Denver Roman Catholic archbishop Charles Chaput, who calls same-sex marriage “the issue of our time” and supported the decision of a Colorado Catholic school not to reenroll the children of a lesbian couple, has been named archbishop of Philadelphia.
Chaput (pictured, right) will take over the much larger Philadelphia archdiocese from Cardinal Justin Rigali (left), who is retiring. Rigali has been criticized for his handling of sexual abuse cases, with accusations that alleged abusers have been permitted to remain in the priesthood, the Los Angeles Times reports, while Chaput has received praise for dealing effectively with the relatively small number of abuse cases reported in the Denver archdiocese.
In an interview posted Tuesday on the National Catholic Reporter’s website, Chaput discussed a variety of issues and took “what most would regard as strongly conservative positions,” according to the Reporter.
He responded to a question about same-sex marriage by saying, “This is the issue of our time. The church understands marriage as a unique relationship, with a unique definition, which is the faithful love of a man and a woman for each other, permanent, and for the sake of children. … Any other sexual relationship is contrary to the Gospel, and so a relationship between two people of the same sex is not in line with the teachings of the church and the teachings of the Gospel, and is therefore wrong.”
He said that while Catholics should always respect people who do things contrary to the Gospel, they have a duty “to speak clearly about God’s plan for human happiness,” which he said includes “traditional, faithful, Catholic/Christian marriage.”
Last year he supported the decision by administrators at Sacred Heart of Jesus parish school in Boulder to not reenroll a lesbian couple’s children, and earlier this year he used his regular column in Denver’s Catholic newspaper to celebrate the defeat of civil unions legislation in Colorado.
Chaput, who is the highest-ranking Native American in the Catholic Church, is expected to assume the Philadelphia post in September. Philadelphia’s archdiocese has 1.5 million Catholics, compared with 500,000 for Denver’s.