But first, let's look at what kind of shoes would need to be filled. In the public sphere especially, Archbishop Chaput has been outspoken on the issues of the day, especially giving a strong voice to the pro-life movement.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, he was highly critical of then-candidate Barack Obama, and especially the messiah-complex that he seemed to garner from his supporters.
His book, Render unto Caesar, reiterates this point, encouraging all Catholics to take a more active stance in public life, and for standing up for the truths of the Faith.
He has been especially critical in fighting off the advances of same sex "marriage" advocates, and well articulating the positive position of the Church's teachings in this area, and highlighting the underlying agenda by those who would see that ideology advanced.
As if that weren't enough, he has in the past also publicly disagreed with the prevailing winds of the USCCB-- that is to say, he is not afraid to be his own Bishop.
In addition, ++Chaput is a sincere and personally holy man. I have had the chance to meet him and talk with him briefly, and he is a true pastor.
All of that said, who do I think would be an ideal successor to him in Denver?
His Excellency, the Most Reverend Samuel J. Aquila.
Bishop Aquila, currently the Ordinary of the Fargo Diocese, is no stranger to Denver-- in fact, he was first ordained there. He was also the first rector of the Seminary in Denver, after ++Chaput re-opened it.
Naturally, Bishop Aquila has spent a bit of time in Rome. Since his ordination as Bishop, he has absolutely transformed North Dakota during his tenure there. With a specialization in liturgy, and also with great experience in catechesis (he has been on a USCCB committee for both), it is no surprise that Fargo Diocese is doing as well as it is.
In addition, he is a staunch defender of human life, and no stranger to entering into the Public Forum, either.
For all of these reasons, not that my own opinion makes any difference, I think he would be an excellent candidate to fill the void that Archbishop Chaput has left in the Mile High City. Given the raised profile of the Church in Denver, the candidate would have to be someone of the caliber of Bishop Aquila, and also someone of his knowledge of the mid-west and mountain regions.
As for a date for announcing this, just to keep it interesting...I wouldn't be at all surprised if whoever the successor is going to be is announced before Christmas of this year, perhaps even as early as the beginning of October; however, I am sure that the passing of our beloved Nuncio may have slowed down things a bit.
Just a thought... But at least, if I am at all correct, there is a written record.
Some have opined that perhaps +Conley, auxiliary of Denver, might have a chance. I think he would be great, but don't think it likely, as I foresee he has the potential to be heading to Lincoln, NE in the near future...
Any other thoughts as to who it might be, or who would be good for Denver? Leave a comment!
UPDATE: this speculation is fun and all, but seriously, why not take a few seconds and pray for our Bishops, especially our local ordinary, and also for Archbishop Chaput in his new placement, and for the Holy Spirit to guide our Holy Father to the right candidate for Denver.