- The American Conservative - https://www.theamericanconservative.com -

Abp Chaput Tells The Truth

Three cheers for Philadelphia’s RC Archbishop Charles Chaput, who does not deliver the usual happy-clappy mush that we’re used to from religious leaders at his level, but rather tells American Catholics (and the rest of us) the truth [1] about our time and place. Excerpt:

But there’s a flaw in the American gene code. The Jesuit scholar John Courtney Murray named it more than seventy years ago. Murray said that America is simultaneously a land “of immense material comfort” and “immense suffering of a peculiarly soul-destroying kind”—a nation driven by the anxiety for money and the fear of life without it.

From its founding, America has always been a paradox: a country of fierce individualism and hunger for material success, tempered by widespread Christian faith and community. If the churches decline, selfishness and greed rise—which is exactly what’s happened in the United States since the end of the Second World War.

Father Murray, writing in the mid-twentieth-century, hoped that Catholics would provide a Christian soul to American life in a way that Protestants no longer could. We know how that turned out. Notre Dame social researcher Christian Smith and his colleagues have tracked in great detail the spiritual lives of today’s young adults and teenagers. The results are sobering. So are the implications for Catholic life in the decades ahead.

The real religion of vast numbers of American young people is a kind of fuzzy moral niceness, with an easy, undemanding God on duty to make people feel happy whenever they need him. It’s what Smith calls “moralistic therapeutic deism.” To put it in the words of a young woman from Maryland, “[Faith is] just whatever makes you feel good about you.”

This is the legacy that my generation has left to the Church in the United States. For all practical purposes, American Catholics are no different from everybody else in their views, their appetites, and their behaviors. This isn’t what the Second Vatican Council had in mind when it began its work fifty years ago. It’s not what the council meant by reform. Left to itself, the life of the Church in my country is not going to get better. It’s going to get worse.

Unfortunately, what happens in my country affects everyone else. The developed nations lead not just through the “hard power” of military, economic, and political strength. They also lead through the “soft power” of their mass media; media that tell us what to desire; whom to believe; what qualifies as news; and when to laugh. The developed world creates the appetites, aspirations, and dreams of the planet. And those dreams—even today—bear the stamp “Made in America.”

From the outside, the Church in my country often looks strong. We have buildings and ministries and programs—but these are misleading. Catholic life is weakening from the inside. The pace of that weakening increases as young people detach from Catholic culture. My own city of Philadelphia is a prime example of how this is already happening.

Read the whole thing. [1] Chaput is not a pessimist about this stuff, as you’ll see; he is a realist. It will be interesting to see what kind of religious leaders emerge to guide our post-Christian culture into whatever is coming next. Will they be sauve qui peut fire-and-brimstoners? Will they be Happy-Clappys who insist, against all evidence, that we are living in the best of all possible times for Christianity? Or will they be like Chaput: hopeful but undeceived about the times and their challenges?

28 Comments (Open | Close)

28 Comments To "Abp Chaput Tells The Truth"

#1 Comment By Sam M On December 4, 2012 @ 1:31 pm

“If the churches decline, selfishness and greed rise—which is exactly what’s happened in the United States since the end of the Second World War.”

Who is more selfish? by what measure? Do you consider your family dramatically more selfish than your parents were? In what way?

#2 Comment By Fred On December 4, 2012 @ 1:44 pm

Archbishop Chaput distinguished himself over the last year by basically becoming a Republican political operative. He as good as told Pennsylvania Catholics that they cannot remain Catholic and vote for Democrats:


And when asked about extreme conservative budgets which decimate support for the neediest in our society:

John Allen: “What about the wing of the church that says a party that supports the Ryan budget also ought to cause concern?”

Chaput: “Jesus tells us very clearly that if we don’t help the poor, we’re going to go to hell. Period. There’s just no doubt about it. That has to be a foundational concern of Catholics and of all Christians. But Jesus didn’t say the government has to take care of them, or that we have to pay taxes to take care of them. Those are prudential judgments. Anybody who would condemn someone because of their position on taxes is making a leap that I can’t make as a Catholic. … You can’t say that somebody’s not Christian because they want to limit taxation. Again, I’m speaking only for myself, but I think that’s a legitimate position. It may not be the correct one, but it’s certainly a legitimate Catholic position; and to say that it’s somehow intrinsically evil like abortion doesn’t make any sense at all.”

