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Archbishop Chaput warns of 'painful' year facing Philadelphia archdiocese

Catholic World News - December 12, 2011

In a blunt pastoral letter, Archbishop Charles Chaput has warned that “painful” days are ahead for the faithful of the Philadelphia archdiocese.

Just three months after his installation as head of the Philadelphia archdiocese, Archbishop Chaput offered a sobering perspective on the future for the local Church. Reminding the faithful that the Advent season is a time for “self-examination in the light of God’s word,” the new archbishop said: “There is no better time to speak frankly” about the problems facing the Church.

“Complacency is the enemy of faith,” the archbishop wrote. He quickly added that insofar as complacency and pride still afflict the Church in Philadelphia, “events in the coming year will burn them out. The process will be painful.”

The Church will be buffeted by new reverberations of the sex-abuse scandal in 2012, the archbishop warned, as the archdiocese will conclude its investigation of priests who have been suspended because of alleged misconduct, and the criminal trial of several priests will begin. Innocent priests will be hurt by the fallout, the archbishop warned, and the morale of parishioners will be severely tested.

Moreover, Archbishop Chaput continued, the archdiocese must confront “very serious financial and organizational issues that cannot be delayed.” He noted that the resources of the archdiocese belong to all the faithful, and he as archbishop must ensure that administrative decisions are made “with maximum care and prudence” to protect those resources. Speaking specifically about Philadelphia’s Catholic schools, the archbishop let the public know that some schools will inevitably be closed as the system is restructured on a more sustainable basis.

“These words may sound sobering, but they are spoken with love as a father and a brother,” the archbishop wrote. He encouraged the faithful not to be afraid of change, but to be confident that God “can certainly use us to renew and advance the work of his Church—and He will.”

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  • Posted by: FredC - Dec. 12, 2011 9:32 PM ET USA

    To allow for a resurgence within the next few generations, Church property should be rented rather than sold. If the government continues to develop an energy shortage, many people will be moving back to the city. In addition, the upcoming generation has values more akin to those of their great grandparents than of their parents.

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