"When people deride their bishops and priests, they undermine the Church…"

“Bishops, priests, and deacons are too often weak and sinful. They need to be held to high standards. Some deserve to be chastised. The clergy’s leadership in the Church should always be marked by humility and service, and never by a sense of entitlement. But men and women didn’t found the Church, they don’t own her; and they have no license to reinvent her. The Church belongs to Jesus Christ, and the different roles with the Christian community – clergy, laity, and religious life – have equal dignity but different purposes. Sin and failure, including by the clergy, need to be named. But when people deride their bishops and priests out of pride and resentment or some perverse desire for they perceive as ‘power,’ they undermine the Church herself, and they set themselves against the God whose vessel she is. And that, as Scripture suggests, leads in a painful direction.

All real reform in the Church requires two things. Today’s Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 51 – gives us the first thing. We find it in the lines ‘Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow;’ and ‘Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.’ Renewal begins not in vilifying others, but in examining ourselves honestly, repenting of our sins and changing ourselves. This applies to every baptized person, from the Pope to the average man or woman earning a wage. We are all sinners. We are all in need of repentance and God’s mercy. When we really understand that, we can speak to each other with both honesty and love, and restoring the mission of the Church can begin.”

– Archbishop Charles Chaput

Homily at Knights of Columbus Convention, August 2, 2011

Read it all.


  1. deaconjose says:

    Sadly, many times we forget that bishops and priests are human beings too…

  2. Hmm. Isn’t this the guy who publicly RIPPED the priests at Notre Dame for inviting the President of the United States to speak?

    Boy, I can’t wait till this guy shows up here in Philly. It’s gonna be a looooong couple of decades coming up.

    [This comment has been edited to remove offensive language. Watch it. Statements designed simply to inflame or piss people off will not be tolerated. Dcn. G.]

  3. ajesquire, I wish we had him bishops like him in all our dioceses. Yes, he stated what Pope John Paul II and the USCCB position is on inviting pro abortion politicians to speak in Catholic settings and especially giving them honors. ND was wrong. If the Catholic Universities want to be Catholic, they should follow the requirements laid out by JPII to have those teaching the religion to get teh approval of the local Bishop. The Bishops should have enforced this requirement and failing to do so will yield more of our children who are sent by the parents because the school is Catholic only to see them lose their faith.

    You will also see a massive turn around in vocations to the priesthood under his leadership and those who come will be solid in the faith. Count yourself blessed.

  4. 646109303 says:

    I love this Archbishop….he is fantastic and I accept his admonition. But……I am being critical of some bishops and priests because they are not teaching the truth of the faith. They don’t admonish politicians that publicly defy Church teachings e.g. Governor Cuomo and too many other cases to mention here. In many other cases they simply don’t teach or uphold the teachings of the Church on contraception, abortion and on and on. Very discouraging. But I do pray for our priests and bishops but I think it is time for the Church militant to become more militant.

    Mike Malone

  5. 100000151309090 says:

    Abp. Chaput is one of our most remarkable leaders in the American church. Philadelphia is lucky to receive him.

    For the faithful, none of what is quoted above should be in doubt.

  6. 828918515 says:

    You’re going to be doing alot of comment moderating on this post, deacon, I’m afraid. To my knowledge, very few Catholics have been able to connect the dots between the actions of the people-in-the-pews and the actions of those in the pulpit. YES, those in the pulpit are commissioned to lead those in the pews AND the actions of those in the pews affect those in the pulpit. For the last ten years, it’s just been too darn easy for Catholics to sit & point fingers at the clergy (my fav is “those bishops” blah blah) without a twinge of conscience re: their (our) own culpability in the mess we’ve been wading around in for a decade.
    So, ummm, good luck with moderating & thank you very much for this great post!

  7. 1650552554 says:

    I respect all priests and bishops. I do not listen to many of them because with modern technology I go right to Rome and the Pope. With so many priests ignorant of economics and politics every time they bring this up most of them do not know they are talking about. Just cut the sermon short so I can pray more . I get tired of ignorant priests who vote for pro abortion politicians. I like to see priests be on time for Mass and confession. In my area of america thats getting harder to find.

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