Archbishop Chaput: Catholics responsible for evangelizing US
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput told the Los Angeles Catholic Prayer Breakfast Sept. 18 that Catholics must take responsibility for the evangelization of the country, and pursue this goal through humility and spiritual discipline.
“The task of preaching, teaching, growing and living the Catholic faith in our time, in this country, belongs to you and me. No one else can do it,” he told the crowd gathered outside the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.
“The future depends on God, but he builds it with the living stones we give him by the example of our lives.”
During his remarks, he said Christians must rediscover God’s joy, “radiate” God’s word, and make their Christian witness “frank and contagious.”
He noted Christianity’s historical rise from a “fringe” religious group to become the official religion of the Roman Empire. However, he warned that Christianity can decline into corruption and has even become extinct in some regions, like some areas conquered by Islamic expansion.
“We need to discipline ourselves to be ready for God’s grace,” he said.
“If our hearts are cold, if our minds are closed, if our spirits are fat and acquisitive, curled up on a pile of our possessions, then the Church in this country will die. It’s happened before in other times and places, and it can happen here.”
Archbishop Chaput cited several negative trends in his own archdiocese: low Sunday Mass attendance and rare use of the confessional; a decline in church marriages, infant baptisms and priestly vocations; a clergy abuse crisis; and years of deficit spending.
Nationwide, he added, about ten percent of Americans say they are ex-Catholics. [More]