Pope Francis appoints Archbishop Cupich to key role in naming U.S. bishops

 Chicago Archbishop Blase J. Cupich addresses parishioners of St. Martin de Porres Church on the city's west side during Mass May 1. (CNS photo/Karen Callaway, Catholic New World)

In a highly significant move, Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago to the Vatican Congregation for Bishops thereby giving him a voice and important role in the selection of candidates to be bishops for dioceses in the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. (Candidates to be bishops in dioceses in Asia, Africa and the Middle East are handled by other Vatican offices.)

The announcement was made by the Vatican at noon today, July 7. Archbishop Cupich now becomes a member of this very important Vatican congregation whose main task is to identify and propose suitable candidates to the pope to be bishops in over 2,000 dioceses across the globe. The pope reviews their choices and then makes the final decision.

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The congregation at present has 26 members from many countries; 20 are cardinals, five are archbishops and one is a bishop. There is only one other from the United States on this Vatican body: Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C, who was also chosen by Francis to serve on it.

To understand the import of this appointment it is worth recalling that several U.S. cardinals have been members of this congregation in past decades under St. John Paul II or Benedict XVI, including Bernard Law, Justin Rigali, Raymond Burke and, until last June when he reached the age of 80, William Levada. It is well known that they played a very influential and often key role in the selection of the candidates to be diocesan bishops in the United States, and so contributed significantly to determining the present leadership of the Catholic Church in this country.

Since his election as pope on March 13, 2013, Francis has stated clearly the qualities that he is seeking in men to appoint as pastors for dioceses across the world. He said he is looking for humble, prayerful men, with "the smell of the sheep," men who are committed to the culture of encounter and dialogue, men of deep faith, with concern for the poor and the outcast, who are non-judgmental and know how to show mercy and accompany people, whatever their situation, on life’s journey.

Francis decided to give a new direction to the church in the United States, and so in his first major appointment to the United States, on Sept. 20, 2014, he surprised very many by choosing Bishop Cupich, a pastor with these qualities and with vision, to succeed Cardinal Francis George as archbishop of Chicago, the third largest diocese in the country with 2.3 million Catholics and the largest Catholic charities, health care and school systems in the country.

Since then Archbishop Cupich has shown himself in Chicago to be a pastor totally in line with Pope Francis. He has emerged as a courageous leader of the Catholic Church in the United States, with a strong commitment to social justice and the poor.

Pope Francis affirmed his confidence in him last October by choosing him as one of his personal appointments to the Synod of Bishops on the Family. By appointing him now to the congregation for bishops, the pope has given further confirmation of the great trust that he has in the archbishop of Chicago.

Today’s appointment is significant in another way too because it means that now three men personally chosen by Francis will play a key role in the nomination of bishops for dioceses in the United States in the coming years: Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the new nuncio to this country, and Cardinal Wuerl and Archbishop Cupich as members of the Congregation for Bishops.

