Houston, Texas, Aug 19, 2014 / 05:15 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Church in the U.S. should not and cannot ignore the ever-increasing Latino population, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia said Saturday, because they are the future of the Church in America.
Before launching into his full Aug. 16 address to the Catholic Association of Latino Leaders national conference in Houston, the archbishop paused to remember and to pray for the young undocumented immigrants on the southern border who “are stuck in an ugly kind of limbo.”
“There’s simply no excuse for the suffering of children and families,” he said. “I hope each of us will find time today to pray for the young people caught in our immigration mess, and also for the officials who need to deal with this reality quickly and humanely.”
CALL is a national organization dedicated to the growth and spiritual formation of the Latino leaders of the U.S. in their knowledge and understanding of the faith.
Continuing his talk, Archbishop Chaput noted that one of the biggest challenges facing the Church in America is creating a just and wholesome society in the face of an increasingly secular culture. But changes in culture, he said, must begin with patterning one's heart and personal life after Christ.
“If we really want God to renew the Church, then we need to act like it. We need to take the Gospel seriously. And that means we need to live it as a guide to our daily behavior and choices – without excuses.”
But this challenge is not new to the Church, and history often repeats itself, the Archbishop noted.
“Sometimes the best way to move forward as a culture is to look back first,” he said, illustrating his point with a story about the Cathars, followers of a dualistic heresy that flourished in the 12th century.
“That can sound harmless to modern ears,” he said. “But their beliefs had deeply destructive implications for the fabric of medieval society.”
Cathars believed that all matter or anything with a human influence was evil and corrupt. They rejected marriage, family life, government, and the Church, and ultimately believed the human race should stop reproducing in order to be free of the corruption of created matter.
Although their beliefs may sound outlandish, Cathars drew in many followers because of their zeal and simplicity, which threatened the Church and the political order of the day.
Even though the Albigensian Crusade was led to wipe out the Cathars, they were difficult to eliminate completely until one man, Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone, had a conversion and became known as Francis of Assisi.Share
The purity, simplicity and zeal of St. Francis and his religious brothers soon surpassed the influence of the Cathars, and the entire Church experienced a revival.
“Francis and his brothers in faith were then — and they remain today — a confirmation of how God renews the Church through a kind of gentle rebellion against the world; an uprising of personal holiness; a radical commitment to Christian poverty, chastity and obedience in service to the Church and the poor,” Archbishop Chaput said. (Read more.)