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Philadelphia, Pa., Jan 23, 2020 / 05:30 pm (CNA).- Four months after submitting his mandatory letter of resignation to Pope Francis, Archbishop Charles Chaput officially stood down as leader of the Philadelphia archdiocese on Thursday.
With his successor, Bishop Nelson Perez, set to be installed on Feb.18, Chaput enters retirement after 32 years as a bishop -- much of it spent on the national stage, and widely recognized as a spiritual and intellectual leader in the Church in the United States.
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Chaput reflected on his vocation as bishop to CNA on Thursday, citing St. Augustine as the model of service he has sought to emulate in his ministry.
“Augustine lived simply, never abandoned his people, and never avoided difficult decisions or issues,” Chaput told CNA.
People - Father - Spirit - Love - Standard
“That didn't always make him popular. But he served his people sacrificially, as a good father, in a spirit of love. That's the gold standard for a bishop's ministry.”
During his episcopal ministry, and especially as Archbishop of Philadelphia, Chaput faced criticism from secular outlets and within the Church for taking “conservative” stands on leading debates in the Church, including statements discouraging Catholic politicians who support abortion from presenting themselves for Communion and opposing efforts to redefine marriage.
Stances - Culture - Warrior - Political - Thursday
His stances led to him being branded as a “culture warrior” and “political.” Yet, he explained to CNA on Thursday, his pubic stances were required of him as a responsible Catholic leader in the public square.
“Was Augustine ‘political’ for writing City of God? Or for criticizing Roman state corruption and bad officials? Of course not,” Chaput said.
Politics - Subset - Christian - Discipleship - Bishops
“Politics is a subset of Christian discipleship, and sometimes bishops need to speak and act with conviction in the public square in an unpopular way. That's always been the case.”
“Politics is important, but it's not what the Gospel is about,” he said.
The terms “conservative” and “liberal”...
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