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By Carl R. Trueman, First Things, 2 . 5 . 20
Carl R. Trueman is a professor of biblical and religious studies at Grove City College.
A Catholic archbishop, a Presbyterian professor, and his wife walk into a bar.” While this might sound like the opening line of a bad religious joke, precisely such a scenario marked the beginning of my friendship with Archbishop Charles Chaput. He had invited me and my wife to join him for dinner before one of the wonderful lectures that he sponsored during his tenure. We still look back on that evening as one of the most delightful of our years in Philadelphia. In view of the archbishop’s impending retirement from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, it seems appropriate to pay a debt of honor by offering some personal reflections upon my most unusual of friends.
When I reflect on Archbishop Chaput, three particular things stand out. The first is that he has taken consistently courageous and unpopular stands on matters of pressing concern. In Philadelphia, he was decried by the press, mainstream and LGBTQ, for his views on sexuality. The pope apparently spoke disparagingly of him as “ideological.” And the usual suspects in the Catholic press derided and sneered at him. His crime in each case? Taking seriously the catechetical teaching of his church. I even responded to one such journalist myself, pointing out the irony of criticizing a Catholic bishop for defending Catholicism rather than adopting the wearisomely conformist pieties of liberal Protestantism. ….