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Joseph Vadis
1 year 10 months ago
The church in America is doomed. This is the final nail in the coffin.
Joseph Manfredi
1 year 10 months ago
Let's keep the faith but watch for responsible decision making by this group.
Scott Slanda
1 year 10 months ago
Yep, this liberal Jesuit Pope didn't like the USCCB's choice of delegates to his little synod last year, so he's wanting to start stacking the deck.
Sandi Sinor
1 year 10 months ago
Did you feel the same when JPII and Benedict stacked the decks (with bishops and cardinals)?
Robert Stiefvater
1 year 10 months ago
I' thrilled by the announcement and proud for Chicago! I hope it will speed up long awaited auxiliary bishops to Milwaukee!!!!
Joseph Manfredi
1 year 10 months ago
Pride might be a misplaced emotion. The hope should be that a process is maintained that brings us strong bishops that uphold the traditions of The Church!
Crystal Watson
1 year 10 months ago
**** humble, prayerful men, with "the smell of the sheep," men who are committed to the culture of encounter and dialogue, men of deep faith, with concern for the poor and the outcast, who are non-judgmental and know how to show mercy and accompany people, whatever their situation, on life’s journey **** This is the man who, when marriage equality came to his state, compared it to incest and polygamy .... http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2012/08/10/670511/washington-state-bishop-oppose-marriage-equality-to-keep-heterosexuality-special/
Kevin Sharpe
1 year 10 months ago
Crystal, thanks for that link. I had no idea his views presented in that news article were so out of step with everything I've been hearing about him. It does give one pause. Though it seems he is open to dialogue and walking with those of us who have felt so marginalized by the church. And that is encouraging. Where there is openness and desire to see each other as humans instead of demons, there is space for reconciliation and healing.
Crystal Watson
1 year 10 months ago
Dialogue is nice, but the thing is that those views Cupich had about marriage equality are the same views the pope also has. He expressed them when Argentina was voting for same sex marriage and he expressed them again in his recent exhortation, The Joy of Love. Dialogue means an exchange of views and the possibility for real change in opinion and policy, but that doesn't seem to be the case.
Kevin Sharpe
1 year 10 months ago
Crystal...a very valid point you make that dialogue requires an exchange of views. But sometimes the spirit of dialogue asks us to simply be present for the other, in a spaciousness that isn't judgmental or demonizing, a spaciousness that serves to allow the other to be and to settle and to accept an invitation to come into and take part in dialogue. It's not always easy to support the other with that kind of spaciousness, that kind of love, when they seem so entrenched or shut down to dialogue or to hearing us. But it is in those times that we can choose to model what we are desiring: the opportunity to be heard, to be accepted, to be loved. Not easy, I admit, particularly when we feel so wounded, so unheard and unaccepted and unloved. The question I ask my wounded self in times like these is this: Can I see the men who are the priests and the bishops, etc., who don't see me, can I see them with eyes of mercy? Can I hold space for them in all their woundedness and all their humanity as I also hold space for me in my woundedness and my humanity? If I can, then there is hope for dialogue. I have no idea what it will look like. I have no idea when it will happen. But my faith remains and it tells me that it will happen. That there will be dialogue. And there will be a mutuality of healing for all who are touched by this.
Crystal Watson
1 year 10 months ago
I'm not LGBT so maybe it isn't my place to speak to this, but my feeling is that the whole kinder/gentler dialogue thing is just a way to give the illusion of progress while keeping disgruntled people quiet. There's been no change in policy and there aren't any plans for change in the future.
Donna Davis
1 year 10 months ago
Kevin and Crystal, Perhaps you noticed the article is 4 years old. Many perspectives have been altered since that time, courtesy of Pope Francis and others. There are more current articles that offer balance to the information provided by the Think Progress article.
Kevin Sharpe
1 year 10 months ago
Donna...thank you for pointing that out and for reminding me that today is not four years ago and that shifts in points of view can take place over time. What I've seen of Archbishop Cupich recently (his press conference on Amoris Laetitia, in particular) gives me so much hope.
Darrin French
1 year 10 months ago
I pray for Divine Intervention! The Faithful deserve a solid leader who protects the sacred-deposit-of-the-faith, which is immutable. I recall a prophecy in that, “Bishops would oppose Bishops, priests oppose other priests, and Cardinals oppose Cardinals. Pope Francis is in need of much prayer for our country is already doomed and this appointment is the catalyst to amplify damage and slander already at epic levels. ONLY God can save the church and our country. Our Lady is sand bagging; it will not be long that we see our sins the way God sees them. – a mini prejudgment is upon us but first the Church will suffer much before it gets better.
Kevin Sharpe
1 year 10 months ago
Crystal, I so get what you’re saying. I so get it. It’s been my life and the cause of much wounding. But I’m not sure the “kinder, gentler dialogue thing” is an illusion of progress. I feel like it is actually progress. To that end, it is important to keep perspective. The Church has come a very long way in a very short span of time. We have come from a place and time when LGBT people were not spoken of (barely a generation ago) to openly acknowledging and speaking about them, to openly speaking about dialogue. LGBT people have been brought to the table, so to speak. And that is huge. Are LGBT people accepted and loved in fullness? No. But the momentum is present in big ways that many of my generation never thought possible even a decade ago. So perspective. And patience. And faith. The situation now in the Church can be likened to when parents learn, for example, that they have a gay or lesbian child. Of course, many scenarios are possible. But for some parents, they lash out and wound their children. They kick them out of their houses and their lives. They marginalize them. They call them hurtful things. Yet when the parents wound their children, the parents are often doing so from a place of fear and hurt. Their worldview of what is “right” or what is “normal” is shattered. It can, and often does, shock their system. But over time, some parents, from within the midst of their own hurt and fear, start to experience understanding. Love starts to heal. They begin to see that their son is still their son, their daughter is still their daughter. Through the space of understanding, they acknowledge that they still love their son or daughter. Their child hasn’t changed. What has changed, and what they can see and appreciate now, is that they see their son or daughter more fully for the beautiful person he or she is. And so love heals. There is a deeper and more authentic expression of that love. The trajectory with what the Church is going through now is similar. First there is reaction, then there is some time and space needed to settle and understand and contemplate, then there is action. In all honesty, I can say that for as much as I want it all now, I have faith that the love of Christ will heal and win and bring us all together.
Crystal Watson
1 year 10 months ago
Perhaps my perspective is different too because I wasn't raised Catholic but joined after I was an adult. What I see is a church that has only changed in tone at all because it had no other choice, given how civil society has changed its views on LGBT people. And the church has fought those civil changes tooth and nail every step of the way - how much money has the church spent trying to doom civil marriage equality, how hard have they tried to keep gays from adopting children, how often does the church still fire gay Catholic employees who marry? Even now, can LGBT people go to communion if they are in relationships? Even the most recent exhortation from the pope reiterates how civil marriage for gay people can never be like marriage for heterosexuals, that it isn't God's plan. I find it very hard to be satisfied with a few kind words, but as I said earlier, maybe I'd feel differently if I was LGBT myself.
Michael Barberi
1 year 10 months ago
A great choice by Pope Francis. He is quite different than the bishops St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI have chosen for many Vatican positions. He is very much in line with the pastoral vision and philosophy of Pope Francis.
Mary Grace Chandler Hansen
1 year 9 months ago
BREAKING: Leaked e-mails show George Soros paid $650K to influence bishops during Pope’s US visit Catholic , George Soros , Pope Francis , Us Bishops. https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/breaking-leaked-e-mails-show-george-soros-paid-to-influence-bishops-during Archbishop Cupich is listed in this article and his liberal ideas aligning himself with Soros is a commanding view of the new liberal Catholic Church. Placing climate change on the same level as abortion, also defunding proLife causes worldwide. I defend the Catholic Faith I know, and this is not it.

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