Bishop Blasé Cupich’s selection as the new archbishop of Chicago demonstrates the wisdom of Pope Francis. Cupich chaired the NCCB’s child protection efforts, was a pastor twice and served early in his career in the nunciature of the U.S. in Washington, D.C. I just listened to a talk which Bishop Cupich gave recently and I was impressed by his articulate and very human response to the pontificate of Pope Francis. I guess Pope Francis likes that kind of candor and involvement.
Chicago has over two million Catholics, much larger than Spokane. There is a certain amount of freedom that pastors enjoy here that is not common in other dioceses. I was pastor of a church in a diocese where the chancery officials were called the “Diocesan Taliban.” Tattletales and interferences were common from these petty officials. The result was a fearful and demoralized clergy. I couldn’t wait, spiritually speaking, to be among the dearly departed from that diocese.
I think that Archbishop Cupich will continue to encourage his clergy to dialogue and allow them to use fresh approaches to the issues of the day, particularly abortion, contraception and homosexuality.
Where archbishop Cupich will likely have the most impact is tackling the profound disengagement of many Catholics from their Church. The culture of self-absorption and materialism now strangles the American soul so that it is nearly impossible for most Americans to find the space in life to pray. Time is money, right? Why waste time reflecting on God? The deity seems so remote. Besides, you can’t figure out lots of things in life. Why bother? Let’s get on with life.
Chicago has caught this sickness as it has gone viral. Archbishop Cupich will have his hands full here in Chicago. But, he has capable leaders here both lay and clerical. They are waiting for his encouragement and guidance.
Cardinal George has often been blunt when telling a pastor to move a tabernacle to a more central location or to stop using the third form of reconciliation. However, it was probably unfair for priests to privately refer to Cardinal George as “Francis, the Corrector.”
I am hoping that Archbishop Cupich engenders the name, “Blasé, the Encourager>”
Thank you Cardinal George. Welcome Archbishop Cupich!