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Rapid City’s Straight-Talking Bishop

Charles Chaput, O.F.M. CAP., was ordained a priest in 1970 and bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota in 1988. Born in 1944, he is one of the youngest bishops in the country. He has been active in the National Conference of Catholic Bishops’ deliberations about inclusive language in the liturgy, as these pages demonstrate. This interview, conducted by Patrick Madrid of the Catholic Answers staff, took place before the promulgation of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, the Holy Father’s letter on priestly ordination of women.

MADRID: What is your opinion of radical feminism in the Church? How do you assess this challenge?

CHAPUT: The role of women and how Church life and teaching are and should be affected by women are central issues of our time. It’s important that the Church clearly enunciate its teaching about the value of women and their role in the Church. At the bishops’ conference meetings, when we talk about this issue, we’re not sure what language to use because some women who are very committed to promoting the role of women in the Church (such as women’s ordination, for example) claim that we bishops “dismiss” their views when we use the term “radical feminism” in reference to their position. There is a good type of feminism, you know, in which women embrace their femininity in the fullest sense of the word, and the duty of men to respect and value that wonderful gift from God is obvious. The way some try to distinguish between Christian feminism and the kind that looks dangerous is to use the term “radical feminism,” but many feminists reject using that language. So it’s difficult to even know what language to use. I think in some ways that is one of the most important issues that I’ll ever face as a bishop and one that we need to give close and careful attention to.

MADRID: If they don’t like the title “radical feminism,” just what do they like?

CHAPUT: I just don’t know, Pat. I really don’t. It’s very difficult even to talk because the term “radical feminism” is shorthand for everything that I would object to in the feminist movement.

MADRID: What do you see as the long-range objective of the “radical feminists”?

CHAPUT: Well, I think that on the positive side, there are some feminists who want to do all they can to emphasize the authentic Christian heritage of women and promote women in society and in the Church. I embrace that goal, and I think anyone who is a Christian should. But the agenda, the ultimate goal, of some who support “radical feminism” is ordination into the priesthood, and for those of us who believe it is not possible for the Church to ordain women and at the same time be faithful to the teachings of Christ, this is a totally unacceptable goal. The role of a bishop is to conserve the teachings of Christ. That’s my essential responsibility, to do all I can to pass on, unchanged, the teachings of Christ and the apostles. It is not possible to be faithful to the apostolic teaching and ordain women.

MADRID: Is women’s ordination the only goal? What about the clamor about abortion, contraception, and sometimes even lesbianism among “radical feminists”? Do “radical feminists” themselves know exactly what it is they want?

CHAPUT: I would not want to paint the entire feminist movement with all of the issues of abortion, contraception, and the like. Many people enthusiastically embrace part of the feminist agenda, but don’t embrace all of it, so I think it’s unfair to lump them all together. For example, I know many people who are faithful to the Church’s moral teachings, regarding sexual morality, but who also favor the ordination of women. The two issues that most concern me are the questions of inclusive language and the ordination of women. There are those who believe that “patriarchy” has tainted all of the Church: Scripture, moral teachings, etc. Because they want the Church to change its teaching regarding the ordination of women, they are actually changing Scripture. They claim that Scripture is tainted by a patriarchal mentality and that by relying on it “as is” women are going to be subjected to the manipulation of men.

MADRID: How do you respond to such a claim?

CHAPUT: The answer is that Scripture is the Word of God, and the “patriarchal” elements that are certainly there are part of God’s Word, God’s way of dealing with his people. We must always understand Scripture in the light of the living tradition of the Church, and we don’t go around changing things in Scripture to fit the philosophical movements that happen to be in vogue.

MADRID: What about the feminists who say that response begs the question? You say “we” shouldn’t change things, but the “we,” they argue, is men. The hierarchy obviously does not want to see those “patriarchal” things changed because it has a vested interest in retaining the status quo.

CHAPUT: If we really do believe that the Holy Spirit guides the Church, then the Holy Spirit guides the Church regardless of whether men are the ones making the decisions or not. It is Catholic teaching, and really the distinguishing issue that makes us Catholics, that the magisterium of the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit and cannot lead the Church into error in matters of faith and morals. That includes in a very special way the magisterium’s interpretation of Scripture.

