Search for “de Lubac”

Henri de Lubac

In 11 Joanna Bogle on 2012/09/21 at 9:11 AM

In the course of….

…study for my Maryvale degree, I’ve been reading Henri de Lubac, so when I saw a title by him in a friend’s bookcase I pounced. But it was something different – and I’m absolutely fascinated. It’s an account of activities in defence of human rights in wartime France – heroic stuff,meetings of underground groups, secretly-distributed newsletters, crucial papers eaten and swallowed by a priest friend while in a room awaiting interrogation from the Gestapo…Fr de Lubac was part of courageous group that wrote and distributed the secretly-printed Cahiers du Temoinage Chretien and his memoirs were published in the 1980s, by Ignatius Press, so that the events would not be forgotten: “Christian Resistance to Anti-Semitism: memories from 1940-44.” What emerges is the heroism of many in the Church in France – and also the shameful reality of the Petain regime.The latter, of course, had its apologists who hailed it as supporting Traditional Catholic France, opposing Communism etc… It helps to explain the situation of the Church in France, and tensions even up to the present day.It is interesting that de Lubac’s theology, which would later have a profound influence on many priests of the rising generation and at the Vatican Council opened by Blessed John XXIII, was forged not in comfortable libraries in easy circumstances but in the more poignant atmosphere of a nation where major issues of right and wrong – on which vulnerable lives depended – were crucial realities for every day. So things like justice,truth, the value of the Church with a consistent teaching , and the essence of a personal relationship with Christ, are all explored alongside brief accounts of difficult wartime communication and the tensions of various Resistance groups.Although much of the history was known to me, the theological insights are sparkling in freshness. A real find.


In on 2011/07/15 at 7:06 PM

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“Blessed are those who hunger and third after justice, for they will be satisfied.”

“In God’s name, do not dispair”

“Never give way to fear or routine”

“It is now Christ who lives in you”

“God is good and He loves us”

“Temptation to weariness”

“We have to toil away each day with Jesus”

“Let us always be brutally sincere”

“Penance means being full of tenderness and kindness towards the suffering”

“With Him there is no possibility of failure”

“Get to know the Holy Spirit”

“The Charity of Christ should compels us”

“You have to live in harmony with your fellow men and understand them”

“With your help, Lord, I’ll fight”

“If you want to be useful, serve”

“The richness of our faith”

“Practice Fraternal Correction”

“I put my trust in you. I know you are my Father.”

“Serenity.  Why lose your temper?”

“We have to toil away each day with Jesus”

“Seek first the Kingdom of God”

“Renew your joy for the struggle”

“To pray is to talk with God.  But about what?

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“Struggling for so many years”

“Come, Sanctifier, almighty and eternal God”

“Lord, I don’t know hope to pray”

“You should walk at God’s pace, not your own”

“Serve Our Lord and your fellow men”

“Learn how to do good”

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“Do not fix your heart on anything that passes away”

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“He made Himself food, He became Bread”

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Gospel Guide

“Mary’s throne is the Cross”

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Apostolate of Faith

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“He has triumphed over death”

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India: St. Thomas’ Orthodox Syrian Church

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The Pope Convokes a Day of Prayer and Penance for Peace in Middle East

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 Worldwide Eucharistic Adoration on Sunday, June 2 11am to 12pm EDT

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What the Resurrection of Christ Means for Our Lives

Christ’s Message Is Mercy

Christ Has Risen, He Has Risen Indeed!

Following Jesus is Learning to Go Out of Ourselves

“We Must Live Faith with a Young Heart”

“If God Didn’t Forgive, the World Would not Exist”

To Walk, to Build, to Witness, Always with the Cross of Christ

Pope Francis’ Inaugural Sermon

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Archbishop Chaput’s Take on Pope Francis

Catholic Teachers

Repair My House: Renewing the Roots of Religious Liberty

Being Human in an Age of Unbelief – Part I

Being Human in an Age of Unbelief – Part II

Being Human in an Age of Unbelief – Part III

Politics and the Devil – Part I

Politics and the Devil – Part II

Politics and the Devil – Part III

Living within the Truth – Part I

Living within the Truth – Part II

Living within the Truth – Part III

04 FR. JOHN McCLOSKEY…………………………………………………………

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Becoming Catholic

Station Churches of Rome

St. Thomas More: Faithful Statesman

Praying Litanies

Hope for the Gospel of Life in America

Belloc, Benson and Knox: three renowned Catholic writers

Help Wanted: Spiritual Direction

Who Do You Say That I Am?

Renewal: How the New Generation of Faithful Priests and Bishops Is Revitalizing the Catholic Church

American Women and the Culture Wars

The Role of Church History in Conversion to the Catholic Church

Will Many Be Saved?

