Archbishop Chaput: Luke Warm Christianity Is A Convenient Form Of Paganism!

The following text by the great Archbishop Chaput was taken from the CNA.  In the text, Archbishop Chaput takes a cue from Cardinal Lustiger and  warns on the growing crisis of faith, and the many different forms of idolatry which have choked the life out of Christians and the Church as a whole.  The Archbishop warns explicitly on the idols of  sex, technology, and the state as being particularly prevalent in our day.  Bold and Red added.

Read and Enjoy.

By Benjamin Moore, CNA

Luke Warm Christianity Is Convenient Paganism

Addressing a gathering of European church officials on March 4,  Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver warned that many contemporary Christians have reduced their faith to a convenient “form of paganism,” which cannot compete with the widespread “idolatry” of modern consumer culture.

Archbishop Chaput offered his observations at a conference in Paris honoring the late Cardinal Archbishop Jean-Marie Lustiger, a Jewish convert to Catholicism who was the Archbishop of Paris from 1981 to 2005.

The Denver archbishop described Cardinal Lustiger as “an unsentimental realist” who dared to speak about disturbing trends in the Church and society – including a lack of faith among professed Christians, leaving a vacuum that would be filled by other “gods” such as sex and money.

“Lustiger named lukewarm Christians and superficial Christianity for what they are: a congenial form of paganism,” said Archbishop Chaput. “The Church needs a great deal more of his medicine.”

Many Christians Have Reduced God To An Idol

He recalled Cardinal Lustiger’s prophetic warnings against “creating alibis and escaping the implications of our faith.” In a passage cited by Archbishop Chaput, the cardinal wrote that “many Christians,” through evasions and misunderstandings, had “reduced the God of the Covenant to a mere idol.”

“The main crisis of modern Christianity is not one of resources, or personnel, or marketing,” Archbishop Chaput asserted. “It is a crisis of faith. Millions of people claim to be Christian, but they don’t really believe.”

“They don’t study Scripture. They don’t love the Church as a mother and teacher. And they settle for an inoffensive, vanilla Christianity that amounts to a system of decent social ethics.”

The Worst Kind Of Phony Christianity!

“This is self-delusion,” he warned, “the worst kind of phony Christianity that has no power to create hope out of suffering, to resist persecution, or to lead anyone else to God.”

Archbishop Chaput said that these weakened forms of Christian faith would not be able to compete with the many modern cults of instant gratification and success.

Cardinal Lustiger, he recalled, had “warned that one of the deepest and oldest instincts of man is idolatry.” The Denver archbishop said he sees that instinct taking on several forms today.

“There are no real atheists in America – quite the opposite,” he said. “We have a thriving free market of little gods to worship. Sex and technology have very large congregations.”

The Modern State Is A Great Idol!

“I was especially struck,” he noted, “by Lustiger’s description of the modern state ‘as one of the strongest forms of idolatry that exists; it has become the most absolute substitute for God that men have been able to give themselves . . .  and it is a tyrant god, feeding itself on its victims.’”

But the Archbishop of Denver said that these human tendencies, leading to the worship of objects and of oneself, could not be driven out by the mere exercise of authority.

To Purge Christianity Of These Great Idols Demands Total Conversion Of Individuals

“The Christian remedy to these idolatries,” he explained, “can never simply be coerced from the outside, by stronger statements from stronger bishops.” He quoted Cardinal Lustiger’s insight that these forms of idolatry “must be exorcised from the inside … To uproot them, we must be converted in depth.”

He also indicated that Cardinal Lustiger’s unique perspective was just as important for U.S. Catholics today as it was for European Catholics during his lifetime. The cardinal’s work, Archbishop Chaput noted, “continues to influence our seminary formation” at Denver’s St. John Vianney seminary.

“He is a Jew who discovers Jesus Christ … His mother is murdered at Auschwitz. He survives the most horrific war in history, but he refuses to hate and despair. Instead, he turns to God more deeply and gives himself to the priesthood.”

“Most of the young men I meet hunger for examples of manliness, confidence, courage and faith,” Archbishop Chaput noted. “Cardinal Lustiger’s personal story is itself a catechesis – an invitation to pursue God heroically.”

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12 comments to Archbishop Chaput: Luke Warm Christianity Is A Convenient Form Of Paganism!

