Wednesday, August 03, 2011


Almost two weeks ago, I blogged about a quote I found from Archbishop Charles Chaput who quipped, in his usual lapidary way, "If we don't love the poor, and do everything we can to improve their lot, we're going to Hell." I cited this with approval given that I think the physical conditions of our sisters and brothers are of tremendous consequence for salvation. Being given the "Bread of Life" or feasting upon the "Word of God" is far more difficult - if not impossible - when one is watching her baby starve to death.

One comment I received made me laugh at the website that was linked:

Archbishop Chaput is on my "Bishball" team. is the site of a Catholic "sport" where teams of 3 bishops are followed by bloggers. Actions are tracked as are the things said about the bishops. This week has left me breathless with all the angst, joy, confusion, misinformation, smack-downs, and hijinks over the Chaput appointment. You're right, Chaput keeps his eyes on Jesus and slaps people back into the reality of our vocation as Christians. He's a dynamic and fascinating man. Were it not for Bishball, I would never have gotten to know his mind so well.

I haven't any idea why, but I do find the idea of having "teams" of bishops kind of funny. My money would be on Archbishop Dolan, since his affability and energy seem to draw the media toward him, but I could see Chaput being an asset as well. Then again, I have played softball with clergy before and if their ability to swing a bat is anything like their ability to swing a loaded incensor, some of these guys could be surprising ringers.

My only observation on the appointment of Archbishop Chaput to Philadelphia is that I'm disappointed with the response on both sides. The reason: neither side sees this as Pope Benedict's discerned choice of a bishop to lead a diocese but, rather, as a victory or a loss for some particular ideology. The guy has yet to take office and bloggers and observers are already calling this a conquest (of orthodoxy) or a catastrophe (of progress). It's sad to me that our Church resembles so much the sorry state of American politics where it's more important to have one's agenda intact than it is to find a way to negotiate in order to achieve the common good. 

A few months ago, I blogged about the distinction between positions and values. If ever you needed two instances of this distinction, so accessible to high school freshmen but apparently lost upon our political and ecclesial leaders, one need look only to the debt negotiations and recent episcopal actions. With such loud voices on the extreme ends of positions drowning out more reasonable voices, it leads me to wonder: for how much longer can the center hold?  
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