PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania, September 28, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput rejected criticism leveled against him by pro-gay Cardinal Blase Cupich over an anonymous critique of the Youth Synod working document that Chaput published on First Things last week.
In a letter released today, Cardinal Cupich alleges that the anonymous critique “falsifies the truth,” displays “condescension toward the issues raised by the bishops’ conferences,” and represents a “woeful lack of understanding of magisterial teaching.”
Chaput maintains the critique did none of those things and insists he supports it.
In brief, the critique alleges that the Instrumentum Laboris being used for the Synod is heavily naturalistic, too focused on the Church’s need to “listen” rather than teach, presents a distorted definition of vocation, and relays an impoverished understanding of Christian joy.
Chaput says the critique was written by a “respected” North American theologian and that he published it after having received “scores of emails and letters” from lay Catholics and clergy concerned about the synod’s intent.
He also published it after having concluded the critique was “substantive enough to warrant much wider consideration and discussion as bishop-delegates prepare to engage the synod’s theme.”
Although currently mired in a scandal involving the removal of a Chicago priest from his parish for burning a LGBT “rainbow pride flag,” Cardinal Cupich found time to respond to Archbishop Chaput in the form of a letter to First Things, the website that originally published the critique on September 21.
Cupich devoted much of his letter to criticizing the anonymity of the author.
“The increasing use of anonymous criticism in American society does not necessarily contribute to healthy public discourse, but in fact can erode it,” Cupich warned.
“It also raises fundamental questions about why First Things would publish such an anonymous critique.”
But Chaput defended the theologian’s anonymity by stating:
“As to the anonymous nature of the critique: I certainly agree with the cardinal that unnamed sources can be regrettable. So is the toxic environment in many of our academic communities that makes them necessary.”
Cupich claims that the critique doesn’t take into account the fullness of the working document’s text. He also accuses it of “false reporting” and “partial truths.”
Implying that the critique lacked charity, Cupich says that what is needed now is “a concern for the church” that is “animated by a love for truth” and “the spirit of synodality.”
In his response, Chaput dismissed Cupich’s accusation that the critique wasn’t motivated by love.
“In fact the critique I selected is among the most charitable I've received from scholars,” Chaput writes.
Noting how he was “grateful” for Cupich’s “useful comments,” Chaput nonetheless said he does not disagree with the critique of the Instrumentum.
Still, Chaput continued, a synod’s working document is “a work in progress, open to discussion and adjustment by the Synod Fathers. I'm sure we can count on that process in the upcoming synod conversation.”