Archbishop Charles Chaput

Archbishop Charles Chaput

October 15, 2012

In a wide-ranging address at the annual Los Angeles Catholic Prayer Breakfast, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia spoke of the “debris of failure” that must be dealt with if the Catholic Church in America is to be truly renewed.

Chaput said the obvious problems include the clergy sex abuse crisis, a decline in priestly vocations, struggling Catholic schools and parishes, years of deficit spending and unrealistic financial management, and drastic demographic changes.

“The fact remains that roughly 10 per cent of Americans describe themselves as ex-Catholics,” he reported.

“If they all joined together in a new ‘Church of the Formerly Catholic,’ they’d be the second-largest denomination in the country. That’s the debris of failure we need to deal with if we want to repair God’s house,” he told the crowd of 1,550.

In his Sept. 18 talk, Chaput stressed that Pope Benedict had given the Church a “road map” of renewal in his Oct. 17, 2011, apostolic letter Porta Fidei (The Door of Faith).

“Morally, we live in chaotic times,” Chaput said. “In such a climate, it’s very easy for people to develop habits that undermine virtue, character and moral judgment.

“It’s hard to reach a moral consensus when a culture can’t agree on even the most basic standards of right and wrong.”