  • Idaho Pete

    In a recent address to laity in the diocese of Fargo, N.Dakota Archbishop Chaput challenged pro-lifers to become “martyrs” for the cause of building a culture of life, “I said it was simple” said the Archbishop “I didn’t say it was easy. Be ready to pay a price”.
    Well I wish I could believe the words of Archbishop Chaput but I can’t as he, for years, has done the talk but he himself fails to do the walk. He refuses to enforce Canon 915. He’s had many opportunities to challenge pro-choice Catholic politicians in his own home state, yet he will not refuse any of them Communion. When has he openly spoken out to a fellow bishop who scandalously collaborates with the culture of death and those who allow Catholic institutions to give awards and recognition and their facilities to be used for speaking engagements by and for baby-killing politicians? He says we must be willing to become martyrs, well he can start by leading and acting as an example, something he has yet to do. We saw a real example of Catholic martyrdom in Pakistan just days ago. He need not fear being assassinated but what price is he willing to pay in openly and publically challenging Caesar and the scandalous Catholic politicians. He says we must change one heart at a time, this I have heard for thirty years and it’s a failed policy. Name one pro-choice politician that’s been persuaded to become pro-life again by the action of any priest/bishop. Where were the hearts of 54% of the Catholic electorate that knowingly voted in the most pro-abort, babykilling president? Why do Catholic women abort at the same rate as the rest of this sick culture? We need bishops who will act on these issues not just talk the talk. More like in the quality of John The Baptist who willing accepted martyrdom while loudly speaking the truth.

  • Uncle PEAR

    Being in his flock, so to speak, I’ve run into Abp. Chaput maybe three times over the years only superficially but, in observing him, I see a man who talks one way, and walks another. He makes smae great pronouncements — including those in his book — but embraces faux-Catholic politicians like Teddy Kennedy and the “sanctuary” policies of the City and County of Denver, which protects people whose first act upon entering this sovereign country is to break the law.

  • Rich

    John, you asked for proof. The link you provided proves what Ab C. said. What part shows that he was against the code. I am not saying it was a strong defense, but nothing he said goes against the teaching of the Church. If Ab C. instructed his ministers to refuse Communion to pro-aborts it would be all over the news. This is an assumption. I’m sure one of those ministers would have spoken up by now if they were instructed as such. Another assumption. It seems to me the burden of proving Ab. C. satisfies Canon Law 915 is on him and you. (As a rule of thumb, the accusers are the ones to provide proof. I have not said he has or has not fully satisfied the Canon, only that what he said on Fox News defends the Church’s teachings. And I do not want to risk falling into the sins of calumny and sacrilege.) 1) Has he or his ministers had the opportunity to reject Communion from a well known pro-abort in his diocese? 2) Has he or his ministers in his diocese ever refused communion to any pro-abort? The 2008 DNC surely provided the opportunity for him and his ministers to demonstrate faithfulness or lack thereof to Canon 915.

    My comments bold.
    John Quinn

  • Mary Tripoli

    John Quinn…

    Several years ago when many pro-life leaders traveled to Denver, Archbishop Chaput, made a very open and public commitment to those who were present, that he would deny giving Holy Communion to Catholic politicians that promoted abortion. John, You have asked a very good question. “What more does he need to do?” John would you not agree that first, Archbishop Chaput should keep his very own words that entailed taking an action? The late Cardinal Lustiger warned the faithful that one of the deepest and oldest instincts of man is idolatry. This form of idolatry takes several forms. I believe John that today, many leading shepherds have succumbed to the deadly form of idolatry called a fear of the loss of human respect. This on going plague of paralysis to take action and discipline is precisely the form of vanilla Christianity that continues to defile those courageous words of the late Cardinal Lustiger regarding lukewarmness. Words, without action on Fox television or words, without action at European symposiums do not compensate for not courageously keeping one’s own publicly committed word to take action and discipline by enforcing Canon 915.

  • David Nixic

    I was a big fan of the AB Chaput until 2008 and the DNC in Denver. He has not proven that he will stand up for Jesus’ Real Presence which is in reality denying Christ. I am very disappointed in him since then. I pray that he gets the courage needed to be one who is deserving of the accolades he gets from the Catholic Press. Until he denies the Eucharist to pro-abort-so-called Catholics by enforcing Canon 915, he denies Christ Himself. He has the duty to stand up for Jesus first and foremost and be unafraid of the worldly consequences. I will pray for him.

  • Mitch

    How can a bishop such as Archbp.Chaput, who refuses to obey Church law, be a pillar of orthodoxy? Archbp. Chaput and almost 300 other U.S. Bishops are in disobedience. Only 16 U.S. Bishops have obeyed the Church’s mandate to enforce c. 915.
    If any bishop claims he has warned the manifest sinner, they must
    not let it end there. That’s not how c. 915 reads. That is only the first step any Bishop must take. The next steps are to take place with undue delay, so says c. 915.
    Read c. 915, it’s simple one sentence law:
    “Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.”

    “Not to be admitted” – that means, manifest sinners are not to be allowed to receive from the Bishops or
    the Ministers of Holy Communion.

    “Not to be admitted” clearly does not mean that the communicant [i.e., evil politician] is the one who is to be responsible for staying away. These evil folks’ consciences are dead, they will continue to go up to the railing to receive Holy Communion. They must be stopped and denied by the ministers, and the Bishops are responsible for declaring this publicly in each of their dioceses.