MADRID: What about feminists who say, “Well, that very claim plays into our hands. Here we are, a `prophetic witness’ to the direction the Holy Spirit is leading the Church, and you’re stifling the movement of the Holy Spirit, who wants to move the Church into opening the priesthood to women.” How should we reply?

CHAPUT: I’ve heard that argument innumerable times, and it’s not convincing. They say I can’t teach correctly because I’m a man, that I can’t understand the movement of the Spirit because I’m a man. The point is, it’s not my teaching that I’m defending. It’s not my teaching that I’m responsible for. As a bishop, I am responsible for faithfully and accurately teaching what was taught by Jesus Christ and the apostles. The argument that we should abandon “male-dominated” apostolic tradition and ordain women is a sham. God breaks through all of that. Jesus, when he chose his apostles, wasn’t constrained by the cultural limitations of his time, as radical feminists like to argue. I deny this strongly. Jesus was not “historically conditioned,” and he absolutely did not make mistakes. Scripture is not historically conditioned in that sense. The gospel message is not historically conditioned in that sense, though some of the forms of proclaiming the gospel surely are. Jesus Christ taught the truth that came from the Father without any diminishment or distortion of the gift that the Father wanted to give us.

MADRID: In other words, whenever Christ’s teachings clashed with the culture and social mores of his day, the culture and mores gave way.

CHAPUT: Yes. They have to give way. And they will continue to, just as “radical feminism” will have to give way. It all boils down to this: We have to submit to the gospel. We are called by Christ to believe and trust and have confidence in his promise of the presence of the Holy Spirit to guide the Church. And where is that guidance found? The apostolic magisterium.

MADRID: I don’t mean to put you on the spot with this next question …

CHAPUT: You’re not putting me on the spot at all. I’m happy to answer all these questions.

MADRID: This may be a more sensitive question because it involves your brother bishops. As we all know, there is a handful of bishops in the United States, perhaps more than we realize, who are openly agitating for women’s ordination. From your vantage point as a bishop, what course of action do you counsel lay Catholics to take in view of the conflicting o pinions coming from within the body of bishops on the issue of women’s ordination?

CHAPUT: Well, as for making judgments about my brother bishops, I have to start at the point of having confidence that they are doing what they think is appropriate and right. Some bishops, in fact, do feel that this is open for dialogue and requires the ongoing reflection of the Church. But I must remind them that the Holy See, in the past and recently, has told us–the bishops, clergy, and all the faithful in the Church–that this issue is not open for discussion and that a male-only priesthood is now and has always been the clear and confident teaching of the Church. When it comes to bishops who support women’s ordination, we should remonstrate with them in a friendly, charitable, and Christian way, as their brothers–not attack them, but express disagreement and concern in a fraternal way. That’s the way I try to do it. When I discuss this issue with bishops who have a very different opinion on this matter than I do, I tell them they’re wrong, but hopefully in a way that doesn’t belittle or make fun or diminish them as persons, but challenges them with the teaching of the Church.

MADRID: The view from the pew is often one of consternation and bewilderment. Many lay people sense that what they learned growing up as Catholics is now being thrown to the side and supplanted with what individual priests and bishops think is the “better way” to go and which they present as their own version of the Catholic Church. But since most lay people want and have a right to continuity in the faith, what do you counsel them to do? What should their attitude be?

CHAPUT: Well, I think it’s important for all of us, whether we’re bishops, priests, or lay people, to find support groups. I don’t mean psychological support groups; I mean support groups where we can go for scriptural insights, or for theological information, or just a group of Catholics with whom we find consolation and friendship. I think that’s a good beginning point.

MADRID: You mean a group like Catholic Answers?


MADRID: How should lay people deal with bishops who publicly go against the teaching of the Church, for example, those who continue to agitate for women’s ordination?

CHAPUT: Charitably, always charitably. We should avoid ways of communicating that take an “us against them” approach. That’s damaging. A good way is to write friendly, respectful letters to bishops asking them for clarification of their opinions in light of Church teaching. I myself especially welcome letters like that. I think they’re the most important letters I receive, and as a bishop my answers to these letters are the most important things that I write. It’s a good way to pass on and reflect upon together the solid, ever-the-same teaching of the Catholic Church–like reading good magazines like yours. I think that’s a very important thing for us to do. Reading and educating ourselves in the faith help us to have confidence in the midst of all this commotion, that this is Jesus Christ’s Church, and, despite the sinfulness of its members and the confusion that is sometimes a part of our life together, Jesus Christ is leading us. It’s his Church.

