An excerpt from a statement by Archbishop Charles Chaput, Ordinary of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, on the Pope’s visit to the 2015 World Meeting of Families.
This moment is an historic and exhilarating one for all of us to share. It is the answer to the countless prayers of so many people who have asked God to guide Pope Francis to Philadelphia, the culmination of many months of hopeful anticipation, and the fulfillment of my own confidence that the Holy Father would grace us with his presence next year.
It will mark his first-ever visit to the United States of America as Pope, and he will be only the fourth Pope to visit our nation. Words cannot sufficiently express how overjoyed I am by this most welcome news, and I know so many of you share that feeling. These are the kinds of emotions that have one source — the true love of Jesus Christ filling our hearts. A hallmark of Pope Francis’ ministry has been a genuine love for all people of good will, and he has maintained a keen focus on the many diverse challenges that families face globally. I’ve loved and admired him since we first met at the Synod for the Americas in 1997. I know that the Holy Father’s charisma, presence and voice will electrify our gathering.
Regardless of confessional differences, billions around the world have been drawn to this Pope. Our gathering in Philadelphia is open to all who have a generous heart. It has the power to transform, in deeply positive ways, not just the spirit of Catholic life in our region, but of our entire community. It will be a moment unlike any other.
As I’ve said many times before, Pope Francis’ presence will bring all of us — Catholic and non-Catholic alike — together in tremendously unifying and healing ways. We now eagerly anticipate Pope Francis’ arrival in Philadelphia… We will be ready and we will welcome him joyfully with open arms and prayerful hearts! Let us all raise our voices in thanksgiving to Almighty God for the gift of Pope Francis and for the Holy Father’s decision to come to Philadelphia.
– Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. Archbishop of Philadelphia
Chaput On Marriage and Family
…Christians also have a duty to think clearly, and to live, teach and work for the truth about the nature of human sexuality, the purpose of marriage and the integrity of the family. No court ruling can change that. And the last thing we need from religious — including Catholic — leaders in the face of this profoundly flawed Supreme Court decision is weakness or ambiguity.
Half a century ago, during the Second Vatican Council, Pope John XXIII — now St. John XXIII — wrote a powerful text on the nature of peace. In his 1963 encyclical Pacem in Terris (“Peace on Earth”), he stressed that “peace on earth — which man throughout the ages has so longed for and sought after — can never be established, never guaranteed, except by the diligent observance of the divinely established order” (Pacem in Terris, 1; emphasis added).
We need to consider his words carefully. No political power can change the nature of marriage or rework the meaning of family. No lobbying campaign, no president, no lawmakers and no judges can redraw the blueprint laid down by God for the well-being of the children he loves. If men and women want peace, there’s only one way to have it — by seeking and living the truth. And the truth, as Pope John told us more than five decades ago, is this: “The family, founded upon marriage freely contracted, one and indissoluble, must be regarded as the natural, primary cell of human society. The interests of the family, therefore, must be taken very specially into consideration in social and economic affairs, as well as in the spheres of faith and morals. For all of these have to do with strengthening the family and assisting it in the fulfillment of its mission.” (Pacem in Terris, 16) We cannot care for the family by trying to redefine its meaning.
We cannot provide for the family by undercutting the privileged place in our culture of a woman and a man made one flesh in marriage. Nations that ignore these truths — no matter what their intentions — are laying the cornerstone of war and suffering. And this is not what God seeks for anyone.
—from Archbishop Chaput’s weekly column, July 6, 2015, at catholicphilly.com