Tea Party Catholic

Catholic Guide to Depression

Wining the World, One Friend at a Time

Navigating the Interior Life

God in Action

The Magisterium and Catholic Social Teaching

Why Faith Prevails Over Doubt

On the Meaning of Sex

Ten Way to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child

40th Anniversary of Roe v Wade and Dr. Nathanson, the prophet

Christians in the Movies

Closing of the Muslim Mind

The Appalling Strangeness of the Mercy of God

 Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman: Why is he important today.

The Difference God Makes

Charity, Grace and Force

Private Charity Versus Government Welfare

Laymen: “Resolve to Discern God’s Will for You”

Justice and Mercy: As Relevant Today as Ever


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St. Dominic

St. Bernadette Souborious

The Great Schism

Capacity for Sanctity

Body and Blood of Christ

An Opportunity to Expand Our Soul

Mt. Zion

Good and Evil

St. Kateri Tekakwitha, “Lily of the Mohawks”

St. Thomas Aquinas

On Free Will

Christianity in Eastern Europe

Cultivating a Spirit of Generosity

Having Hope

Wheat and Weeds

Bridge Between Liturgical Seasons

Sts. Perpetua and Felicity

Notre Dame de Chartres 

St. Ann

Transfiguration of Our Soul

Charles de Foucault

St. Clare

Angelic Hosts

Value of Faith


Most Holy Trinity

Joy in Suffering

Holy Trinity

Pentecost II

Pentecost I

The Ascension of Our Lord

Accepting God’s Grace

Crucifixion of St. Peter

Sts. Peter and Paul

The Essence of Christian Perfection

Humility in Key 

On the Mercy of God

Easter Sunday

Easter Vigil

Holy Saturday

Good Friday

Mass of the Lord”s Supper

Holy Thursday


St. John of the Cross

Suffering is the End Result of Selfishness

The Healing Power of Suffering

St. John Vianney


Washing of the Feet

Wedding Feast at Cana

Baptism of the Lord

Mary, Mother of God

Holy Family

Nativity of the Lord 

Mystery of the Mass

Power of the Holy Name

Gaudete Sunday

Solemnity of Christ the King

In the Holy Land

Our Fate’ Our Choice

The Tax Collectors

All Souls Day

Marian Devotion


Last Judgment

Four Last Things


Consecration to theBlessed Virgin Mary

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Learning to Imitate

Peter Saw the Truth

Losing a Colleague and Friend

Time Counts

Body and Blood of Christ

Most Holy Trinity


Gianna Beretta Molla


Letter from Bishop Jugis and Bishop Burbidge

Good Shepherd

Easter Sunday

Easter Vigil


Holy Sepulcher

Palm Sunday

St. John Paul the Great

Divine Light

Easter Duty

Call to Repentance

St. Catherine of Siena

The Benefits of Baptism

Unworthy But Loved

Importance of Family

Model Saints


Mary, Mother of God

Christmas Mass


St. Catherine of Siena 


All Saints Day


Religious Orders

Victory at Lepanto and the Rosary

St. Therese of Lisieux

St. Francis of Assisi

St. Lawrence

Call to Observance


Pearl of Wisdom

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

St. John Mary Vianney

Basilica of St. Mary’s Major


Being Commissioned

Rebels and Rebellions

Mary Magdalene

Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist

Importance of Faith

The Most Holy Trinity

Nativity of the Lord

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

Excerpts from Sermon by Fr. Timothy Reid (9/22/13) clarifying media spin on Pope Francis’ statement.

Catholic Prayers


Major Threat to Life

Marital Commitment

Major Threat to Life

Sacred Heart

Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ


Ascension of the Lord

Easter Sunday

Good Friday

Holy Thursday

Palm Sunday

Prayer by Fr. Reid





Christ by Fr. Reid

Ability to Choose

Good Friday

Palm Sunday

Cathedral of Chartes

The Annunciation

St. Joseph

Holy Mass


Ash Wednesday Approaches

St. Augustine by Fr. Reid

Do You Love Jesus?


Respect for Life

The Holy Family by Fr. Timothy Reid

Nativity of Our Lord

Advent: the Coming of Christ

Season of Advent

December 8 Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Christ the King (Whose feast is this Sunday)

All Souls’ Day, November 2nd 

All Saints’ Day, November 1st

The Major Threats to Life

August 15 Assumption


Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ by Fr. Reid

Most Blessed Trinity by Fr. Reid

Solemnity of Pentecost by Fr. Reid

The Ascension of Our Lord, Jesus Christ by Fr. Reid

Marital Commitment by Fr. Reid

St. Ignatius Loyola by Fr. Reid

Blessed John Paul II by Fr. Reid

Baptism of the Lord by Fr. Reed

Love is…

Blessed are the peace makers…”

“Blessed are the clean of heart…”

“Blessed are those who mourn…”

Transfiguration of Our Soul

Gospel of the Annunciation

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”

The real Mary of Nazareth

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Isaias: Bible Study

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“Speak Lord, your servant is listening.”

