Archbishop Chaput on Pope Francis

National Catholic Register has something from a speech I just heard during the Napa Institute meeting. It affirms something I have been saying.

Archbishop Chaput on Pope Francis: It would be a mistake to describe him as a “liberal”

Is Pope Francis a socialist, or even a Marxist? No, says, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, who tackled the pope’s views on economic justice during an address at the 2014 Napa Institute this weekend.

I think it would be a mistake to describe him as a “liberal” — much less a “Marxist.” As I told the Italian newspaper La Stampa in an interview some weeks ago, words like “liberal” and “conservative” don’t describe Catholic belief. They divide what shouldn’t be divided. We should love the poor and love the unborn child. Service to the oppressed and service to the family; defense of the weak and defense of the unborn child; belief in the value of business and belief in restraints on predatory business practices — all these things spring from the same Catholic commitment to human dignity. There’s nothing “progressive” about killing an unborn human child or allowing it to happen. And there’s nothing “conservative” about ignoring the cries of the poor.

Archbishop Chaput suggested that Pope Francis was not letting anyone off the hook from their own personal responsibility to care for the poor, and she argued that the New evangelization woujld fail witout [sic] a compelling witness of such service. He concluded, “At the heart of this pope’s thoughts about economic justice is not a theory or an ideology, but the person of Jesus Christ. And all of us who call ourselves Christians should see in that a reason to hope.” The text of Archbishop Chaput’s address HERE.

Take a moment to read the text.

As I have been saying all along, Pope Francis is not going to change the Church’s doctrine, which liberals – yes, I use the word as shorthand – want.  As a matter of fact, liberals – remember, it’s shorthand – will turn on Pope Francis when they fully twig to what he is not going to do.

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  1. midwestmom says:

    Exactly who is “ignoring the cries of the poor”? The mealy-mouthed political commentary from the US hierarchy is sickening.

  2. Sonshine135 says:

    I agree. The term liberal or conservative is ideological, not religious. One either adheres to the faith or one does not. Pope Francis seems to me to reside inside of a level of ambiguity. His teaching loving each other is an example of this. Other times, he has shown he is willing to be very precise, such as in the dismissal of former Fr. Reynolds. He obviously also allows the CDF to march forward with their investigation into the heresies of the LCWR, but at the same time, he shows little concern in the opposite direction for those favorable of the older form of the liturgy. This doesn’t mean he is against the celebration of the older form. His failure to say much about it simply could mean he has nothing to say about it. Press on.

    As I have stated before, he has a wide umbrella.

  3. jhayes says:

    Fr. Rosica of Salt & Light Television of Pope Francis:

    Has the Vatican’s communications strategy changed or evolved since Francis was elected pope?

    Yes. Francis is the best thing going for the Catholic Church now in the area of communications. He’s the clearest example of the New Evangelization. If you want to know what the New Evangelization is, it’s not a book, a text or a synod. It’s Francis. What he’s done is forced all of us to rethink the ways we communicate.


  4. midwestmom says:

    ” What he was saying is that, in the task of bringing the world to Jesus Christ, we witness best when we save the unborn AND when we feed their mothers…”

    This statement implies that for every unborn baby saved from abortion (by a “conservative,” no doubt), there is a resultant starving mother. The Church will never flourish teaching theology based on lies or by failing to preach the cold, hard truth from the pulpit about personal sin for fear of offending someone.

  5. lmo1968 says:

    I loved what Abp. Chaput said about solidarity, we live in a society where this is sorely lacking and the effects of this lack of love for each other are felt everywhere: in our ruthless economic system, in our crumbling familial relationships, in our spousal relationships, friendships, etc. We have made everybody disposable. You’re ok until I don’t want you — then I will get rid of you. This is what we say to the worker, to the grandparent, to the unborn child, to the spouse. I think this is what Francis is speaking against.

  6. danidunn says:

    I tend to think the pope, having lived in Buenos Aires, has a clearer idea of starvation and poverty than most people in America. Amazing, a Catholic calling the Pope and/or a bishop a liar. I have heard more than one priest, in San Francisco no less, call for an end to abortion during his homily. I think they would be amused to be called conservatives.

  7. marcelus says:

    And these two guys know each other.. they go way back, from when Francis was Archbsp of Bs As. Could not be any clearer…

    “At the heart of this pope’s thoughts about economic justice is not a theory or an ideology, but the person of Jesus Christ. And all of us who call ourselves Christians should see in that a reason to hope”

    Also a reason why I think he’ll be visiting Philly.

  8. danidunn says:

    When I read, “when we feed their mothers”, I thought of Jesus’ command to Peter to feed his sheep. Obviously, a woman contemplating abortion is in need of a lot more “food” than “merely” worrying about where her next meal will come from. This, to me, also evokes the conversation Jesus had with the woman at the well.

  9. marcelus says:

    here’s a session of Q&A’s from Francis and souther italian priests. Interesting

  10. Supertradmum says:

    Over the past seventy years, the Church has become too middle class in America and lost the sense of serving the poor or the dignity of being poor. Protestantism has infiltrated many Catholic hearts and minds to the point where the poor are judged only and not really helped.

