Loading
Archbishop Chaput: Pope is not CEO and bishops are not his employees
Archbishop Charles Chaput
Archbishop Charles Chaput

.- In the midst of lawsuits attempting the implicate the Vatican for the failure of individual bishops to properly handle clerical sex abuse cases, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver stated the the Pope “is not a global CEO” to be held liable, given that bishops are not “his agents or employees.” Instead, he wrote, the Church is “much closer to a confederation of families than to a modern corporation.”

The Denver prelate made his remarks in a First Things article on Wednesday. He began by addressing some of the common misconceptions about Church authority, relating how some Catholics who live in other dioceses have assumed that he has the authority solve a problem in their area. Those parishioners, he said, have even gotten “annoyed” with him for not becoming involved with issues outside his jurisdiction.

“I have neither the authority nor the bad sense to meddle in the life of a sister local Church,” he said, adding that he won't “intrude on the ministry of a brother bishop,” who is “the chief teaching and governing authority in his own local Church.”

Turning to the Pope, Archbishop Chaput wrote, “the bishop of Rome is uniquely different.” “He is first among brothers; yet he also has real authority as pastor of the whole Church.”

“But he is not a global CEO, and Catholic bishops are not – and never have been – his agents or 'employees,'” the  prelate stressed. “It's useful to remember this today as lawyers try ingeniously to draw the Vatican into America's on-going sex-abuse saga.”

Archbishop Chaput then referred to the case where attorney William McMurry is attempting to lodge a federal lawsuit against the Vatican in Louisville, Kentucky.

McMurry is seeking class-action status for a case involving three men who claim they were abused by priests decades ago. He also represented 243 sex abuse victims who settled with the Archdiocese of Louisville in 2003 for $25.3 million.

“In O'Bryan vs. the Holy See, currently being heard in U.S. district court in Kentucky,” the archbishop wrote, “plaintiffs' attorneys seek to depose Vatican officials – including potentially the Pope himself – to determine what they knew and allegedly ignored or covered up about the handling of clergy sex-abuse cases by American bishops.” 

“The plaintiffs' legal argument hinges on the premise that bishops are, in effect, Roman-controlled employees or officials,” he added. “But that argument is not merely false in practice; it is also revolutionary in its consequences. In effect, it seeks to redefine the nature of the Church in a manner favorable to plaintiffs' attorneys, but alien to her actual structure and identity.”

“To put it another way,” Archbishop Chaput said, “plaintiffs' attorneys want a federal court to tell the Church who she really is, whether she agrees or not, and then to penalize her for being what she isn't.”

“Every bishop in the United States has a filial love for the Holy Father and a fraternal respect for his brother bishops,” he continued. “But these family-like words – filial, fraternal, brother – are not mere window-dressing. They go to the heart of how the Catholic community understands and organizes itself, and more importantly, how the Church actually conducts herself, guided by her own theology and canon law.”

“The Church is much closer to a confederation of families than to a modern corporation,” the Denver  archbishop explained. “And this has real, everyday results. In practice, the influence of the Holy See on the daily life of the Archdiocese of Denver is strong in matters of faith and morals.” 

“But in the operational decisions of our local Church, the Holy See’s influence is remote. In 22 years as a bishop, my problems have never included a controlling or intrusive Vatican.” 

“We live in ironic times,” Archbishop Chaput remarked. “Critics of the Catholic Church in the 19th century conjured up a monolithic Roman Church to frighten America's Protestant masses. Today – when that Roman strawman is even less believable – they rather like the idea of the Catholic Church as a Vatican-controlled monolith, no matter how far that myth is from real Church life, the better to sue her.”


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
24

Liturgical Calendar

April 24, 2014

Thursday within the Octave of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 24:35-48

Gospel
Date
04/24/14
04/23/14
04/22/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Acts 3:11-26
Gospel:: Lk 24:35-48

Saint of the Day

Easter Sunday »

Saint
Date
04/24/14
04/22/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 24:35-48

Homily
Date
04/24/14
04/23/14
04/22/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: