Archbishop Chaput

The news across the Catholic blogosphere today is Archbishop Chaput’s new assignment to Philadelphia to replace retiring Cardinal Rigali. Traditionally, the archbishop of Philadelphia has been a Cardinal, so this move is seen as an imminent elevation for the archbishop – one that is long overdue.

I lived in Denver until the beginning of this year, still visit there frequently, and hope to move back soon. I can say this is sad news for the Denver church. Archbishop Chaput is an amazing man. He welcomed me into the church in 2005 during the Rite of Election. Last year, he granted me a private meeting, during which I received his blessing, and I have been able to exchange correspondence with him.

Whispers in the Loggia describes Archbishop Chaput as “brash, outspoken and fearless — energetic, colorful, cultured… indeed, even hard-core….” I agree with all of those except for the first, he is not brash. Yes, he is unapologetic in being an orthodox bishop. He stands for Catholic faith, but does so in a gentle way. His statements are always measured and thoughtful. He is not unnecessarily confrontational. Yes, he is “pastoral.” Then again, no one thinks a response is gentle when that response opposes one’s own beliefs. No matter how gentle he is, the pro-abortion, and gay lobby will call him “mean.” He has taken unpopular positions and is criticized by both conservatives and liberals.

Still, no other bishop has been more open in reforming the Church in the aftermath of the priest abuse scandal. It is no wonder the Pope is rumored to have picked Archbishop Chaput over the candidates he was offered. He is the right man for the situation in Philadelphia where his biggest challenge will be to heal that church in the wake of a renewed abuse scandal.

But there is more to Archbishop Chaput than that. The Catholic Church of Northern Colorado (the archdiocese of Denver) is growing. The growth of vocations continues as well. Last year, the archdiocese had to expand the St. John Vianney Seminary, which is located on the same campus as the archdiocese’s headquarters. Thanks to his leadership, the church in Denver is healthy.

Archbishop Chaput has the heart of a shepherd. Anyone who claims he is aloof has simply not met him. He is approachable by anyone. I’ve seen him greeting people for about an hour at the front doors of the basilica after mass to greet anyone who desires to meet him. He didn’t leave until everyone had the opportunity.

Philadelphia, Denver’s loss is your gain. You are about to be blessed more than you know.

Ripped from the headlines

Headline: NY DEC Warns That Giant Hogweed Plant Could Cause Blisters, Blindness.

Coming soon, the movie: The Planteriminator

Synopsis: “Parks and Recreation maintenance worker, Howard Moore, is an everyday guy, until one day at work he comes across a GIANT HOGWEED. With nothing but a weed puller, a bottle of Roundup, and he wits, he now battles in apocalyptic Central Park to save himself, his coworkers, and….THE WORLD!” (Dum, dah, DAH).

(Hat tip Jimmy Akin for the news and Zach Ricks for the movie title.)

“Sexualize me, but don’t sexualize me”

Rebecca Watson is a “skeptic” (i.e. agnostic with atheistic tendancies) who is leading a crusade against Richard Dawkins. It started when Watson wrote about an early morning elevator encounter that she had where an inept suitor hit on her.

Just a word to the wise here, guys. Don’t do that. I don’t know how else to explain how this makes me very uncomfortable, but I’ll just sort of lay it out: I was a single women in foreign country in a hotel elevator with you, just you, and I. Don’t invite me back to your hotel room right after I finish talking about how it creeps me out and makes me uncomfortable when men sexualize me in that manner.

Dawkins commented on the encounter and basically said he didn’t think it was that big of a deal. That got Watson’s feminist hackles up and she is leading a boycott of his work. Now her fans want to boot Dawkins out as a leader of the atheist movement.

The entertainment value of atheists cannibalizing their own is somewhat humorous. Even more funny is how Watson is crusading against being sexualized when this is the woman who has previously published “pin-up” calendars sexualizing women. Last year, she promoted other nude calendars featuring nude men and women as “sexy.”

So to summarize, the woman who started “an organization dedicated to promoting skepticism and critical thinking among women around the world” sexualizes women while railing against the thought crime of being sexualized.

Here is a thought. If you don’t want to be sexualized, don’t participate in the systematic sexualization of women. That would be a good first step in promoting critical thinking among women.

(hat tip: Mark Shea)

Never my “step father”

My biological father walked out on my mother and me when I was about two years old. He maintained his financial child support obligations but I never heard from him.

