PHILADELPHIA -- Archbishop Charles J. Chaput was installed yesterday as leader of the 1.5-million strong Archdiocese of Philadelphia, placing the outspoken culture warrior at the helm of a once tight-knit bastion of American Catholicism that now faces a series of crises.
From a damning clergy sex abuse scandal to a strike by Catholic school teachers, the 66-year-old Chaput has his work cut out in restoring the spirits of Philadelphia’s faithful while not backing down from debates on hot-button issues like gay marriage and abortion.
But Chaput, who spent the last 14 years as archbishop of Denver, seemed to relish the challenge, combining both tasks with characteristic confidence in his homily at Thursday’s installation Mass.
“This church in Philadelphia faces very serious challenges these days,” Chaput told an audience of 1,700 that filled the Byzantine-style Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. “There’s no quick fix to problems that are so difficult, and none of us here today, except the Lord himself, is a miracle worker.”