Pope Francis recently made headlines when he announced his 17 cardinal nominations, which included three American bishops: Blasé Cupich of Chicago, Joseph Tobin of Indianapolis and Dallas’ own Kevin Farrell. Some in the media speculate that these Americans were chosen for their moderate positions. Intrigued by those statements, I researched these bishops and found Archbishop Cupich to be a worrying choice for anyone who cares about traditional Catholic orthodoxy.
Archbishop Cupich was originally a priest in the Archdiocese of Omaha and has gone on to become the bishop of Rapid City, S.D.; Spokane, Wash.; and, most recently, Chicago, Ill. His long string of controversial actions began while he was the bishop of Rapid City, when he locked the doors to the church of a Latin Mass community to prevent them from celebrating the Holy Week services, including Easter Sunday, in Latin. Cupich defended his actions.
“[I was] just looking for an opportunity on an annual basis for us to all worship together, for one moment of unity as a Catholic church,” Cupich said. “Why do they find it so difficult, on a day of the Lord’s death, to celebrate with their bishop, who is the sign of the Lord’s unity?”
Of course, forbidding the faithful to attend Mass the way the church has practiced Mass for at least half a millennium, only created more friction and distrust within the Church.
In 2011, while bishop of Spokane, Cupich again acted in a way that created confusion and outrage when he urged priests and seminarians not to pray outside abortion clinics. Cupich explained that he wanted to emphasize education over confrontation.
In 2012, Cupich supported Gonzaga University, a Jesuit university in Spokane, in its decision to choose Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu as the graduation commencement speaker. Although Archbishop Tutu was a big contributor to the end of racial segregation in South Africa, he is also an outspoken proponent of abortion and gay marriage, and has recently come out in favor of assisted suicide.
Unsurprisingly, Cupich’s habit of bad decision-making continued during his tenure as Archbishop of Chicago. There, he presided over a Mass where non-Catholic governor of Illinois Bruce Rauner was given communion, despite Cupich’s prior knowledge of Rauner’s attendance.
On a related note, Cupich is in favor of giving the Eucharist to politicians who support abortion, despite both Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis having stated that pro-abortion politicians must be denied the Eucharist.
“[I do not] want to politicize the communion rail,” Cupich said.
Along with pro-abortion politicians, Cupich has made disturbing comments regarding the potential to give Holy Communion to those in active homosexual relationships.
“Gay people are human beings, too, and they have a conscience,” Cupich said. “My role as a pastor to help them discern what the will of God is … the conscience is inviolable, and we have to respect that when they make decisions.”
Cupich seems to be forgetting about Canon 915, which states that those “obstinately persevering” in manifest grave sin are not to be administered Holy Communion.
Additionally, he does not address the fact that the conscience has to be formed. Thus, the reaction of the conscience is not always a perfect measure of morality.
Unsurprisingly, Cupich named Grant Gallicho, the former editor of a liberal “Catholic” magazine, Commonweal, to the position of director of publications and media for the Archdiocese of Chicago. Commonweal has supported female ordinations, claims Humae Vitae is not infallible and promotes legal abortion in the cases of rape and incest.
These recent appointments, Cupich’s in particular, only add to the list of my reservations about Pope Francis.
Every Catholic should keep church leaders accountable and be aware of potential abuses from church leadership.
In the meantime, let us pray that God will use Cardinal Cupich for the greater good.