By Ernest Ohlhoff, NRLC Outreach Director
Pope Benedict XVI today appointed Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., D.D., as the new Archbishop of the Diocese of Philadelphia. Archbishop Chaput will replace retiring Archbishop Cardinal Justin Rigali who served as archbishop for the past eight years.
Cardinal Rigali will serve as apostolic administrator until Archbishop Chaput’s installation on September 8 at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul.
An outspoken pro-life advocate, Archbishop Chaput has written and spoken extensively in support of innocent human life. In addition to encouraging Catholics to be more active in the pro-life movement, Archbishop Chaput reached out to all Americans to embrace the restoration of legal protection for the unborn and the protection of all innocent human life.
Recently he said in an April 8, 2011 keynote address for the University of Notre Dame Right to Life Club’s spring lecture series stating publically that, “There is unity among the bishops about abortion always being wrong, and that you can’t be a Catholic and be in favor of abortion.” The Archbishop also stated, “Abortion is the foundational human rights issue of our lifetime,” adding that “you can’t build a just society and at the same time legally sanctify the destruction of generations of unborn human life.
In 2005 the National Right to Life Committee was honored to present Archbishop Chaput with its Proudly Pro-Life Award for his outstanding pro-life leadership.
Archbishop Chaput is only the second Native American to become a Catholic Bishop, and he is the first to become an Archbishop. He is a member of the Prairie Band of the Potawatomi Tribe and has been active in American Indian affairs.
Born September 26, 1944, in Concordia, Kansas, he attended Our Lady of Perpetual Help Grade School in Concordia and St. Francis Seminary High School in Victoria, Kansas. He was ordained to the priesthood on August 29, 1970 and was ordained Bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota, on July 26, 1988. On April 7, 1997, he was installed as the Archbishop of Denver.
Archbishop Chaput has also authored two highly acclaimed books: Living the Catholic Faith: Rediscovering the Basics (Servant, 2001) and Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life.
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