One of the chief ways of assessing any pope is to look at his appointments. Pope Francis has picked Bishop Blase Cupich of Spokane to run the Chicago Archdiocese. PopeWatch believes this marks a return to the policies of Joseph Cardinal Bernardin who was in charge of the Chicago Archdiocese prior to Francis Cardinal George. Let us count the ways.
1. Seamless garment–
It’s a philosophy underscored by his previous job as bishop in Rapid City, South Dakota. Under his leadership, the “Pro-Life Committee” in the Rapid City diocese became the “Social Justice Committee.” It wasn’t a shift away from an anti-abortion message, Cupich says, but an expansion to all sorts of issues — opposition to capital punishment, support of immigration reform, concern for those in poverty.
2. Distancing from the pro-life cause–
As is his custom, the bishop has not responded. I do not understand Bp. Cupich’s hostility to the prolife movement and 40DFL, but this is not the first time I have gotten samizdat from some suffering soul in Spokane, struggling with the fact that the bishop appears to be bent on campaign of crushing and suppressing pro-life activity and punishing people for the crime of being orthodox. I do not understand that guy.
3. Hostility to traditional Catholicism-
RAPID CITY – A standoff between Latin-rite Catholics in Rapid City and their bishop has left the Latin Mass congregation of St. Michael’s choosing to celebrate Good Friday services on the sidewalk instead of in church.
Members of the Latin Mass community, which has met in Rapid City for the past 12 years at Immaculate Conception Church on Fifth Street, say Bishop Blase Cupich has barred them from celebrating Good Friday and Easter vigil services at the church in an attempt to mainstream them into the English-language Mass.
“We’ve been prohibited by the bishop from celebrating the Easter Triduum liturgies and locked out of our church from noon on Holy Thursday until 8 a.m. on Easter morning,” Dan Carda, 58, of Piedmont, said. Carda is a Latin Mass adherent who refuses to participate in the new-order English-language Mass that was mandated by the Second Vatican Council.
4. Toadying to the Democrat Party-
When most bishops refused to let Catholic Charities employees serve as Navigators for the Affordable Care Act, Cupich bucked the trend: Whatever problems the USCCB had with Obamacare and its contraception mandate, he was committed to using the infrastructure of the Church to help poor people access health insurance.
Just prior to the presidential election in 2008 he wrote an editorial in America raising the spectre that it was intrinsically evil for people to vote against Obama because of his race. The purpose of the editorial seemed to be to give cover for Obama on the abortion issue and was curious since the idea that large numbers of voters were voting against Obama simply because of his race was a mirror image of the actual role of race in that election. Go here to read the editorial.
He was the second to the last bishop to join the fight against the contraceptive mandate.
5. Dialogue will solve everything–
“I think that his voice reflects voices that used to be more common in the U.S. Catholic Congress of Bishops,” says Bryan Cones, managing editor of U.S. Catholic Magazine. In a recent blog post, Cones called Cupich “the bishop who can speak without shouting.”
6. Dialogue is a miracle working device, except with those more conservative than him–
This video is from a presentation at a conference bashing libertarianism at Catholic University in June of this year: “Erroneous Autonomy: The Catholic Case Against Libertarianism.”
All Catholics who wish to have the Church neutered in the public square should be pleased with this appointment. Those Catholics who believe in the Church Militant instead of the Church Mushy should be appalled. Somewhere in the next life, Bernardin is grinning. Back to the past for the Archdiocese of Chicago. With this appointment another piece of the puzzle that is Pope Francis falls into place.