Archbishop Charles Chaput: A Man for Our Season

Here’s a snippet from my new article on

My first conversation with Archbishop Charles J. Chaput happened over dinner at a mom-and-pop Chinese restaurant in South Dakota in late 1990. He was the bishop of Rapid City; I was working for Catholic Answers and had been invited to conduct a weekend apologetics conference there. From that first meeting, I could tell immediately that I was in the presence of a truly excellent bishop.

“Bishop Charles,” as all the Catholics I met that weekend called him with proud affection, personified “down to earth.” He was not merely being polite; he clearly was interested and engaged with those around him, listening thoughtfully and offering insights, advice, and the occasional funny anecdote with an easy joviality that put people at ease, while always maintaining the dignity of his role as shepherd of the flock.

I was impressed with Bishop Charles’s humility; his palpable love for Christ and the Church; his quiet, understated wisdom; and his obvious pastoral dedication to the spiritual and physical wellbeing of his flock. I’ve met many bishops over the years, and I knew from that very first conversation with him that I was in the presence of not just a good bishop, but a great man. . . .

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