Archbishop Charles Chaput: Synod document ‘engenders a subtle hopelessness’

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A series of recent developments are renewing questions about the Catholic bishops' alignment with the Republican Party, with much of the attention focusing on comments by Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, who said he “certainly can’t vote for somebody who’s either pro-choice or pro-abortion.” Photo courtesy the Archdiocese of Philadelphia

A series of recent developments are renewing questions about the Catholic bishops' alignment with the Republican Party, with much of the attention focusing on comments by Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, who said he “certainly can’t vote for somebody who’s either pro-choice or pro-abortion.” Photo courtesy the Archdiocese of Philadelphia

A series of recent developments are renewing questions about the Catholic bishops' alignment with the Republican Party, with much of the attention focusing on comments by Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, who said he “certainly can’t vote for somebody who’s either pro-choice or pro-abortion.” Photo courtesy the Archdiocese of Philadelphia

A series of recent developments are renewing questions about the Catholic bishops’ alignment with the Republican Party, with much of the attention focusing on comments by Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, who said he “certainly can’t vote for somebody who’s either pro-choice or pro-abortion.” Photo courtesy the Archdiocese of Philadelphia

(RNS) Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput is one of eight American prelates — out of 270 bishops from around the world — at this month’s high-stakes Vatican summit on family issues, known as a synod.

He is also often associated with the “culture warrior” wing of the U.S. hierarchy, and seen as someone who may not see eye to eye with Francis on the church’s approach to the world.

Here is the text today (Oct. 7) of Chaput’s speech to the pontiff and the synod so readers can judge his take for themselves, and where it stands in the context of what Francis and other bishops have said:

“Brothers,

“The Instrumentum (the synod’s working document that is the basis of discussions) seemed to present us with two conflicting views: pastoral despair or a decision to hope. When Jesus experienced the pastoral despair of his Apostles, he reminded them that for man a thing may seem impossible, but for God all things are possible.

“In mastering nature for the purpose of human development, we human beings have wounded our oceans and the air we breathe. We’ve poisoned the human body with contraceptives. And we’ve scrambled the understanding of our own sexuality. In the name of individual fulfillment, we’ve busied ourselves with creating a new Babel of tyranny that feeds our desires but starves the soul.

“Paragraphs 7-10 of the Instrumentum did a good job of describing the condition of today’s families. But overall, the text engenders a subtle hopelessness. This leads to a spirit of compromise with certain sinful patterns of life and the reduction of Christian truths about marriage and sexuality to a set of beautiful ideals — which then leads to surrendering the redemptive mission of the Church. The work of this synod needs to show much more confidence in the Word of God, the transformative power of grace, and the ability of people to actually live what the Church believes. And it should honor the heroism of abandoned spouses who remain faithful to their vows and the teaching of the Church.

“George Bernanos said that the virtue of hope is “despair, overcome.” We have no reason to despair. We have every reason to hope. Pope Francis saw this himself in Philadelphia. Nearly 900,000 people crowded the streets for the papal Mass that closed the World Meeting of Families.

“They were there because they love the Pope, but also because they believe in marriage. They believe in the family. And they were hungry to be fed by real food from the Vicar of Jesus Christ. We need to call people to perseverance in grace and to trust in the greatness God intended for them — not confirm them in their errors. Marriage embodies Christian hope – hope made flesh and sealed permanently in the love of a man and a woman.

“This synod needs to preach that truth more clearly with the radical passion of the Cross and Resurrection.”

END GIBSON

  • Ben in oakland

    Here’s what I think he is bleating.

    Blah! blah! the gays are gonna get ya.

    Blah! bLah! the church is losing its dominion.

    Blah! bLah! Science and basic human decency are further eroding the ability of the church to control people’s loves and loves.

    bLah! bLah! I have sexual issues, and if I can’t control my issues in YOU how can I control them in myself?

    Any talk about how a host of factors, including, but not limited to, economics, substance abuse, environment degradation are impacting families? a brief nod to the last, but that’s it. Just more talk about sex and how they don’t approve of the way some people have it.

    The church is obsessed about sex, to the exclusion of all else. Everything becomes a sexual problem. If I had more than 1000 characters, I would explain how this obsession with sex has corrupted the church, whether it’s kiddie raping priests blaming the victims or rejection of church theology regarding gay people.

  • If the Catholic Church’s consistent teachings of 20 centuries are not scientific then why is it that when the teachings are not followed we have widespread diseases, including AIDS, as well as widespread family breakups with suicide rising among teenagers who have had sex and broke up? Furthermore, premature births, unwanted sterility, cervical cancer and breast cancer are all influenced/affected by traditionally frowned upon sexual behaviors! Tell me how treating a person more and more merely as a means of pleasure liberates and fulfills anyone, particularly women.

  • Jim Webster

    Only an aging celebate, hopelessly out of touch with the realities of married life, could have uttered the phrase, “We’ve poisoned the human body with contraceptives.”

