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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Bishop Blase Cupich

There's been much in the Catholic press about the appointment of Cardinal George's replacement in Chicago, Bishop Blase Cupich. Appointed by Pope Francis, this is seen as an indication by some of the Pope's wish to have a more moderate leadership in the US ... Pope Francis names Spokane bishop to Chicago, dashing conservative hopes

I would argue first that Cupich is *not* at all a liberal, and secondly, I would ask whether it really matters at the end of the day where Cupich stands.

First, an example of Cupich's conservatism is shown in his views of complementarianism and marriage equality. As bishop of Spokane he argued vigorously in 2012 against Referendum 74. Here's a bit of what he wrote in Some Reflections on Referendum 74 ...

[...] If there is anything we have come to appreciate and value more fully in this modern age, it is that men and women are not the same. That is true not only biologically, but on so many other levels. Men and women are not interchangeable. They each bring something of their difference to complement each other. In a marriage union, a mutual sharing of each other’s difference creates life, but it also nourishes that life in a family where sons and daughters learn about gender from the way it is lived by their mothers and fathers. The decision to unhinge marriage from its original grounding in our biological life should not be taken lightly for there are some things enacted law is not capable of changing. Thoughtful consideration should be given to the significant consequences such unhinging will mean for children, families, society and the common good .....

If marriage is only about relationships, why limit unions to two people? Why does the new law include the traditional prohibition of close kinship unions for both opposite and same sex couples? The threat of genetic disorders in children is not an issue for same sex couples. Is it not reasonable to assume that a closely related same sex couple will in time successfully challenge this prohibition as an unreasonable imposition? .... In the coming weeks I will provide through the Inland Register, and our websites ( and materials based on what we believe God has revealed to us about creation, the meaning and value of marriage and family, and the way we are called to live as Christ’s disciples.

Second, does it make a real difference to Catholics if their bishop holds certain views? Despite the arguments of Cupich and other Washington state bishops, referendum 74 was not only passed, but a group, Catholics for Marriage Equality, held a prayer vigil in support of the referendum ... Catholics defy bishops to pray for gay marriage ... and 63 ex-Catholic priests backed the referendum as well.

I couldn't even tell you the name of my own bishop, much less where he stands on important issues ... I think we can assume he disagrees with me about women's ordination, marriage equality, contraception, divorce, holding bishops accountable for covering up sex abuse because he would not have been made a bishop otherwise ... and his views would have no impact on my beliefs. It's not just me ... Pope Francis faces church divided over doctrine, global poll of Catholics finds. So, I guess I'm just bemused by the furor over Cupich's appointment.


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