.- Political and community leaders are called to change the world with justice and charity, and with a greater love for God than for their careers, said Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM Cap., at the Red Mass in Harrisburg, Pennsylvannia yesterday.
The Archbishop of Denver presided at the Oct. 3 Mass for several hundred members of the local legal community at the invitation of Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Harrisburg.
During his homily, he reflected on the life of St. Francis of Assisi, whose feast the Church celebrates today, and on how Francis led a spiritual revolution in the Church. The archbishop said the historical period in which Francis lived, with its injustices and its disparity between rich and poor, was very similar to the world of today.
Francis, he said, led the Church toward conversion, reconciliation and a more authentic witness of the Gospel through his personal example.
âIf you and I want to be what God calls us to be in the years that lie ahead, we need to be like St. Francis,â he said. Catholics today must work to renew society through repentance, conversion, humility and willingness to serve.
âWhen people claim theyâre Catholic but do nothing in the public square to advance the Christian understanding of each human personâs dignity, theyâre deceiving themselves and other people -- but theyâre not fooling God,â the archbishop said, naming areas of concern to Catholics, such as embryonic stem-cell research, abortion, assisted suicide, marriage, immigration, poverty and the disabled.
âWe need to drill it into our heads that defending the sanctity of the human person and serving the common good canât be separated,â he said. âStuffing our Catholic faith in a closet when we enter the public square or join a public debate isnât good manners, and it isnât political courtesy. Itâs cowardice. And weâll be judged for that cowardice by the God who created us.â
âItâs always easier to talk about social justice or political reform when the target of the reform is âout there,â rather than in here,â he continued.
âThe world does need to change, and in your vocation as public leaders, God is calling you to pursue that task with justice and charity; with a love for the common good and a reverence for human life,â he said. âThe world needs committed Catholic laypeople like yourselves to lead with humility, courage and love.
âBut what it [the world] needs more than anything else is holiness â holy men and women who love Jesus Christ and Godâs Word more than they love their own careers and agendas,â he challenged.