My mother once told me about a conversation she had with my Sunday school teacher when I was about 5. My mom mentioned the divorce and that my father was absent. The teacher responded, “Well that explains it.”


“We made crafts last Father’s Day. Now I understand why he wouldn’t take his home.”

It must have been around the same time that I remember telling my mother that I wanted a dad and then a little brother. It seemed all my friends had dads, my uncles were there for my cousins. Even other friends from divorced families knew their dads, but I had no memories of my father.

Not long after those events, my mom met John. I was six when they got married. She must have made it clear what he was getting into. We were in the car leaving the church after the wedding talking about something. I don’t remember what we talking about, but I do remember saying, ” …John, I mean Dad.” I never called him John again.

He taught me how to ride a bike. He threw a baseball with me in the front yard. We wrestled on the living room floor. I used his last name when I went to second grade the next year, and we made it legal when he adopted me a few years later.

He gave me stability and security. He taught me integrity and showed me what it is to be a man of faith. Most of all, he told me what every scared little boy longs to hear, “I love you.”

My little brother was born a year and a half after the wedding. I had everything I ever wanted. I only recognize how blessed I was in hindsight. He took another man’s child and made me his own.

I met my biological father when I was 30. We talk occasionally. I address him by his first name. I now know my father, but I have only one Dad.

Dad, Happy Father’s Day.


You cannot exaggerate about the Marines. They are convinced to the point of arrogance, that they are the most ferocious fighters on earth – and the amusing thing about it is that they are.
— Father Kevin Keaney, 1st Marine Divison Chaplain, Korean War

(HT: Frank)

Chocolate Pancakes

Bailey asked for “chocolate pancakes” this morning.

It sounded like a good idea at the time. So I threw a few chocolate chips into the pancake batter, and Presto!

Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Priscilla Ahn – When You Grow Up

A new album out today. She has a beautiful voice.

1. When You Grow Up
2. One Day I Will Do
3. Oo La La
4. Vibe So Hot
5. City Lights (Pretty Lights)
6. I Don’t Have Time To Be In Love
7. Cry Baby
8. Lost Cause
9. Empty House
10. I Will Get Over You
11. iElf Song
12. Torch Song

Does she have to grow up?

OK, I’m a big Merlin Mann fan. Last week, Merlin posted an essay (language warning) that tells of the death of his father when Merlin was 7. He also tells of his own 3 three-year old daughter. That is the part that gets me. It hits too close to home.

My daughter is only a year older than his. She is a quintessential “Daddy’s Girl.” Every night at bedtime, “I want Daddy to put me to bed”. If she wakes up in the morning before I wake her, she yells, “DAAAAAAADyyy….oh DAAAAAAAADyyy, I’m awake!” When I get from work, she will run across the room to hug me while yelling “Daddy! I’m SO glad you’re home. I missed you.” This in spite of the fact that I normally go home for lunch, so our separation was is normally no more than about four hours.

A couple of weeks ago she said, “Daddy, I love you so much, I promise I’m never going to leave you.” Just a couple of nights ago, she mentioned that I missed her birthday party in December and asked if I would be there for the next one. I assured her I would be. Last night, as I was drying her from her shower, she told me, “Daddy, I missed you when you were here and we were in Denver.” Our family was reunited months ago (an eternity in 4-year old time), but that 4 month absence of me living in another state while we prepared to move still haunts her, but I know that is because she thinks the world of me (how intimidating is that?). It is a strange experience to be the center of someone’s universe.

I know one day she will stop calling for Daddy in the middle of the night. Someday she will not need me to just sit and hold her because she isn’t feeling well – or to sit and hold her because she is feeling well and just wants Daddy. Someday I will not get the kisses or feel those tiny arms hugging my neck as hard as she can squeeze. Someday she will not ask me to “do God bless you” and cross her forehead when I drop her off somewhere. And someday soon she will not need me to lay down with her before she goes to sleep. But she does all of that now and I love it every time.

That is why I make her breakfast most mornings even when I’m running late for work, and it is why I get her ready for bed almost every night – even on nights when I ask Honeybun to do it because I have a splitting headache (like last night) but cave in because she says, “I want Daddy to do it.”

Someday she won’t need Daddy to do things for her. But maybe someday she will read a much neglected blog and understand how much her Daddy loves her.

She makes me happy.