Weekend reading: Archbishop Chaput on “Catholics and the Next America”

I make a point of trying to read absolutely everything that Archbishop Charles Chaput writes. His most recent column in First Things, “Catholics and the Next America“, is yet another reason why I know I’ve made a good choice. Here’s an excerpt of his thesis:

“In the coming decades Catholics will likely find it harder, not easier, to influence the course of American culture, or even to live their faith authentically. And the big difference between the “next America” and the old one will be that plenty of other committed religious believers may find themselves in the same unpleasant jam as their Catholic cousins.”

And, because I realize not everyone will have time to read the full column (though I of course encourage that), so here is his concluding paragraph:

“The “next America” has been in its chrysalis a long time. Whether people will be happy when it fully emerges remains to be seen. But the future is not predestined. We create it with our choices. And the most important choice we can make is both terribly simple and terribly hard: to actually live what the Church teaches, to win the hearts of others by our witness, and to renew the soul of our country with the courage of our own Christian faith and integrity. There is no more revolutionary act.”

Inspiring marching orders from a great general in Christ’s army.



  • Cristóbal Almanza

    I love everything he writes. Archbishop Chaput is my former Archbishop from when I lived in Denver. He really pushed my faith in many good ways. You had made a good choice in following his writings. :-)

  • Fr. William J Kuchinsky

    Thank you Archbishop Chaput for articulating the signs of the times and helping us to understand what it means to be “children of light” in the midst of a “twisted and depraved generation.”

    As for Thomas’ remark about “marching orders” and “Christ’s army”:

    “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).

    So, please “Bean,” relax . . . we are Christians and the “yet” factor is that we be “only all for Jesus.” OR, as AB Chaput says (as quoted above) the challenge is “to actually live what the Church teaches, to win the hearts of others by our witness, and to renew the soul of our country with the courage of our own Christian faith and integrity.”

    Fear more the results of our own folly when those aligned, as if in an army of the evil one, promote the gravest of injustices – to the grave detriment of society and the cause of peaceful coexistence. What exactly is it you fear regarding the “yet” you mention?

    The terms used are analogous, and it seems somewhat strange that Christian would somehow see in them something sinister so as to “fear” the future because our discipleship is framed in the way Thomas did in this post (“marching orders,” “general in Christ’s army”).

    What is hard cold fact (and not some imaginary “fear” of when we get to the “yet factor” as Christians) is that neo-pagans are advancing a culture of death whereby 10’s of millions are killed each year. And that’s just one of the horrors we currently face in the “culture wars.”

    There are many analogies one may be able to use to briefly sum up what AB Chaput’s remarks mean: and the terms used by the Papist are very accurate and appropriate – the Church is in dire combat. our Bishop’s as leaders are like generals . . .

    • bean

      With all due respect Fr. Kuchinsky, there are many reasons to fear both sides. You asked the yet factor of what I fear? I have had this on my mind as of late. There is so much intertwined in our political sphere these days that it can be rather hard to decipher good from bad. On both sides that is, or maybe on all sides. I asked a simple question. What are Christ’s soldiers, and would Christ view us as soldiers? If so, I would be interested in hearing any Catholic teaching on where Christ called for Soldiers. What is a soldier? I dont know but lately I have been beginning to wonder if this is really how God intended things to be. You’ve got flags on alters, the military war machine, and a sodier is someone who is willing not only to die, but willing to kill. What happened to the Prince of Peace?

  • gtb

    I sent this talk to my email list but I completely expect push back from ‘good’ Catholics who will take exception to the last few paragraphs, true though they are. A prophet is never without honor…

  • David

    I would love the chance to ask Catholics all over the world if they are willing to risk it all (job, money, health, and even life) for Jesus Christ, for I fear that the great majority of the Church is just paying mere lip service to the faith. I think that Benedict XVI gets it (going into a violent atheist playground in London), and I think many of our missionaries in war zones and pro-life folks get it too. I’ve been reading the letters from St. Ignatius of Antioch, and here was a man who truly “got” what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus.

    Read Ignatius’ letter to the Romans. Find out what it really means to be a Catholic. If after reading it, you are frightened of what may happen in the future for Catholics and other Christians, pray for courage and strength.

  • Bruce


    I work in a Catholic school as well, and I can tell you that the tide is turning. What you are dealing with is primarily poorly formed folks with mindsets from the 1970s and 1980s (regardless of their age, though I guarantee some of whom you’re dealing with are straight out of that era…but age doesn’t matter, its the mindset of that era).

    The good news is that the distorted practices of that time are dying out, and a new Catholicism, which is dynamic and traditional, is rising in many of our schools…mostly the NEW ones that are popping up. Some of the venerable old schools may continue on the destructive path you are talking about, in which case they will cease being Catholic in a matter of years and simply be private schools. The new ones, which have the newest bishops most excited, are fully committed to BEING Catholic and not just relying on the name to make money (like those in Massachusettes).

    Keep on praying and stand your ground. Oh, and DON’T keep silent either. Go to the priest, go to the vicar, and go to the bishop. Make it known what is happening at your Catholic school…and make the parents know of it too. When like-minded traditional Catholics get together, and with the power of prayer, nothing can stop them.

    Not even atheistic liberal panty-waists dressing up in “Catholic” clothing.



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