    As an unemployed person for three years searching for work in many states, and not even getting an interview, as one who recognizes judgment daily towards me, and as one who lived in a diocese where Catholic Charities was disbanded over 15 years ago because the middle class Church votes for socialism, I can say that most Catholics need to be reminded of the necessity to help the poor.

    If it were not for some friends, I would have died three years ago. This is the truth of poverty.

    That Pope Francis reminds all of us of our duty is excellent. Recently, an upper class couple told some friends of mine that they would never open their door to a stranger.

    People miss an opportunity to serve Christ with such ideas. We have the poor always with us because Christ wants us to take care of them-not the State, not others, but each one of us.

    I am grateful for the few who have not fallen into middle class Protestant Calvinism. I hope the Pope speaks more on this subject.

  11. danidunn says:

    Leo XII has been an eye opener for me:

    Private ownership, as we have seen, is the natural right of man, and to exercise that right, especially as members of society, is not only lawful, but absolutely necessary. “It is lawful,” says St. Thomas Aquinas, “for a man to hold private property; and it is also necessary for the carrying on of human existence.”” But if the question be asked: How must one’s possessions be used? – the Church replies without hesitation in the words of the same holy Doctor: “Man should not consider his material possessions as his own, but as common to all, so as to share them without hesitation when others are in need. Whence the Apostle with, ‘Command the rich of this world… to offer with no stint, to apportion largely.’

    Sounds to me like Francis. Indeed, the Marxists have co-opted the Gospel. St. Thomas precedes Karl Marx by a few years. And, I agree with supertradmum, too many American Catholics have become Protestants.

  12. danidunn says:

    Missed an I. Should have been Leo XIII.

  13. msc says:

    Supertradmum: I think it’s unfair to characterize Protestants as you do (“the poor are judged only and not really helped”). The first exception that leaps to my mind is the Salvation Army. Yes, some Protestant sects that follow the whole Gospel of wealth idea are un-Christian in their lack of concern for the poor, but I also know Catholics that think Christ’s teachings about poverty are fine in principle, but for others to follow or practice.

  14. lmo1968 says:

    I have been a recipient of true charity+solidarity from a group I belong to — a movement in the Church that is disdained here as “heretical” though it is totally approved. For a number of years, I have been unemployed and underemployed. Last year I made about 600 dollars (U.S.) a month. This group has given me money for my basic needs. Between them, my sister and one of my good friends ( she a New Ager and he a liberal Catholic — that is, when he is feeling Catholic at all), I didn’t end up homeless. But it was the help from this ecclesial movement that really kept me going. None of this help came from my parish or the ahem “institutional” church. People in the church don’t tithe. They throw a dollar in the collection basket and feel like they’ve given something. People’s hearts are hardened against the church, against the poor, against anybody who asks something of them, who inconveniences in some way no matter how small. This hardness of heart is what will damn us.

    Abp. Chaput used to be my shepherd. I remember hearing about an outdoor Mass at which he led the parishioners in a chant saying repeatedly, “If we forget the poor, we will go to Hell.” It seems this something our leaders need to have us chanting at more Masses maybe every Sunday for the next 20 years until we wake up and learn how to love.

  15. midwestmom says:

    Obviously Francis was speaking in global terms but Chaput is an American prelate deciphering the Pope’s speech for an American audience. His insinuation that pro-lifers don’t care about mothers is straight out of the liberal left’s playbook.

    How many millions of unborn babies have been aborted in the US? How many women have died of starvation here? To equate these two situations in some twisted attempt at appealing to both sides of the political spectrum is insulting.

    There are uncharitable – and charitable – people in both camps. To have a sitting archbishop lay the problem of poverty at the feet of a select group is beyond the pale and out of touch.

  16. Bosco says:

    Dear Father Z.,

    You wrote: “As I have been saying all along, Pope Francis is not going to change the Church’s doctrine…”. To be even more precise, he cannot.

    Notwithstanding, I believe this October synod is a wildly imprudent undertaking having stirred-up worldwide expectation of ‘change’ long in advance owing to the pre-synod solicitation of the ‘faithful’ to spew out whatever they fancy as things wrong with the Church in order that the synod might address such.

    The media will (at best) hijack and spin whatever is said ala Vatican II and the orthodoxy of so many prelates these days, who like the Bishop of Rome are not averse to microphones and sound bites, is at best wanting and at worse non-existent.

    There is a perfect storm a-brewing for October and one conjured up entirely by the Bishop of Rome.

    In the din of this storm’s winds and its aftermath it will be impossible to nuance such niceties as unchangeable doctrines, collegiality, and the limits of papal infallibility as tradition has understood these for two millennia.

    Christ is the Head of His Church. Pray for the Pope and prepare for dry martyrdom.

  17. marcelus says:

    So Bosco it’s safe to say you are not too fond of the Holy Father? Any good things you may have spotted about him?

  18. Reconverted Idiot says:

    Great timing Father.

