Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.

Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., is the Archbishop of Philadelphia.

recent articles

History’s Answer to Modern Despair

“Having trivialized the past by equating it with outmoded . . . fashions and attitudes, people today resent anyone who draws on the past in serious discussions of contemporary conditions or attempts to use the past as a standard by which to judge the present… A denial of the past, superficially progressive and optimistic, proves … Read more

The Urgency of Religious Freedom

The Religious Freedom Institute honored Philadelphia’s Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., at its annual dinner, November 9, for his decades-long commitment to religious liberty. The following is adapted from his remarks. As I was getting ready for tonight, I remembered a line from the Israeli peace negotiator who said that pessimists are simply optimists … Read more

A New Kind of Sacrament

Speaking at the University of Notre Dame in October 2016, just a few weeks before a national election that seemed sure to put a second Clinton in the White House, I noted that [Q]uite a few of us American Catholics have worked our way into a leadership class that the rest of the country both … Read more

Memory, Sex and the Making of the “New Man”

Editor’s note: The following paper was delivered at the “Into the Breach” men’s conference sponsored by the Diocese of Phoenix on Saturday, February 3, 2018 and is published with permission of the author. “Some ideas are so stupid that only an intellectual could believe them.” Those words are usually attributed to George Orwell. I’m not … Read more

Sex, Sanity, and Beliefs that “Live Loudly” Within Us

“I do not know any country where, in general, less independence of mind and genuine freedom of discussion reign than in America.”  ∼ Tocqueville, Democracy in America Alexis de Tocqueville was the great French chronicler of the early United States.  Nearly 200 years ago, he spotted a basic tension in our national character. It’s this:  Americans place … Read more

The Future of the West: Christian or Pagan?

A friend of mine lives in one of Philadelphia’s comfortable suburbs. She and her husband are both attorneys. Both hold Ivy League degrees. Their community is nearly 90 percent white, rich in Quaker history, above average in education and income, and low in crime. People are friendly. Nights are quiet. Streets are clean and safe. … Read more

Time for Christians to Unplug from Our Secular Culture

Editor’s note: The following talk, originally titled “Remembering Who We Are and the Story We Belong To,” was delivered October 19, 2016 at the 2016 Bishops’ Symposium co-sponsored by the USCCB Committee on Doctrine and the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame and is published here with permission of the … Read more

About Those Unthinking, Backward Catholics

Back in 2008, in the weeks leading up to the Obama-McCain presidential election, two young men visited me in Denver. They were from Catholics United, a group describing itself as committed to social justice issues. They voiced great concern at the manipulative skill of Catholic agents for the Republican Party. And they hoped my brother … Read more

There is No Equivalence

Here’s a simple exercise in basic reasoning. On a spectrum of bad things to do, theft is bad, assault is worse and murder is worst. There’s a similar texture of ill will connecting all three crimes, but only a very confused conscience would equate thieving and homicide. Both are serious matters. But there is no … Read more

Religious Liberty 50 Years After Dignitatis Humanae

Vatican II ended in December 1965 with an outpouring of enthusiasm and hope. The Council’s hope was grounded in two things: a renewed Catholic faith; and confidence in the skill and goodness of human reason. Half a century has passed since then. A lot has happened. The world today is a very different place from … Read more

How Christians Can Rebuild Our Culture

Editor’s note: The following essay is adapted from an address delivered August 6 at the Archdiocese of Toronto’s “Faith in the Public Square” symposium. In the beginning, Genesis tells us, “the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep” (Gen 1:2). Creation begins in chaos. On each day of … Read more

Without Gloss: Francis of Assisi and Western Catholicism

Editor’s note: The following essay was written for the “St. Francis of Assisi and the Western Tradition” conference sponsored by the Thomistic Institute and delivered at the NYU Catholic Center on April 25, 2014. I want to start with a simple statement of fact. All Christian life is a paradox. What I mean is this. … Read more

Wisdom, Christian Witness, and the Year of Faith

A long time ago in Germany, a man kept a diary. And some of his words are worth sharing today, because they’re a good place to begin our discussion. The man wrote: “Speak both to the powerful and to every man—whoever he may be—appropriately and without affectation. Use plain language. Receive wealth or prosperity without … Read more

Christian Witness and America’s Birthday

In his great biography of Benjamin Franklin, Walter Isaacson noted that Franklin donated money to “the building funds of each and every sect in Philadelphia.” For Franklin and his founding brothers, religion promoted the civic virtue essential to sustaining the republican model of government.  Franklin was a deist throughout his life.  But he understood, nonetheless, … Read more

Religious Freedom and the Need to Wake Up

 “IRS officials have, of course, confessed that they inappropriately targeted conservative groups—especially those with ‘tea party’ or ‘patriot’ in their names—for extra scrutiny when they sought non-profit status. Allegations of abuse or harassment have since broadened to include groups conducting grassroots projects to ‘make America a better place to live,’ to promote classes about the … Read more

Our First Right: Religious Liberty

 Editor’s note: The following remarks by Archbishop Charles Chaput were submitted to the United States Commission on Civil Rights and published March 25, 2013 on Public Discourse. My remarks today are purely my own. But they’re shaped by twenty-five years as a Catholic bishop and the social and religious ministries that such work involves; ministries … Read more

A Man for This Season, and All Seasons

A day after the 2012 Summer Olympics closed in London, Joseph Pearce wrote that he felt like his “body had been covered in slime. I also felt a great sense of gratitude that I had shaken the smut and dirt from my sandals and had left the sordid culture of which I was once a … Read more

What the Reformation has Wrought

The day may come when Catholics can support neither of the main American political parties or their candidates. Some think it’s already arrived. Alasdair MacIntyre, the Notre Dame philosopher, argued along those lines a few years ago, explaining why he couldn’t vote for either a Democrat or a Republican. I don’t know what Professor MacIntyre … Read more

The Urgency of Rebuilding a Culture of Religious Freedom

If we want a culture of religious freedom, we need to begin it here, today, now. We live it by giving ourselves wholeheartedly to God with passion and joy, confidence and courage; and by holding nothing back. God will take care of the rest. Adapted from remarks delivered yesterday at the Napa Institute’s 2012 annual … Read more

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