Immaculate Conception


Unity of Pentecost Overcomes Division and Enmity

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All Saints and All Souls

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The Church Becomes Fully Visible in the Liturgy

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Christians’ Firm Hope in the Resurrection

Transmitting the Passion for Christ to the World

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God Doesn’t Consider As Much the Quality of the Chosen as their Faith

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Divine Revelation Does Not Follow Earthly Logic

Mary’s Faith in the Light of the Mystery of the Annunciation

The Coming of the Lord Continues

The Infancy Narratives

Divorced People Are Not Outside the Church

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Jesus Prayed

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How Do I Love You? Let Me Count the Ways

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Correct viewpoint

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Resurrection of Jesus


Real Truth

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Evangelistic Prophets

Mount of Olives Psalms

Sweet Nails, Sweet Tree

Peter or Judas?

Holy Week


Psalm 34 and the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ

Knowledge Enhanced

First Easter

Divine Love Affair

Pray Always?

The Risen One, the New Temple

Scripture Defiled

Can You Answer?


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Liberation From Sin

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The Worldview That Makes the Underclass


Become  Who We Are


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Mother and Child

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Day of the Unborn Child Passed by Lawmakers

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The Aim of Ecumenism is the Unity of Divided Christians

Man Is Considered in Biological Terms or As “Human Capital”

Relationship Between Faith and Marriage

The Pope Emphasizes the Importance of Education in the New Context of our Age

Pope: Do Not Give In to the Temptation to Instrumentalize God

Can You Fool Mother Nature?

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Pope on Twitter: His first three answers to questions

Montini and Ratzinger

Gireersh Gupta: Prayer is a gift from God to us

The Idea of Sainthood Has Often Been Distorted

 Seeing Is Believing

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Spiritual Nourishment From Msgr. Romano Guardini

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Our Will?

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Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Has a New Domain

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Pope Warns Against the Power of Finance and the Media

Forgiving Love

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In What Type of Soil Are Rooted In?

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What is this practice of Adoration?

Challenge of the Media

New Victims of Discrimination

Many Aspects of the Christian Apostolate

Kid Brother – In Memoriam


Unheeded Warnings from Pope Pius XII and Thucydides

 An Essential Virtue: Fortitude

Picture a Pedal

Reconstruction Replaces Resurrection

Address of Pope Benedict to International Convention on Woman and Man

Aquinas and Bonaventure: Twin Guiding Lights

Cyberspace Benedict

Bonaventure on Heart of Jesus

A Question You Need to Answer

Fr. Gabriel Carvajal’s farewell sermon at St. Vincent de Paul Church

Oh Thomas, What Did You See?

A Timely Message That We Need to Hear Again and Again.

Came and Went Before; Now Appears and Vanishes

Ascension: Go and Come?

Problems and Difficulties

Interior Life

Artist’s Purpose

O, Divine Redeemer


Eucharistic Church

Three Crosses

Retain What You Read

Inductive/Deductive Thinking

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Observe Jesus Christ

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Life in a Mirage

Contemporary Mischief

Signs for Our Times – Part IV: Apostolicity 

Signs for Our Times – Part III: Catholicity of the Church

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A Sign For Our Times -Introduction

The Unpreached Sermon: a Layman Thinking Like a Priest.  Part I

The Unpreached Sermon: a Layman Thinking Like a Priest.  Part II

Consequences, part I

Consequences, part II

Rest in Pieces

Correct Answer

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Is God God Or Are You God? 

Freedom – A Paradox by John Reagan

A Trilogy of the Unreal – Part 1 – Separation of Church and State

A Trilogy of the Unreal – Part 2 – “Jesus” Might Offend

A Trilogy of the Unreal – Part 3 – The Reality of Evil

Mind Over Matter

A Helluva Place

And the Blind Shall Lead

The Mythical God

The Coming Storm

The Great Deception

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Repair My House: Renewing the Roots of Religious Liberty

In 03 Archbishop Charles Chaput on 2012/07/05 at 9:11 AM

+Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. Indianapolis, 6.20.12

I’ve known Greg Erlandson as a friend for many years. So I was glad to accept his invitation to join you tonight. And I’m very glad to speak on the theme of religious liberty because events in our country have made it an urgent concern. I can sum up my remarks tonight in five simple points.

