Sunday, March 29, 2009

Why is Archbishop Rummel a Role Model for Archbishop Chaput? Press Q and A Part II

Link to the Q and A transcript with the press and Archbishop Chaput here at my first entry at Archbishop Chaput Explains Catholic Stuff to the Press in a Q and A Session-Sally Quinn Still Does Not Get It .

I wanted to post this part because I think it shows how the past tells us a great lesson. Also for New Orleans area Catholics and all that attended Archbishop Rummel High school this is a source of pride.

DAVID KIRKPATRICK, THE NEW YORK TIMES: This takes us a little bit away from some of these hot-button topics, but could you talk a minute about who you might see within the history of the American church as models? Are there other bishops or archbishops whom you look to in that way?

CHAPUT: The one I use in my book who is really a model for me, because I remember him when I was a kid, is Archbishop Rummel, New Orleans, who really stood up against both the popular view of the Catholic community and against politicians in the state of Louisiana over the issue of integrating Catholic schools there. He just was very clear, and he was patient –

KIRKPATRICK: Integrating Catholic schools?

CHAPUT: Integrating Catholic schools in New Orleans at the time when this was a big issue in the South. He excommunicated three Catholic politicians because they opposed his decision to end segregation of Catholic schools there. And The New York Times wrote a nice editorial praising him for that – very different from the one criticizing Archbishop Burke for acting somewhat similarly on the issue of abortion.

KIRKPATRICK: I don’t write the editorial page.

CHAPUT: I know, I’m not accusing you. (Laughter). I’m just saying The New York Times in both cases. It’s just how generations and time change things. If a Catholic bishop acts strongly to the point of excommunicating somebody over an issue that we think is important, we cheer. If it’s an issue that we oppose, then we think he was somehow intolerant. Rather than criticize his decision, it somehow is, how dare he do this? Now Catholic bishops are required, under some circumstances, to exercise that kind of authority. You can disagree with their act, but to make the fact that they can act that way in the context of Catholic life, or they have the authority to act that way, is to impose kind of an American view, a democratic view, on a structure that is not only democratic but has other elements to it too.

But Rummel would be an example of that. There are many – I very much admired Archbishop O’Conner of New York for his willingness to say difficult things. He was somebody, you know, you probably all remember him. He was quite a guy, quite a personality. And I have many of my fellow bishops I admire very much, too, today – many of them, actually. They are not all perceived as being on the right of things. I think that it requires as much courage in Colorado, for example, to speak on the immigration issue as it does to speak on abortion

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