Archbishop Chaput Warns Against Pride and Vanity

Urges Catholics to Be Missionaries to Modern Culture

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ROME, JAN. 27, 2010 ( The archbishop of Denver is cautioning artists of the danger of pride and vanity, which can lead to a betrayal of their mission to manifest God’s glory in the world.

«A key temptation of our age is the will to power,» Archbishop Charles Chaput stated today at the Fifth Symposium Rome: Priests and Laity on Mission, which ends today.

The Emmanuel Community and the Pierre Goursat University Institute organized the three-day congress, in collaboration with the Pontifical Institute Redemptor Hominis.

«It is most obvious in our politics and science,» the prelate continued, «in the constant erosion of our respect for the weak, the infirm, the unborn and the disabled.»

«But the impulse to pride — that hunger to smash taboos and inflate the self — appeals most naturally to artists and other creators of high culture,» he stated.

In his talk titled «The Prince of This World and the Evangelization of Culture,» Archbishop Chaput affirmed: «Genius breeds vanity. And vanity breeds conflict and suffering.  

«The vanity of creative genius has a pedigree that leads back a very long way; all the way back to the very first ‘non serviam’ from Satan himself.»

«He is the first author of pride and rebellion, and the great seducer of man,» the archbishop said. «Satan is real.»


«We live in an age that imagines itself as post-modern and post-Christian,» he noted. «It is a time defined by noise, urgency, action, utility and a hunger for practical results.»

However, Archbishop Chaput affirmed, «for all of the rhetoric about ‘hope and change’ in our politics, our urgencies hide a deep unease about the future; a kind of well-manicured selfishness and despair.»

He continued: «The world around us has a hole in its heart, and the emptiness hurts. Only God can fill it.»

The prelate referred to the day’s topic: «Priests and Laity Together, Changing and Challenging the Culture.» In order to do change culture, he said, it is important to remember «that what we do proceeds from who we are.»

The archbishop said: «God calls each of us to different forms of service in his Church. But we are all equal in baptism.  

«And we all share the same mission of bringing the Gospel to the world, and bringing the world to the Gospel.»

«God calls us to leave here today and make disciples of all nations,» he said. «But he calls us first to love him.»

License to love

Focusing on those with a specific influence on culture, especially artists, Archbishop Chaput affirmed that «God licenses us to know, love and ennoble the world through the work of human genius.»

«Our creativity as creatures is an echo of God’s own creative glory,» he added.

«For Christians,» the prelate affirmed, «art is a holy vocation with the power to elevate the human spirit and lead men and women toward God.»

«We have an obligation as Catholics to study and understand the world around us,» he said. «We have a duty not just to penetrate and engage it, but to convert it to Jesus Christ.»

The archbishop noted: «That work belongs to all of us equally: clergy, laity and religious. We are missionaries.»

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