need to think about that simple fact in light of an anniversary.”
Chaput was speaking on “The Vocation of Christians in American Public Life” at the university’s Morris Cultural Art center to an ecumenical audience. The prelate is author of the book “Render Unto Caesar,” and his lecture was sponsored by HBU leadership in conjunction with the Pope John Paul II Forum for the Church in the Modern World at the University of St. Thomas.
Archbishop Chaput drew attention to the famous Kennedy speech, explaining that the Democratic candidate in 1960 “needed to convince 300 ministers, and the country at large, that a Catholic like himself could serve loyally as our nation’s chief executive.”
The speech was a success, Kennedy gained the votes for his election – but Chaput said that speech “left a lasting mark on American politics. It was sincere, compelling, articulate – and wrong.”
Hear Archbishop Chaput’s speech on The Vocations of Christians in Public Life: