Thursday, August 26, 2010

Archbishop Chaput, Living within the truth: Religious liberty and Catholic mission in the new order of the world

Archbishop Chaput calls for resistance to intolerance of Christianity (via ML)

the full address

Is there a better proponent in the United States of a certain kind of Catholic citizenship than Archbishop Chaput?

American Catholics have no experience of the systematic repression so familiar to your Churches. It’s true that anti-Catholic prejudice has always played a role in American life. This bigotry came first from my country’s dominant Protestant culture, and now from its “post-Christian” leadership classes. But this is quite different from deliberate persecution. In general, Catholics have thrived in the United States. The reason is simple. America has always had a broadly Christian and religion-friendly moral foundation, and our public institutions were established as non-sectarian, not anti-religious.

Southrons might point out that it is not merely American Protestantism that is responsible for anti-Catholic bigotry. There was something else to it. This is just one consequence of the lumping the United States together as a single, uniform, homogeneous "nation-state." Catholics have done well because religion that wasn't a threat was ignored and not a priority for those seeking economic and political power. As a result of the direction development of the political economy has taken, Catholic spiritual life (and efforts at evangelization) have foundered. Yes, the response of Catholics to anti-Christian attacks needs to be a renewed focus on union with Christ.

The world urgently needs a re-awakening of the Church in our actions and in our public and private witness. The world needs each of us to come to a deeper experience of our Risen Lord in the company of our fellow believers. The renewal of the West depends overwhelmingly on our faithfulness to Jesus Christ and his Church.

We need to really believe what we say we believe. Then we need to prove it by the witness of our lives. We need to be so convinced of the truths of the Creed that we are on fire to live by these truths, to love by these truths, and to defend these truths, even to the point of our own discomfort and suffering.

We are ambassadors of the living God to a world that is on the verge of forgetting him. Our work is to make God real; to be the face of his love; to propose once more to the men and women of our day, the dialogue of salvation.

The question is, how is one to cultivate charity towards one's neighbor and be a good citizen? How one understands the problems of our age affects the answer.

One final point:
If someone is not a brother in Christ, can there be fraternal correction? How effective can our denunciations of evil be if people do not accept the authority of the Church or the Natural Law?
That brings me to my third and final point today: We live in a time when the Church is called to be a believing community of resistance. We need to call things by their true names. We need to fight the evils we see. And most importantly, we must not delude ourselves into thinking that by going along with the voices of secularism and de-Christianization we can somehow mitigate or change things. Only the Truth can set men free. We need to be apostles of Jesus Christ and the Truth he incarnates.
How are Christians to denounce sin, and what can we learn from the Christians of the past who engaged were engaged in missionary work in non-Christian societies? Because it seems to me that this is the strategy that those who are called to offer that sort of public witness to Christian teaching should be following, rather than one which assumes that the society is Christian, that it is willing to hear what Christians believe about morality, and so on.

When I finish the post on what Dr. Fleming recommends for American Christians, we'll see how they differ from the view put forth by Archbishop Chaput.

Edit.
Zenit: Archbishop Chaput on Liberty and Mission
"Events Suggest an Emerging, Systematic Discrimination" [

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