Archbishop Chaput Wins the 2014 Coughlin Award!
Frank Cocozzelli printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Dec 30, 2014 at 08:24:55 AM EST
 photo franksgraphic_zpsbe286320.jpgIt's time again for the presentation of the annual Coughlin Award. This year's award goes to the cultural warrior's cultural warrior, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia.
The Coughlin Award -- affectionately known as "The Coughie" -- recognizes the person who has best exemplified an exclusionary, strident interpretation of the Catholic faith in the preceding year. The award is named for Father Charles Coughlin, the notorious radio priest of the 1930s who is the role model for today's Religious Right radio and television evangelists, and other conservative media personalities.

Best known for his diatribes against FDR, Judaism and open sympathy with the racist policies of Adolph Hitler, Coughlin's advocacy was clearly antithetical to the very definition of the word "catholic," which, according to Webster's Unabridged Dictionary means:

Catholic Cath"o*lic\ (k[a^]th"[-o]*[i^]k), a. [L. catholicus, Gr. kaqoliko`s, universal, general; kata` down, wholly + "o`los whole, probably akin to E. solid: cf. F. catholique.]

1. Universal or general; as, the catholic faith.

Men of other countries [came] to bear their part in so great and catholic a war. --Southey.

Note: This epithet, which is applicable to the whole Christian church, or its faith, is claimed by Roman Catholics to belong especially to their church, and in popular usage is so limited.

*Not narrow-minded, partial, or bigoted; liberal; as, catholic tastes.

*Of or pertaining to, or affecting the Roman Catholics; as, the Catholic emancipation act.

In order to win a Coughie, a candidate must complete three qualifying tasks: 1) Make the faith decisively less inclusive 2) Engage in incendiary behavior and 3) Ultimately embarrass the Church. This year's winner -- as usual -- has risen to the challenge.

Chaput did not earn the 2014 "Coughie" because of any one specific action; instead, he earned his award through the sheer cumulative force his divisive career in the Church and in movement conservative politics. He is a role model for contemporary Coughlinesque Church leaders.

Archbishop Chaput has not only met requirements -- he epitomizes them. So much so, that he is often able to meet more than one of the criteria in a single episode, and this year's Coughie is in many ways a lifetime achievement award.

First; His career has been marked by stern pronouncements that meet the first Award requirement of making Catholicism less inclusive.  From his time as the Archbishop of Denver when he uttered a harsh declaration of support for a Boulder, Colorado Catholic school's denying re-enrollment of a lesbian couple's two children; to his call for denying pro-choice Catholics Holy Communion; and finally to his open displeasure with Pope Francis's most recent overtures to divorced and gay Catholics, Archbishop Chaput has made it clear that in his vision of the Church there is no room for greater tolerance, understanding, and dialog.

Second; Over the years he has engaged in incendiary behavior. For example, during the 2004 presidential election Archbishop Chaput declared that it was a sin for American Catholics to vote for the Democratic Party nominee John Kerry (Kerry is pro-choice and supports embryonic stem cell research). While serving as the archbishop of Denver, Colorado he opposed legislation that would expand the statute of limitations for prosecuting child abusers.  He gives the appearance of one who is more interested in preserving the financial assets of the Church as an institution, and the privileges of an old boys club, than in securing the safety of the children in his care and holding to account people who abused their position to exploit the vulnerable.

Last Fall, he said:   "I was very disturbed by what happened" at a Vatican sponsored Synod on the Family, where some 190 cardinals and bishops discussed such matters as how to treat LGBT people and divorced Catholics. "I think confusion is of the devil," he declared, "and I think the public image that came across was one of confusion."

To suggest that a conversation convened by the Pope is ultimately "of the devil" is about as incendiary as it gets in Catholicism.  But Chaput was not finished. He went so far as to suggest that in the wake of the court decisions legalizing same-sex marriage in most states, Catholic bishops might consider engaging in what he called "principled resistance" by opting out of certifying civil marriages.

Archbishop Chaput will be the host of the long planned World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia next September. Pope Francis will be the featured speaker (replacing Pope Benedict who retired before he could make his planned appearance.)   The Vatican Synod on the Family, which Chaput found to be "of the devil", was a forerunner event to the World Meeting.  So if past is prologue, Philadelphia may be shaping up as a showdown between the two leaders.  

Third; All of this is an embarrassment to the Catholic Church.

So, for all that and so much more, Archbishop Chaput come on down and claim your 2014 Coughlin Award!.

 Note to Bookmakers:   It sure looks like Chaput is positioning himself to be an early front runner for the 2015 Coughie.




Display:
Chaput is a worthy winner!

by khughes1963 on Tue Dec 30, 2014 at 10:48:43 AM EST

but he is certainly not in opposition to the pope as you imply. As you know, the "welcome" to "these people" sent to the media was an interim report which in no way expressed the tenor of the discussions nor the majority view of the synod. This was reflected by the final report as prepared by those who actually attended. By stating "I was very disturbed by what happened" at the synod. "I think confusion is of the devil, and I think the public image that came across was one of confusion," Chaput was leveling the same criticism as several other prelates and in solidarity with the synod. As you know, Cardinal Bergoglio was as strident an opponent of marriage equality in Argentina as the U.S. religious right and has shown agreement with the Bishops/Evangelical campaign by hosting the conference on marriage Nov. 17-19 at which he gave the opening address. "Marriage can only be between a man and a woman.... The Church must not cave in," declared evangelical icon Rick Warren. Afterwards, Warren recorded a video for the Catholic News Service supporting a closer alliance with the Catholic Church. He "has called on non-Catholic Christians to join with Pope Francis and the Catholic Church in pursuit of their common goals." "I am willing to go anywhere, when asked, to bear witness to what we as evangelicals believe about marriage and the gospel, especially in times in which marriage is culturally imperiled," said the Southern Baptist Convention's Russell Moore, defending his attendance. Following the pope's lead, "Southern Baptists change their tone but not their substance on homosexuality." Nicholas Okoh, the Anglican Archbishop of Nigeria "called homosexuality a 'manifestation of the devil' and praised the Nigerian president's `courage' in signing a harsh anti-gay law last December. Okoh said in January that people who oppose the law will face `disaster.'" Attendee Alan Spears, president of the Alliance Defending Freedom, had "warned that eliminating anti-sodomy laws would lead to the overturning of `laws against pedophilia, sex between close relatives, polygamy, bestiality and all other distortions and violations of God's plan.'" Sears said the pope's planned U.S. visit comes "at a time when the debate on marriage is so fierce [and] could be the opportunity those fighting for traditional marriage have been waiting for."

by Betty Clermont on Tue Dec 30, 2014 at 12:32:14 PM EST


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