Abp. Chaput Responds

A couple days ago, I sent this e-mail to Abp. Chaput, which I posted yesterday. That afternoon, he responded with a pretty fantastic e-mail of his own. Hopefully, he won’t mind my posting it:

Dear Joseph,

Thanks for your kind email.

Regarding the second point in your email, I’m not sure what I said off the cuff in Houston; after awhile in this work my schedule begins to blur. But you might get a pretty accurate sense of my meaning from this article:

http://www.firstthings.com/article/2009/10/a-charitable-endeavor

Obviously the government has the right and the authority to grant or withhold tax exemptions and similar assistance as it chooses. It doesn’t “owe” anybody anything outside the obligations imposed by right morality and the Constitution’s guarantees.

On the other hand, these exemptions are never just examples of Caesar’s warm heart and natural largesse. They serve, as I say in the article, nakedly practical purposes that very much benefit the public and therefore the government — which typically gets more than it gives. That has certainly been our experience here in
Colorado.

On your fourth point in the email, bishops almost always resist criticizing other bishops in public because that weakens the Church as a whole, and it’s just not fraternal. Plus, once it starts, it’s very hard to stop, and the result is even more damage to the average believer’s faith.

Having said that, I think the turbulence of the current health-care endgame proves how deep the divisions in the Church now run. I think we’re in for a lot of public Catholic disagreement in the coming months. And frankly, I’m not distressed by that. The more that people speak the truth and name problems honestly, the faster the Church in the United States will return to health in her mission.

I hope this answers at least some of the questions you might have.

Sincerely and with best wishes in Christ,
+cjc

What a great example of what a modern bishop ought to be!

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