Tag: Archbishop Chaput

On divorce, Chaput and Francis singing from the same song sheet

From my latest at Crux. In the world of Catholic news, we were almost headed for a lull between the pope’s late June interview on the plane back from Armenia…

From my latest at Crux.

In the world of Catholic news, we were almost headed for a lull between the pope’s late June interview on the plane back from Armenia and the early July appointments of Vatican communications experts (two Americans among them, nary an Italian or a cleric).

But in between, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia released his pastoral guidelines for the implementation of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, the fruit of the two Synods on the family.

Phew! Catholic social media now had fumes to light a fire, burning faster and brighter than a California wildfire in a drought year.

Like Francis, Chaput discusses marriage and sexuality in light of Church teachings. However, the headlines were about the divorced and remarried [whose previous marriages have not received a decree of nullity from a Church tribunal] not being able to receive Holy Communion.

Read more here.

Especially, the last two paragraphs…

 

 

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Catholic League Tricked

Yesterday, Catholic League put out a press release with statements from CL’s president, Bill Donohue commenting on “Walmart’s Catholic Problem.” “Fat Girl Costumes” sold by Walmart were the subject of…

Dana Carvey as "The Church Lady." Sorry, but she sort of fits the hype of the Walmart story. Unless there's more info that hasn't been documented publicly. Source: Google Images, license for reuse.

Dana Carvey as “The Church Lady.” Sorry, but she sort of fits the hype of the Walmart story. Unless there’s more info that hasn’t been documented publicly. Source: Google Images, license for reuse.

Yesterday, Catholic League put out a press release with statements from CL’s president, Bill Donohue commenting on “Walmart’s Catholic Problem.”

“Fat Girl Costumes” sold by Walmart were the subject of a deep apology and a pledge to rid the store’s inventory of such demeaning garb. Yesterday, when Catholics who are on our news release list complained to Walmart about three offensive Catholic costumes—a Virgin Mary with blood dripping from her eyes, a nun outfit with a skeleton head, and a costume that mocks the confessional—they got a different response.
“We apologize if we offended you. Because we have multiple buyers of customers, we try to provide them with plenty of options. However, we have documented your concern in order to improve our inventory at Walmart.com and in stores.”

I was so bothered by the story that I opted to not make a purchase at a Walmart yesterday. But then I realized that I really didn’t know much about the story; so I decided to return to the Walmart and see what I could find. In speaking with the manager, I got a little more info. Apparently, the Walmart site was hacked and that’s how the “Fat Girl Costumes” got there. This manager had seen none of the offending costumes (they’ve been sold out of costumes for a while now) and, given what I’ve consistently seen in this Walmart, I believed him. It’s family friendly, lots of Christian materials.

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From the Wal-Mart website

I went to the Walmart website. Yes, there’s the offending nun costume.

But no Virgin Mary with bleeding eyes or “a costume that mocks the confessional,” whatever that may be.

There are Virgin Mary costumes, priest costumes, and rabbi costumes. (No imam costumes, for what it’s worth.)

But in all fairness, these costumes could be purchased and used without being offensive. Heck, lots of Catholics and other Christians encourage alternative Halloween celebrations, e.g. saints, harvest costumes, etc.

So here’s my point. Catholic League may be completely right in their statement, but it’s difficult to verify. They don’t have the offending costumes pictured on their website, much less identified as Walmart merchandise. It’s unclear what one of the offending costumes might even look like. And there’s a bit of a back story, which sounds legitimate, about the “Fat Girl Costumes.”

I think we need to be very careful as Catholic experts and commentators when we run with a story. Is it accurate? Do we know enough? The commentary surrounding the recent Synod was evidence of more imprecision and confusion.

As Archbishop Chaput recently reminded us, confusion is of the devil. Our job is not to add to the confusion or to create it, but to be light that dispels darkness and confusion.

Catholic League, please shed some light on your story. I’m happy to post anything that you can document. Right now, it’s just confusing.

 

 

 

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Is Francis a Liberal or a Conservative?

Ideologues of all kinds have been trying to figure out Pope Francis for over a year now. Many, if not most, are still trying to fit him into their own…

Ideologues of all kinds have been trying to figure out Pope Francis for over a year now. Many, if not most, are still trying to fit him into their own boxes. But try as they might, he can’t be stuffed into a box.

Archbishop Chaput gave a recent talk for the Napa Institute in which he explains quite clearly how Pope Francis is simply Catholic. He’s not a liberal. He’s not a conservative. And if you consider him only through the lens of one of these categories (which are not two, but a vast multitude, depending on a variety of social and cultural factors), you won’t understand him.

In order to understand Pope Francis, it helps to first understand the saint whose name he took. Contrary to some popular beliefs, St. Francis was not a 13th century hippie. Archbishop Chaput begins his talk with this clarification:

I’m a Capuchin Franciscan, and I’ve often found that people think of Francis of Assisi as a kind of 13th-century flower child. St. Francis was certainly “countercultural,” but only in his radical obedience to the Church and his radical insistence on living the Gospel fully — including poverty and all of its other uncomfortable demands. Jesus, speaking to him from the cross of San Damiano, said, “Repair my house.”  I think Pope Francis believes God has called him to do that as pope, as God calls every pope.  And he plans to do it in the way St. Francis did it.

Pope Francis took the name of the saint of Christian simplicity and poverty. As he has said, he wants “a Church that is poor and for the poor.” In his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, he grounded this goal in Jesus Christ, “who became poor and was always close to the poor and the outcast” (186). That’s a very Franciscan idea.

Just to clarify, the Church may in fact handle large sums of money. But it’s not for the purpose of growing her coffers. It pours the money into services for people of all backgrounds and situations. It’s sort of a pouring out of the Church herself.
The Archbishop notes:

What concretely does Francis believe about economic justice? He has never offered his systematic thoughts about it or the policies that promote it.  And, frankly, we can sense some ambiguity in his thinking. When he calls for a better distribution of wealth among social classes, he doesn’t say how this should be done and what a proper distribution would look like or who will decide who gets what. But he’d probably say that he’s giving us the principles of a rightly ordered social and economic life as the Catholic Church understands them, and that the Church gives to laypeople, and especially those called to public service, the job of best applying those principles in each nation. [Emphasis mine.]

Did you read that carefully? It’s not the job of Church leadership to come up with economic policies. That’s the role of the laity. Because of our various roles in the world, we are better suited to that work.

It’s one thing if we as individual lay Catholics subscribe to specific political, social, and economic theories. In fact, we probably should have some ideas about our beliefs in these areas. But simply because we as individuals happen to believe in something doesn’t mean that it is necessarily Catholic or that it fits with the Pope’s thinking. He may have even left it us, as Catholic lay people to come up with the answers.

To that end, I refer you to my fellow blogger Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry’s interesting post on whether Catholic social doctrine is a set of guidelines.

And do be sure to read the entirety of Archbishop Chaput’s talk as I haven’t come close to doing it justice in this short post.

 

 

 

 

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