#3 Comment By Rod Dreher On December 4, 2012 @ 1:52 pm

Fred, come on, that’s completely beside the point. I don’t agree with Chaput on everything. I semi-famously fell out with him over the sex abuse scandal, and his very bad response to it. I think he’s pretty much correct about the situation the Catholic Church, and traditional Christianity, are in. I could be wrong. Keep your commentary focused on that, people, and not your general views of Abp Chaput.

#4 Comment By Charles Cosimano On December 4, 2012 @ 2:17 pm

Of course that presupposes that selfishness and greed are bad things. From his point of view they are and it is to be expected that he would object.

And yes, there is no question the brand of Catholicism he represents is in trouble.

#5 Comment By Scott S On December 4, 2012 @ 2:23 pm

The churches are failing because in many communities the social pressure to belong to the church no longer exists. Which is to say, in the past, folks felt the need to maintain the appearance of being Christian regardless of what was in their hearts, because their communities expected it of them. While it’s certainly appropriate to mourn the decline of the churches from their former glory, I think that it’s important to keep in mind that that former glory rested on a good deal of social coercion. While there are fewer people in the pews, those who show up are generally there of their own free will. They are the truly faithful.

You can’t force salvation on people.

#6 Comment By Church Lady On December 4, 2012 @ 2:27 pm

These kinds of remarks are understandable, given the decline in the Church, and Christianity in general, in the whole of the modernized West. What they remind me of is the recent thread on the traditional family being in decline, and how that’s very much a function of our civilization being in a completely different economic mode than the one in which the traditional family evolved. The same is true of the Church itself, and even Christianity in general.

I know traditionalists like to think that their Church is the true one, sanctified by God and all the rest. But the truth is, it was the creation of men, and it was shaped by the needs and opportunities of the times. It thrived because its message resonated with the times, as a new offering that seemed to hold great promise and comfort to people struggling in what are really incredibly dire circumstances by our standards. It thrived because it created a social structure, a cultural morality, and a religious mystique that helped people get through those dire times. It thrived, and it helped people thrive, in the face of daily obstacles we can hardly imagine living under.

And that’s just the problem. We aren’t living under those circumstances anymore. We aren’t suffering the deaths of our children such that only a few survive to adulthood. We aren’t working away all day, and all year, just to get enough to eat, and a small shelter to live in. We aren’t serfs or slaves or indigent farmers struggling against brutal political regimes. We aren’t illiterate peasants who see Cathedrals and stained glass windows and become willing to devote our entire life to the visions they portray. We aren’t required for our very survival to become members of a faithful creed and its local parish, which helps keep us going in hard times. We aren’t accustomed to seeing all powerful authority figures as right and true and annointed by God to fulfill their position in society.

That whole picture, in which the Church grew up and took on its present form, no longer exists, at least not in the First World. It does, to some degree, in the Third World, which is why it’s about the only place that traditional Christianity is actually growing. But we live in a different world now, and that’s why the Church, which is trying to maintain its previous standing and structure and function, is in decline.

Of course, we can claim that it’s because of declining morals and ignorance and so on. But that’s all just sour grapes. Of course “morals” are in decline, if one defines morality as that structure of values that existed in those previous eras. Those morals are in decline, because they served that era, not our own. We have new morals taking their place, including even the dreaded “moral therapeutic deism”. Why is that on the rise? Because the new economic, political and social conditions make it attractive to some, more so than the traditional moral codes created to serve a previous age.

The problem is that the Church created a myth about its own moral codes and cultural-religious structure, that it was given by God, and is an unchanging truth for all beings in all times. That myth helped it gain greater power and acceptance in the era for which it was suited. But even that myth is in decline, now that it no longer serves many of this in this age, and the general economic and political order of the times. That has to feel like a great betrayal to some, like this Bishop (and perhaps Rod too). But it’s just how things work. It’s how the Church rose in the first place, replacing other religious cultures and their morals, and not its how the Church declines, and is being replaced by other religious and secular moral orders more suited to our times.

Economics is at the root of it, but that has created a social and cultural milieu all its own over the last few hundred years that has made traditional religion seem obsolete to many. Not to all, certainly, but the decline seems irreversible precisely because the underlying economic forces driving all these changes isn’t abating, and is only creating conditions so far from those under which the Church and its doctrines was created and thrived, that it simply cannot seem to adapt. It is trapped in its own myth, like an aging silent film start who can’t make it in the era of the talkies. Or a theatrical actor who can’t transition to TV. It becomes a charming anachronism, still beloved by many, but followed by few.