    I happen to have RERUM NOVARUM and QUADRAGESIMO ANNO open in other tabs, as part of my reading material for the day (I’m half way through the first as I write this).

  19. Reconverted Idiot says:

    msc: re the sally-ann (as we here in old blighty refer to it). Sorry, no. My mother’s second husband worked for them for years, they may have had a certain ‘burden’ for the poor, but today it is a weird sect with no saving gospel on offer, relying on donations and the state benefits paid to their long term ‘inmates’, and preaching a temperance message which is laughable in its hilarious in its mental gymnastics. The brass bands are quite apt: they remind me of something an inspired man once wrote about sounding like a trumpet if I have not caritas. At least they don’t make people sing for their supper any more.

    supertradmom: spot on, great comments as usual. God bless.

  20. PA mom says:

    Rather than the anti-riches way that wealth is referred to by some of the Church in recent times, I wish that wealth were discussed more as the resource from God that it is.

    St Francis de Sales has a take on it which is quite radical, but lacking in guilt or distain for wealth.

    The politicization of poverty and class warfare needs to be shaken off and each person figuring out what we can do around us to help. I am glad that the discussion has been going on, as we personally used to do very little (outside of institutional collections), assuming that the Government was doing whatever needed doing. We have opened our eyes and started looking for opportunities to assist those directly around us (rather than just adding more to a collection). It has been very satisfying and energizing.

  21. Bosco says:

    I am indeed fond of the Holy Father. I pray for the Bishop of Rome and the Pope Emeritus at the end of my daily rosary.

    The Bishop of Rome’s propensity for unfeigned exuberance, his easy manner, and beguiling smile are captivating. That said, my last mechanic was possessed of the same traits notwithstanding he was abysmal at tuning up an engine.

  22. msc says:

    Reconverted Idiot: Well, wherever I have lived, the Salvation Army has offered food, shelter, and guidance to a great many needy people. Some of my volunteer work has brought me into contact with Sally Ann programs and institutions and I have been impressed. They might be different where you are. As for their temperance message, I think a great many need it. Alcohol abuse remains one of the most serious problems for people in trouble.

  23. Reconverted Idiot says:

    msc: I don’t disagree with the direction of your point. Perhaps they do vary, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least. My point, is that they are not necessarily a shining example of Christian charity, indeed it is often nothing of the sort, whatever their good intentions and the benefits which may be granted to those falling within their care. Keeping someone on government benefits dependence and using that money to provide their lifelong care — I speak from firsthand knowledge of many cases — is not charity by any definition. This is pretty universal practice in sally-ann hostels (aside: I’ve just been reminded of certain names, individuals, so at least this conversation has given me some souls to pray for;o) ).

    As for temperance, sure many people may need it, I’ve suffered the ignominy of alcoholic parents and experienced first hand the damage that has caused, my point is about temperance with the mental gymnastics required to defend it from scripture, as ‘divine mandate’ — e.g. at Cana Jesus turned the water into non-alcoholic wine, and the Last Supper he blessed ‘grape juice’ — is just silly, let’s be honest. True, one can make a scriptural case for temperance where it is needed, as with chastity and other modes of ‘mortification of the flesh’, I don’t mean to denigrate or oppose such at all. On the contrary. But what happens when the alcoholic reads the bible and finds they can’t seriously believe the Cana wine was non-alcoholic (given the responses of the guests as to the quality of said wine)…..? It’s a dangerous game, better be honest, as hard as it is, than make it up as we ‘feel’ and effectively spread falsehood in order to ‘save people from themselves’.

    Best wishes and God bless.

  24. Magash says:

    Reconverted Idiot: such temperance messages are not relegated to the Salvation Army. They also continue among many Baptist and non-denomination Christian groups with their origin in the temperance movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. I still hear from some of my Protestant friends they same statements about Cana and the last supper.
    This is more than theologically flawed. It also illustrates a complete ignorance of historical fact also. One of the reason fermented drinks were used in ancient times was to prevent spoilage. Real grape juice in the absence of refrigeration has only two ways to go; toxic or fermented. True if fermentation is allowed to go long enough you get vinegar, which can be non-alcoholic, but you still don’t have grape juice.

  25. Imrahil says:

    As to temperance, there is, I guess, a certain force in truth which spreading a superficially similar, but false message will not have.

    If someone who cares for me says: “you – precisely you – must not drink alcohol. It does not do you good, you’re not taking the care you ought to, and to get a firm foot on the ground you ought to quit drinking at all for the time being”, then I might think he’s right, do what he said, and long for the first beer allowed once I have put said foot on the ground.

    Similarly (though with understandably more hesitation) if he tells me that I’m an alcoholic in medicinal sense and therefore have to do without it forever.

    If, on the other hand, he tells me that alcohol is bad generally and should never have been fermented, and the like, I’ll close my ears and think that that’s a strange heresy (which it is). If he should go on and tell me that it is especially evil for me, well, how could I think anything but “I don’t guess you are an objective judge here”?

    Consequently, he who wants to help alcohol abusers must firmly believe in the legitimacy of alcohol.

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