Bishop Chaput Resists Francis Ahead of New Document

On March 8 of this year it was revealed that Cardinal Fernández and Pope Francis are working on a new document to be published in early April, just in time for your Easter meditation. This morning Diane Montagna confirmed that His Holiness had a meeting with His Eminence, which was probably about this document.

At the same time as this was happening, His Excellency Bishop Charles Chaput, the archbishop emeritus of Philadelphia, published his own comments against this pontificate in First Things. They were published online and in the April print edition.

Bishop Chaput is not a “Trad bishop,” but a disciple of the last two pontificates. As such, he praises the “classically Ratzingerian” text of Lumen Fidei, an encyclical began by Pope Benedict and finished by Pope Francis. “[A]s prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,” he says, “Joseph Ratzinger was one of the greatest Christian minds of the past century.”

But, says, the Archbishop Emeritus,

The rich quality of Lumen Fidei stands in unhappy contrast to every other document of the Francis tenure. It’s a painful judgment, but true.

His Excellency does not pile on Papa Bergoglio, though, but concedes that “his critical attitude toward wealthy nations of the Global North, and especially the United States, is not unwarranted.” Fair enough. Yet he credits the “studied ambiguity” of Pope Francis to a “temptation” which is “intense” to “confirm, or at least to soothe, otherwise well-meaning people in their sinful behaviors and relationships.”

The implication of course, is that Francis has fallen into this temptation.

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