That’s not to say that some branch of Christianity can’t adapt and thrive in the new era. Some clearly are. But they are almost as anathema to the traditionalists as the secular heathens are. Maybe more so. And then on the other side of the spectrum, we get the new fundamentalists, who thrive by embodying a reactionary stance. But these only seem like doomed dead-enders making their final stand against the inevitable. Or Don Quixotes tilting at windmills. The die seems cast.

Which is why milennialism is so popular among these sorts. They are only being realistic in some sense. They recognize that for their old traditional religion to thrive once again, the whole new economic and political order we have must collapse. Lord Karth is counting the hours. It’s not likely to turn out that way, but it’s the only real hope they have.

It’s not as if the current economic order is going to be forever, of course. But whatever it changes into, it’s not likely to reproduce the conditions under which Christianity thrived and built up all its doctrines and morality and structures of life. It’s moving in another direction entirely. And so it’s a frustrating world to live in. It must be similar to the last days of Pagan Rome, as Christianity was rising up and replacing those ancient religions with its own new order. When Christians talk about the fall of civilizations, what they are really talking about is the decline of their own traditional world, not the present world that is replacing it. And there’s a sadness to that, which is inevitable. Triumphalism undone is a recipe for tragedy. There’s something tragic about all those empty Cathedrals in Europe. And something comic-tragic about the rise of the MTD crowd. But it all goes with the territory.

It doesn’t mean the end of religion. It does mean that other things are replacing the old religions, some of which don’t even look like religion. Or the old religions just end up changing. It’s a challenge to do that, and there’s no clear guidance. It’s clear that the Church hierarchy has no clue as to how to do it. One probably has to look outside the traditional quarters for signs of what needs to happen. And yet that is precisely what many of these people staunchly refuse to do. You can’t survive a tsunami by diving underneath it and holding one’s breath. You have to ride on the surface, and let it take you where Grace will.

#7 Comment By JT On December 4, 2012 @ 2:30 pm

That’s quite a leap you make there, Fred.

Chaput’s states (in your quote), essentially, that it’s OK to be Catholic and not support high taxes and big government welfare programs. Somehow, you interpret that to mean “all democrats go to hell.” Come on.

Chaput’s point, which he makes quite clearly, is that whereas the call to help the poor is a moral obligation, the means by which the poor our helped is a judgement left to the individual.

You have chosen to demonize Chaput simply because he refused to demonize the right.

#8 Comment By T Paine On December 4, 2012 @ 2:34 pm

There is a non-religious way out of the wilderness, but it is a thorny path. God may be dead, but secularism is deader. The trick is to get non-believers to engage spiritually, to use head and heart to forge their own beliefs if they aren’t happy with what religion has to offer. For most people, the slow decline of western religion has left behind it nothing but an amoral sludge of cuddly, humanistic bullshit which is only half believed and half true. It is a thin gruel when times are hard.

Religion fulfills a basic human need, it seems, and cannot simply be cast aside. The problem is that it is also not coming back. We need a new drug.

#9 Comment By Roland de Chanson On December 4, 2012 @ 2:38 pm

Why Chaput would expect Catholics to differ from Protestants in their “behaviors” (sic) is a mystery. His modernist council followed by the masonic protestantized “mass” is reason enough for the decline. The hand-waving hand-shaking hand-holding pew piskies wouldn’t know the Virgin Birth from the Immaculate Conception. But the deaconess-wannabe dames are up there in the sanctuary handling the novus ordo wafers just like their ECUSA priestess sisters.

Chaput is just another prolix prelate who prefers yacking to acting. Until he and others shut down the sphincterophilic parishes, excommunicate deniers of Catholic doctrine starting with politicians, and restore the traditional liturgy, he is just another hot air balloon at a clown mass.

He does have two things in his favor however. He does not wear a cheese biretta nor guffaw like a buffoon at dinner with enemies of the church. Oh, and he also knows how to dress the part, unlike his fellow Franciscan in the brown potato sack in Boston.

I will say that he is one bishop the mention of whose name does not automatically make one want to reach for a horsewhip.

