Light to the World
In this month's issue of Crisis, Archbishop Chaput of Denver considers the roles of the faithful in the Catholic Church, "Religious and consecrated persons bear witness to the Beatitudes by living poverty, chastity, and obedience in a radical way. Laypeople, because they live in the daily secular world, have the missionary task of humanizing society and converting it to Jesus Christ. And the ordained have the vocation of service to the Church." About his vocation he writes,"Vatican II described the vocation of bishops as a call to serve rather than a call to power. When a bishop struggles to put on Jesus Christ over his own sins and weaknesses, he begins to understand why the council talks about the pastoral office of bishops in the Church, and not outside or above it. Bishops have the same need for redemption as the people to whom we belong. The only difference is that God will hold bishops even more accountable because of the leadership to which He ordained us, and because of the graces of the office we receive." I like Archbishop Chaput, but the personal experiences of a close friend have caused me to question some of his decisions. Out of ignorance more than charity, I reserve judgment. No one can expect perfection from any human being, even a successor to the apostles. And I am gratified to know that the Archbishop understands his call is one of service not power. Incidentally, he recommends reading Lumen Gentium, the Second Vatican Council's Dogmatic Constitution on the Church in the Modern World. I plan to take that advice.