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Archbishop Chaput's Stunning Letter to Philadelphia
Jimmy Akin ^ | December 9, 2011 | Jimmy Akin

Posted on 12/10/2011 1:17:11 PM PST by NYer

On December 8th, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, Archbishop Charles Chaput, the newly-installed archbishop of Philadelphia, released a pastoral letter to the faithful of his archdiocese. It will be read this weekend at Masses, even as Archbishop Chaput is returning home from his ad limina visit to Rome.

A copy of the letter was obtained by Whispers in the Loggia and has now been published online.

Pastoral letters from bishops can range from being “ho-hum” letters to being “Wham!” letters. Archbishop Chaput’s is definitely at the “Wham!” end of the spectrum.

Let’s read it together.

The letter begins with the kind of gentle, winning tone that one would expect in a pastoral letter from a newly-installed bishop:

December 8, 2011
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

Dear friends in Christ,

Exactly three months ago, on September 8, I was installed as Archbishop of Philadelphia. In the weeks since, traveling the archdiocese, I’ve been struck by two things I encounter again and again: the reservoir of good will in our people, and the fidelity of our priests.

The Church in Southeastern Pennsylvania has deep roots and an extraordinary legacy of saints, service and public witness. These are profound strengths, built by the faith of generations of Catholic families. But all of these good facts depend on our willingness to sustain them by our actions in the present. Advent is a season of self-examination in the light of God’s word; a season of conversion and looking forward in hope to the birth of a Savior at Christmas. There is no better time to speak frankly about the conditions we now face as a community of believers.

So far the letter has the kind of tone that might set one up for a “ho-hum” pastoral letter. But now it pivots—suddently and dramatically—and signals an entirely new direction:


TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events; Ministry/Outreach
KEYWORDS: archbishopchaput; chaput; pa; philadelphia

1 posted on 12/10/2011 1:17:14 PM PST by NYer
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To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; SumProVita; ...


2 posted on 12/10/2011 1:17:49 PM PST by NYer ("Be kind to every person you meet. For every person is fighting a great battle." St. Ephraim)
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To: NYer

Sounds like he has a pretty good handle on the magnitude of the task, the difficulty involved in addressing the issues, and the resolve to carry through.

3 posted on 12/10/2011 1:24:44 PM PST by null and void (Day 1054 of America's ObamaVacation from reality [Heroes arent made, Frank, they're cornered...])
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To: NYer

Wham, kind of typifies Chaput’s rise in the Church. It seems just yesterday he was here in Rapid City.

4 posted on 12/10/2011 2:00:14 PM PST by wita
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To: NYer

Bump for later

5 posted on 12/10/2011 3:03:48 PM PST by goldfinch
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To: NYer
He obviously had to address the sex abuse issue, given how poorly it had been handled by his predecessor. However, there's nothing surprising about the rest of the letter. Every diocese in the country is faced with the issue of downtown churches that are financially unsustainable because Catholics have either moved to the suburbs, or quit going to church. The diocese I live in has already had to address these issues. I'm attending the Extraordinary Form Mass at a church that was about to be abandoned, but was given to our Latin Mass community by the bishop (as someone has somewhat cynically remarked, now all the troublemakers are in one place). Over Thanksgiving we visited our daughters in Detroit, and learned that the diocese there is going through the same process of selecting churches to be closed, including some historic landmark churches.

As the writer put it, when something can't go on, it won't. Churches and schools will have to be realigned to fit the reality of Catholic demographics. Having seen locally how much grief this realignment process can bring, the folks in Philadelphia have my full sympathy.

6 posted on 12/10/2011 4:58:25 PM PST by JoeFromSidney (New book: RESISTANCE TO TYRANNY. A primer on armed revolt. Available form Amazon.)
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To: NYer
But all of these good facts depend on our willingness to sustain them by our actions in the present.

Funny, I was just thinking to myself that this is something many Americans just don't seem to get.


Thanks for posting, but I couldn't deal with the blow-by-blow format, interruptions from wikipedia, etc.

I got as far as the part about Chaput announcing plans to gut Catholic education, which, as far as I'm concerned, has produced the only useful citizens in our country for generations. I'm tired of reading about that. But since it clearly isn't what it used to be, having done its deals with the devil, it's probably better off dead, just like so many Catholic hospitals. In fact, the bulk of the Catholic social structure is probably rotten to the core by now.

7 posted on 12/10/2011 5:49:14 PM PST by the invisib1e hand (omg - obama must go!)
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To: NYer; lilyramone; crusadersoldier; Ellzeena; Anvilhead; stonehouse01; Goreknowshowtocheat; ...

Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic List:

Add me / Remove me

Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of general interest.

8 posted on 12/10/2011 5:52:55 PM PST by narses
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To: the invisib1e hand

actually, it was the liberal nuns who “gutted” catholic education by deciding to go into “new” ways of serving God, stopping their prayer life, and living in apartments.

The old schools were run cheaply with the nuns dedicated low wage labor, and the nuns willingly did it to educate the mainly poor in the inner city. But why be cheap labor for rich suburban families?

And inner city immigrants are often not Catholic, so who pays their tuition? Alas, there are still dedicated old nuns who will teach at these places, but I’ve had several girlfriends who left orders, both liberal and conservative orders, because of the confusion in the past.

So until the “new” orders get up and running, there will be a lag in keeping catholic schools going.

9 posted on 12/10/2011 6:14:49 PM PST by LadyDoc
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To: LadyDoc

Why be cheap labour for rich suburban families? Because those suburban families trusted the nuns more than the lay teachers who were more likely to think of themselves as employees. Even the public schools used to look for “dedicated” teachers —like Miss Dove the movie character—rather than those who looked upon teaching as just as a job.

10 posted on 12/10/2011 9:32:59 PM PST by RobbyS
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To: RobbyS

In the old days, I’d trust nuns.

But when my boys were in school in the 1980’s I was happy we had dedicated lay teachers, not PC nuns who tried to teach my (adopted Colombian) son Liberation theology, which angered him because the nun knew nothing about South America except what she read in the liberal propaganda.

I hope the new orders are there now, because the PC nuns destroyed the older orders (I have several friends who left because the orders were destroyed by them, and they could follow Christ better on the outside than under these twits).

11 posted on 12/11/2011 5:48:18 PM PST by LadyDoc
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To: LadyDoc

I was talking about nuns pre-Vatican II. The problem is that it didn’t start with Vatican II. Already in the /50s, there were nuns who felt uncomfortable in their habits and resented the male-dominated Church. Truth be told, lots of bishops and priests treated nuns like girls, just as they treated some of the younger priest like boys. Talent men and women in their mid-thirties. What happened after Vatican II was in part a revolt against an oppressive regime. So it is not just the liberal bishops who helped cause this mess but the older conservative bishops/monsignors with an obsessive need to control.

12 posted on 12/11/2011 8:58:06 PM PST by RobbyS
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