#10 Comment By em On December 4, 2012 @ 2:48 pm

The Bible is filled with its mentions, and I like to see the authentic self-sorting that happens when as people we have full freedom without social pressures and legal coercions or restrictions to show truly what we are, divide ourselves between the people of heaven and the people not. From most Abrahamic based spiritual views, this is exactly natural and expected for this age.

#11 Comment By Charles Cosimano On December 4, 2012 @ 2:52 pm

If secularism is dead, it is doing a very good job in the afterlife, because it’s winning.

#12 Comment By Chris Roberts On December 4, 2012 @ 2:57 pm

Fred, on whether or not Chaput is a “Republican political operative,” you might be interested in the opening paragraphs of this recent essay, a book review he published just prior to the election:


These paragraphs are the opposite of partisan.

#13 Comment By T Paine On December 4, 2012 @ 3:14 pm

@Charles – I’d have said “nihilism”, but didn’t want to obviously channel F.N. Secularism is dead in the sense that it was never really alive; science and empiricism are not ends unto themselves.

#14 Comment By Clint On December 4, 2012 @ 3:40 pm

Archbishop Fulton Sheen,
“Criticism of others is thus an oblique form of self-commendation. We think we make the picture hang straight on our wall by telling our neighbors that all his pictures are crooked.”

#15 Comment By Ampersand On December 4, 2012 @ 4:07 pm

“If the churches decline, selfishness and greed rise…”

Strangely, the most aggressive and amoral money-changers are in the same party as the most religious, so those two things can apparently co-exist.

#16 Comment By Joe Mc.. .Faul On December 4, 2012 @ 4:08 pm

“Some 69 percent of American Catholic adults say they would not encourage someone to become a priest or religious sister. The implications of that one piece of data for the sacramental and apostolic life of the Church in the United States are enormous.”

Now, why would that be?

It has nothignto do with Aemerican capitalism and a lot to do with the condcut of American Bishops. Only two currently sitting bishops have been convicted of crimes this year. The vicar of his own diocese was also convicted.

Chaput’s speech was not directed at Americans or American bishops, so I don’t expect much. Call me when he takes bishops to task for the handling of the sexual abuse crisis.

In the meantime, he is an empty gong and a clanging cymbal.

#17 Comment By Franklin Evans On December 4, 2012 @ 4:47 pm

We’ve seen here in Rod’s blog and elsewhere discussion and criticism of the “gospel of prosperity”. I respectfully yet adamantly assert that it is neither the sole property of certain evangelical sects, nor is its corrupting influence at all mitigated by any other sects.

In short: Not one mainstream Christian sect can stand up in front of its congregations and say with a straight face “More is not always better. Your parents and grandparents found a a sane and rational middle ground where “enough” was a value, not something of which to be ashamed.”

Our politics reflect our culture quite as much as our culture is shaped by our politics. One might never really find a clear turning point — I don’t think one can limit this to the post-WWII era — but it has always been true. We are conditioned to never be satisfied, to mortgage our souls right along with our homes and our children’s futures to buy the next superficially new technology (that usually has more bugs than improvements), to see everything as throwaway — you don’t have to buy a car, you can lease it and get another one every two years — and to believe that we can be everything to everyone.

That last one is particulary dangerous for parents. Our culture looks back at the eras when arranged marriages were the norm, with disdain if not open scorn, yet we don’t hesitate to map out our children’s earning potentials by the time they can walk. After all, we are happy with two cars, extended vacations and every diploma from an Ivy, right? We are ever so much happier than our parents, eh?

There is a lesson to be learned from the Christian tradition of the simple life of a cleric. He or she isn’t poor by necessity. It’s the example of the ideal, a good and comfortable life that leaves plenty of room for worship, contemplation, and the companionship of our fellows and our surroundings.

No, we are not called to asceticism. We are called to see the value in reading our children bedtime stories instead of rushing them off to yet another soccer game, or engaging them in conversation instead of ignoring their temporary deaths in front of computer or hand-held screens.

#18 Comment By Richard M On December 4, 2012 @ 5:00 pm

Hello Jo McFaul,

It has nothing to do with American capitalism and a lot to do with the conduct of American Bishops.

It certainly does – but not necessarily in the ways you think.