MADRID: Given your background as a mendicant friar, a Capuchin, can you say a few words about the spiritual dimension of the challenges we face? How should we meet these challenges at a spiritual level?

CHAPUT: You know, Francis of Assisi, my personal hero and also the founder of my religious community, lived in a time which, in some ways, was much more difficult than our own. The Church in his day was torn apart by the sins of the clergy in a way far beyond what we see in our own time. It’s hard for us to imagine anything worse than what we see now, but in medieval Europe there was profound corruption in the Church. The way Francis dealt with that is the way we should deal with the issues of our own time. He decided that in the mid st of all the scandal he would trust in God’s providential care, and that led him to see all people as his sisters and brothers. This childlike trust led him in a “naive,” radical kind of way to trust the Church. He took quite literally Jesus’ words about entrusting the Church to Peter (John 21:15-17), and he required that his fellow Franciscans give themselves wholly in trust to the Church.

MADRID: How did that affect you?

CHAPUT: When I became bishop of Rapid City, I chose as my episcopal motto a line from St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (5:25): “As Christ loved the Church.” That’s how I need to function as bishop. I think it’s how all of us as Christians need to approach these troubling issues. We have to love the Church as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her. Francis changed the Church and he changed Europe because of his simple confidence and simple faith, and I think that’s the solution to the problems facing us today. I think that in some ways the “theological establishment” in our country and in other parts of the world has taken itself far too seriously, and it doesn’t have that charity and simple trust in the Church and in the magisterium anymore. I used the word “naive” about St. Francis deliberately. I don’t mean “naive” in a silly kind of way, but in a simple kind of way. It’s true, the Church is our mother. The Church is guided by the Holy Spirit as she teaches us the truth, and we are to have confidence in her. We should always have more confidence in what the Church teaches than in our own theological opinions or the opinions of anyone else.

MADRID: Are you alluding to Christ’s teaching about becoming like little children?

CHAPUT: Absolutely. That’s exactly what I mean.

MADRID: Your calling as a bishop is to care for the Church the same way Christ does. But isn’t it true that there were times when Jesus had to be forceful and vigorous and even sometimes angry with the Church–his apostles and followers? Is this.aspect of his ministry also part of your job as a bishop?

CHAPUT: Oh, yes. I think that’s very important. I am responsible to God for the way I carry out my ministry of apostolic teaching. If my people are not faithful to the Church’s teachings, I have a responsibility to call them back into line. When I visit my parishes I carry my crosier, the episcopal staff that is a symbol of my role as bishop and shepherd. The staff has two ends. One end is curved, and that’s the end that I use to gently pull people to Christ. The other end is sharp. It’s the one I sometimes have to use to prod people to be faithful to the gospel. We bishops have the job of drawing our people to Christ in a tender, loving way, but we also have to be able to be vigorous and challenge them to be faithful to the gospel when they’re not.

MADRID: Do you see “radical feminism” as a passing challenge, or do you think that, like the Protestant Reformation, it’s going to be a long-lived heresy?

CHAPUT: This is a lifelong challenge. I’m sure of it. And what scares me most about this challenge is that within the body of bishops there isn’t a great deal of thoughtful discussion. The U.S. bishops conference has recently had some major struggles on the inclusive language translations of Scripture and liturgical books. We voted just recently on whether or not to approve the inclusive-language version of the Grail Psalter that’s used by many women religious these days. Those bishops who are against this kind of inclusive language won the vote, but only because we barely defeated the two-thirds majority that was needed. Understand the gravity of what I’m saying here: We didn’t have a majority vote. We only won because those who favored it just couldn’t get two-thirds. Within the body of bishops there is uncertainty and a lack of clarity and unity on some issues, such as inclusive language. It’s a very theologically damaging issue, and in my six years as a bishop we really haven’t had enough theological reflection together on it. We’re always dealing with amending documents or approving or disapproving somebody’s translation, but we have not done the basic theological reflection together as a group. I am very confident that if we do that in union with our Holy Father (and that’s what is required of a bishop, to be in union with the Holy Father), then we will come to some common, clear, and strong positions. But we haven’t had theological discussions as a body of bishops. We just don’t have the forum to do that. We’re always in the process of doing business rather than doing theology.

