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Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago at a press conference in Chicago on April 4. (CNS photo/Karen Callaway, Chicago Catholic)Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago at a press conference in Chicago on April 4. (CNS photo/Karen Callaway, Chicago Catholic)

Cardinal Blase Cupich waded into a debate about how the Catholic Church should interact with gays and lesbians, telling a crowd in Chicago that at minimum they should be called by the phrases they use for themselves.

“We have always wanted to make sure that we start the conversation by saying that all people are of value and their lives should be respected and that we should respect them,” Cardinal Cupich said in response to a question following an address he gave at the City Club of Chicago on July 17.

“That is why I think that the terms gay and lesbian, L.G.BT., all of those names that people appropriate to themselves, should be respected,” the Chicago cardinal continued. “People should be called the way that they want to be called rather than us coming up with terms that maybe we’re more comfortable with. So it begins with that.”

The cardinal’s comments come at a time when some Catholic leaders are considering how to engage the L.G.B.T. community. America editor-at-large James Martin, S.J., argues in his new book Building a Bridge that gay and lesbian people should be referred to by those names, noting that Pope Francis himself has used the term gay.

But critics have said that using those terms in place of phrases such as “individuals who experience same-sex attraction” is a capitulation to secular culture.

"I think that the terms gay and lesbian, L.G.BT. should be respected.... People should be called the way that they want to be called rather than us coming up with terms that maybe we’re more comfortable with.”

Cardinal Cupich, who has emphasized a pastoral approach to questions of sexual morality in a way that mirrors Pope Francis, said that the church teaches that marriage is a union between a man and a woman who bring new life into the world and that “society has a role, it seems to me, in supporting that in a different and qualitative way.”

Later that evening, Cardinal Cupich appeared on WTTW’sChicago Tonight” to discuss gang and gun violence in the city. He declined to comment on anewly promulgated document in nearby Springfield, Ill., in which Bishop Thomas Paprocki told priests that gays and lesbians in same-sex marriages should not receive Communion or be given Catholic funerals.

“That is not our policy,” Cardinal Cupich said, adding, “as a matter of practice, we don’t comment on the policies of other dioceses.”

During the City Club event, Cardinal Cupich touched on a number of issues, including Chicago’s ongoing problem with gun-related violence. Last weekend, at least 11 people were killed in Chicago, including a local anti-violence activist and a 10-year-old boy. The cardinal pledged to continue pushing for “sensible gun restrictions,” including the banning of assault weapons, as well as pledging increased financial support for programs that provide food assistance, after-school programs and job training.

He said the “the destructive force of racism, this great sin, underlies much of what is wrong with society today” and contributes to the city’s woes; he urged an end to segregation in Chicago’s neighborhoods.

When asked about “a crisis of leadership” and how to elect political leaders with “humility and a love of humanity” at the local and national levels, the cardinal said voters have no one to blame but themselves.

“I’ve always said, we’re a democracy; we get the leaders we deserve because we elect them,” he said. “If people have difficulty with those who govern, there is a way in which they can respond and change that. It means let’s not sit back, let’s get involved. Read, get to know the issues and take action.”

(The Chicago Tribune reported that following the event, when asked specifically about President Trump, the cardinal referred to his previous answer.)

Cardinal Cupich, who serves as co-chair of a Catholic-Muslim dialogue initiative sponsored by U.S. bishops, was also asked about Catholic outreach to Muslim communities in the United States.

“Members of the Muslim community here in Chicago and around the nation are afraid,” he said, noting that some parents fear their children could be “easily radicalized” because their faith is not respected in mainstream society.

“This business of demonizing or pre-defining people by the way they look, the religion that they practice or where they came from is not only un-American but it’s going to hurt America,” he said.

During the TV interview, Cardinal Cupich also answered questions about internal church matters. He was asked about “conservatives in Rome who are not happy with the pope,” and he responded by saying that reports of Pope Francis facing resistance from some church officials are overwrought—though he acknowledged there are “voices out there who have a difficult time with the fresh approach that [Francis is] taking.”

A group of four cardinals has publicly challenged the pope for months over a document he wrote that some bishops are using to welcome more people to Communion, including divorced and remarried Catholics. But Cardinal Cupich told Chicago Tonight that the vast majority of cardinals stand with the pope.

“I would say that every pope has had people within his administration who have had difficulties one way or another with his administration,” he said. “The Holy Father knows that he has the support, however, of the vast majority of the people who work in the Holy See and of the cardinals.”

There was at least one question on Monday that Cardinal Cupich refused to entertain, employing a diversion tactic favored by President Trump. At the City Club, the cardinal was asked about a front-page story in Sunday’s New York Times, in which Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark and Cardinal Cupich were described as “breathing fresh air into the American Catholic Church.”

When asked his thoughts on how his goals differed from “the old guard,” the cardinal simply smiled and said, “Fake news!”

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Derrick Weiller
6 years 12 months ago

Day by day, courage by courage,
the clouds part and The Son shines through.

Arnoldo Miranda
6 years 12 months ago

"I think that the terms gay and lesbian, L.G.B.T. should be respected.... People should be called the way that they want to be called rather than us coming up with terms that maybe we’re more comfortable with.”

As if comfort was truly the concern. "Do you want any fries with that?"

I wish he would defend Church teaching as vigorously as he defends what the world wishes us to accept.