The sex scandals are merely a symptom of a deeper crisis of faith within the Catholic Church. Too many of these bishops over the last six or seven decades have been Lewis’s “men without chests” – unable to give vigorous and fiery witnesses to the faith, too often willing to dampen (or douse) whatever embers do smolder in their flocks by their institutional comfort, substitution of bureaucracy for leadership, and concessions to the spirit of the age. A lot of good young men were turned away or turfed out of their seminaries over the years.

It’s pretty obvious where vocations are booming and where they aren’t. Fabian Bruskewitz didn’t lacked for vocations. Neither have a number of priestly societies and religious orders I could name. And sex abuse issues have been a non-issue for all of them.

Hello Roland,

I will say that he is one bishop the mention of whose name does not automatically make one want to reach for a horsewhip.

I think you could add Morlino and Bruskewitz to that list. Perhaps a few others.

#19 Comment By Joe Mc.. .Faul On December 4, 2012 @ 7:32 pm

Sorry, the Lewis’s “men without chests” meme is just wrong. The Catholic Church, for 1000 years, has been institutionally unable to cope with widespread clergy sex abuse. Clergy sex abuse is even worse in Africa and other areas that it is in the US.

There are no “booming vocations” in Lincoln. Here is the actual data of number of Catholics and numbr of priests by year in the Diocese of Lincoln:

Year # Catholics # priests

195o 39,000 176 priests

1970 58,000 156

1990 79,000 136

2000 88,000 146

2010 95,000 151 (essentially no change in 40 years)

Number of catholics per priest has risen from 224 to 632 in the same period. Despite the tripling in the number of Catholics in Lincoln, the number of parishes has declined from 141 in 1959 to 133 today.

The data is clear– number of Catholics has tripled, number of priests has declined, number of parishes have declined in the Diocese of Lincoln. The average age of priests in the US was 35 in 1970 and is now 63. Vocations are not keeping up with demand.

Any claim of booming vocations is contradicted by the facts and is simply whistling past the graveyard. It will remain that way at least until the bishops start comprehensively addressing the clergy sex abuse problem along with a number of other issues as well. Fabian Bruskewitz’s conduct, in particular, was inexcusable. I hope his sucessor changes course.

#20 Comment By Liam On December 4, 2012 @ 8:14 pm

Abp Chaput tells a limited truth. Not the whole truth. Let’s not confuse them.

Btw, when he says “This is the legacy that my generation has left to the Church in the United States” does he mean the Silent Generation? The whole cohort-generation thing gets creaky. After all, the people who most ruddered the postwar shift in Catholic secularization in the USA* were … the “Greatest Generation”, if we are going to keep on the cohort-generation them.

* The USA was on delay from Western Europe, where secularization started in elites with the Thirty Years War, gathered apace with the Wars of Revolution, and then metastasized after World War I. But the general trend has been generations of hierarchies exposing their lack of competence. There were counteracting waves, to be sure, but this dynamic is far more deeply rooted than Abp Chaput appears to acknowledge. Abp Chaput appears to fancy himself as someone who is facing up to reality; I am not yet persuaded he is actually doing that, and he might merely be creating the Potemkin village illusion of that.

#21 Comment By Roland de Chanson On December 4, 2012 @ 8:15 pm

Richard M., good point. I didn’t intend my list of one to be exhaustive!

Both Morlino and Bruskewitz are more traditional than Chaput. Chaput’s not a bad guy. But these prelates need to act. Acta non dicta!

They are all of a feather — careerists. Bureaucrats and apparatchiks. Keep the money flowing — my clarets are expensive.

#22 Comment By Tony On December 4, 2012 @ 10:15 pm

I went to a Thanksgiving mass in Philly last week, and surrounded by the richest folks in the city, he fearlessly preached the gospel, and I said to myself, this guy wants to be a saint, it was beautiful to see

#23 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On December 4, 2012 @ 10:54 pm

Archbishop Chaput makes Cosimanian Orthodoxy look positively divine by comparison. To find that he occasionally offers a valid criticism of American greed is rather like saying President Morsi of Egypt has a valid point about Western exploitation of Asia and Africa. The man is above all hungry for power. He holds the traditional Roman disdain for the separation of church and state, and yearns to bring every creature on earth under obedience to the Roman pontiff. His spiels are a means to that end.

