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Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput

NAPA, California, August 1, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Archbishop Charles Chaput delivered a searing analysis of problems facing the Western world and encouraged Catholics seeking to restore culture to get married, have children, and raise them in the faith. 

Speaking at the Napa Institute conference, Chaput lamented the current cultural crisis in the United States.

“The nature and the pace of changes in our culture today have no precedent,” Chaput observed. “They’re extraordinarily fast. They’re also accelerating.”

Such changes are really “transformations — in our legal philosophy; our sexual mores; our demography; educational philosophy; economy and technology,” he said.

“The birth control pill and the separation of sex from procreation have altered the fundamental meaning of sex,” said Chaput. And same-sex “marriage” activism has moved from demanding not just acceptance but approval, he said.

“Same-sex activism now runs on a moral passion for gay rights and social acceptance,” he warned. “From a biblical point of view, that passion is deeply flawed. The arguments for religious liberty and erotic liberty stem from two very different ideas of who the human person is and what our sexuality means. But a moral passion, even when it’s wrong, is always powerful.”

“Thus, concessions to nominal gay equality are no longer enough,” he continued, noting that a major LGBT activist and donor, Tim Gill, recently said he wants to “punish” those who disagree.

Chaput praised Becket Law (formerly the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty) and Alliance Defending Freedom for their work protecting the rights of people to not be forced to violate their consciences. 

'Things rust and break. But every child is a universe of possibility that reaches into eternity'

“America is a much less biblically influenced nation than it was at its founding. And our moral vision of who we are and what our lives mean is much more fragmented,” said Chaput. “The only way to create new life in a culture is to live our lives joyfully and fruitfully, as individuals ruled by convictions greater than ourselves and shared with people we know and love. It’s a path that’s very simple and very hard at the same time. But it’s the only way to make a revolution that matters.”

He continued:

When young people ask me how to change the world, I tell them to love each other, get married, stay faithful to one another, have lots of children, and raise those children to be men and women of Christian character. Faith is a seed. It doesn’t flower overnight. It takes time and love and effort. Money is important, but it’s never the most important thing. The future belongs to people with children, not with things. Things rust and break. But every child is a universe of possibility that reaches into eternity, connecting our memories and our hopes in a sign of God’s love across the generations. That’s what matters. The soul of a child is forever.

If you want to see the face of Europe in 100 years, barring a miracle, look to the faces of young Muslim immigrants. Islam has a future because Islam believes in children. Without a transcendent faith that makes life worth living, there’s no reason to bear children. And where there are no children, there’s no imagination, no reason to sacrifice, and no future. At least six of Europe’s most senior national leaders have no children at all. Their world ends with them. It’s hard to avoid a sense that much of Europe is already dead or dying without knowing it.

Chaput cited Cardinal Robert Sarah and his acclaimed new book The Power of Silence.

“God renews the world by first renewing each precious, immortal individual person in the quiet of his or her soul,” he said. “God is not absent from the world. We just make it impossible to hear him. So the first task of the Christian life today is to unplug, carve out the silence that allows us to listen for God’s voice, and make room for the conversation we call prayer.”

Chaput said the Internet can be “a source of isolation.”

“The human spirit begins to gradually starve” when we only rely on technology, he said. “We use our tools, but our tools also use us. They shape the way we think, the way we act, and the way we see the world.  Technological man sees the world not as a gift of God — with its own purpose and meaning, to be treasured and stewarded — but as a collection of dead material to be organized and used.”

Such an attitude “eventually spreads to the way we treat the environment, other living creatures, other people, and our own bodies and selves.”

God allows us to 'add to the great story of His creation'

“We don’t see the full effects of the good we do in this life,” Chaput concluded, recalling how a friend once saw a tapestry that up close was just “hundreds of ugly knots and tangles of stray thread in a chaos of confused shapes that made very little sense.” It was the Tapestry of the Apocalypse of St. John, a famous European work of art.

“It’s one of the most stunning and beautiful expressions of medieval civilization, and among the greatest artistic achievements of the European heritage,” said Chaput. “So much of what we do seems a tangle of frustrations and failures.  We don’t see — on this side of the tapestry — the pattern of meaning that our faith weaves.”

“But one day we’ll stand on the other side,” he said. “And on that day, we’ll see the beauty that God has allowed us to add to the great story of His creation, the revelation of his love that goes from age to age no matter how good or bad the times. And this is why our lives matter.” 

Chaput's full speech can be read here.