Archbishop ChaputArchbishop Chaput doubles down on rigorism. From David Gibson’s RNS report:

“I was very disturbed by what happened” at the synod, Chaput said. “I think confusion is of the devil, and I think the public image that came across was one of confusion.”

Is he concerned about the openness? That wasn’t the chant he was singing when he high-tailed it to Philly a few years ago:

I think people who know me, my priests and others, would say that I’m a rather kind and gentle person, but I also am not going to run away from issues. I’m not going to hide. We have to deal with difficult things right away, rather than letting them fester.

Responding to the question, “Your view is that dealing with things up front is ultimately less divisive?” he replied:

It’s less divisive, both for our own personal hearts and our relationships with people.

Still, the archbishop may be on to something with that citation of evil. Where I see the most confusion is on the conservative blogs. Even the tame language of welcome to sinners, without a hint of a change in doctrine, was vilified.

Archbishop Chaput has been critical of conservatives before:

Some of the worst emails I get are from Catholic conservatives …  I mean, just awful kind of stuff that they write. Sometimes, I must admit, that when I write back, I’m not as friendly as I should be. But I try not to be mean.

The left mail I get will use terrible words but be less vitriolic. They use the F-word and things like that, call me names like that. But the right is meaner, but they’re not as foul.

I think that the archbishop is well-placed to minister to the conservatives. He has stated that Pope Francis is their pastor, too. Well, the top prelate of Pennsylvania may well be a lot closer, especially to the meanies with whom he corresponds.

Let’s chant a bit about people who cite the devil too readily. I’m a skeptic there. Regarding the current state of confusion in Catholicism, I interpret that as self-inflicted. And if it is, the devil may well be amongst those who are most proud for having resisted evil advances. I remember in the Exercises that St Ignatius described the way long-time believers are tempted. The route is through good things. In this instance, good morals, virtue, and reverence for marriage are used to harden hearts and create little monsters who cannot abide any sinner might approach Christ and experience a mercy they are unwilling to offer. Is it meanness? Or is it envy?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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13 Responses to Confusion?

    • Todd says:

      Ed Peters is a smart guy, and an earnest believer I am sure.

      My eyes glass over when I read his blogs on canon law. It’s not that canon law is unimportant, but in the big picture, yes: it is less important than a positive witness in favor of Christ and the invitation to attract people to a very attractive way of life.

      I’m in favor of letting the last of the JP2/B16 disciples talk amongst themselves about what protest response is needed. I lived through the 70’s and 80’s protests, and I’ll confess: I’m darned tired of the mentality contained within the hermeneutic of protest. It’s exhausting.

      Seekers need doctors, not protesters.

      • Liam says:

        Indeed, I just thought it was interesting to compare Abp Chaput’s melodramatic gesture with Ed Peters’s post. Abp Chaput is hurrying to become the successor to soon-to-retire Francis Cardinal George in the “I *Will* Be A Martyr, If It Kills Me!” sweepstakes.

        And you know I have a soft spot for the belief that joyous hope is more infectious in attracting and keeping people in(to) the Body of Christ than fear or law.

  1. Atheist Max says:

    “I think confusion is of the devil, and I think the public image that came across was one of confusion.”

    Isn’t the Holy Spirit supposed to show up to bring order to these things? Just saying.

    • Todd says:

      Free will, Max. People have to cooperate with God to bring order to things. The Holy Spirit doesn’t act against human decisions.

      • Atheist Max says:

        “the only remedy for homosexuals is to be put to death….”

        Pastor Robby Gallaty
        (Megachurch) Tennessee Church of Christ
        Sept. 4, 2014

        He is of course referencing Leviticus.
        “Kill Homosexuals” – (Leviticus 20:13)

        And of course how many times am I scolded by Preachers? Over and over every day….
        “Leviticus was only for the Jews” or “Jesus has a new covenant” or
        “The Holy Spirit has enlightened us away from that”

        Well….the ‘holy spirit’ has seen to it (or not seen to it) that MOST christians care about Leviticus too much.

        I am heterosexual and have been married 28 years and have grown children.
        So I do not speak for fear of what might happen to me.
        MY FEAR: I have gay friends who I love so much – they are my family – and a very fragile American law which separates church and state.

        Believe in Jesus if you want to – I see only destruction in these philosophies.

        But I am profoundly disgusted and alarmed
        that Catholics are not railing against this Archbishop Chaput – and his transparently bigoted nonsense.

      • Todd says:

        Well, Max, I don’t see anything Christian in these philosophies. But I’m not going to blame the atheists.

      • Atheist Max says:


        Jesus connects these dots for us:

        “Follow the commands… ‘DO NOT DEFRAUD’ ” – Jesus (Mark, 10:19)

        Jesus is drawing a direct line not to any Command of Exodus…but instead to Leviticus (19:13) “Do NOT DEFRAUD”. Jesus is commands Levitican Obedience.

