A strong Archbishop speaks!


#1

Here is the lastest column from Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, reprinted from the Catholic Philly:

“Thomas More is more important at this moment than at any moment since his death, even perhaps the great moment of his dying; but he is not quite so important as he will be in about a hundred years’ time. He may come to be counted the greatest Englishman, or at least the greatest historical character in English history. For he was above all things historic; he represented at once a type, a turning point and an ultimate destiny. If there had not happened to be that particular man at the particular moment, the whole of history would have been different.” — G. K. Chesterton, 1929

Catholics celebrate the feast of St. Thomas More, the great English statesman and martyr, on June 22. But the actual date of his execution was 480 years ago today, July 6, in 1535. Henry VIII had him beheaded two weeks after the judicial murder of his friend and bishop of Rochester, St. John Fisher. Both men died for refusing to accept the king’s debasement of marriage in divorcing his wife, Catherine of Aragon, and adulterously “marrying” Anne Boleyn — who later followed them both to the execution block.

The difference in their deaths, of course, is telling. More and Fisher died for principle and kept their integrity. Boleyn was simply disposed of.

It’s easy to sentimentalize More’s life. Robert Bolt’s great play, A Man for All Seasons — later a wonderful film — captures much of the saint’s humanity, intellect and warmth. But he was also a tough public official in a bitterly conflicted time alien to the modern temperament. More did not die, as Bolt suggests, for the sovereignty of personal conscience. That idea would have been foreign to him.

Rather, More died for the sovereignty of Christian truth as taught by the Catholic Church, which he saw as accessible to all persons and obligating all consciences. In that, he very much remains a saint for our times.

Others have already done a good job of deconstructing the Supreme Court’s June 26 Obergefell v. Hodges decision forcing “gay marriage” onto the nation. Legally incoherent and impressive in its abuse of judicial power, it will have huge implications for the way Americans live their lives.
Anyone who wonders what “marriage equality” really means need only watch the fallout in our laws, courts and public policies over the next decade. Persons innocent enough to imagine that the Church might be allowed to continue her social mission without growing government interference will have an unhappy encounter with reality.

Christians have a privileged calling to respect the God-given dignity of all persons, including those with same-sex attraction. That’s fundamental to Christian love and justice. We are accountable to God for the way we treat others. But Christians also have a duty to think clearly, and to live, teach and work for the truth about the nature of human sexuality, the purpose of marriage and the integrity of the family. No court ruling can change that. And the last thing we need from religious — including Catholic — leaders in the face of this profoundly flawed Supreme Court decision is weakness or ambiguity.

Half a century ago, during the Second Vatican Council, Pope John XXIII – now St. John XXIII — wrote a powerful text on the nature of peace. In his 1963 encyclical Pacem in Terris (“Peace on Earth”), he stressed that “peace on earth — which man throughout the ages has so longed for and sought after — can never be established, never guaranteed, except by the diligent observance of the divinely established order” (PT, 1; emphasis added).

We need to consider his words carefully. No political power can change the nature of marriage or rework the meaning of family. No lobbying campaign, no president, no lawmakers and no judges can redraw the blueprint laid down by God for the well-being of the children he loves. If men and women want peace, there’s only one way to have it — by seeking and living the truth. And the truth, as Pope John told us more than five decades ago, is this:

“The family, founded upon marriage freely contracted, one and indissoluble, must be regarded as the natural, primary cell of human society. The interests of the family, therefore, must be taken very specially into consideration in social and economic affairs, as well as in the spheres of faith and morals. For all of these have to do with strengthening the family and assisting it in the fulfillment of its mission” (PT, 16).

We cannot care for the family by trying to redefine its meaning. We cannot provide for the family by undercutting the privileged place in our culture of a woman and a man made one flesh in marriage. Nations that ignore these truths — no matter what their intentions — are laying the cornerstone of war and suffering. And this is not what God seeks for anyone. It’s a good day, this July 6, to remember Thomas More and his witness. In the years ahead, may God give us a portion of his integrity, courage and perseverance. We’ll need it.

Well said, Archbishop Chaput!!! If we are to witness to our faith we need integrity, courage and perseverance from God. We need to hear His Truth, love His Truth, and live His Truth!


#2

Very wise words indeed from the Archbishop! :thumbsup:

May God bless you and this country abundantly and lead us back to Catholic morality! :slight_smile:


#3

Dear Richard,

Always good to hear from you! Thanks for your reply and your blessing for me and for our country. God knows how very much we need all the help we can get! Please let us continue to pray for one another, for the Church and for the world to whom we are sent by Jesus.

Archbishop Chaput is a blessing, especially for those who hear very few strong words or hear nothing at all from their own bishops on the very grave moral issues of our day. We all need to pray fervently for the integrity, courage and perseverance we need to bring the Light of Christ into the dark places of this world!