MADRID: Many lay Catholics have gotten the impression that American bishops have become more like bureaucrats than pastors. Do you see in validity in that perception?

CHAPUT: Well, I don’t know about the American bishops as a group, but I can talk about myself. I know that I spend way too much time at my desk writing letters and doing business. But I am responsible as a bishop for the whole diocese: its financial aspects, its material aspects, as well as its spiritual.aspects. For example, I’m trying to build a new high school. You know, we only have one Catholic high school in Rapid City, and we’re renting space. I’m trying to build a building, and it’s going to cost three-and-a-half million dollars, which isn’t very much for some dioceses, but for this little diocese, it’s a lot. So I spend a lot of time tending to things like that. I want a Catholic high school because I think it’s one of the best ways of proclaiming the gospel to the young people of our diocese, but I have to do a lot of leg work in terms of raising money and making sure it’s done properly for that gospel goal to be accomplished. So it’s true that we are very bureaucratic. But if we don’t do our job, we’re also criticized for not taking care of the practical realities of the life of the diocese. I guess we’ll always be criticized by some for anything we do. I think it should be one of our primary goals as bishops to free ourselves as much as possible from administration so that we can administer the Word of God, which is, after all, what the role of bishop is all about. The Church in the United States is very institutionalized, and as long as those institutions are the responsibility of the local bishop, he’s going to have to spend time on those. I’m rather lucky in not having to deal with a lot of details some of my brother bishops have to deal with. The diocese of Rapid City has only 35,000 Catholics out of a total population of 200,000 people. It’s quite small as dioceses go.

MADRID: You have taken a very active role in the fight against inclusive language during the bishops’ conference deliberations on that issue. Where does it seem that we’re headed with this?

CHAPUT: When I came into the bishops’ conference six years ago, the first debate I was part of was on the principles of translation. You know, that’s the best place to begin when you’re deliberating on whether to accept a given translation. You must first determine what are the acceptable principles that underlie the translation, and I was rather concerned about some of the principles that we did approve because, although they sounded good in theory, I was worried about how they would be applied in practice. I have become more and more convinced that those principles that were adopted by the bishops’ conference are very inadequate.

MADRID: What are some of those principles?

CHAPUT: Well, I don’t have them in front of me, but they have been well-documented and could be found by reviewing the bishops’ minutes of these discussions as far back as 1989. Anyone interested can contact the bishops’ conference offices in Washington D.C.

MADRID: Do you think that someday we’ll see an approved inclusive language sacramentary?

CHAPUT: We do have inclusive language lectionaries approved. The American bishops have approved the New Revised Standard Version of Scripture which is very “inclusive” in its language, and our own bishops’ conference translation of the New American Bible will be an inclusive language translation. Now, I’m all for “inclusive” language if the language is an accurate rendering of the text. But I’m very much opposed to reading into the text one’s own biases. You know, deleting words or adding words that aren’t there. We have to take the Word of God as it is. In translation, even the very literal translation is one step removed from the original Word of God, which is written either in Hebrew or Greek. To accommodate the text to philosophical principles of inclusiveness leads to a paraphrase rather than a translation, and I don’t want to paraphrase Scripture. I want a translation of Scripture. That’s what’s been done, actually, in some parts of the New Revised Standard Version. And I’m very concerned that this has been approved for liturgical use. I’m actually very frightened by it.

MADRID: What about the Vatican’s recent statement regarding permission to use altar girls? That seems to be similar in nature to what you’re describing with inclusive language. It’s something that in and of itself is not doctrinal in nature, but it creates an atmosphere of confusion and fosters among some the hope that doctrines themselves will change. If that happened with inclusive language by the bishops allowing the NRSV, and now it seems to have happened with altar girls, where do you see this leading, and what would you say to the person who says, “Well, inclusive language has changed, altar girls has changed. It’s only a matter of time until women in the priesthood changes”? 