First, religious freedom is a cornerstone of the American experience. This is so obvious that once upon a time, nobody needed to say it. But times have changed. So it’s worth recalling that Madison, Adams, Washington, Hamilton, Franklin, Jefferson – in fact, nearly all the American Founders – saw religious faith as vital to the life of a free people. Liberty and happiness grow organically out of virtue. And virtue needs a grounding in religious faith.

Gertrude Himmelfarb, the historian, put it this way: The Founders knew that in a republic “virtue is intimately related to religion. However skeptical or deistic they may have been in their own beliefs, however determined they were to avoid anything like an established Church, they had no doubt that religion is an essential part of the social order because it is a vital part of the moral order.”1

Here’s my second point: Freedom of religion is more than freedom of worship. The right to worship is a necessary but not sufficient part of religious liberty. Christian faith requires community. It begins in worship, but it also demands preaching, teaching and service. It’s always personal but never private. And it involves more than prayer at home and Mass on Sunday – although these things are vitally important. Real faith always bears fruit in public witness and public action. Otherwise it’s just empty words.

The Founders saw the value of publicly engaged religious faith because they experienced its influence themselves. They created a nation designed in advance to depend on the moral convictions of religious believers, and to welcome their active role in public life.

Here’s my third point: Threats against religious freedom in our country are not imaginary. They’re happening right now. They’re immediate, serious and real. Earlier this year religious liberty advocates won a big Supreme Court victory in the 9-0 Hosanna- Tabor v EEOC decision. That’s the good news. Here’s the bad news. What’s stunning in that case is the disregard for religious freedom shown by the government’s arguments against the Lutheran church and school. And Hosanna-Tabor is not an isolated case. It belongs to a pattern of government coercion that includes the current administration’s HHS mandate; interfering with the conscience rights of medical providers and private employers, as well as individual citizens; and attacks on the policies, hiring practices and tax statuses of religious charities and ministries.

Why is this hostility happening? A lot of it links to Catholic teaching on the dignity of life and human sexuality. Catholic moral convictions about abortion, contraception, the purpose of sexuality and the nature of marriage are rooted not just in revelation, but also in reason and natural law. Human beings have a nature that’s not just the product of accident or culture, but inherent, universal and rooted in permanent truths knowable to reason.

The problem, as Notre Dame law professor Gerry Bradley points out, is that critics of the Church reduce all these moral convictions to an expression of subjective religious beliefs. And if they’re purely religious beliefs, then – so the critics argue – they can’t be rationally defended. And because they’re rationally indefensible, they should be treated as a form of prejudice. In effect, 2,000 years of moral tradition and religious belief become a species of bias. Opposing same-sex “marriage” thus amounts to religiously blessed homophobia.2

There’s more though. When religious belief gets redefined downward to a kind of private bias, then the religious identity of institutional ministries has no public value — other than the utility of getting credulous people to do good things. So exempting Catholic adoption agencies, for example, from placing kids with gay couples becomes a concession to private prejudice. And concessions to private prejudice feed bigotry and hurt the public. Or so the reasoning goes. This is how moral teaching and religious belief end up getting hounded as hate speech.

Here’s my fourth point: Unless we work hard to keep our religious liberty, we’ll lose it. It’s already happening in other developed countries like Britain and Canada.3 The U.S. Constitution is a great document — historically unique for its fusion of high ideals with the realism of very practical checks and balances. But in the end, it’s just an elegant piece of paper. In practice, nothing guarantees our freedoms except our willingness to fight for them. That means fighting politically and through the courts, without tiring and without apologies. We need to realize that America’s founding documents assume an implicitly religious anthropology – an idea of human nature, nature’s God and natural rights that many of our leaders no longer really share. We ignore that unhappy fact at our own expense.

Here’s my fifth and final point: Politics and the courts are important. But our religious freedom ultimately depends on the vividness of our own Christian faith – in other words, how deeply we believe it, and how honestly we live it. Religious liberty is an empty shell if the spiritual core of a people is weak. Or to put it more bluntly, if people don’t believe in God, religious liberty isn’t a value. That’s the heart of the matter. It’s the reason Pope Benedict calls us to a Year of Faith this October. The worst enemies of religious freedom aren’t “out there” among the legion of critics who hate Christ or the Gospel or the Church, or all three. The worst enemies are in here, with us – all of us, clergy, religious and lay – when we live our faith with tepidness, routine and hypocrisy.

