PopeWatch: Chaput

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Archbishop Charles Chaput of the Philadelphia Archdiocese has been unfairly depicted as a critic of Pope Francis.  This stems from an interview he had with John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter.  (John Allen is a good reporter but PopeWatch wonders about the judgment of any member of the hierarchy who has an interview with any representative of NCR.)  The interview may be read here.  PopeWatch fails to see how any fair minded reading of this interview could be taken as criticism of the Pope.  The bitter comments of the deranged readers of NCR are, as always, a true hoot.

Chaput in an interview with the blog of the Philadelphia Inquirer attempted to set the record straight.



Chaput, 68, made his remarks during a break in a daylong session of the semiannual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Criticism that Chaput had publicly faulted Francis as voicing tolerant views toward homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and artificial contraception, all of which the Catholic Church has long opposed, is “not fair,” he said.

“I was not criticizing the Holy Father,” Chaput said of remarks in June to the National Catholic Reporter.

“What I brought up was that I’m aware there are people who are critical of the Holy Father” for perceived liberalism on some issues, “and that it’s important that he talk to them, too.

“That is the fact,” said the archbishop. “I’ve never been critical of the Holy Father and would never speak ill of him.”

A priest of the Capuchin branch of the Franciscan order, Chaput described as “a great freshness, a great blessing for the church,” Francis’ call for greater care for the poor and openness to those who feel excluded from the church for reasons such as sexual orientation or divorce and remarriage.

As the former cardinal-archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Francis is “the first non-European pope in a very long time,” Chaput noted, “and the way you see things from South America and the Southern Hemisphere is very different from northern Europe.”

But he cautioned against those who “want to use the pope to further their own agendas, and others [who] want to ignore the pope so they can promote their own agendas.”

Go here to read the rest at Philly.com.  The Archbishop could have saved his breath, as the story goes on to imply that he was defeated for Vice-President of the USCCB due to the perception that he is a Francis critic.  PopeWatch wonders if the media will soon begin every interview with every orthodox Catholic with the query, “Are you now, or have you ever been, a critic of Pope Francis?”



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  1. I agree with you Donald. Archbishop Chaput was not criticizing Pope Francis in the interview with John Allen. The only thing I might slightly differ with him in the interview was his comments about the motorcade at TWYD. Pope Francis wants direct and close contact with people in Saint Peter’s Square. In other words, the motorcade in Brazil might not have been such an accident or failure as first supposed. The interview took place really early in the Pope’s ministry, so Archbishop Chaput simply would not be aware of this major shift in Francis’ policy with people.

    As for the Philly paper’s considering Chaput’s “failure” to be elected VP of the USCCB, the media, they only can understand and interpret things within a limited set of paradigms, certainly not ones based on or arising from faith. As you stated in your last comment, the media will indeed most likely seek to find a wedge between the Pope and the American bishops as a whole or as individuals

  2. Just as with our Holy Father, it is important to read the article with Ttention to what words are in quotation marks and which words have already been parsed by the article’s author

    For example:
    order, Chaput described as “a great freshness, a great blessing for the church,” Francis’ call for greater care for the poor and openness to those who feel excluded from the church for reasons such as sexual orientation or divorce and remarriage.

    My interest is in how much the commonly perceived liberalism effects bishop and laity in understanding day to day application of church teachings. The culture kampf has certainly not ceased. A bishop Chaput’s words and Pope Francis ‘ words will be interpreted with as much as much looseness as people want if the bishop leadership here and around the world does not make it clear there is no hermeneutic of rupture

  3. Why is it that we can never voice our opinions. I know exactly what Archbishop Chaput meant. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that unless you speak clearly and with authority the opposition will do everything to rationalize and twist those wordsto fit their agenda. Then again, I wanted Cardinal Burke or a hurry up and make Archbishop Chaput a Cardinal so he could be in the running! Diabolic, Diablo, Babel.

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