Tag Archives: Charles J. Chaput

The Church is alive, complacency is not an option, Archbishop Chaput told his people

Of any fair-minded and competent person it is a daunting task of taking on the work of the Chief Shepherd of a very large (nearly 1.5 million Catholics) local church is enough to make one have second thoughts but imagine taking on a project that’s been rocked by low morale among the faithful and clergy, numerous victims of sexual misconduct, of a troubled school and parish systems and the like. But that is what the 67 year old Capuchin Friar-Archbishop is doing in Philadelphia. Rebuilding the Lord’s church as Saint Francis of Assisi was exhorted, Archbishop Charles has completed only 3 months of service in Philadelphia and he’s fresh from a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI and now a letter oriented to setting a straighter path to Christ.

Consider in brief, Chaput’s words:

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Complacency is the enemy of faith. To whatever degree complacency and pride once had a home in our local Church, events in the coming year will burn them out. The process will be painful. But going through it is the only way to renew the witness of the Church; to clear away the debris of human failure from the beauty of God’s word and to restore the joy and zeal of our Catholic discipleship.

These words may sound sobering, but they are spoken with love as a father and a brother. They are a plea to take our baptism seriously; and to renew our local Church with Christian charity, justice and zeal. As Scripture reminds us so frequently: Do not be afraid. God uses poor clay to create grandeur and beauty. He can certainly use us to renew and advance the work of the Church — and he will.

The full text of the pastoral letter can be read here: Pastoral Letter to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Abp Charles Chaput December 8, 2011.pdf

Omaha Archbishop reminds faithful on the meaning of Sunday observance

Working with religious education of children and adults I see a bad trend: the over managed life. So much so that people are putting their social and personal activities above their religious duties and relationship with God. The Third Commandment is no longer holding sway; the Church’s teaching on keeping Sunday for worship and family seeming is out the window. Of course, people strenuously rebut this accusation. Truth be told, you can’t deny that there are activities competing with a proper Catholic observance of Sunday. Praying in Church –with a stable faith community– is not merely an obligation (speaking of Sunday Mass as “an obligation” is a mediocre way of approaching the question of faith, relationship with God and Church observance).

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Chaput gives witness to the vocation of bishop

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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.”

Chaput talks about acceptance of Catholic teaching

The new Archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles Chaput, OFM, Cap., is doing what Saints Peter and Paul would have done: teach the Faith with clarity but pastorally: if you don’t accept the teachings of Christ as found in the New Testament and articulated by the Church, then you really aren’t Catholic. You may be Christian, but not really Catholic. Cafeteria Catholics –Catholics who pick-and-choose what to believe– don’t trust in Christ, nor do they believe in the objectivity of truth taught by the Church. The promises of Christ and the Church aren’t too good to be true. The teachings of Christ and the Church are the way, the truth and the life for all Christians. Chaput has been clear about what it takes to be an authentic Catholic and picking and choosing is not the method. Sorry.

A recent AP interview with Archbishop Charles can be read here.
Here’s a moment of truth: are we going to walk on water OR sit in the boat and talk about what we know? Will you do great things for God and His Church? Archbishop Charles is making this clear….

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.

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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