Religious liberty isn’t a privilege granted by the state. It’s our birthright as children of God. And even the worst bigotry can’t kill it in the face of a believing people. But if we value it and want to keep it, then we need to become people worthy of it. Which means we need to change the way we live – radically change, both as individual Catholics and as the Church. And that’s where I’d like to turn for the rest of these brief remarks.

A year ago I was serving happily in Denver, laughing at rumors I was getting moved anywhere. That turned out to be a mistake. Since then I’ve been asked many times how I like Philadelphia. The answer is pretty simple. I don’t “like” it. I love it – or rather, I love the people and clergy of Philadelphia because they’re easy to love. They’re now my family, an intimate part of my life. And I hope that each passing year will draw me deeper into the life of the community because Philadelphia is really more than just a great city. It’s the birthplace of our country and a jewel in our national legacy. It’s also an icon of the American Catholic experience. So it’s a joy and a blessing to serve there as bishop.

“Joy” may seem like an odd word to use, given events in Philadelphia over the past 16 months. Obviously the abuse tragedy has burdened the life of the local Church in a very painful way. Our laypeople are angry, and they should be. Their frustration shows in the pews. In Denver about 40 percent of registered Catholics attended Mass weekly. In Philadelphia, barely 18 percent do. The scandal has caused terrible suffering for victims, demoralized many of our clergy, crippled the witness of the Church and humiliated the whole Catholic community.

That’s the bad news — or at least some of it — and it’s not simply “bad,” but bitter and damaging for everyone involved, beginning with victims and their families, but rippling throughout the community. As a bishop, the only honest way I can talk about the abuse tragedy is to start by apologizing for the failure of the Church and her leaders — apologizing to victims, and apologizing to the Catholic community. And I do that again here, today.

There is also good news. Even now, after all the challenges of the past decade, the Church in Philadelphia plays a very large role in the life of the region, and in many quarters, she still draws — and still earns — great respect. I think the staff Cardinal Rigali assembled last year after the second grand jury report to reach out to victims and prevent abuse in the future is strong by any professional standard. And from what I’ve experienced over the past 10 months, the Church in Philadelphia today has a much deeper understanding of the gravity of sexual abuse and a sincere zeal for rooting it out of the life of the Church and helping anyone hurt in the past.

One reason the Church has survived at all in the current crisis is the extraordinary reservoir of good will and fidelity among the clergy and people of the diocese. Pennsylvania remains a largely faith-friendly environment. Our people have strong prolife and pro-family instincts, respect for religious ministries and a history of saints and excellent Catholic education. The habits of Catholic culture run very deep in the Philadelphia region. Our Catholic health and social services, and our Catholic school system, are among the largest and best in the United States. The Church contributes in a substantial way to the welfare of the general public, and most people on some level understand that.

But the abuse crisis, as grave as it is, masks other problems that also run very deep, and they belong to the same troubled Catholic culture. They began building decades ago. And while they may be especially sharp in Philadelphia, I’d wager that some version of these problems touches many of the dioceses across our country.

Here’s an example. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is currently owed about $60 million by our own parishes for insurance premiums, assessments and other expenses shared by the whole local Church. Much of this can’t be recovered because the parishes simply don’t have the money. More than two-thirds of our 267 parishes have operating deficits. About 100 are in some form of financial distress. More than 90 parishes minister to fewer than 400 families. And the archdiocese itself has struggled with frequent budget deficits for many years. We’ve reached a point where – if we did nothing to fix the problem – the gap between our projected expenses and our projected income in Fiscal 2013 would exceed $17 million.

That won’t happen. That will end. The Church is finally a family. No family can survive for long if it spends more than it takes in. In the first nine months of Fiscal 2012, the archdiocese spent more than $10 million on legal and other professional fees. But as crushing as that sounds – and it is – the real problems of the Church in Philadelphia are more subtle than money and more chronic than a habit of bad budgets. They’re not even financial. And they’re not at all unique to Philadelphia.

We need to look honestly at the arc of Catholic history in our country. The lessons may not be comforting. American Catholics began as an unwelcome minority. The Church built her credibility by defending and serving her people. She developed her influence with the resources her people entrusted to her. A vast amount of good was done in the process. We need to honor that. But two other things also happened. The Church in the United States became powerful and secure. And Catholics became less and less invested in the Church that their own parents and grandparents helped to build.

I think it’s fair, in part, to blame Church leaders for a spirit of complacency and inertia, clericalism, even arrogance, and for operating off a model of the Church – often for well- intentioned reasons — rooted in the past and out of touch with reality. But there’s plenty of blame to go around. Too many ordinary Catholics have been greedy to lose themselves in America’s culture of consumerism and success. Too many have been complicit in the dullness — the acedia — that has seeped into Church life, and the cynicism and resentment that naturally follow it.

