Monday, July 18, 2011

Chaput For Philadelphia!

We are due for some good news today, methinks. His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has appointed the Most Reverend Charles Joseph Chaput, OFM Cap, the present Archbishop of Denver, to be the next Archbishop of Philadelphia.

We cannot begin to compete with the analysis of Rocco Palmo, so we will not.

Yours truly met the Archbishop in the late 1990s, when still carrying credentials for the Arlington Catholic Herald at the annual bishops' conference meeting in Washington, and a priest-friend of mine introduced me to him over lunch. He is an outgoing, amiable sort of fellow, definitely more outgoing than the current Ordinary, Justin Cardinal Rigali, who is overdue for retirement at the age of 76. Chaput has been an outspoken champion of orthodoxy on both socio-political and doctrinal issues, both in addressing the larger issues of the Church and the world, and in the governance of the Archdiocese of Denver. He will undoubtedly bring that voice to his new and more visible position in what is reputedly a political battleground state.

He will also bring a vigorous work ethic and strong sense of clerical discipline to the position, which is welcome in an Archdiocese still reeling from chronic mishandling of clerical sexual abuse cases. It is in this area tha reviews are mixed. A piece in the National Catholic Reporter -- hey, even a stopped clock is correct twice a day -- cites praise from individual victims, but a thumbs-down from groups such as SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests).

Chaput also has an interest in matters affecting Native Americans. His mother, who passed away in 2007, was a full-blooded Potawatomi. Chaput himself is a full member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation.

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