Archbishop Charles J. Chaput Speaks Out

The Philadelphia Enquirer has called the Archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles J. Chaput, the emerging “Warrior Bishop.”  In typical state-run media fashion, doing all it can to protect and defend Democrats in power,  the Enquirer went out and found some liberal catholics to condemn their Bishop’s speaking out against the attempt (and subsequent phony “compromise”) by Obama and Kathleen Sibelius to require the Catholic Church to provide free contraception and abortifacients to all who are employed by the Church.  This is a typical and representative example of the sort of quotes the Enquirer finds:

“I’d rather see his energies more focused on issues people can rally around,” such as education and the environment, said Lauren Bobzin, 25, of Narberth, who called herself a “proud Catholic.”

Archbishop Chaput is not about to oblige these critics.  A bit of his biography is that in 1977 he was appointed pastor of Holy Cross Parish in Thornton, Colorado.  Pope John Paul II appointed him Archbishop of Denver, Colorado on February 18, 1997.  Pope Benedict XVI appointed him Archbishop of Philadelphia on July 19, 2011.

Here is what he wrote on February 16, 2012, about the so-called compromise offered by Obama:

IT’S NOT A “COMPROMISE.” AND IT NEEDS TO BE RESCINDED , from the weekly column by Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput:

The contempt dumped on Catholic teaching in our mass media over the past few days of debate tells us quite a lot about our critics. It also underlines the need for fighting respectfully but vigorously for what we believe. When a columnist in a major news daily claims, for example, that “The Catholic Church basically endorses one form of birth control, the rhythm method, which is contraception for stupid people,” we can learn two things: Neither accuracy nor civility matters when it comes to demeaning how faithful Catholics try to live their lives. In the task of pushing birth control, sneering is fully licensed.

The Christian life does not need aggression. It doesn’t return hatred with more hatred. Living the Gospel depends on virtues like justice, charity and mercy. But it also depends on courage. It does require fortitude. And that means a great many Catholics need to wake up and take a hard look at what’s happening to our country. They may not like what they see. They shouldn’t like what they see. And if they don’t, they need to fight — without apologies — to turn things toward the good.

The current HHS mandate is not a real “compromise.” It’s bad law with very dangerous implications. It needs to be rescinded, and it doesn’t matter how ugly or deceptive our critics choose to be. I ask every Catholic who reads these words and takes his or her faith seriously, to please contact your U.S. senators and representative. Do it today. Press them to rescind this destructive HHS mandate.

I know: We all have so many issues that compete for our daily attention. We’re often tempted to ignore the whole lot.

But this one is urgent. This one really matters.

Read the rest of the Archbishops remarks in that weekly column here.

Archbishop Chaput had previously stated his views on the current state of the Catholic Church and its position in America at the Cardinal O’Connor Conference For Life on January 22, 2012, when he gave a speech titled, “A Thread For Weaving Joy.”  Here is an excerpt:

The great French Jesuit Henri de Lubac once wrote, “Suffering is the thread from which the stuff of joy is woven.  Never will the optimist know joy.”(1) Those seem like strange words, especially for Americans.  We Americans take progress as an article of faith.  And faith in progress demands a spirit of optimism.

But Father De Lubac knew that optimism and hope are very different creatures.  In real life, bad things happen.  Progress is not assured, and things that claim to be “progress” can sometimes be wicked and murderous instead.  We can slip backward as a nation just as easily as we can advance.  This is why optimism — and all the political slogans that go with it — are so often a cheat. Real hope and real joy are precious.  They have a price.  They emerge from the experience of suffering, which is made noble and given meaning only by faith in a loving God.

I want to talk this morning about the kind of people we’re becoming, and what we can do about it.  Especially what you can do about it.  But it’s always good to start with a few facts.

Catholics need to wake up from the illusion that the America we now live in – not the America of our nostalgia or imagination or best ideals, but the real America we live in here and now – is somehow friendly to our faith.  What we’re watching emerge in this country is a new kind of paganism, an atheism with air-conditioning and digital TV.  And it is neither tolerant nor morally neutral.

As the historian Gertrude Himmelfarb observed more than a decade ago, “What was once stigmatized as deviant behavior is now tolerated and even sanctioned; what was once regarded as abnormal has been normalized.”  But even more importantly, she added, “As deviancy is normalized, so what was once normal becomes deviant.  The kind of family that has been regarded for centuries as natural and moral – the ‘bourgeois’ family as it is invidiously called – is now seen as pathological” and exclusionary, concealing the worst forms of psychic and physical oppression.(6)

My point is this:  Evil talks about tolerance only when it’s weak.  When it gains the upper hand, its vanity always requires the destruction of the good and the innocent, because the example of good and innocent lives is an ongoing witness against it.  So it always has been.  So it always will be.  And America has no special immunity to becoming an enemy of its own founding beliefs about human freedom, human dignity, the limited power of the state, and the sovereignty of God.

The task you need to take home with you today is this.  Never give up the struggle that the March for Life embodies.  No matter how long it takes; no matter how many times you march – it matters, eternally.  Because of you, some young woman will choose life, and that new life will have the love of God forever.

 Changing the course of American culture seems like such a huge task; so far beyond the reach of this gathering today.  But St. Paul felt exactly the same way.  Redeeming and converting a civilization has already been done once.  It can be done again. But we need to understand that God is calling you and me to do it.  He chose us.  He calls us.  He’s waiting, and now we need to answer him.  Thanks, and God bless you.

Read the whole thing here.

I wonder if that 25-year old “proud Catholic” Lauren Bobzin, found by the Enquirer, might find some “issues people can rally around” in the Archbishop’s recent writings and speeches. Maybe she should try reading and listening to some of what her Archbishop is saying.

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