#24 Comment By Richard M On December 4, 2012 @ 11:06 pm

Hello Joe McFaul,

I’m sorry, but I can’t let these distortions of Bishop Bruskewitz’s record stand. I can only assume that you lack the context to understand what’s happened there.

Lincoln under Bruskewitz has had one of the highest rates of ordination per capita of Catholics in all of North America. During his 20 years in Lincoln, Bruskewitz has ordained 67 men to the priesthood. The reality is that he has left his diocese with not only more priests, but younger median age priests, than he had when he took over. In a CARA study of ordinations in the U.S. from 2003-06, only five dioceses had a lower ratio of Catholics to ordinand than Lincoln (one per every 7,230 Catholics). While this ratio is not as high as is typical of traditionalist parishes – the waiting list for the FFSSP seminary located in his diocese is very lengthy – it’s about as good as it gets for diocesan vocations rates.

Bishop Bruskewitz rightly refused to sign the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, because the Charter is a joke. His record is among the very best in dealing with sexual abuse, of which there are no documented accusations during his tenure (there were three priests accused of acts in the years previous to his tenure, two addressed before he took charge – you can look it up in the Bishop Accountability website database). I am astounded that you find his record on this inexcusable.

Bruskewitz is not perfect (no bishop is) – I could wish that he had more strongly encouraged formation in, and celebration of, the traditional mass, among other things. But Bruskewitz is a pretty rare bird among American bishops, and I mean that in the best way.

The Catholic Church, for 1000 years, has been institutionally unable to cope with widespread clergy sex abuse.

This is simply an exaggeration. Has the Catholic Church had problems with priestly sexual misbehavior through the centuries? Of course it has. It’s full of sinners, and yes, it’s had to struggle with clericalism. Things only degenerated in the 60’s as moral standards dropped in both seminary and parish. But show me a Christian denomination that hasn’t struggled with it. If you think you’ve found one, it’s likely because they’re better at hiding it.

#25 Comment By Richard M On December 4, 2012 @ 11:16 pm

Hello Liam,

After all, the people who most ruddered the postwar shift in Catholic secularization in the USA* were … the “Greatest Generation”, if we are going to keep on the cohort-generation them.

Actually, I’d say it was the Silent Generation (1925-45) and the G.I. Generation (1900-1924) – the ones who were largely in charge of parishes, seminaries, theology schools, and dioceses in the 60’s and 70’s, and the ones, who, well actually parented the Boomer generation. The Boomers were only coming of age at that point, and hardly in the same position of influence or power.

Archbishop Chaput’s generation has plenty to answer for, to the extent we can say such a thing of a generational cohort. But they really only reaped the whirlwind sewn by the previous two generations.

#26 Comment By Liam On December 5, 2012 @ 4:22 am

Chaput is arguably Silent Generation, btw.

#27 Comment By JonF On December 5, 2012 @ 6:29 am

Re: Things only degenerated in the 60′s as moral standards dropped in both seminary and parish.

Sorry, but that’s classic post hoc propter hoc analysis. The cases that have come to light are almost all post 60s cases because, well, it’s 2012, and earlier generations are not around to tell us what was going on in, say, 1912.

#28 Comment By Joseph D’Hippolito On December 15, 2012 @ 12:37 am

The Catholic Church, for 1000 years, has been institutionally unable to cope with widespread clergy sex abuse.

This is simply an exaggeration.

No, it’s not. Just ask St. Peter Damian, who wrote “The Book of Gommorah” in 1049!

Archbishop Chaput…is above all hungry for power. He holds the traditional Roman disdain for the separation of church and state, and yearns to bring every creature on earth under obedience to the Roman pontiff. His spiels are a means to that end.

Siarlys, I think we’ve found something we can agree upon: Chaput’s manifest ambition. I saw it nearly a decade ago, when, as Archbishop of Denver, he equated Justice Antonin Scalia’s opposition to the Catholic Church’s revisionist attitude on capital punishment with Frances Kissling’s support for abortion (Kissling founded “Catholics For A Free Choice”) in an article for First Things magazine.

Kissing up to the powers that be in Rome means disowning America’s heritage of individual liberty, which was based on a combination of the Enlightenment and the Reformation and which has led to the most prosperous society in history. Of course, prosperity isn’t everything. Liberty is far more important. But Catholic Church politics — to which Chaput lends his sympathies — never recognized that human liberty is the gift of a God Who created humanity in His free image.