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Preaching The Gospel in the Public Square

AB Chaput Goes to Philadelphia

By Bob Laird

George Weigel wrote an very revealing article yesterday about AB Chaput's appointment as the Archbishop of Philadelphia which is well worth the read. I want to draw your attention to one point that Weigel makes which probably places AB Chaput in a unique category of American Catholic prelates.

"[J]ust about every story claimed that Chaput was a tough guy when it came to holding Catholic politicians accountable for their votes on abortion and the nature of marriage (while completely missing the fact that Chaput had consistently made genuinely public arguments, not uniquely Catholic theological claims, about the inalienable right to life and marriage rightly understood)."

"Chaput had consistently made genuinely public arguments, not uniquely Catholic theological claims..." is worth comment. Priests and bishops in the seminaries are trained to be theologians and homilists; not public speakers. May we all learn from AB Chaput that conversion requires a connection between the speaker and the listener. That connection, done in the public square, needs to be in a language that the listener understands using arguments that make sense to the listener.

May all of us carefully read the public statements of AB Chaput to recognize that his arguments are theologically correct, but in a language which is understand in the public square.

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