Monday, July 18, 2011

The Republican Catholic Church Gets Another Vatican Endorsement


 I was beyond angry when Cardinal Wuerl was appointed to Washington DC and got his red hat.  I saw that as payment received for going into Seattle and putting the Vatican hatchet in Archbishop Hunthausens' back.  Now it's Archbishop Chaput in line for a red hat after putting the Vatican hatchet in the back of Australia's Bishop Morris.  The following is the complete John Allen article from the National Catholic Reporter.  I feel great empathy for Philadelphia Catholics.  Wow....Sighhhhh

 Pope taps Chaput for Philadelphia

 John Allen - National Catholic Reporter - 7/18/2011
DENVER -- Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, widely perceived both as a leader of the church's conservative wing and a tough administrator with a strong work ethic, has been named by Pope Benedict XVI as the new archbishop of Philadelphia.

Sources confirmed the appointment to NCR, which is scheduled to be announced by the Vatican tomorrow. Chaput replaces Cardinal Justin Rigali, 76, who has led the Philadelphia archdiocese since 2003.
Chaput, 66, steps into an archdiocese in turmoil as a result of the sexual abuse crisis.

In February, a grand jury report asserted that 37 Philadelphia priests facing credible charges of sexual abuse remained in ministry in Philadelphia, despite pledges by the U.S. bishops of "zero tolerance." Rigali immediately suspended three of those priests, then later suspended an additional 21. Rigali also commissioned a former child abuse prosecutor to conduct an investigation, which is on-going.

Also as a result of the grand jury report, a former official of the archdiocese, Monsignor William Lynn, now faces criminal charges -- the first instance in the United States of a Catholic official indicted not for committing abuse, but for failing to stop it.

As Philadelphia Catholics get to know their new leader, the overall contrast with Rigali -- known as a behind-the-scenes power-broker, who prefers to keep a fairly low public profile -- could be jarring.

Far more outspoken, Chaput has emerged over the years as a prominent lightning rod for controversy. He's seen as a strong voice for doctrinal orthodoxy, and he champions a robust role for people of faith in political life.

Among other battles, Chaput has clashed with pro-choice Catholic politicians, publicly rebuked the University of Notre Dame for awarding an honorary doctorate to President Barack Obama, and has been a strong force in national debates over gay marriage and embryonic stem cell research.

Chaput also has also sternly called Catholics to adhere to church teaching. In a recent address to a group of Catholic social workers, for instance, he insisted that church-affiliated charities "have the duty to faithfully embody Catholic beliefs on marriage, the family, social justice, sexuality, abortion and other important issues."
Ahead of the 2008 elections, Chaput published a book titled Render unto Caesar, insisting that "people who take God seriously will not remain silent about their faith." Given that Pennsylvania is a major battleground state in American politics, Chaput's visibility and influence seems likely to grow. (Nice call John.  Me thinks you hit this nail right on the head.)
In light of the crisis in Philadelphia, Chaput's record on the sexual abuse front is likely to draw special scrutiny.
Admirers say Chaput has a no-nonsense approach to priestly discipline, and doesn't hide behind clerical privilege. Robert Brancato, an abuse victim and a former resident of Denver, is a member of the Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests, a group ordinarily among the harshest critics of the U.S. bishops. Yet Brancato, now based in South Dakota, has expressed praise for Chaput's tough line.

"One of the first things Chaput said to me was to apologize for what happened to me," Brancato told a newspaper in Rapid City in March.
On occasion, however, SNAP and like-minded groups have blasted Chaput, not only for his handling of specific complaints, but also for fighting efforts to lift the statute of limitations in Colorado to sue the Catholic church over abuse claims.

Despite the fact that Chaput has been rumored to be in line for virtually every major opening in the American church in recent years, his appointment to Philadelphia nonetheless comes as something of a surprise.
Speaking on background, sources told NCR that Chaput was a highly personal choice by Pope Benedict. Most insiders considered Chaput a long-shot for Philadelphia, regarding Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., a Pennsylvania native and a prelate with a reputation for brokering compromise, as the favorite.

Benedict, however, tapped Chaput, solidifying his profile as a papal favorite.
In recent years, Benedict turned to Chaput to handle two other sensitive assignments: Chaput was part of a team of bishops tasked with conducting a review of the Legionaries of Christ, and he was also entrusted with a visitation of the Toowoomba diocese in Australia under Bishop William Morris.

