Philadelphia, Pa., Sep 3, 2015 / 04:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Ahead of the papal visit to the U.S., some critics have painted a narrative pitting Pope Francis against the “conservative” American bishops – but the Archbishop of Philadelphia doesn't believe them.
Claims that that Church ignores the poor while obsessing over things like abortion and human sexuality are nothing new to members of the Catholic hierarchy, not even to the Pope himself, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia said in a recent column.
“When Francis was an archbishop in Buenos Aires, Argentine political leaders reviled him publicly as ‘the leader of the opposition,’” Archbishop Chaput said. “When he defended Church teaching on issues like sexuality and marriage, they accused him of conducting ‘an inquisition.’”
The archbishop said critics claim the United States’ Catholic bishops, especially the “conservative” ones, spend too much time tackling issues such as religious freedom and the sanctity of human life while ignoring the poor and needy.
But nothing could be further from the truth, the archbishop continued. While the Church will continue to call for the respect of human life and religious freedom, dioceses across the U.S. spend substantially more in terms of dollars and manpower on caring for the poor and needy.
“If there’s anything ‘lopsided’ about the real witness of the Catholic Church in Philadelphia, it’s weighted heavily in favor of the poor. It always has been. And that’s the reality in nearly every diocese in the United States,” he said. “But it’s not a fact that fits comfortably into a storyline of ‘compassionate Pope Francis vs. conservative American bishops.’”
Each year, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia alone spends $4.2 million of privately donated funds caring for the homeless, battered women, people with disabilities and immigrants. On top of that another $100 million in public funding go towards similar efforts.
By comparison, fewer than 200 of the 1,600 full time employees for archdiocesan social ministries work in parenting, family and pregnancy services. The archdiocese spends less than $200,000 on “sanctity of life, family and laity” issues.
The archbishop said he hopes Pope Francis will see “how the American Church really conducts her mission” and learn “that American Catholics in general, and Philadelphia Catholics in a very special way, love and support him wholeheartedly.”
“I hope he sees that there’s tremendous good in our country, and a lot of it began here in Philadelphia, where our nation was born,” he said.
Vatican City, Sep 2, 2015 / 05:09 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis remembered the official end of the Second World War on Wednesday with the plea: “never again,” and he decried similar horrors from today’s bloody conflicts, denouncing weapons trafficking.
The Pope recounted Sept. 2 today’s victims of war: “The persecuted minorities, the persecuted Christians, the insanity of destruction and the manufacturing and trafficking of weapons, bloodstained weapons, weapons soaked in the blood of many innocent (people).”
He cited the words of his predecessor, Blessed Paul VI: “War never again!”
These words, he said, are “the anguished cry which, from our hearts and from the hearts of men and women of good will, rise up to the Prince of Peace.”
The Pope's remarks addressed pilgrims in St. Peter's Square at the conclusion of his weekly General Audience.
“I renew my fervent prayer to the Lord of All that, through the Virgin Mary’s intercession, today’s world may not experience the horrors and the appalling suffering from similar tragedies,” he continued.
“This is also the permanent longing of peoples, especially those who are victims of several current bloody conflicts.”
The Second World War formally ended Sept. 2, 1945 on the U.S.S. Missouri, when Japan signed the documents of its surrender. Millions of soldiers and civilians were killed over the six year conflict that engulfed large parts of Europe, Asia, and the Pacific.
Pope Francis has spoken on several occasions about World War II over the course of his pontificate. He sent a message to the French bishops paying homage to those who fought in the D-Day invasion of Normandy, a he has also commemorated the 1943 bombing of Rome’s St. Lawrence Basilica.