How Would You Compare Pope Francis and Archbishop Chaput?

Click here to read: “On the same page with Francis?,” by Will Bunch, The Philadelphia Daily News, April 4, 2013


Indeed, the raw feelings caused by the abuse scandal has some local Catholics saying that Chaput could still be even more humble.

One group calling itself Catholics4Change questioned the cost of the recent donation-funded trip in which Chaput and top Pennsylvania pols went to Rome, as well as the archbishop’s failure to meet with their protesters outside the Center City cathedral on a recent Sunday.

The group’s leader, Susan Matthews, said that despite his recent remarks on inclusion, she believes that Chaput is still “all about a smaller church, a more pure church.”



I just want to clear up that I never said that the “protestor’s” were “ours.” The group consisted of victims. While they may protest the actions of the Church, I think it’s very important that these people are referred to as victims of the Church. That’s why Archbishop Chaput should have personally greeted them. Also, Catholics4Change is a online forum not a group. I’m humbled by the relationships that have been formed here, but I don’t lay claim to them. Nor, do I claim to be a leader – I’m just a blog publisher. Each and every one of you is a leader in this cause.

21 thoughts on “How Would You Compare Pope Francis and Archbishop Chaput?

  1. Like it or not stopping gay marriage is not “the issue of our time,” today or when Archbishop Charles Chaput included it in “his first major Philadelphia interview.”

    “The issue of our time,” for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, as for the Church Universal, is the continuing scandal of the cover-up of childhood sexual abuse in the RCC by bishops and their minions and the accompanying loss of the Church’s – that is the bishops’ – credibility.

    No matter what appears in the newspapers about visits to Rome, whether or not Pope Francis is coming to Philadelphia, the scheduling of another so called “Healing Mass,” much like the “Witness to the Sorrow,” which was Cardinal Rigali’s 2011 PR production, behind the scenes is the continuing and very aggressive action to see that proposed legislation to remove the criminal and civil statutes of limitation on the sexual abuse of children, including a two year civil window for previously time barred cases of csa, never sees the light of day. All the words about how much the RCC cares about victims of csa are meaningless when actions have not followed the words.

    How much money has already gone to finance the well paid lobbyists of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference to oppose needed legislation, to keep proposed bills “in the drawer.” Do the parishioners know what the amount spent over years now totals?

    “Chaput’s aides said he was too busy this week to be interviewed, but his supporters say that any differences between him and Pope Francis – then and now – have been a matter of style and emphasis, not church doctrine. They note that he’s had a consistent message on poverty – ‘If we ignore the poor, we will go to hell,’ the archbishop has said, going back to 2004 – and in opposing the death penalty.”

    It is very telling that Archbishop Charles Chaput does not include the innocent victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation, especially those sexually abused by priests, in his definition of the poor.

    I stand by my remarks made in my commentary on his installation as the 13th head of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, “Victims, justice and the new archbishop,” published in the National Catholic Reporter on September 8, 2011:

    And I especially stand by the words:

    “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God,” (Mark 10:14).

    If we don’t help the poor, the disenfranchised, the innocent victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation who were unable to defend themselves, then we are indeed going to hell.

    Without justice for all there is justice for none.

    Sister Maureen Paul Turlish
    Advocate for Survivors & Legislative Reform
    New Castle, DE

    1. I think it’s disgusting for the church anywhere to have lobbyists on their payrol even more so if they have charitable organisation status and tax exempt as in Australia.
      God calling or mammon?

      1. I would agree with you. I think the comparison of their style is irrelevant. In Matthew 17:15-16 Christ warns the disciples to beware of false prophets and tells them that by their deeds you will recognize them. Francis has shunned many of the trappings of the papacy. He has made the almoner a real job. He has reached out to the poor and disaffected. It is by these standards that the archbishop should be judged by all Catholics.

        I cannot judge because the actions of the archdiocese have exceeded my tolerance for moral failure, so i worship elsewhere, but I would suggest that all Catholics examine the moral leadership of the archdiocese and make their own judgment. Francis has shown great moral courage in his actions, and the laity have the right to expect the same from the bishops who work for him. If that is not present, the only option is to seek another diocese or another faith community that inspires that courage in us.