That latter investigation led to Benedict's decision to sack Morris, in part because Morris suggested openness to women priests in a pastoral letter.
Chaput will be installed in Philadelphia on Sept. 8. Sources told NCR that Rigali may settle after the transition in the Knoxville, Tenn., diocese, where his longtime friend and protégé, Bishop Richard Stika, has prepared a residence.

Although Chaput is a native of Concordia, Kansas, and has served as a bishop in two Western dioceses -- Rapid City and Denver -- he does have a background in Pennsylvania. He studied at a Capuchin college in western Pennsylvania in the mid-1960s, and later worked for the Capuchins in Pittsburgh during the 1970s.
Chaput also has a special interest in Native American issues, given that his mother, who died in 2007, was a member of the Potawatomi tribe.


As much as I hate to write this, it looks more and more as if Pope Benedict is on a mission to stamp out progressive Catholicism the way certain right wing German factions were on a mission to stamp out the Weimar Republic

Archbishop Chaput should never ever be confused with any Native American medicine person or spiritual leader.  Those men and women do not condemn anyone.  They do not bluster and threaten.  They do not withhold any spiritual ceremony from anyone who wishes to attend.  They do not wear much in the way of expensive ceremonial gear or live in a mansion.  They more or less do their spiritual thing for gas money and food.  You could say they practice  the 'give us this day our daily bread' philosophy on a daily basis.  The men and WOMEN I have studied under were the salt of the earth and some of the best examples I have ever had the privilege of associating with of what it really took to live the Way.

Of course none of them have the impressive clerical resume of Archbishop Chaput, but then I seriously doubt he has the 'mystical/healer'' resume they do. I have yet to meet a real mystic who has both an impressive worldly and other worldy resume.  I believe Jesus actually said it was pretty much impossible to be really successful in both worlds.  I know this much, the day I see one of our Cardinal Archbishops dancing the entire four days of a Sun Dance, like I have Native American spiritual leaders and some Jesuits, I'll eat that mans' red hat--the beanie one, not the gallero, that would be overkill.

Philadelphia is in for a ride, as if they haven't had enough of one.  I will give Chaput this much, there will not be a repeat of the interminable Philadelphia grand jury reports.  He's not one to tolerate that kind of abuse of his version of the priesthood, and it is about priests abusing 'his' priesthood.  He is Benedict's man in this sense as well.  As to the other kinds of priestly abuse, the kind based in other expressions of power over others, that will be just all right by him.  All one need do is ask Bishop Morris.


  1. Thanks Colleen for giving background on this man - hope for the best prepare for the worst may be the best way of describing the modus operandi in the church for many at present.
    The problem is that Benedict has already lined up his troops so the choice is predetermined.
    Scary and sad and yes makes me angry too.


  2. Jesus would never cut the mustard in today's Roman church. He'd get the knife too. And his attacker wouldn't have to hang himself!

  3. TheraP I hate to say it, but I think you're right.

    NCR is running along interview with Chaput done by John Allen. Of course Allen doesn't ask the real tough questions, he pretty much sticks to the questions where Chaput has his bullet points all in order.

    No questions on the budget, our multiple wars, Cultural prevalence for heterosexual serial monogamy, internal doctrinal witch hunts, preferential option for conservatives of any stripe and on and on and on.

    As Phil says, we can hope for the best, but must be prepared to deal with the worst, and Benedict has done everything in his power to raise to ascendancy those who, as Chaput himself says, "obey first, think later." Oh and confuse ritual piety with spiritual depth.

  4. Ever since I first began to encounter Archbishop Chaput and learn about his activities, I've mentally turned my eyes back and forth from the man Chaput is vowed to follow as a religious mentor, Francis of Assisi, and Chaput.

    And I have to say, God help me, I have never been able to see the face of Francis--not in any shape, form, or fashion--in the belligerent face of Charles Chaput.

    A church whose pastoral leaders embodied the spirit and values of Francis of Assisi might turn things around and begin to convince people of its fundamental claims once again.

    A church whose brand is Benedict and Chaput: not so much. This is a church headed nowhere quickly. Nowhere good.