CHAPUT: First of all, if we bishops had closely studied these translations and not relied on “experts” to do them for us, we would be better off. We need to approve the translations, and we need to do it as a body. We can’t entrust it to somebody else. If it might take years to do, then we should take years to do it rather than let it be done by others. This touches on the essence of what we do as bishops. Regarding altar girls, I don’t think it’s the same kind of issue at all quite honestly, because it doesn’t touch on doctrine the same kind of way. You know, I personally was hoping that the Holy Father would not approve the use of altar girls. I made that clear in my own diocese. And I have always spoken about this matter as clearly as I could because I’m quite convinced of it. The problem is that many ministries in the Church are feminized now. Most of the lay ministries of the Church are done preponderantly by women, and we all know that it’s been much harder to attract men to ministries in the Church, not only to the priesthood, but to other lay ministries. I favored altar boys rather than both boys and girls because I felt it was necessary to have what might be called “affirmative action” toward men in this special case in the Church. I’m really afraid that once we have altar girls (and this has been proven to be the case where it has been done) that young men will quit serving. Young boys establish their masculine identity in part by distancing themselves from things feminine, and once the ministry of altar server is identified as feminine, I think boys, especially very masculine boys, will stay away. I think many.aspects of the Church have become too strongly feminine already. We need to do all we can to promote participation by men in the life of the Church. This affects the whole question of priestly vocations. Being an altar boy is a role in which young men can reflect and imagine themselves as being priests, and if we have fewer and fewer young men serving, we’ll have fewer and fewer young men thinking about the priesthood. Also, I think female altar servers gives false hope to people who think women should be priests, and, as one might expect, there will be many young girls who will imagine themselves as being priests. I think it will lead to great frustration, because women’s ordination will never happen.

MADRID: What do you say to those who say, “Women in the priesthood is just a matter of time.”

CHAPUT: No, it’s not. The Holy Father made that very clear, and I think all the official reflections on this matter have made it very clear that granting this permission for female altar servers is not a step in any way toward the ordination of women, any more than allowing women to read Scripture or distribute the Eucharist as extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist indicates that women will be priests. The Holy Father has approved the interpretation of the law that says that all those ministries, including altar server, are open to both genders. If this is what the Holy Father says, this is what the Holy Father says, and it’s important for us who believe that we should give ourselves in confident trust to the decisions of the Holy Father to trust him here too. Of course the Holy Father hasn’t told us that bishops have to do this. I personally don’t know yet what I’ll be doing here because I haven’t heard from the bishops of our conference yet. Some people feel this permission is too much of a test of their faith in the Church. I think they’ve invested too much in the question. I personally would not have made the decision, but I know the Holy Father has a wisdom beyond mine and the guidance of the Holy Spirit beyond mine, and so I think that those of us who have taken other positions should not carry on as though disaster has struck. I understand the disappointment people feel. When I first heard the decision, I was disappointed too. But I’m less disappointed today because of my great confidence in the Holy Spirit’s guidance of the Church. I call all those who are concerned about this matter to have that same trust because trust is an important part of what it means to be a faithful Catholic.

MADRID: Obviously, we don’t want an obedience that’s divorced from our reason, so what happy balance should we be trying to strike?

CHAPUT: The essence of Jesus’ life was obedience. He was obedient to the Father. He came into the world by the command of the Father. His ministry to us was the gift of the Father. His gift of himself on the cross was in response to the will of the Father. Understanding this joins us to him in an act of self-offering, primarily through our reception of the Eucharist. With Christ as my example, I see obedience as an essential.aspect of membership in the Roman Catholic Church. But when we have concerns, we should ask for clarification and not be naive in a bad sense. We must also fight strongly and clearly for the truth as it has always been taught.

MADRID: What distinguishes what you just said from dissent on, for example, Church teaching on birth control and other issues? Some might respond to you, “That’s what we’re doing. We’re simply giving the same type of witness to what we believe is the truth.” Where is the distinction?

CHAPUT: If people who said that would, at the same time, say, “I will obey what the Holy Father teaches,” I would have more confidence in their judgment, but I have never seen that happen, quite honestly. But those who say, “no matter what the Holy Father says, no matter what the bishops say, I am right,” are in grave danger. The word “dissent” is related to the word “protest.” The difference between being a Catholic and being a “Protest”-ant is that the Catholic believes that the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit and assents to the Church’s teachings, even when it is difficult to do so. You cannot be a Catholic and dissent from Church teaching. You cannot be a Catholic and a protester against Catholic teaching at the same time. The two are incompatible. We must be willing to use our intellects and grapple with these difficult issues, doing our best to understand them, but, more importantly, we must have a joyful willingness to submit when the Church teaches, even when it is difficult to do so. This is a gift that comes from God. It’s something outside ourselves that we have to constantly pray for. Let’s remember: The trut h is a gift. We cannot reject the gift of truth that the Father wants to give us through Christ and his Church. Dissent is the rejection of that gift.

