As pretty much everybody knows by now Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput is heading to Philadelphia. When I saw the rumored move yesterday it was a rumor I certainly hoped would pan out. It must be tough being a bishop in that you just never know what sports team you might have to become a fan of next. Though he did study at St. Fidelis College Seminary in Herman, Pennsylvania.
In the part of the Catholic blogosphere faithful to what the Church actually teaches there is much celebration, in other parts the comments show a wailing and gnashing of teeth. Many of us love Archbishop Chaput because of his straightforward teaching of the faith. For being very vocal and not shying away from issues. I’ve certainly linked to a number of his talks on my blog. The Archbishop is more than just a great speaker, he is a doer of the Gospel. My semi-condolences to the Catholics of Denver on their loss of Archbishop Chaput, but he certainly leaves the Diocese in much better shape than he found it. Colorado does not exactly have a large enclave of Catholics, but still the Archdiocese of Denver is one of the few places where there is an actual increase of Mass Attendance. In 2008:
Mass attendance in the Denver Archdiocese is higher than that of the national average, shows a recent survey commissioned by the Denver Archdiocese. The survey also shows that a majority of Catholics in the archdiocese, 51 percent, are “fervent” or “faithful” in their belief.
A total of 45 percent of local Catholics polled said they attended Mass in the prior week, compared to 32 percent nationally. [Source]
While most diocese were shutting down seminaries, Archbishop Chaput opened a new one and has created a steady supply of priests for the Archdiocese.
The Archbishop as ordained a Bishop rather young (43) and has served in the Archdiocese of Denver for the last 14 years. Now at 67 years of age he won’t have the years in Philadelphia that he did in Denver. Considering the devastation of the abuse crisis in Philadelphia no doubt Archbishop Chaput will still make a positive impact. Of course even with Archbishop Chaput’s obvious talents he still needs to be help up in prayer.