Last week Archbishop Chaput delivered an address to the American Bible Society in New York about understanding our own times and being possessed by the God of Truth. He said that we need to recognise the impact which the mass media has on thought and action through vanity and compromise on the part of Catholics.
The tools we rely on to inform us are the same tools we use to delude ourselves about the real world: the news and entertainment media, which now so often overlap, are the largest catechetical syndicate in history, helping create a culture based on immediacy, brevity, visual stimulation, celebrity and self-absorption.
As a remedy, give up computers, televisions, cell phones, and iPods for 'just one night' a week. One night a week spend reading, talking with each other, listening to each other and praying over Scripture. And if we do, we'll discover that eventually we're sober again and not be drunk on technology and our own overheated appetites.
What's new about our current moment is that too many Christians have made peace with sinfulness, baptized it with the language of personal conscience, and stopped trying to convert anybody -- including themselves.
While a 'post-Christian' society may seem similar to the world St. Paul confronted, it is in fact much worse because the old pagan world was ignorant of Christ, but today's paganism involves a specific choice against Jesus Christ.
There is no such a thing as a 'post-Christian' society. The redemptive mission of Jesus Christ is unique, unrepeatable and forever. Christ is the center and meaning of history. There is nothing after Jesus Christ except a void.
When Jesus commissioned the apostles to make disciples of all nations and baptize them, he was talking to you and me.
The lesson of St. Paul, now and for every generation, is that we need to engage the world with intelligence, a creative spirit and, most importantly, charity, which 'bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.' Real charity depends on truth, not 'shallow courtesies' and 'false compromises.' St Paul reminds us that charity 'does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth' (I Cor 13:6). In fact, no greater gift of love exists than sharing the truth with others. Only God's truth sets us free.
Jesus himself did not claim to 'preach' the truth but to be the truth. That's why a Christianity based only on technique or useful ideas or a system of good social principles will always fail. Christianity can only be anchored in a love for Jesus Christ.
What a great Bishop and Pastor the Church has in Denver!