MADRID: There’s a phrase that’s often used and, I think, misused: the Church’s “positions” on things. People talk about the Church’s “positions” on birth control or on women in the priesthood as though they’re political decisions. Would you share in the opinion that that phrase gives the wrong implication, because of the nature of the word “positions,” that the Church’s doctrinal teaching is something changeable? 

CHAPUT: I favor the term “teaching” of the Church. What most Catholics mean when they say the teaching of the Church is the doctrinal teachings of the apostolic magisterium, the teaching office of bishops. Because they come from God, Catholic doctrines cannot change. Period. We can’t be ambiguous about that. Some theologians like to talk about a sort of “dual magisterium,” one made up of the bishops and the other made up of theologians. That’s totally wrong. When I say “apostolic magisterium,” I don’t mean to imply that there’s some other kind. There is no “theological magisterium.” There is just one magisterium, and that’s the apostolic magisterium, and I use the word “apostolic,” you know, just to remind us that the magisterium is a matter of being faithful to the teachings of the apostles. There are many theologians in our country who see themselves in the role that properly belongs to bishops, that is, to be teachers of the faith. I think theologians assist the bishops and are certainly a gift to the Church, but they are not the teachers of the faith.

MADRID: You’re familiar, I think, with James Hitchcock, professor of history at St. Louis University.

CHAPUT: Oh, yes.

MADRID: He theorizes that the Church is right now, especially in the West and in particular in the United States, in a de facto state of schism. He says that even though it’s not formal schism, by gradually moving away from the authentic apostolic teaching of the Church, many people have moved into a state of schism even though they remain in the pews on Sundays. They dissent from so many Catholic teachings. Hitchcock thinks that the schism comes not so much from the level of bishops, but from vast groups of lay people who are simply no longer part of the Catholic Church. Is this a reasonable thesis?

CHAPUT: I think it is a very reasonable thesis, and that’s why I think it is so important for the bishops in the Church in this country to be active teachers. As bishop, my first duty is to be faithful to my ministry of apostolic teaching. If there is a fault of the bishops, it is that we’ve focused on trying to unify our Church instead of taking firm, clear positions. We try to be moderators who come to some kind of compromise between various factions, and that’s not our role. It certainly is the role of the bishop to bring unity to the Church, but only the unity of Christ’s teachings–not the “unity” of feelings or agreement based on compromises. It’s to bring ourselves into the unity of God and the teachings of Christ.

MADRID: What’s your philosophy when it comes to dissent in your own diocese? What do you as a bishop most want to tell lay people?

CHAPUT: First of all, my philosophy is to engage the issue immediately. It won’t get better. It won’t get easier later on. If someone teaches something I know is wrong, I tell him he is wrong. I say that with great charity, I hope, but also with great clarity and great vigor because things don’t get better by waiting and hoping he will take care of himself. So, first of all, immediate engagement. I think we need to do that across the board. I was very disappointed when the National Conference of Catholic Bishops did not approve the document about concerns of women in the Church a year and a half ago. The final draft contained unambiguous teaching on the fact that women cannot be ordained to the priesthood and that God has made us male and female–equal, but not the same. We’re different from one another, but both genders have incredible gifts that have to be appreciated and embraced and respected. Some of my brother bishops are saying that it’s better not to speak about that at this time; they say that sometimes it’s more prudent not to say anything than to teach forcefully. I don’t think that’s ever the case. I think it’s always important to teach clearly and to teach plainly and immediately, not with arrogance, but with conviction and love.

MADRID: And how do you do that in your diocese?

CHAPUT: If I’m in a group of people who have questions, I think I’m approachable enough that they raise the questions directly with me. For example, altar servers. If I came to a parish where there were girl altar servers, I’d ask them to quit. I mean, I know it would be difficult, and the people who suffer most are the young girls and their families. The ones who suffer for it aren’t those who gave false permission. We bishops must teach clearly on all the difficult issues of our time, whether it’s homosexuality, or contraception, or capital punishment, or whatever. It’s important that the priests present the total teachings of our Church and proclaim them clearly, even if it means that they’re not going to be popular.

MADRID: What message do you as a bishop want to tell your flock?

CHAPUT: I just want them to love the Church as Christ loved the Church.

Photo by HazteOir.org from Wikimedia Commons.


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