Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Archbishop Chaput urges confidence in the Gospel, as he goes to Philly

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, who will soon leave the Archdiocese of Denver to become the new Archbishop of Philadelphia, says his new archdiocese could emerge stronger from recent troubles, by embracing the chance to live the Gospel “without compromise.”

“The Church in Philadelphia is at an important point in her life. It’s not a time to be embarrassed about what we believe,” Archbishop Chaput told EWTN News in an exclusive interview. “In fact, it becomes even more crucial to preach the Gospel – both within the Church and outside the Church.”

“The biggest challenge, not just in Philadelphia but everywhere, is to preach the Gospel in a way that captures the imagination of God's people,” he said. “We need to have confidence in the Gospel. We have to live it faithfully, and to live it without compromise and with great joy.”

Archbishop Chaput said he could give “half a dozen reasons” why he considered himself an “implausible choice” to head the Church in Philadelphia. “But I do believe in the Holy Father’s wisdom, so I accept that the See of Philadelphia is where God wants me to be.”

“My life as a priest – first as a Capuchin Franciscan and now as a bishop – is shaped by a commitment to obedience; obedience to God as Father. The voice of the Pope is the voice of the Father for me.”

“I’m going to miss the Archdiocese of Denver very, very much,” Archbishop Chaput said. “They really are my family, and a part of my heart will always be in Denver.”

In Philadelphia, he will confront a challenging new situation. In March 2011, following a grand jury report, Cardinal Justin Rigali announced he was suspending 21 priests over allegations of misconduct he had originally judged not credible.

“We have to deal with scandal in an honest, thorough, confident way,” Archbishop Chaput stated. “We can do that, even when it’s very painful, because we know that Christ rose from the dead.”

He noted that the message of the resurrection is not a set of “powdered words,” but a “statement of fact” that should inform the Church's response to any challenge. In this light, “what happens in the Church, even when it seems death-dealing, can be turned into a moment of resurrection.”

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