    I'm deeply grateful to be at such a distance from the church those men lead. And I'm pretty sure in the place they've put a lot of us nobodies and unwanted souls, Francis is to be found.

    And Jesus, too.

  5. Rewarded for "lap dog" service. Nothing is changing.

  6. Thanks for the update. Philadelphia has always been a conservative Archdiocese. I guess we have to hope for the best here in PA.

  7. If I understand're all angry because someone has been put forward to a position who affirms Church teaching, rather than someone who is a shamanic pro-abortionist?

    Or, have I misunderstood?

  8. "Ahead of the 2008 elections, Chaput published a book titled Render unto Caesar, insisting that "people who take God seriously will not remain silent about their faith."

    STM that is what a bishop, who is a teacher of Christ's faithful, *should* be doing. If the Incarnation is a reality, and not an irrelevant formula, it will affect the "secular" side of life. It can do that in wrong ways - but there are also right ways.

    Bishops have impossible jobs - just like any Christian: unfortunately for them, their position of leadership makes their failures far more obvious than the sins of those whose pastors they are. The lack of privacy these days exaggerates that. I'm sorry for him - he seems to be a *major* hate-figure in some quarters.

    IMO, people should pray for, & ask for Godss blessing on, their "hate-figures" - "liberals" could pray for Abp.Chaput & Bill Donoghue, & "conservatives" could pray for Abp. Mahony, Hans Kueng, Joan Chittister :) That way, all of us would be united in spirit, however much we disagree intellectually. And the terrible tribalism in the Church would be gravely weakened. This would change us too - and that would really help to realise the presence of the Kingship of God.

    All the bad stuff, in the Church & in us, needs attending to - but if God can work in His Church, IOW in very flawed human beings, why should we let the bad stuff have the last word ? That would be like stopping at Calvary and not going on to the Resurrection. What's become of the gift of *hope* among Catholics ?

  9. This is basically in answer to Invictus and Rat-biter. Today as part of my always in vogue and mandatory in service training we had a therapist who works with Borderline Personality Disorder. She's very good and very spiritual. One of may tasks at work is to occasionally answer the suicide crisis line. This is not a therapy line, it's an intervention line. BPDO represents about 60% of our callers. One of the things she said was Christianity actually has a lot of useful therapeutic wisdom for Borderlins. It's all about non judgment and how a therapist can convince folks to deal with emotion.

    Emotion, is in it's core representation, about a five second phenomenon. That's true for a lot of physiological responses. What gives an emotion it's lasting power, is the interpretation we give the emotion.
    Where that interpretation comes from is another matter, but germaine to this comment is the fact anger is an interpretation frequently given to fear inducing things.

    Love conquers fear, everytime, all the time. I dont' think AB Chaput has really ever understood the TRUTH of this. I pray someday he will.

  10. Chaput is an interesting case. He would like to command the voting of those in the pews. His own preference was to condemn Obama and fall silent on McCain's public political moral shortcomings. (Is it fair to mention the man's personal life, including marriages and confessed infidelity?) This isn't a recent or slight preference for Republicans. He accepted an appointment from George W. Bush. Chaput claimed, on the weakest of grounds that he opposed the war in Iraq, but if you read the text of that pastoral letter, he did so in the most equivocating manner.

    Colleen is right, Chaput is a Republican first. His belief in democracy falls more in line with that of Pius X. It is subservient to the religious hierarchy. Bush and McCain, not acceptable pro-life candidates at all, at least kissed his ring to buy his silence on their support for the illegal and immoral Iraq war. Bush, who presided over more executions than any other governor, with 152, clearly violated the pro-life teachings of the church. It should have offended Chaput who wrote, meekly, against the death penalty but failed to criticize any politicians at election time. Clearly his allegiance to the Republican party caused his silence. Georgie boy's alright because killing adults, even hundreds of thousands of them, isn't "intrinsically" evil. Moral relativism. Thanks Bishop.

    @ Invictus

    Are you are a follower of Pius X, opposed to democracy, a believer in fealty to the hierarchy and the "noblesse oblige" of charity over justice? It seems you come to this blog looking for heresy, quick with ad hominem remarks, keen to misrepresent the positions and discussion as a means of instigating trouble.