#4

Amen to the Archbishop. Truths well said. I pray there will be more outspoken leaders. Humanity is at a tipping point. Although the Church will survive (as it has through the centuries), we may be entering an era of religious suppression.

First the state, and its leaders over-reach their authority. They claim the state is the supreme decision maker.

Your comment: “Persons innocent enough to imagine that the Church might be allowed to continue her social mission without growing government interference will have an unhappy encounter with reality”…

Although understated, that is an excellent point. Little by little, our religious freedoms and the influence of the Church are taken away. One of the reasons modern governments will succeed in their efforts to suppress the Church and religious expression is that people are losing their religion. The Church is viewed as weak, or irrelevant.

So once again there will come a time when Catholics are forced, for their own safety, to practice their faith and pray quietly in small groups. For to do so in an outspoken and public way will endanger them - and their families. It doesn’t take much for the public at large to ignore or turn against religious value systems.

Don’t think it can’t / won’t ever happen. That would be incredibly naive. It has occurred many times in history. And history repeats itself. There is something inherently flawed in the human race that seeks control and authority above everyone in the name of the great secular state, under the guise of promoting ‘the common good.’ But it doesn’t work.

The weakening of society has already occurred over the course of the past 40 years. Within 2 generations the fabric of this once great nation will have unraveled. And it will be occurring from within. All great civilizations fall apart from within. The moral decay is already here. Coupled with technological advances that result in a shrinking work force, the ranks of idle minds and souls not participating in productive society is growing dramatically. The progress America made since WWII is eroding, unfortunately. America may actually be in crisis within a few years. There simply isn’t any real leadership these days.


#5

Dear mh,

Thanks so much for your reply. Personally I believe the Church and America are both in crisis right now. The world itself grows darker because the people in the Catholic Church and in America have let their light grow dim. Please let us continue to pray for the spiritual renewal of the Church worldwide and for the renewal of Godly people in the USA.


#6

"We need to consider his words carefully. No political power can change the nature of marriage or rework the meaning of family. No lobbying campaign, no president, no lawmakers and no judges can redraw the blueprint laid down by God for the well-being of the children he loves…

Nations that ignore these truths — no matter what their intentions — are laying the cornerstone of war and suffering. And this is not what God seeks for anyone. It’s a good day, this July 6, to remember Thomas More and his witness. In the years ahead, may God give us a portion of his integrity, courage and perseverance. We’ll need it."

Truth. We would all do well to emulate St. Thomas More. I learned of him through his son-in-law’s book, The Life of Sir Thomas More (by William Roper).


#7

Dear Casilda,

Thanks for your reply. The lives of the saints help us to seek God’s Grace and follow their example as they followed Christ. St. Thomas More is a good example for lawyers and politicians especially since he knew the pressures the world can put on human persons. By the power of the Holy Spirit, St. Thomas More chose God and willingly laid down his life in this world, rather than choose evil and live without God in the next.

May God give all our priests and people His Grace to choose good over evil, no matter the cost. God’s Absolute Truth remains true no matter what anyone says or does to the contrary. Let us remain in Him, by His Grace, steadfast to the end. Please let us continue to pray for one another, for the Church and for all to whom the Church is sent.

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful. Mary, Mother of all, pray for us. Jesus, we trust in You!


#8

You are most sincerely welcome. Indeed, the light has been growing dimmer. The erosion was slow, but steady. There was a time when politicians wouldn’t dare to mettle in the affairs of the Church, or religious institutions.

I pray for the spiritual renewal that you suggest. It will take a significant social shift for people to value religion as they did some 50 - 100 years ago. We don’t know what will trigger the renewal, but sooner or later something is bound to happen.

Meanwhile, we pray. I hope and pray St. Michael the Archangel will help us, and protect the Church.


#9

Dear mh,

The Church is always in need of “renewal”. Our human nature is wounded by the original sin of Adam and Eve, and while Baptism cleanses us of all sin, we are still left with the “propensity” to sin (often referred to as “concupiscence”). The remedy, it seems to me, is the ongoing renewal of all the members of the Body of Christ – those who willingly cooperate with His Grace and seek the holiness to which we are all called.

You may be interested in reading some things my husband wrote on our website. See HERE. Let me quote just a bit from the Introduction:

…A spirituality of renewal begins with personal consecration to Christ: intentional self-offering to Him in love. It is consecration to a life for Him, and for others because of Him. It is a spirituality of the ordinary life, for ordinary men and women. It is for ordinary persons, yet ones who by holy grace yearn to do great things for God. It is a spirituality of prayer and works offered in love and in reparation. It is an ordinary yet extraordinary life in Christ that may be joyfully hidden, unrecognized and unacknowledged. It is a life of quiet labor in Him, loving in faith and in hope for His Promise.
Renewal of the Church - the Holy Church sent as Sacrament to the world - begins with the renewal of persons, one person at a time…


#10

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