Archbishop Chaput's 1st Letter a Bombshell

Outlines Priorities for Coming Year in Philadelphia

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PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania, DEC. 13, 2011 ( Marking three months since his installation in Philadelphia, Archbishop Charles Chaput wrote a pastoral letter to the Catholics under his charge. The letter, dated Dec. 8, was read out at last weekend’s Masses. “Advent is a season of self-examination in the light of God’s word,” Archbishop Chaput noted at the beginning of his letter. He said it was necessary to speak “frankly” about what needed to be done in Philadelphia and that all complacency and pride had to be eliminated. This is a painful process, he admitted, but is “the only way to renew the witness of the Church; to clear away the debris of human failure from the beauty of God’s word and to restore the joy and zeal of our Catholic discipleship.” The first priority the letter identified was the need to continue helping the victims of clergy sex abuse and to ensure young people are protected. Archbishop Chaput also explained that the archdiocese will cooperate with civil authorities to bring about justice for the victims. The crunch then came when the letter spoke about what it termed “very serious financial and organizational issues.” More than just administrative matters they are, it said, at the heart of the archdiocese’s ability to carry out its ministries. In the area of education Archbishop Chaput declared that the archdiocese remains committed to Catholic schools but that it can no longer continue to operate “unsustainable schools.” He explained that in January he will receive a report on schools and that it will likely recommend that some or many need to close or merge. In coming months the same scrutiny will need to be carried out regarding parishes and the budgets of the archdiocese, he declared. This will be painful, the archbishop acknowledged, but it is an essential step in order to restore life and health and ensure that the work of the Church can continue. Archbishop Chaput said that he was speaking these sobering words with the love of a father and a brother. “They are a plea to take our baptism seriously; and to renew our local Church with Christian charity, justice and zeal,” he declared. — — — On the Net: Full text:

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