These problems kill a Christian love of poverty and zeal. They choke off a real life of faith. They create the shadows that hide institutional and personal sins. And they encourage a paralysis that can burrow itself into every heart and every layer of the Church, right down to individual Catholics in the pews. The result is that Philadelphia, like so much of the Church in the rest of our country, is now really mission territory – again; for the second time.

My point is this. We live in a world of illusions when we lose sight of who Jesus Christ really is, and what he asks from each of us as disciples. One of novelist Ray Bradbury’s characters once said, “I wonder if God recognizes his own son the way we’ve dressed him up, or is it dressed him down? He’s a regular peppermint stick now, all sugar crystal and saccharine.”4 Father John Hugo, a friend and counselor to Dorothy Day, put it even more forcefully when he wrote of our “falsified picture of Jesus [with his] eyes perpetually raised to heaven, soft, even girlish in beauty, [the] very incarnation of impotence.”

The real Jesus, in Hugo’s words, “did not hesitate to condemn the rich, to warn the powerful, to denounce in vehement language the very leaders of the people. His love and goodness were chiefly for the poor, the simple, the needy. And his love for them was not a limp, indulgent love, like that of a silly, frivolous mother. To his friends he preached poverty of spirit, detachment, the carrying the cross. No more did the kindness of Jesus spare his followers, than the kindness of God the father spared his son. We are to drink of the same chalice that he drank of.”5

That’s our vocation. That’s the life of honesty, heroism and sacrifice God calls us to as a Church and as individual believers. And in our eagerness to escape it, to tame it, to reshape it in the mold of our own willful ideas, we’ve failed not only to convert our culture, but also to pass along the faith to many of our own children.

Emerging American adults – in other words, young people in the 18-23 age cohort – are not only skeptical of organized religion in general and Christianity in particular, but they often lack the vocabulary to engage in, or even identify, issues that require basic moral reasoning. As a group they have unusually high rates of intoxication, loneliness and sexual alienation. They also, contrary to popular belief, have very little interest in public affairs or political engagement, and a lopsided focus on materialistic consumption and financial security as the guiding stars of their lives.6

Of course, tens of thousands of exceptions to what I just said are walking around right now. We all know some of them. These are young adults of faith and strong moral character, determined to do something worthy with their lives. Just this week Our Sunday Visitor did a portrait of Catholic young adults who live the Gospel with reallywonderful passion and joy.7 Their lives will touch hundreds of other lives. And that should give us enormous hope. God never abandons his Church or his people.

But their good witness only brings us back to the conversion that you and I and the whole Church in the United States need to undergo.

Notre Dame scholar Christian Smith and his colleagues, whose research on emerging adults is so compelling, wrote that “most of the problems in the lives of youth have their origin in the larger adult world into which youth are being socialized . . . [One] way or the other, adults and the adult world are almost always complicit in the troubles, suffering and misguided living of youth, if not the direct source of them. The more adults can recognize and admit that fact, [the] sooner we will be able to address some of young people’s problems more constructively.”8

I suppose that’s obvious. But if it’s really so obvious, then who let it happen? And what are we going to do about it?

We’re becoming a nation where, as Ross Douthat describes it, “a growing number [of us] are inventing [our] own versions of what Christianity means, abandoning the nuances of traditional theology in favor of religions that stroke [our] egos and indulge, or even celebrate, [our] own worst impulses.”9 And it’s happening at a time when the Church is compromised by her own leaders and people from within, and pushed to the margins or attacked by critics without.

Tomorrow we start the Fortnight for Freedom. It’s a moment for each of us to be grateful to our bishops for doing the right thing – the important and urgent thing – at the right time. If we don’t press now and vigorously for our religious liberty in the public arena, we will lose it. Not overnight and not with a thunderclap, but step by step, inexorably. And each of you as a Catholic media professional plays a key role, a really vital role, in that effort because our prestige news media, with very few exceptions, simply will not cover this issue in a fair and comprehensive way.10

But we also need to remember with Pope Benedict that resistance is “part of the task of the Church,”11 and with Henri de Lubac that it’s “not our mission to make truth triumph, but to testify for it.”12

Scripture says, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things shall be yours as well” (Mt 6:33). We work best for religious freedom by first opening our hearts to God’s will instead of our own; and loving our country and our Church; and renewing the witness of the Church with the zeal and purity and obedience of our own lives. That freedom, that joy, no one can ever take from us.

From the cross at San Damiano, Jesus said to Francis: Repair my house, which is falling into ruin. Those same words fill this room tonight. How we respond is up to us.