    I'd be interested in your interpretation of the parable of the good Samaritan. And you like the Latin, what does "Catholic" mean?


  11. p2p, Invictus is actually a follower of this blog. It says so on the side bar. Truth is sometimes a slippery phenomenon, as in very hard to hang on to. We're all searching, debating, and irritating each other. That is unfortunately how truth is sometimes grasped.

  12. I follow because it's interesting to me, because it's relevant to my interests, and because it's no good for people (myself or others) to just be exposed to people who agree with them.


    Why is it more loving to be a shaman than to be an observant Catholic? I don't agree, but the OP does, and the people here are (bizarrely) cheering it. I think it's a legitimate query.


    You ad-hommed me by suggesting I might be a schismatic and closet fascist. You didn't even have the decency to answer my question...which if you go and have a look, don't even possess any of the ad-hom you so adhominously accuse me of! Ha, oh dear.

  13. @invictus

    There are several "anonymous" here. I always sign "p2p".

    In the previous discussion on "A very serious call to action in Austria" I made one comment, the 25th one.

    Yes, I am upset by your previous comments and I made this clear in my earlier comment. Schismatic? No. I refer not to the SSPX but to the original pronouncements of Pius X in favor of traditional social hierarchy and against democracy. Chaput follows the same path.

    Writing in this medium often leads to problems because we struggle to understand context and meaning in the absence of tone and gesture.

    However, when you entered the other discussion with "Who are the protestants? And why are they masquerading as Catholics?" Were you referring to anyone other than those who had expressed themselves in previous comments? This is clearly an ad hominem remark and it clearly was meant to provoke. Re-read your remark. You imply we, those with whom you disagree, are protestants and later you confirm this by asking specifically "And yet, Veronica, if your faith is a protestant faith, might it be better served by a protestant organisation?" That's the usual approach of the so-called traditional or orthodox, to exclude those who are different, often by inviting the other to simply leave.

    The current topic begins with the issue of the bishop's inappropriate support of one American political party over another.

    Now help me out as I visualize you writing your next response, are you clutching your pearls "oh dear"? Or are you clutching a stick just waiting to whack the feet of these children who dare have their shoes in the aisle? Because your tone reminds me of some of those old-time religious who expect the rest of us to be sitting up straight, eyes forward, ready to copy down whatever is written on the chalkboard.


  14. Invictus, it doesn't necessarily follow that a shaman is more loving than an observant Catholic. It's an attitude towards others kind of thing. Shamans tend not to see the world in a sin vs obedience paradigm, but in a healthy vs unhealthy or in a lessons learned kind of way.

    In many respects they are much more like a good therapist who happens to do spiritual ritual as part of therapy, than they are a Roman Catholic priest. On the other hand, I have met priests I could have written the same thing about. They just weren't SSPX material.

  15. p2p, Invictus went further than that. When I called that person on the labeling as totally inappropriate, the response was definitely an attack on me. Not that it matters much to me. The attitude portrayed is not one that I would consider collegial in spite of differences. It is the collegial discussions that I come here for. Anything else, I ignore. I remember the names to read comments from as well as those to simply scroll past.

    Thank you, for your very able defense. I had thoughts about Invictus very similar to yours, just not so well stated; including the anti-democracy attitudes expressed by the Church in previous eras. Just goes to prove how very flawed the Church has been, can be and will continue to be. Which is why I refuse to follow the Church as a cultist.

    Colleen, I've learned a great deal from your blog and the comments/discussions. I do hope it continues.

  16. @T'Pel

    Veronica, I too love the discussions that follow Colleen's excellent pieces. In the last six months or so I have learned more about my own faith and how it relates to Catholicism than in the previous 30 years. Thanks to you, the other regulars (TherP, Dennis etc.) and, of course, Colleen.

    This little band of outcasts and sinners addresses many of the topics I have longed to discuss, but had found no other forum until now.

    But it is pretty difficult to have an open discussion when someone's first comment is that the rest of us aren't Catholic.

    Well, isn't that special? How Conveeeenient.


  17. The Philadelphia Archdiocese is one of the most racist in America. You do not necessarily see it. It hides behind the quiet traditional but dominant and very real Quaker sub-culture. When the mob gets wind of Chaput not being of pure white blood, the fireworks will begin. Not PC to say it but wait and see. The Vatican just pulled off the blunder of this century in his appointment there IMHO.

