En moderne og konservativ biskop i USA – som forteller hvordan Kennedy tok feil for 50 år siden

John Allen skriver i dag interessant om hva som gjør personer (her: biskoper) viktige for samfunnet og for sin tid. Det kan være ulike grunner, men han påpeker hvorfor én amerikansk, katolsk biskop er viktig:

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, who illustrates yet another way a bishop can matter: As an evangelist, an opinion-maker, a writer and speaker. Usually seen as a strong conservative, Chaput can be polarizing because he takes clear positions and defends them with relish. He’s consequential in somewhat the same way as politicians and pundits with bold views and the nerve not to pull their rhetorical punches: Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they’re hard to ignore.

Sometimes accused of being a traditionalist, Chaput is actually a very 21st century bishop in at least one sense: Whatever national influence he wields has almost nothing to do with formal ecclesiastical power. He doesn’t hold office in the bishops’ conference, and certainly can’t compete with Rigali as a Roman heavyweight. I mean no disrespect to Denver, especially since my wife and I now live there, but the mere fact of being the Archbishop of the Rockies is hardly sufficient to leave many people outside the Mountain Time Zone with baited breath awaiting his latest pronouncement.

… …. If you want a sound-bite to sum up Chaput’s message, here’s a recent epigram: “There’s no more room in American life for easy or tepid faith.” Like all such formulae, it’s an invitation to debate: What exactly does that mean?

Allen skriver så et referat av en tale erkebiskop Chaput holdt i Houston 1. mars, på Houston Baptist University, der han bl.a. påpekte at datidas første katolske president gjorde en alvorlig feil for 50 år siden, da han så veldig sterkt skilte mellom sin tro og konsekvensene den ville få i samfunnet. Og han begynte sin tale slik:

One of the ironies in my talk tonight is this. I’m a Catholic bishop, speaking at a Baptist university in America’s Protestant heartland. But I’ve been welcomed with more warmth and friendship than I might find at a number of Catholic venues. This is a fact worth discussing. I’ll come back to it at the end …

I’m here as a Catholic Christian and an American citizen — in that order. Both of these identities are important. They don’t need to conflict. They are not, however, the same thing. … No nation, not even the one I love, has a right to my allegiance, or my silence, in matters that belong to God or that undermine the dignity of the human persons He created.

Fifty years ago this fall, in September 1960, Sen. John F. Kennedy, the Democratic candidate for president, spoke to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association. … His speech left a lasting mark on American politics. It was sincere, compelling, articulate — and wrong. Not wrong about the patriotism of Catholics, but wrong about American history and very wrong about the role of religious faith in our nation’s life. And he wasn’t merely “wrong.” His Houston remarks profoundly undermined the place not just of Catholics, but of all religious believers, in America’s public life and political conversation. Today, half a century later, we’re paying for the damage. … …

Les resten av John Allens stykke her – og hele erkebiskop Charles Chaputs tale i Houston her.

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