  • Pat in Virginia

    Married 51 years and hoping for at least 25 more! My diary is 450 pages long of joy, sadness, many of the things mentioned by Ben in Oakland but more than he could ever imagine. When I teach Catechism to high school students, I tell them if I had seen a video of how it would all be but not see the end, I would probably run away. But not knowing and remembering what our good nuns taught us in 12 years of Catholic school; to pray constantly,have faith that God is in His heaven and knows everything, we trusted God & our love and saw the gifts we had about us. Wouldn’t change a thing!! Around 400 of our classmates never divorced and many have lived long enough to celebrate 50 or more years. It takes lots of courage and that mainly comes from knowledge of the truths contained in the Catholic Catechism, Bible & Tradition!! That is what those in our day studied and knew by memorization so when we needed the truth we already had it. KNOW GOD, LOVE GOD, SERVE GOD AND BE HAPPY TOGETHER IN…

  • Ben in oakland

    Look up non sequitur in the dictionary and get back to me.

  • Ben in oakland

    Good for you, pat. And I mean that sincerely.

    I have had a great life of 65 years so far, 13 with my husband. I didn’t have that by believing in God or learning the catechism.

  • Seth

    Average life expectancy premodern period was 30. Infant mortality 50% or more. You have no idea what the word science really means.

  • Albert de Zutter

    I sincerely hope that it is not the Church that is obsessed with sex, but a certain rump section of the Church that refused to accept Pope John XXIII and his Second Vatican Council, and now refuses to accept a Pope who wants to continue the good Pope John’s attempt to bring the Church to greater relevance with regard to the real problems of people and nations. With regard to Archbishop Chaput, his statement was no more than the clanging of a cracked cymbal.

  • Margaret O

    You got married old, hey!?

  • Margaret O

    Beautiful clarity from Archbishop Chaput! Thank you David!

  • Steve

    Ben,
    I know how confusing this may be for you but let me simplify for you. It is the call to sainthood that each of us struggle with and to where the Church must guide us. Chaput is absolutely spot on!
    John xxIII CALLED the world to this totality and clarity especially in a modern world. We are called to Sainthood and not the willing slavery to sin.

  • Doc Anthony

    Archbishop Chaput pointed out :

    “But overall, the text engenders a subtle hopelessness. This leads to a spirit of compromise with certain sinful patterns of life and the reduction of Christian truths about marriage and sexuality to a set of beautiful ideals — which then leads to surrendering the redemptive mission of the Church.
    The work of this synod needs to show much more confidence in the Word of God, the transformative power of grace, and the ability of people to actually live what the Church believes.”

    FINALLY. SOMEBODY GETS IT !!

  • Doc Anthony

    But is it a marriage?

    Is that what the Pope said? Is that what the Bible said?

  • Shawnie5

    Yes. Essentially, he’s warning against “dumbing-down” our ethical standards in the face of widespread immorality the same way that we’ve seen academic standards dumbed-down in the face of widespread failure. Compromising truth does no one any favors.

  • Bernardo

    Since there was no resurrection, his entire speech is moot. Next topic.

  • Dominic

    No resurrection? Proof leans towards its reality, you have proof from where?

  • Jac

    He has no idea why 900,000 people came to the papal mass. They certainly did not all come for the reasons he stated, not even the majority.

  • Ben in oakland

    So, when YOU have achieved sainthood, then you will have the time to tell me what I must do to achieve it.

    Or is that just too motesy, beamsy, and Jesusy for you?

  • Ben in oakland

    No doc. It’s what the laws in my state and the Supreme Court said. And that is all that matters to me.

    What your particular and peculiar version of God whispers in The night to you is entirely your affair.

  • Tom

    Who’s obsessed about sex here? The bishop referred to it 2x and you 5x, 7x if you include the 2x gay ref..

  • Makemeaspark

    No, sir, the Church is not obsessed with sex, our culture is, and it is killing us. It is killing us with cancer, mental health issues and even worse. Cancer is caused by putting substances that were never meant for certain part of our body in there. Cancer is additionally caused by the extra stress of living perverted and oversexed lifestyles. A cancer of hearts is spreading despair and depression in overwhelming numbers. Everywhere I look people are either diagnosed with depression and even more serious mental health problems. STD’s are so prevalent they have caused an infertility crisis.

    Our self esteems are ruined by our lack of chastity. Human beings were never meant for casual sex. They were meant for lovemaking within the safe environment of a healthy, till death-do-us-part marriage. Where it is safe to be free with each other. (and no I should not have to define marriage, it was defined by God in Genesis chapter two).

  • Makemeaspark

    Exactly, thank you!

  • Makemeaspark

    Seriously? Have you not read about the causes of breast cancer? As a crisis pregnancy counselor I also, discovered some little known consequences of the Depo Provera Shot. It renders many users sterile for life AND can wreck a mom’s ability to breastfeed. I had to search a long time to find the info that this si not uncommon, especially the last part. but if you can get past the drug companies propaganda, this is a terrible thing. Natural Family Planning Methods DO work if you MUST have sex outside of marriage.

  • Esther

    As a non celibate married woman than I’ll say it “we have poisoned our bodies with contraceptives”.

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