SEEING CLEARLY — Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. – 12.7.06

But Americans also have a growing inequality of wealth, education and opportunity. We face a decline of ideas and public service; growing moral ambiguity; a spirit of entitlement with rights exalted over responsibilities; a cult of personal consumption; and a civic vocabulary that seems to get more brutish and more confused every year.

This last point about our civic vocabulary is important.

The language we use in public discourse matters. Words are like a paintbrush. They’re a very powerful tool. They can form or deform the human conscience.

Words like “tolerance” and “consensus” are important democratic working principles. But they aren’t Christian virtues, and they should never take priority over other words like charity, justice, faith and truth, either in our personal lives or in our public choices.

Read the whole speech over at Hugh Hewitt.