Winona, Minn., April 12, 2019 / 5:00 PM (CNA).- The once Christian culture of the West has forgotten its roots, Bishop Charles Chaput said Friday, warning that fundamental principles of human dignity and freedom are now threat. .
The leader of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia told an April 12 gathering of priests, seminarians and laity at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary in Winona, Minnesota that it is the sacred responsibility of the Church to be actors in history and to set society back. on the way to God.
“We must understand that increasingly the great moral tenets of the Declaration of Independence – things about which the Founders might say, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident’ – are not at all obvious or permanent for many of our intellectual and political leaders,” Chaput said, as he received the 2019 Immaculate Heart of Mary award at the seminary’s annual bishops’ and rectors’ dinner.
“The natural rights that most of us Americans take for granted mean nothing if there is no permanent human nature – a nature that many who seek to govern us, or already rule us, already reject. And that has consequences.
The Archbishop noted growing public hostility to natural law values and said “secular inquisitors” seek to impose a new orthodoxy that rejects basic human truths.
“Sex is their weapon of choice,” Chaput said, “a kind of Swiss army knife of gender confusion, sexual license and fierce moralizing. versus all that evokes classical Christian morality, purity, modesty, fertility and lifelong fidelity based on the sexual complementarity of women and men.
“To put it another way: the real enemies of human freedom, greatness, imagination, art, hope, culture and conscience are those who attack religious belief, not believers.”
Chaput said American society is increasingly rejecting the faith in God that was once its hallmark, calling faith the lost source of American “decency and vitality.”
“Disbelief – whether willful and ideological, or lazy and pragmatic – is the state religion of the modern world. The fruit of this orthodoxy is starvation and destruction of the human spirit, and a society without a higher purpose.
“Whatever our nation has been, today it risks becoming more and more obviously a new Rome with all the inhuman flaws that entails,” he said.
The Archbishop said that Christians are not called to be passive witnesses of the times. He reminded Catholics that each person is both subject and author of their place in history.
Christians, he said, have a duty to remake society in the image of Christ by standing firmly at odds with the dominant culture, remembering that everyone’s actions have consequences.
“As we try to integrate ourselves into a culture that is increasingly hostile to what Catholics have always believed – something we have been doing for decades now – we are repudiating by our actions what we claim to hold sacred with our lyrics,” Chaput said.
“No person, nor any church, can survive long with divided loyalties.”
Chaput told the audience that Catholics have a duty to “serve the truth by narrative the truth as cheerfully and persuasively as possible.
“Our faith changed the course of history and gave meaning to an entire civilization. And in the risen Christ God now calls we, at the moment, starting with those of us here tonight to do the same.
The Archbishop said that it is through faith in God that society appreciates the dignity of human nature and the freedom of the human soul. If American Catholics no longer know their faith, or their discipleship, or their call to mission, then “we have no one to blame but ourselves,” he said.
“The problem in American Catholic life is not a lack of money or resources or personnel or social influence,” Chaput said.
“The central problem in building a Christian culture is our lack of faith and the cowardice it produces. We have to admit it. And then we must submit ourselves to a path of repentance and change, and of selfless witness to others.
“Your diocese, your marvelous seminary and each of your lives must be the engine of this renewal. This is our goal. It is our vocation. This is why God created us and placed us here.