        1. Dick: I had great expectations for Pope Francis. As one of the disaffected, I really thought he would be different. I guess in some ways he has been different. But to many of us who blog here, Francis has been a major disappointment. Surveys done before he was elected pope among lay Catholics ranked the worldwide sexual abuse scandal as the top priority for the incoming Pope .Unfortunately sex abuse by the clergy and the cover up by the Hierarchy has barely been on his radar. His comments a few weeks ago pertaining to the abuse crisis shows how uninformed and misinformed he truly is. His record in Argentina as far as childhood abuse is concerned is extremely disappointing. Perhaps the commission that he appointed will truly inform him. But I wouldn’t hold my breath..

  2. Every week in Church they pray for “the dignity of all life from conception to death” and it always irks me because they have not shown such dignity to our abused children and adult survivors. It’s completely hypocritical. Yes, we need to show dignity to the unborn and elderly, but what about those in between especially those who have been harmed at the hands of the Church themselves.

  3. AS one victim of clergy sexual abuse, I not only question the cost of the Rome trip, I also question the propriety of Church leaders and politicians traveling together for any purpose. I believe that Church and state should be separate. One of the main reasons that the sexual abuse of innocent children has gone on for such a long period of time is because politicians and religious leaders were in cahoots to make sure that priests who perpetrated such abuse were protected and not prosecuted. For too long priests, Bishops, Archbishops and Popes have been given special treatment because of their religious affiliations. The reason that SOL legislation has not moved forward in Harrisburg is because the Catholic Church is still being given special treatment. Victims, on the other hand, continue to be denied justice.

  4. Susan do you really believe that Chaput is about a “smaller more pure church”? Just wondering if they have quoted you correctly.

    1. That was a correct quote, but does require more context. Egunn’s link does that nicely. Pope Francis’ message seems to be one of inclusion and love. I don’t think it diminishes doctrine when you put those two things first. In fact, I think it empowers it. It’s certainly how Jesus rolled in the Scriptures. Archbishop Chaput, from what I’ve observed, seems to more of a “my way or the highway” leader. He seems to be okay with people leaving the Church. I would have liked to have seen him speak with the victims who didn’t enter the cathedral for the healing Mass. I really think that’s what Jesus would have done. Reach out to the margins.

      1. Susan,
        I knew what you meant, I think the hang up was the word “pure.” There isn’t one thing “pure” about the RCC. When I think of pure…I think “true, holy, unscathed, so closely aligned to Christ.” I find those qualities in the very small pockets of the Body, but definitely not inclusive of the RCC’s understanding of church.

        Smaller, narrower church…yes.

        Smaller, more pure…no.

  5. The lobbying and the catholic conference are why my $ only stay in parish projects that the parish doesn’t have to tithe to the diocese where I live. I will support the school and the food pantry, but never put money the basket that has a % pulled out for the bishop. It’s disgusting that they can lobby like a big corporation. And that the widows pence is wasted this way. Not WWJD!

  6. Francis and Chaput are two men made from the same cloth. You can wring out the cloth and hyper-focus on what dribbles out– the styles, the theological leanings, the backgrounds, the experiences, the associations, the memberships, the personalities, the words, the actions… But the cloth says it all. The cloth is the cloth of the priesthood. Ingrained in both men are the vows to dutifully and loyally maintain Tradition, protect the image of Mother Church, protect its assets, and protect priesthoods at all costs. Behind each man’s dribble are the same immutable goals. Compare the two? Why? They are cultish clones.

  7. Last weekend, at Voice of the Faithful’s (VOTF) annual meeting in Hartford, Fr. Thomas Reese, S.J., said that because the sexual abuse crisis had been hushed and silenced in Latin America, “Francis is about 10 years behind us on this issue.” Clearly, that was demonstrated when he defensively spoke in an interview with an Italian newspaper last month, inaccurately boasting about Church accountability and transparency and citing anti-Catholic sentiment as the vehicle driving the ongoing abuse crisis.