        “Do not defraud” is not among the 10 commandments of Exodus.
        In fact, it appears nowhere in Exodus.

        Jesus opens the door to the darkest laws of Leviticus, Numbers, Judges and Deuteronomy (as well as Exodus) without the slightest whiff of concern.

        When questioned about these things Jesus said: “Do not think that I have come 
to abolish the law [Old Testament] or the prophets…”
(Matthew 5:17)

        “the [Old Testament] scripture cannot be broken.” (John 10:35)
”Not the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law…” (Matthew 5:18)

        I quote the Bible not because I am looking for a fight.
        I quote it because the Bible is looking for a fight …..and somebody needs to call attention to it.

        If Jesus’ own directives can be dismissed, where is the Biblical support or validation for that dismissal?

      • Atheist Max says:

        Todd, I must point out:

        Jesus instructs believers in Mark 10:19 to follow the command, “Do not defraud” (Leviticus 19:13) and Mark 10:19 is clearly not a complete list. It is almost as if Jesus is caught trailing off…

        It is entirely plausible to conclude that Leviticus 20:13 should be just as valid by any Christian standard.

      • Todd says:

        Hey Max, I’ve been down this rabbit hole with you before. You are still on the wrong blog when it comes to fundamentalist proof-texting. I don’t take seriously Christians who have your approach. Why would I think well of similar arguments coming from an atheist?

      • Atheist Max says:

        The only Jesus I know is the one I read about.
        I will always be fascinated by people who claim there exists a different one.

      • Atheist Max says:

        you said, “I don’t see anything Christian in these philosophies.”
        That opens up a can of worms.

        And.. you don’t do “Proof texting”

        Look, No need for you to reply to this – I realize these questions only annoy you – but I must ask them….perhaps someone else will have an answer:

        What does it mean to be ‘Christian’?
        Being nice? Being a generally forgiving person?
        Handling people with care and love despite the way they treat you? Being compassionate?

        “If you love me you will follow my commands” – Jesus (John 14:15)
        Does it matter that Jesus EXPLICITLY says his commands matter?

        Or is it MOST important to sort of believe in Jesus in a different way?
        Which of his commands matter more? “Love thy neighbor”? Or “shake off the dust”?
        “Love each other as I have loved you”? (which is problematic because Jesus’ love is not without severe conditions)

        Are people ‘saved’ for doing these things? or is there no salvation if you do not believe?

        How do you construct a Jesus without using the text to prove who Jesus is – and who he isn’t? And how do you protect yourself from the charge that you are being solipsistic?
        If a person’s personal Jesus tells him he should Kill Homosexuals, how do you argue against that understanding of Jesus when you have refused to use the text as a proof?

        Are you just very comfortable with the unknown? Letting God settle these matters?
        Then why not be comfortable with the unknown in other ways, as in….maybe there is no god?

        If you cannot answer, fine. Please let this question sit here unanswered.
        But if someone would explain this I would appreciate it.

        I cannot understand how you get to create for yourself a Jesus of your own who does not live on the pages of the Bible. And I don’t understand how a person who would create such a Jesus, could ever have an argument against someone else who kills gays in the name of Jesus.

        If you can create Jesus to be anything you want without regard to the bible, who are you to say someone else can’t do the same thing and create a Jesus who believes Gays should be killed?

        And this gets directly to your statement.. you said, “I don’t see anything Christian in those philosophies”

        For goodness sake, why not?
        If you have granted yourself permission to accept a Jesus of your own, unconnected to biblical text, why are you saying other philosophies are not “Christian” when those preachers are only doing the exact same thing YOU are doing? they are only making up a Jesus they like instead of adhering to the one described in the text.

        I cannot fathom how you can claim them to be wrong? What are they doing different from you?

  2. skiadvocat says:

    “Confusion is of the devil”…………now I know why Chaput used this phrase. Because it is an apt description of his administration and leadership down there in Center City Philadelphia at 222 N.17th St.,
    Our Philadelphia religious leader is certainly not “confused like the devil” when he trudges to Harrisburg in order to lobby AGAINST legislative proposals that would provide better protection and legal redress for past and future victims of child sexual abuse, regardless of the venue where the alleged incidents occur.

    “A man sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest.” Of course such a statement aligns perfectly with Archbishop Chaput’s pronouncement..

    This is the same RCC leader who concurred with the Denver’s pastor decision to block admission for two young school children to the Catholic elementary school because the parents were lesbian. Sad, so sad, to deny our youngest access to our Catholic faith.

    Michael Skiendzielewski
    Captain (retired)
    Philadelphia Police Dept.

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