“The Church is not defined by her failures. And you and I are not defined by our critics”

From Archbishop Chaput’s sermon during his installation:

This Church in Philadelphia faces very serious challenges these days. There’s no quick fix to problems that are so difficult, and none of us here today, except the Lord Himself, is a miracle worker. But it’s important to remember and to believe the Church is not defined by her failures. And you and I are not defined by our critics or by those who dislike us. What we do in the coming months and years to respond to these challenges – that will define who we really are. And in engaging that work, we need to be Catholics first, and always. Jesus Christ is the center of our lives, and the Church is our mother and teacher. Everything we do should flow from that.

The text of the whole sermon is HERE.

Listen to the sermon:

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity, The future and our choices and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Martial Artist says:

    Archbishop Chaput is a treasure of the Church. I pray that God will bless him and keep him safe from the enemy all of the days of his life.

    Keith Töpfer

  2. MyBrokenFiat says:

    I want to hug this man. Thank you, God, for him!

    May his time in Philly be all that God wishes for it to be. We are so, so lucky to have him. And to be installed on the Feast of Our Lady’s Nativity… She who is one of God’s greatest gifts to humanity… surely she will forever keep him guarded under her maternal protection.

    My heart smiles. Thank you for the blurb, Father. Perfect.

  3. Supertradmum says:

    How wonderful to hear a bishop in America who is not afraid of being hierarchical and who is actually proud of the patriarchal structure of the Church. His sermon is a mini-lecture on the nature and role of the bishop. Thank God for such leaders.

  4. benedetta says:

    Just want to say I agree with the three previous comments. I listened to Archbishop Chaput’s homily and found him encouraging and was struck by the truth of what he had to say about the annunciation to the Blessed Mother, that it was not expected or in any way an easy one for her and St. Joseph to remain faithful to. The Holy Family is a pattern we may look to for guidance in all times and situations. I will pray for the people of this archdiocese and for Archbishop Chaput.

  5. Sofia Guerra says:

    Lookee, Father Z!! He likes us!! http://www.alwayscatholic.com
    “What we do in the coming months and years to respond to these challenges – that will define who we really are. And in engaging that work, we need to be Catholics first, and ALWAYS. ” Oorah!

  6. pablo says:

    Your Excellency,

    You are taking over an Archdiocese that has sold Holy Altars that are now used in Bars to serve alcoholic drinks, where Confessionals were sold to restaurants to use as booths for eating, Tabernacles were sold to be used as jewel boxes, religious statues and sacred items sold to people that profane them.

    All the items were sold using orders that restricted ‘Traditional’ Catholics from buying them.

    And God knows what else the operators of the Archdiocese have done.

    Not to mention the overwhelming Freemason presence there.

    Your first official act should be to hand out pink slips to everyone that works there, including the landscaping crew.

    Clean house.


    [In some other context this might have been interesting. Here? Now? A bit tone deaf. Wrong moment, friend. Wrong moment and wrong tone.]

  7. pablo says:

    Your Excellency,

    By the way, Holy Mother Church never fails; She is the Bride of Christ and spotless.

    It is Bishops that fail.


  8. catholicmidwest says:

    Well said. Problems are always present, but the way that we react to them and solve them displays our character or lack of it directly and immediately. People understand this intuitively.

    A few years ago, we saw a revelation of misbehavior in the church, and even though it was only a small percentage of the church, it was a symbolic and important small percentage. People saw horrible lapses of character in those few; they saw violence. But Catholics aren’t really like that; we can’t let them think that we are, because it’s not true. We have to rise to the occasion by showing people what Catholics are really like. I’m glad to see Archbishop Chaput saying this and saying it so well.

    It also serves as a reminder to us that we need to live out our faith well and truly and not take it for granted. Character, which is the outward manifestation of virtue, is as important as it ever was. That has not changed, and never will.

  9. flyfree432 says:

    Wow. As a parish employee I needed to hear this. Thank you.

    Pablo, the anonymity of the internet does not mean you are not accountable for your words. Count them carefully.

  10. Maxiemom says:

    I was able to listen to part of his homily and I must say, I was impressed. I like what he had to say and how he said it.

  11. Panterina says:

    I will miss his homilies here in Denver deeply. But thanks to today’s digital age, I know that they are only a mouse-click away. Thank you, Father Z., for posting the podcast!

  12. irishgirl says:

    Excellent sermon from an excellent shepherd!
    Thank you, Archbishop Chaput!
    And thank you, Father Z, for posting this, as well as the paragraph quoted above!

  13. The more I hear/read, the more I like! A really good message with some things that really needed to be heard.

Comments are closed.