    In a top down organization inflicted with a crisis of enormous magnitude, to put it mildly, it is disheartening to hear that its leader “is about 10 years behind us on the issue.” In an Other world…

    In the grand scheme of things, clerics lag. The “developmental delays” have the effect of dumbing down the profession’s members, creating a leadership void, threatening the well-being of the rest of us, arresting the advancement of mercy and justice, and altogether compromising the faith.

    There was a time when Catholics swooned and were made giddy by the Otherness of clerics. Then, critical eyes revealed Otherness to mean damaged, compromised, and inept.

  8. I have been back and forth reading this posting numerous times on how one would compare two men. I have numerous things I would like to say but there is a problem. I keep seeing my mother telling me if you don’t have anything nice to say about someone don’t say anything at all.

  9. Hi Katherine,

    When Pope Francis took control of the Catholic Church I like so many other people had high hopes that he would end the continued cover-ups by the church dealing with sexual abuse. I kept an open mind and allowed him to settle into his position. But as time went on it was only the Catholic Church continuing to play by the old rule book. When Pope Francis was quoted as saying the so-called abuse victims or compared the Catholic church to other institutions to minimize the crimes of the Catholic Church I knew then Pope Francis was only another figure head and my thoughts were only confirmed by headings like this by AP “Under Pope Francis the Vatican continues to deny its role in creating and maintaining a culture where upholding the reputation of the church is prioritized over the safety of children,” Being polite I can only call the man a fraud after giving so many people a shot at hope there would be changes.

    I now move onto Archbishop Chaput. I cannot think very highly of a man who gives another man a toast and standing ovation to a man who refused to do the right thing. He had the power to change the history of clerical abuse in Philadelphia simply by picking up a phone or refusing to be a yes man to his superiors.

    I cannot think highly of a man who gives me the excuse “I don’t like to be pressured” when questioned about the investigations of accused priests of sexually abusing children.

    and I cannot respect a man who slaps the victims of clerical abuse in the face who have struggled to remain in the Roman Catholic church even after the pain they have had to suffer. I must admit when he dropped down 25K for Lynn’s bail I screamed and called the man a son of a female dog.

    When comparing these two men I only see one because they are both cut from the same cloth. Chaput would have no problem filling the shoes of Pope Francis, and Pope Francis would have no problem filling the shoes of Chaput.

    1. Thank you, Dennis.

      I think it’s hard for you to see through my words the genuine tenderness I feel for priests as individuals and creations of God. I am hurt by their dilemma. In being cut from the same cloth, they give up themselves and give into a groupthink. Imagine were priests to have the opportunity to reach their full realization, independent of the vows that shackle them.

      Look at this priest. Trust me, he is cut from the same cloth. It is hard to imagine him being compromised by the cloth. But he is. For this reason, I advocate for reform in the priesthood.

  10. Thank you Susan for taking so much of your own time to keep us informed about the real issues of our church. Keep up the good work!

  11. I’ve always appreciated the input on C4C from Australian blogger L. Newington. Newington’s input is a constant reminder that the Church’s crimes and sins are not contained to Philadelphia, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Newark… Additionally, Newington’s reporting on the ongoing Australian Royal Commission’s inquiry into the crimes offers hope that a similar federal inquiry might, in the future, unfold in the U.S.

    Fr. Thomas Doyle has watched the Royal Commission’s inquiry like a hawk. This reporting-piece he wrote on April 8 is powerful. The Australian hierarchical sins and crimes will floor you. The bullying, the threats, the anti-Christ behavior, the manipulation, the perception of victims as “troublemakers,” the Vatican’s supportive role, the wielding of power via expensive lawyers intent on crushing victims, the colluding, the lying, the secrecy, the arrogance, and the hierarchical, tyrannical abuse being dredged up in Australia is merely the Australian rendition of an abhorrent global Church.

    The perception of victims as “troublemakers” should hit the core of any decent human being. The stance is incomprehensible and unconscionable. (Over the years, hierarchs have imposed the stance on victim-advocates as well.) Particularly disturbing is that the stance is alive and well, today, indelibly tainting and sabotaging every effort put forth by hierarchs, including Chaput and Francis, to face and resolve the sexual abuse crisis. The degree to which it acts as an obstacle is enormous and devastating.

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