  18. Back again; don't tell "Maddy!"

    Read Chaput's book "Render............" Check index. He quotes as authoritative some of the most reactionary political thinkers in America. You will also learn that the decline of our country started with and was pushed by JFK in '60 election.Chaput: A total creep!!! Frank

  19. Frank, in all honesty I can't help but see AB Chaput as what his fellow natives call a 'political' chief. These are the chiefs that get in bed with the exploitive parts of white culture and do it for the money and power. One rarely finds a political chief who is also respected for their walk on the spiritual path. The one name I can think of who met those criteria was Wilma Mankiller. They say the cosmos has a punny sense of humor when it comes to names. The late Wilma Mankiller was so wonderfully named.

  20. There is no monolithic Roman Catholic vote that I can see. AB Chaput's wasting his time. I think most of us think of ourselves as Americans first and Catholics second. Prior to the 2008 election the Bishop of Scranton penned a screed that was read at mass in all the central PA diocese pretty much stating that you're going to hell if you vote for Obama. Of course, Obama smoked McCain right in Martino's back yard.

  21. p2p,

    I was only referring the the clergy and theologians in the article, as they had clearly nailed their colours to the mast and have little excuse for their errors. Unless someone commenting is really very explicit about their position, it's unfair to assume that they're protestant rather than miscatechised. My comment therefore referred on to the dissidents in the article.

    The accusation of political bias seems misplaced, given that his attitude to social policy is pretty standard Catholic teaching, faithful to scripture and the sacred tradition. If he were shown to be pushing people into voting in particular ways, that would be different, but the article didn't give any evidence for that.

    "Now help me out as I visualize you writing your next response, are you clutching your pearls "oh dear"? Or are you clutching a stick just waiting to whack the feet of these children who dare have their shoes in the aisle? Because your tone reminds me of some of those old-time religious who expect the rest of us to be sitting up straight, eyes forward, ready to copy down whatever is written on the chalkboard."

    Don't be so ageist, it's crass and repulsive. I'm in my early twenties, and I work with the elderly, and I hope your attitude is not representative of your character.

  22. Colkoch,

    "Shamans tend not to see the world in a sin vs obedience paradigm, but in a healthy vs unhealthy..."

    I'm unconvinced that they are different things.

  23. And, again with the inappropriate labeling...

  24. @Invictus,

    Thanks for responding. Some my age are retired, but I am not. Stores now offer me their discount for seniors. You get the idea.

    I hope you get the next point.

    You follow this blog. There are themes, or threads, to this ongoing dialog. It has been well established, first and foremost by Chaput himself, that he has entered the political fray. You can read his book about it. He has taken the side of the Republican party many times, un-apologetically. The Republicans are greatly flawed but cunning for they have raised the hopes of Christian people like Chaput promising that they might actually legislate their agenda. It hasn't happened. It won't happen. (See Karl Rove's influence.) In the meantime Chaput has wasted his authority playing petty politics.

    If he was true to the teachings of the church he would speak out boldly about the failings of all politicians, encourage them to do better, but not act as a political hack, a partisan.

    Furthermore, there are many ways of accomplishing a goal and the coercion of legislation is only one of them. Jesus did not come as a legislator, but as a teacher. (As an aside I see the news of another one of Sarah Palin's "abstinence only" kids wasn't able to practice abstinence.)

    That's the problem with Chaput and the others, relying on their authority only. Yes, tell me about the magisterium, but I am not an authoritarian person, so I am unlikely to respond.


  25. p2p,

    If Chaput is too party-political, that's a fair criticism. I rather got the impression however that he was being criticised as much if not more for his fidelity to orthodox theology and Catholic social teaching.

    I think you've got the magisterium much too closely aligned in your head with secular power. I helps to make a logical separation on the basis of the different origins, different purposes, different justifications, and (very) different safeguards. I won't criticise you for what I'd see as a flawed conflation of the two though, because it's such a common flawed understanding that it often seems the norm.
    The Magisterium wants to get souls into heaven, and is backed up by the Holy Spirit and promise of Christ. The Republican/Democratic party wants to be re-elected, and is backed up by dodgy government borrowing, big business donations, and easily-swayed masses.