And then I think, “his face is youthful, yet it has an ages-past quality to it,” one that reminds me of the faces you would see in a reading primer of the mid-twentieth century — it’s almost too seamlessly innocent; you know there is depth beneath that baby face!
Max Lindenman has a very balanced and well-wrought column up considering the Archbishop, who is soon to move to Philadelphia:
If Chaput’s strategy shows vision, his mastery of the details hints at an admirable discretion. He serves up red meat, but nothing too raw or bloody. A populist he may be; a demagogue he is not. [. . .] But there is more to Chaput than culture war. When he protests to NCR that his friends would call him “a very kind and gentle person,” I don’t think he’s lying. Though not a smiler or a joker in the Archbishop Dolan mold, he can still speak in press conferences of being “formed” by the people of Colorado “with their warmth, their generosity, their humor and their love.” A slight quaver comes into his voice, and the effect is very, well affecting. His servings of red meat leave plenty of room for sorbet.
But more to the point: although Chaput’s never used the term on himself, he is, in his own way, a seamless garment man. In a forum on immigration reform, he called on listeners to “Help us to build a culture of life—a culture that holds all human life in reverence, from the unborn child and the immigrant, to the poor, the homeless, the infirm and the elderly.” In NCR, he predicts: “If we don’t love the poor, and do all we can to improve their lot, we’re going to go to Hell.” That’s a worse fate than any he’s forecast for Nancy Pelosi or Joe Biden.
UPDATE: From First Things:
. . .on all these matters, legal changes were acquiesced in, if not lead by, self-identified “Catholic” politicians.
Any bishop who calls attention to these things is not a “warrior,” as Winters asserts; he is merely being honest. If a man sees his home ablaze and cries, fire, he is not being reactionary; he is merely reacting properly, for there is no way to put out the fire—and eventually to re-build the house—unless someone calls attention to the fact that it is now burning down.
Charles Chaput is one of the kindest, gentlest men you can imagine. He does not thunder, he does not condemn; rather, he simply and clearly tells it like it is. He repeats the teaching of the Church, a teaching that is meant for the common good and which benefits us all, a teaching about fundamental human rights.