Pope Francis to Archbishop Chaput: Bring Your A-Game to Rome

by Peter Jesserer-Smith

PHILADELPHIA, February 14, 2014 (National Catholic Register) -- Pope Francis set out his agenda for a Church of “missionary disciples” in Evangelii Gaudium; now he’s assembling his team at the Vatican who will help him get the laity fully in the game of sharing the joy of the Gospel. His latest recruit is none other than Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, who has proven himself second-to-none in activating lay people to embrace the Church’s missionary mandate with enthusiasm and vigor.

Archbishop Chaput

Archbishop Chaput now joins the Pontifical Council for the Laity, which could end up as a Congregation for the Laity when the Curia reform is all said and done. But the Pope’s laity council has the job of helping Pope Francis promote lay action in the Church. Pope Francis has made clear that he wants to break what he calls a spirit of clericalism in the Church, where bishops and priests do too much, and lay people do too little (and pray it stays that way).

The archbishop has a great deal of expertise in how the Church should unleash the laity’s creative missionary potential: he has always forged close relationships with the laity, and unleashed a boom of lay evangelism when he was archbishop of Denver, fostering the Augustine Institute, FOCUS, ENDOW, the Catholic Association of Latino Leaders, and others. His new duties mean more responsbility for a prelate that already has the monumental task of bringing back to health the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

I had the privilege of getting a short-interview with Archbishop Chaput this week about this appointment. Here, in his own words, he also shares with the Register his thoughts on the laity, clericalism, and evangelization:

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Also see, "Archbishop Chaput's Laity Expertise Is Set to Go Global," and find out why some say Archbishop Chaput’s addition to the Pope’s laity council could be a much needed game-changer for the universal Church’s missionary effort.

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