Ah, but he had to leave the country to say it!
Toronto, Canada, Feb 23, 2009 / 09:03 pm (CNA).- Canadians packed St. Basil’s Church in Toronto on Monday evening to hear Archbishop Charles Chaput speak about how Catholics should live out their faith in the public square. He warned that in the U.S., Catholics need to act on their faith and be on guard against "a spirit of adulation bordering on servility" that exists towards the Obama administration.Skating on thin ice there. And he said these things before "an overflow crowd of more than 700 people"! Did anyone track crime statistics in Toronto over the following two days? This could be another 'Passion of the Christ' with hate-inflated conservative Catholics stampeding out the doors of St. Basil's to crush helpless blacks and liberals under their feet!
After giving a sketch of the basic principles in his New York Times Bestseller "Render Unto Caesar," the archbishop offered his insights on the need for an honest assessment of the situation of the Church in the public square.I'd say 'Take heed, Anglicans!' if only it weren't all much too late. That spirit of cowardice masquerading as respect and politeness has gone all the way up to the Primate level, judging by the Egypt conference.
"I like clarity, and there’s a reason why," began the archbishop. "I think modern life, including life in the Church, suffers from a phony unwillingness to offend that poses as prudence and good manners, but too often turns out to be cowardice. Human beings owe each other respect and appropriate courtesy. But we also owe each other the truth -- which means candor."
According to the archbishop, the political situation for Catholics is difficult to discern because a "spirit of adulation bordering on servility already exists among some of the same Democratic-friendly Catholic writers, scholars, editors and activists who once accused pro-lifers of being too cozy with Republicans. It turns out that Caesar is an equal opportunity employer."
"The fourth and final thing to remember, and there’s no easy way to say it," remarked Archbishop Chaput, is that the "Church in the United States has done a poor job of forming the faith and conscience of Catholics for more than 40 years."
"And now we’re harvesting the results -- in the public square, in our families and in the confusion of our personal lives. I could name many good people and programs that seem to disprove what I just said. But I could name many more that do prove it, and some of them work in Washington."
American Catholics need to realize that many in the current generation haven’t just been "assimilated" into the American culture, but have in fact been "absorbed and bleached and digested by it," Archbishop Chaput asserted.
He's right, and the stresses and pressures of the current age are exposing the worn-out holes in the Catholic garment. It's no longer enough just to contemplate the census numbers of those who identify themselves as "Catholic"; it's time to face the fact that the number of real believing Catholics in the U.S. (and Canada) is much smaller than suspected. I think that it will take very few years to expose just how small that group of believers is.