Category Archives: Church (ecclesiology)

Chaput gives witness to the vocation of bishop

Charles J Chaput coat of arms.jpg

Yesterday’s installation of Archbishop Charles J. Chaput as the new Archbishop of Philadelphia was beautiful on all avenues: music, word, gersture. One of many beautiful parts of his homily was on the ministry (vocation) of the bishop. For that part he quoted the great bishop and Doctor of the Church, Saint Augustine of Hippo. You may think I am cynical by saying this, but I wonder sometimes how often our bishops live up to their vocation as the Church has expected and how often they reflect on the words of a brother such as the eminent Augustine. Perhaps not often enough. AND that is likely the reason Archbishop Charles mention the vocation his homily.


What follows is a terrfic teaching on this vitally vigorous vocation of the Church.


Thanks be to God for the Archbishop!


St. Augustine of Hippo, speaking in the 4th century captured the role of the bishop in these words: 

“Jerusalem had watchmen who stood guard . . . And this is what bishops do. Now, bishops are assigned this higher place” — the bishop’s chair in the basilica -“so that they themselves may oversee and, as it were, keep watch over the people. For they are called episkopos in Greek, which means ‘overseer,’ because the bishop oversees; because he looks down from [his chair] . . . And on account of this high place, a perilous accounting will have to be rendered [by the bishop] – unless we stand here with a heart such that we place ourselves beneath your feet in humility.”

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Another time, on the anniversary of his episcopal ordination, Augustine described the bishop’s duties in the following way: 

“To rebuke those who stir up strife, to comfort those of little courage, to take the part of the weak, to refute opponents, to be on guard against traps, to teach the ignorant, to shake the indolent awake, to discourage those who want to buy and sell, to put the presumptuous in their place, to modify the quarrelsome, to help the poor, to liberate the oppressed, to encourage the good, to suffer the evil and to love all men.”

It’s crucial for those of us who are bishops not simply to look like bishops but to truly be bishops. Otherwise, we’re just empty husks — the kind of men Augustine meant when he said, 


“You say, ‘He must be a bishop for he sits upon the cathedra.’ True – and a scarecrow might also be called a watchman in the vineyard.”

Archbishop Chaput is official! Off to Philadelphia

It is official…

Il Santo Padre Benedetto XVI ha accettato la rinuncia al governo pastorale dell’arcidiocesi metropolitana di Philadelphia (U.S.A.), presentata dall’Em.mo Card. Justin F. Rigali, in conformità al can. 401 § 1 del Codice di Diritto Canonico.

Il Papa ha nominato Arcivescovo Metropolita di Philadelphia (U.S.A.) S.E. Mons. Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., finora Arcivescovo di Denver.

The Archdiocese has a page for Archbishop Chaput.

The changing church

current siz of the Catholic Church.jpgThere are various reasons why the influence of the Church has waned in recent years. And it can’t all be blamed on the sexual abuse of minors, though this issue has significantly contributed greatly to the diminishment. Her street cred is, at this time, based not on witness or the coherence of the Christian proposal or charitable works.

The effectiveness of the Church to orient her proclamation of Christ as the unique and definitive Savior of the world is the lack of humanity the clergy AND laity. It is not merely clergy vs the laity –it is both. Both are the problem, both fail to help each other to see and to know Christ. Without seeing and knowing there is no relationship. Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God is NOT a something but a someone. Period.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help, pray for us. Saints of God, intercede for us.

The Zen of China: things are unwell

Cardinal Joseph Zen.jpgOften he is called the conscience of China, Joseph Cardinal Zen, SDB, 79, visited members of the US government this week. The cardinal has stood against any thinking that doesn’t support life issues –human rights. Zen is the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong. He’s been critical of those who talk without knowing the situation and unable to make crucial distinctions in policy. That is, Zen belives the 2007 letter of the Pope has been wrongly interpreted by members of the Roman Curia. Where the Pope talks about reconciliation of mind and heart, influential members of the Curia talk about a reunification of the two Chinese communities: the open church and the underground church. Reconcilation and renunification are the same thing and ought to be confused for each other. Pope Benedict never talks about reunification. He does talk about reconcilation. The premises are different.

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Focolare in the USA 50 years: celebrations at hand

This Sunday & coming Tuesday the lay ecclesial movement Focolare is celebrating their 50th anniversary in the United States of America.


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The 50th Anniversary of the
Focolare Movement
Sunday, April 3 at 2pm: Archbishop Timothy Dolan will
celebrate a Mass for the 50th anniversary of the Focolare Movement in North
America at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

In these 50 years.jpg
Tuesday, April 5 from 9 am – 4:30 pm

On the
occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Focolare Movement’s presence in the
United States, this conference at Fordham University, “The Spirituality of
Unity: a Gift for our Times,” delves into the unique resources that the
Focolare spirituality of unity might offer for transcending divisions and
joining together to sustain constructive projects for the common good. Topics
for discussion include the “Economy of Communion,” featured in Pope Benedict’s
2009 social encyclical, Caritas in veritate; as well as the “Love of Neighbor
and the Law” interfaith project for lawyers, judges and law students.

All those
interested may review the the program & register at: law.fordham.edu/unity.

Read John Allen’s NCR article, “Memo to a divided church: meet the Focolare”: Memo to a divided church- Meet the Focolare, John Allen March 10, 2011.pdf

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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