Chaput’s resume is not typical of most influential figures in the Church’s hierarchy.
But when Chaput turns 75 and submits his resignation to Pope Francis next month, his admirers and his fiercest critics are likely to agree that the archbishop’s 31 years as a diocesan bishop have shaped, in significant ways, the voice of the Church in the U.S.
In light of that, the archbishop’s approach to episcopal ministry offers lessons worth noting, both for bishops who agree with him, and those who don’t.
In the interest of full disclosure, I should make clear my own bias: I love Archbishop Chaput. I met my wife at a lecture he gave, and the archbishop has been very kind over the years to my family. He gave me my first job in canon law and diocesan administration, and he has invested in my professional, intellectual, personal, and spiritual development. Some of the happiest years of my professional life were spent working for Chaput in the Archdiocese of Denver, where, among many other talented colleagues, I worked alongside the National Catholic Register’s Jeanette DeMelo, Real Life Catholic’s Chris Stefanick, the estimable Fran Maier, and then-auxiliary Bishop James Conley.
It is also worth noting that Chaput was an early supporter of Catholic News Agency, and is a board member of EWTN, of which CNA is a service.
And while I am insistent that CNA, and this analysis, treat him fairly and objectively, I am also proud to acknowledge that Archbishop Chaput is my friend. ….
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