© +Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. Indianapolis, 6.20.12

1 Gertrude Himmelfarb, One Nation, Two Cultures, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1999, p. 85

2 Gerard V. Bradley, “What’s Behind the HHS Mandate?”, The Public Discourse (www.thepublicdiscourse.com), June 5, 2012
3 Ibid.
4 Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1951, 1995, p. 77
5 David Scott and Mike Aquila, editors, Weapons of the Spirit: Living a Holy Life in Unholy Times; Selected Writings of Father John Hugo, Our Sunday Visitor, Huntington, IN, 1997, p. 108-109
6 Christian Smith, et al, Lost in Transition: The Dark Side of Emerging Adulthood, Oxford University Press, New York, 2011
7 Emily Stimpson, “The Next Generation,” OSV Newsweekly, June 17, 2012, p. 9-12
8 Smith, p. 11
9 Ross Douthat, Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics, Free Press, New York, 2012, p. 4
10 The website http://www.getreligion.org has done several analyses of the lopsided mainstream news coverage of the HHS mandate and related religious liberty disputes. See for example Mollie Hemingway, “Grading coverage of religious liberty,” May 4, 2012, and “Plotting about ‘religious liberty’,” May 30, 2012, among others
11 Joseph Ratzinger, God and the World: A Conversation with Peter Seewald, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 2002, p. 357
12 Henri de Lubac, S.J., Paradoxes of Faith, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1987, p.72


Living within the Truth – Part I

In 03 Archbishop Charles Chaput on 2011/09/02 at 1:11 AM

With permission, I am reprinting the address given in Slovakia by Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, Colorado because it is so very relevant to us today. I am dividing the “Living Within the Truth: Religious Liberty and Catholic Mission in the New Order of the World,” into three parts where it can be separated logical because of the length of the article.

Tertullian once famously said that the blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church. History has proven that to be true. And Slovakia is the perfect place for us to revisit his words today. Here, and throughout Central and Eastern Europe, Catholics suffered through 50 years of Nazi and Soviet murder regimes. So they know the real cost of Christian witness from bitter experience,…  and also, unfortunately, the cost of cowardice, collaboration and self-delusion in the face of evil.

I want to begin by suggesting that many Catholics in the United States and Western Europe today simply don’t understand those costs. Nor do they seem to care. As a result, many are indifferent to the process in our countries that social scientists like to call “secularization” — but which, in practice, involves repudiating the Christian roots and soul of our civilization.

American Catholics have no experience of the systematic repression so familiar to your Churches. It’s true that anti-Catholic prejudice has always played a role in American life. This bigotry came first from my country’s dominant Protestant culture, and now from its “post-Christian” leadership classes. But this is quite different from deliberate persecution. In general, Catholics have thrived in the United States. The reason is simple. America has always had a broadly Christian and religion-friendly moral foundation, and our public institutions were established as non-sectarian, not anti-religious.

At the heart of the American experience is an instinctive “biblical realism.” From our Protestant inheritance we have always — at least until now — understood two things at a deep level. First, sin is real, and men and women can be corrupted by power and prosperity. Second, the “city of God” is something very distinct from the “city of man.” And we are wary of ever confusing the two.

Alexis de Tocqueville, in his Democracy in America, wrote: “Despotism can do without faith, but liberty cannot … ” Therefore, “What is to be done with a people that is its own master, if it is not obedient to God?”

America’s founders were a diverse group of practicing Christians and Enlightenment deists. But nearly all were friendly to religious faith. They believed a free people cannot remain free without religious faith and the virtues that it fosters. They sought to keep Church and state separate and autonomous. But their motives were very different from the revolutionary agenda in Europe. The American founders did not confuse the state with civil society. They had no desire for a radically secularized public life. They had no intent to lock religion away from public affairs. On the contrary, they wanted to guarantee citizens the freedom to live their faith publicly and vigorously, and to bring their religious convictions to bear on the building of a just society.

Obviously, we need to remember that other big differences do exist between the American and European experiences. Europe has suffered some of the worst wars and violent regimes in human history. The United States has not seen a war on its soil in 150 years. Americans have no experience of bombed-out cities or social collapse, and little experience of poverty, ideological politics or hunger. As a result, the past has left many Europeans with a worldliness and a pessimism that seem very different from the optimism that marks American society. But these differences don’t change the fact that our paths into the future are now converging. Today, in an era of global interconnection, the challenges that confront Catholics in America are much the same as in Europe: We face an aggressively secular political vision and a consumerist economic model that result — in practice, if not in explicit intent — in a new kind of state-encouraged atheism.

