http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/images/size340/Archbishop_Charles_Chaput_and_the_World_Meeting_of_Families_catechesis_book_in_Rome_on_Sept_15_2014_Credit_Joaquin_Peiro_Perez_CNA_CNA_9_15_14.jpgPhiladelphia, Pa., Nov 28, 2014 / 04:26 am (CNA/Vatican Insider).- “It isn’t possible to be pro-life and simultaneously forget the cries of the poor.” Francis has confirmed his attendance at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia next September. The Archbishop of the great US metropolis, Archbishop Charles Chaput, talks to Vatican Insider about the meaning of this visit and about how Francis’ message has been received in the US.
Pope Francis has now confirmed his participation at the meeting in Philadelphia scheduled for next September. What do you think will be the focus of this papal visit?
“The Holy Father combines two great qualities with unusual skill. He has compassion for people alienated from the Church, and he has courage in speaking the truth with love. He condemns no one. He genuinely shares in the sufferings of persons wounded by the hardships of life. This makes his voice deeply appealing. At the same time, he’s also spoken frequently in support of what Paul VI called the "natural family.” He showed his support again just last week in Rome with his words at the Humanum conference on the complementarity of men and women. A strong natural family is the greatest source of nourishment for healthy human development and the greatest antidote to poverty and loneliness. So I’m sure the Pope will bring that same, simultaneous message of mercy and truth about the family to Philadelphia next year.
Some people waste a great deal of time, and create a great deal of confusion, by trying to interpret what the Holy Father “really” means by his actions. He doesn’t need narrators. Pope Francis is a man thoroughly grounded in Catholic faith and teaching. We need to let him do in his own way what God calls him to do: pastor the Church.”
How is it possible to announce today, in a secularized society, the Gospel of the family? And how is it possible to respond to the needs and suffering of families broken by a separation or a divorce?
“Nothing is stronger than personal witness. If we live our faith as Christian families with generosity and joy, it will naturally attract others. If we don’t, no amount of beautiful words or harsh judgments will substitute for that witness. Today’s crisis of the family, and all the problems that go with it, shouldn’t surprise anyone. In large measure, we created the tragedy ourselves by a combination of poor catechesis of engaged and married couples and by our own poor example of married and family life. The Church needs to do a much better job of evangelizing men and women called to marriage and helping them live out their vocation joyfully. Where divorce does occur, we need to help divorced persons continue on the Christian path, reminding them that God’s love for them endures even in the face of loneliness or abandonment. And we especially need to support the children of divorce, who often end up literally on the margins, caught between the respective lives of their separated parents.”
One and a half years into Francis’ pontificate, what - in your opinion – has been the most important message the new Pope has tried to get across?
“I think he sees the mission of the Church through the eyes of the global South. That’s where the vast majority of Catholics live. So he has different experiences from the Catholic world in the North and a different perspective in weighing the needs of the Church. Also he’s clearly a very intelligent man, but he radiates a mixture of simplicity and joy that people find new and very magnetic.”
Why does it seem so difficult, for certain Catholic groups in the United States, to syntonize themselves with the message of the Pope?