    Weak bishops like Chaput, instead of denying, say that they could ever deny anyone the Eucharist, or they put the burden on the communicant not to approach the altar because they know the Catholic laity do not know the difference. Chaput knows he can blow smoke in most laity’s faces and they’ll never know the difference. When laity questions Chaput why he doesn’t do what the Code of Canon Law tells him to do, he writes back in anger, telling the writer they are being ‘judgmental.’ That old hippie understanding of being ‘judgmental’ is as old as the hills. We all must use rational judgment everyday, or we’ll not achieve eternal salvation. Bishops want to keep the laity in the dark, and they are doing a good job of it.

  • barb kralis

    Chaput had a glorious, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in May 2008 to enforce the teachings of the Code of Canon Law, c. 915 upon the pro-abortion Democrats while they were in his Archdiocese with their Political convention. Yet Chaput said he refuses to deny anyone the Eucharist. Obama
    would have suffered greatly in the polls had this weak Archbishop denounced the Catholic pro-abortion politicians who were in his city that week. Instead, Chaput told reporters that they could not get him to ‘dialogue’ re c. 915, and he said that he would not enforce c. 915 against his pro-abortion Cath Governor Ritter, who sacrilegiously receives Holy Communion each Sunday in Denver, just steps from Chaput’s chancery office. Chaput is a matter of double talk, saying one thing and doing another. Woe to you, Archbp. Chaput, when you see the face of Jesus for your cowardice.

  • Rich

    There’s also a great deal of difference between SAYING he would reject a communicant and INSTRUCTING his priests and extraordinary ministers NOT to give communion to pro-aborts. (Can you show me the proof?) Let’s get real about this, as SK stated, there’s only a few bishops who will actually reject pro-aborts (sadly true) and Chaput isn’t one of them. Watch his feet not his mouth and you will see what he stands for.
    Why dismiss his words?

    Matthew 15:18
    But the things which proceed out of the mouth, come forth from the heart, and those things defile a man.

    My response in bold.
    John Quinn

  • Rich

    No, he doesn’t do what was required at all. There is a great deal of difference between saying “they shouldn’t present themselves for communion” and saying “I won’t give them communion.” The responsibility in Canon 915 is on the minister, not the person receiving the Eucharist!

  • sk

    Archbishop Chaput: Courageous? I suppose he might be considered so had he had the backbone to stand up at the time of the 2008 Democrat Convention in his own diocese and instruct the priests and extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist in Denver that manifestly obstinate public sinners must be refused the Eucharist in his diocese. Did he? No. Was he obedient to canon law 915? No. Was he obedient to a direct order from the Holy Father to the U.S. bishops? No. In my opinion Archbishop Chaput talks a good game, but any priest, bishop or archbishop who is complicit in the gravest of sacrileges, that of willingly presenting our Eucharistic Lord to an abortion provider, has totally lost his faith. Chaput had a golden opportunity to teach, which is his primary function as an archbishop, but he didn’t. He’s a politically correct archbishop and nothing more. The last I heard, there were only 13 U.S. bishops and another two retired ones who have the true love of Jesus and the true love of the sinner required to deny reception of Our Lord, “the Source and Summit” of our faith, to manifestly obstinate public sinners. It was St. Athanasius, Doctor of the Church, who first proclaimed, “The floor of hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.” The U.S. bishops greatly need our constant prayer.

    • Hello sk,

      I agree the US Bishops constantly need our prayers, especially bishops that have the courage to nationally defend the teachings of the Church on Fox News.

      Here is the link. Watch the whole thing, but the 2:50 mark is the point where Archbishop Chaput does exactly what you wanted him to do. Note this is during the DNC.

      He has written a book, countless articles, Fox news . . . What more does he need to do?

      John Quinn

  • Tom

    Dear Archbishop Chaput

    May God protect you,dear Excellency in particular because you have become a countersign in a pagan world. You are a gift from Our Lord to His faithful who are often weak and ovewhelmed like myself! You remind this lowly servant how the life of a Christian involves spiritual warfare. I realize that Our Beloved Triune God has given us so many beautiful gifts in this world – the skies, the stars, majestic mountains, incredible forests, various animals, fish etc. However we are His highest earthly Creation to whom He bequeaths one of greatest Gifts – ‘free will’. We can choose to follow Our Master or the ‘evil’ one. For myself I often think about the passage in the Bible that says ” You cannot serve two masters. You will either hate the one or love the other” Did the gods of the Old Testament ever really disappear or have they simply morphed into the paganism of today’s world? So many seem destined to walk the wide highway and do not see the cliff at the end of the road. Even some of our Catholic family betray the loving commands of Our Savior and pretend to know Him! I have a hard time watching what is happening yet I know that repentance and forgiveness are only a step away. When sin exists, does not grace abound? I can do nothing. However, with God anything is possible even if our sins are scarlet. I pray constantly and try to accept suffering -not only for my salvation but that of my brothers and sisters. Thank you for your inspiration and leadership.


    May God Bless and Keep us in His Loving Arms