To put it another way: The Enlightenment-derived worldview that gave rise to the great murder ideologies of the last century remains very much alive. Its language is softer, its intentions seem kinder, and its face is friendlier. But its underlying impulse hasn’t changed — i.e., the dream of building a society apart from God; a world where men and women might live wholly sufficient unto themselves, satisfying their needs and desires through their own ingenuity.

This vision presumes a frankly “post-Christian” world ruled by rationality, technology and good social engineering. Religion has a place in this worldview, but only as an individual lifestyle accessory. People are free to worship and believe whatever they want, so long as they keep their beliefs to themselves and do not presume to intrude their religious idiosyncrasies on the workings of government, the economy, or culture.

Now, at first hearing, this might sound like a reasonable way to organize a modern society that includes a wide range of ethnic, religious and cultural traditions, different philosophies of life and approaches to living.

But we’re immediately struck by two unpleasant details.

First, “freedom of worship” is not at all the same thing as “freedom of religion.” Religious freedom includes the right to preach, teach, assemble, organize, and to engage society and its issues publicly, both as individuals and joined together as communities of faith. This is the classic understanding of a citizen’s right to the “free exercise” of his or her religion in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It’s also clearly implied in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In contrast, freedom of worship is a much smaller and more restrictive idea.

Second, how does the rhetoric of enlightened, secular tolerance square with the actual experience of faithful Catholics in Europe and North America in recent years?

In the United States, a nation that is still 80 percent Christian with a high degree of religious practice, government agencies now increasingly seek to dictate how Church ministries should operate, and to force them into practices that would destroy their Catholic identity. Efforts have been made to discourage or criminalize the expression of certain Catholic beliefs as “hate speech.” Our courts and legislatures now routinely take actions that undermine marriage and family life, and seek to scrub our public life of Christian symbolism and signs of influence.

In Europe, we see similar trends, although marked by a more open contempt for Christianity. Church leaders have been reviled in the media and even in the courts for simply expressing Catholic teaching. Some years ago, as many of you may recall, one of the leading Catholic politicians of our generation, Rocco Buttiglione, was denied a leadership post in the European Union because of his Catholic beliefs.

Earlier this summer we witnessed the kind of vindictive thuggery not seen on this continent since the days of Nazi and Soviet police methods: the Archbishop’s palace in Brussels raided by agents; bishops detained and interrogated for nine hours without due process; their private computers, cell phones, and files seized. Even the graves of the Church’s dead were violated in the raid. For most Americans, this sort of calculated, public humiliation of religious leaders would be an outrage and an abuse of state power. And this is not because of the virtues or the sins of the specific religious leaders involved, since we all have a duty to obey just laws. Rather, it’s an outrage because the civil authority, by its harshness, shows contempt for the beliefs and the believers whom the leaders represent.

My point is this: These are not the actions of governments that see the Catholic Church as a valued partner in their plans for the 21st century. Quite the opposite. These events suggest an emerging, systematic discrimination against the Church that now seems inevitable.

Today’s secularizers have learned from the past. They are more adroit in their bigotry; more elegant in their public relations; more intelligent in their work to exclude the Church and individual believers from influencing the moral life of society. Over the next several decades, Christianity will become a faith that can speak in the public square less and less freely. A society where faith is prevented from vigorous public expression is a society that has fashioned the state into an idol. And when the state becomes an idol, men and women become the sacrificial offering.

Cardinal Henri de Lubac once wrote that “It is not true … that man cannot organize the world without God. What is true, is that without God, [man] can ultimately only organize it against man. Exclusive humanism is inhuman humanism.”

The West is now steadily moving in the direction of that new “inhuman humanism.” And if the Church is to respond faithfully, we need to draw upon the lessons that your Churches learned under totalitarianism.

A Catholicism of resistance must be based on trust in Christ’s words: “The truth will make you free.” This trust gave you insight into the nature of totalitarian regimes. It helped you articulate new ways of discipleship. Rereading the words of the Czech leader Václav Havel to prepare for this talk, I was struck by the profound Christian humanism of his idea of “living within the truth.” Catholics today need to see their discipleship and mission as precisely that: “living within the truth.”

Living within the truth means living according to Jesus Christ and God’s Word in Sacred Scripture. It means proclaiming the truth of the Christian Gospel, not only by our words but by our example. It means living every day and every moment from the unshakeable conviction that God lives, and that his love is the motive force of human history and the engine of every authentic human life. It means believing that the truths of the Creed are worth suffering and dying for.

Living within the truth also means telling the truth and calling things by their right names. And that means exposing the lies by which some men try to force others to live.

Two of the biggest lies in the world today are these: first, that Christianity was of relatively minor importance in the development of the West; and second, that Western values and institutions can be sustained without a grounding in Christian moral principles.