By Anthony Barich
Living a double life as a Catholic who goes to Mass but does not witness one’s faith publicly is doomed to fail, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, Colorado told over 1000 young people in an Irish Pub in Parramatta on July 16.
The Archbishop said that going to Mass on Sundays but then being unwilling to share one’s faith in public with friends and family or others is contrary to living as a true disciple of Christ, and likened it to “living in a vegetative state”.
“Jesus wants all of us, and not just on Sundays,” he said.
“We need to take Christ at His word. We need to love Him like our lives depend on it. Right now. And without excuses.”
The Archbishop was addressing Theology on Tap at PJ Gallagher’s Irish Pub in inner Sydney as part of World Youth Day, and was greeted with enthusiastic war cries like “Viva Il Papa” and “Benedetto” from the youth who filled the pub that is a half-hour train ride from the central business district.
He said loving and believing in Christ and trusting His Church is every Christian’s mission in life.
“”We can’t live a half-way Christianity,” he said. “Every double life will inevitably self-destruct. Being a Christian is who you are – period. And being a Christian means your life has a mission. It means striving every day to become more like Jesus in your thoughts and actions.”
Archbishop Chaput first inspired 20-year-old University of Notre Dame Australia law and theology student Patrick Langrell to start Theology on Tap in August last year when he heard the prelate address a similar forum in a pub on Denver’s diocesan website.
Speaking on the theme “Mission Possible: this double-life will self-destruct”, the prelate said that knowing what the Church teaches and what Christ wants everyone to know for the salvation of all will equip young people with the means to share its teachings.
The Archbishop said that Jesus’s message to the man who told him he wants to be a disciple but first wanted to bury his father, “leave the dead to bury the dead; follow me and proclaim the kingdom of God” is a stark and disturbing reminder.
“There can be no more urgent priority in our lives than following Christ and proclaiming His kingdom,” Archbishop Chaput said.
He called on youth to discover how God wants them to follow Christ by talking to God “humbly in prayer” and by getting to know Christ better through daily reading and praying over the Gospels.
He also told the youth to open themselves to the graces Christ gives in the Sacraments.
“It’s not about choosing what you want to do with your life,” he said. “It’s about discovering how God wants to use your life to spread the good news of His love and His kingdom.”
The Archbishop called on the youth to preach the Gospel with their lives “no matter where you are or whatever you find yourself doing – going to school, working, making a home”.
Quoting St John of the Cross, the Archbishop said: “Where there is no love, put love and you will draw love”, in order to bring about a kingdom of love.
He told the young people not to get angry at human weakness and sin in the Church; but to love the Church as their mother and teacher.
“Help build her up, to purify her life and work,” he said.
Theology on Tap has previously been addressed by Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, three Dominican Sisters from Nashville, Tennessee assisting with WYD08 preparations and UNDA Sydney vice-chancellor Hayden Ramsay.
Held once a month at PJ Gallagher’s Irish Pub, Theology on Tap regularly draws over 600 young people.