Fr. James Martin blocking people from stating clear concise statements that challenge the false premises of people who are not defending the Roman Catholic Church's Teachings is not going to prevent the Church from continuing to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Take heed with yesterdays readings MT 10:34—11:1 for they serve you well to understand what Jesus was referring to when today you blocked me from stating only what the Church has always stated. It is souls that matter, not feelings. I would let you speak even if I disagreed with you. This is something you and Fr. Rosica have perfected. Block all those who disagree with you because you don't have a rational argument to base the agenda you're pushing.

Andrew Eppink
6 years 12 months ago

"But critics have said that using those terms in place of phrases such as “individuals who experience same-sex attraction” is a capitulation to secular culture."

No kidding. As certainly Cupich et al. (should) realizes. A little honesty is in order.

Kevin Murphy
6 years 12 months ago

As always, completely uninspiring.

Lisa Weber
6 years 12 months ago

It is worth remembering that Jesus said nothing about homosexuality, so one can proclaim all of the Gospel and never once condemn gay people. Jesus also said nothing about abortion. What Jesus did was to make sexuality a private matter whenever he dealt with issues related to sexuality. We should not ask "What would Jesus do?" We should ask "What did Jesus do?" Jesus made sexuality private and maybe we should adopt the same attitude - sexuality is private.

Gino Dalpiaz
6 years 12 months ago

Lisa makes at least two non sequiturs when she writes: “Jesus . . . said nothing about abortion. What Jesus did was to make sexuality a private matter.”

Abortion is not a private matter. And sexuality is not a private matter. They both have cosmic consequences for the life of the unborn and for the future of the human race. The most precious gift of all is the gift of existence. “To be or not to be: that is the question,” Shakespeare used to say. It’s the very question every unborn child and the human race itself are asking themselves.“

“As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it” (Gen 9:7 (New International Version).

Kevin Murphy
6 years 12 months ago

Jesus never mentioned these isdues because there was no need to. He affirmed Mosaic Law which clearly stated homosexuality and abortion were sinful. He often affirmed the laws of the Old Testament, except for divorce, which He made more strenuous. Please don't use the ridiculous argument that since Jesus didn't mention something he approved of it. There were no cars but I'm sure he would be against drunk driving.

Steve Thompson
6 years 11 months ago

Lisa, do you affirm or deny the dogma that all scripture and sacred Tradition is the teaching of Christ?

James Haraldson
6 years 11 months ago

How do you know Jesus never said anything about homosexuality? If you proclaim all of the Gospels you have to include the part where the Gospels mention that they do not contain all that He said. Besides, the intrinsic evil of homosexuality is self-evident to human sanity. And we shouldn't ask "what would Jesus do?" We should ask "What would Jesus have us do?" Jesus would not have us ignore the moral dynamic involved in the mindset where those who practice homosexuality give almost universal support to the crushing of the skulls of unborn babies. Obviously we all need repentance and mercy, but there is meaning to this fact.
And even as to what is recorded in the gospels, for you to say Jesus never said anything about sexuality is truly off-the-wall. Not only did Jesus condemn all sexual sin as traditionally understood understood under Mosaic law, He expanded the understanding. The "spirit of the law" was not to diminish the law, it was always to expand the law. Even looking upon a woman with lust is a sexual sin.
It is absurdly wrong to say Jesus called anyone a hypocrite for being bound to the laws of moral truth, laws that He never denied but in fact emphasized and expanded upon against prevailing moral weakness. Jesus condemned not only adultery, but lustful thoughts. What He also condemned is treating inauthentic cultural accretions as law and as equal to the moral law which comes only from God.
The woman caught in adultery saw her would be executioners shamed into showing mercy. In a flash their own sinful self-righteousness was exposed to them. As the mob dispersed, Jesus turned tenderly to the woman herself and gave her forgiveness. At that moment she didn't need to be reminded that she had done wrong. She only needed to be told gently that she must try to lead a good life thereafter.

And crushing the skull of a baby, the act of killing, is the single most public thing a human being can do.

E.Patrick Mosman
6 years 12 months ago

On the LGBT front Archbishop Chaput wrote the following:
"Earlier this month, one of the main architects and financiers of today’s LGBT activism said publicly what should have been obvious all along: The goal of at least some gay activism is not simply to assure equality for the same-sex attracted, but to “punish the wicked” – in other words, to punish those who oppose the LGBT cultural agenda.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out whom that might include. Today’s conflicts over sexual freedom and identity involve an almost perfect inversion of what we once meant by right and wrong.
Catholics are called to treat all persons with charity and justice. That includes those who hate what we believe. It demands a conversion of heart. It demands patience, courage and humility. We need to shed any self-righteousness. But charity and justice can’t be severed from truth."

Crystal Watson
6 years 12 months ago

I think Cupich is right on this, but let's not forget that this is the same man who, when a vote on marriage equality came to his state of Washington, warned that marriage of same-sex people could lead to polygamy and incest marriages ... http://www.thewscc.org/uploads/3/4/9/4/34945816/r74-bbcref1e.pdf ..... It's a sign of how backward our church is on LBGT matters, that this guy is considered liberal.

Deacon Chris Schneider
6 years 11 months ago

one of the definitions of "Respect" is 'due regard for the feelings of others'... within those confines, should someone wish to be called a symbol, as was Prince, then why not? The truth of Sin can still be presented to those wanting to be called something that is nice to their feelings... a name or term or symbol does not stop some action from being a sin. Just sayin'

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