You have to see this riveting video of Cardinal Cupich
He talks of scandal, adult spirituality and libertarianism
Nov 13, 2017
by Michael Sean Winters Opinion
Last week, Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago participated in a conversation with journalist E.J. Dionne at the University of Chicago’s Institute for Politics. The entire exchange was riveting, and I will deal with some of the things Cupich said presently. You can see the video here.
Well, if you consider “riveting” to mean “you can’t help but look when there’s a traffic accident”, I might agree. However, this is just more of the same old thing from Cardinal (I still can’t believe I have to use that title) Cupich.
But, if you go to minute 24, you see the most important thing that Cupich said. Dionne began by asking about the controversy surrounding Fr. Tom Weinandy’s letter to Pope Francis, in which the former director of the bishops’ doctrinal committee suggested that the faithful were scandalized by Pope Francis. Cupich replied: “I don’t think that people are scandalized by the pope. I think they are being told to be scandalized. I think there is a difference.” To use a Catholic word: Bingo!
Yeah, that’s it. You people who are scandalized – you’re all simply brainwashed. You engage in group think and you don’t have a thought of your own in your head. You’re being told by whoever that you must be scandalized.
Seriously? Does this really work with his readers? I’m reasonably sure that most of the people who are frustrated at this point are still “defend the Pope first” type of people. In fact, the majority of the ones I see are ones who still put out the papal tweet of the day. There might be a gleeful batch of “everyone’s wrong all the time” people out there, but most are just like me. We want to be the “Rah-rah Pope!” types but are having trouble mustering the enthusiasm to do so and wish he would reverse on his stance on taking interview questions ahead of time. The majority of us aren’t calling him the anti-Christ but instead find ourselves taking up the position of St. Vincent of Lerins, as Dan Hitchens points out here. (An uplifting read for those who are depressed over the state of the Church today.) We’re the types who pay enough attention and do enough research to actually get upset when we see people twisting Church teaching (Ahem! Michael…), but yeah, we’re the ones who blindly obey when we are told to be scandalized. Do I sound like someone who says “Yes, master!” in a zombie-like fashion? Gag.
I have complained about the thin agenda for this week’s U.S. bishops’ conference meeting. Here is something they need to discuss: How is it that people, who are in some sense on the bishops’ payroll or working at organizations with clear links to the church, are leading such a noisy opposition to Pope Francis and seem perfectly willing to break down the unity of the church in voicing that opposition?
I might point out that you are on the National catholic Reporter’s dole. What, again, have you been doing for years over there? Just because “United in dissent!” is your motto doesn’t mean that you are uniting the Church in any fashion. Seriously (or, rather, more seriously) your publication declares itself right on the home page as “The independent news source.” Unity hasn’t exactly been NcR’s goal, unless unity means uniting people in your dissenting way of thought.
So, just for fun I went to NcR and searched for Pope Benedict. What was interesting to note is that John Allen, Jr., wrote about 95% of the articles on Pope Benedict. In short, it seemed the goal of NcR writers at the time to hide in their blanket forts and pretend Benedict XVI wasn’t even elected. Let’s see what some of the other “uniters” had to say:
https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/peace-pulpit/sept-17-2006-twenty-fourth-sunday-ordinary-time : But there’s another short passage that Jesus proclaimed, that it seems to me if Pope Benedict had been thinking about this, he would have been much more careful in what he said.
https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/where-i-stand/franz-where-are-you-when-we-need-you : The world has been debating for over a week now whether Pope Benedict XVI simply forgot that he was a universal pastor and international politician as well as past professor or simply didn’t care to attend to all three roles at one time. Whatever the case, in one university speech all three facets of this current papacy came into play.
In this speech, universal pastoral sensitivity, as well as the political responsibilities that come with the papacy, seem to many to have been abandoned. In their place, his long-time identity as professor — meaning someone who has the luxury, indeed, the responsibility to pursue abstract ideas free of the social consequences of their implications — had free rein.
And I think of another quite extraordinary example too. One that I think is really noteworthy. It’s something that Pope Benedict is about to do. In October of this year, he is going to beatify an Austrian peasant, Franz Jägerstätter. Probably most of us never heard of him. But Franz grew up not very far from where Joseph Ratzinger grew up. Joseph Ratzinger went into the Nazi army, became a soldier. Franz Jägerstätter refused to serve in the army, refused to kill. And of course he paid a price for it. He was beheaded on Aug. 9, 1943. But now he’s going to be proclaimed before the world as one who faithfully followed Jesus.
And it’s such a contrast and I think there’s great courage on the part of Pope Benedict. Because it’s so easy to see the difference. Joseph Ratzinger now our Holy Father followed Hitler’s orders went into the army, prepared to kill. Franz Jägerstätter refused and now is proclaimed a saint, one for us to imitate and to follow. (I’m throwing this one in because it’s supposed to show some sort of great divide between these two men in their actions against Hitler when there was more similarities than differences. Maybe Bp. Gumbleton doesn’t know how to Google but it’s weird because he fancies himself the expert on Blessed Franz Jägerstätter.
https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/peace-pulpit/third-sunday-lent : “Even recently, Pope Benedict rewrote the prayer for Good Friday in which, in those long petitions that we use, we pray for the Jewish people, God’s chosen people. It was revised after the Vatican Council because the prayer before that was very insulting to Jewish believers. But now the Pope has revised it again and now it’s offensive.
https://www.ncronline.org/news/us-bishops-great-inertia : Whole thing. Too much to copy.
In short, Michael, you live in a big ol’ glass house. Stop playing with rocks.
The bishops know that EWTN and the National Catholic Register both regularly highlight any and all news stories about resistance to the pope. It seems that, some weeks, if Cardinal Raymond Burke sneezes, Edward Pentin has to write a story about it — and always the same story: It was a truly orthodox sneeze, conformed to the unchangeable and irreformable intrinsic nature of a sneeze, a sneeze worthy of St. John Paul II. Yet there is Bishop Robert Barron doing ads for the Register and saying it presents “the Catholic perspective” — not “a Catholic perspective” but the Catholic perspective. Does the good bishop read it?
Well that deserves a few “Pinocchios.” Please, people, check out National Catholic Register yourself. Don’t let yourselves be brainwashed into believing the misrepresentation posted by Winters. (See what I did there? To use a Catholic word: Bingo!) Go ahead, I dare you! I double-dare you! It’s the last thing Winters wants.
First of all, Michael, are you really going to complain that the Register wants to report THE Catholic perspective as opposed to your “independent” Catholic perspective? I wouldn’t think you would want to draw attention to this little disparity.
Next, I just scanned the front page of articles by Register staffers (see center column), and guess what? One article on the Pope praying for earthquake victims, and ZERO articles on Cardinal Burke. Yes, I understand that’s today and tomorrow could change, but I’m reasonably sure Cardinal Burke sneezed and I’m a tad bit disappointed no Pentin! You got my hopes up,Michael!
By the way, I believe it’s your publication that has 3 different articles today on your perceived resistance. Oops.
In years past, the bishops would look into “problems” if LifeSiteNews or the American Life League accused someone, somewhere, of not upholding their interpretation of a Catholic’s civic obligations. Remember the review of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development? Why was that necessary? Remember the kerfuffle over Catholic Relief Services? And the perpetual campaign against Catholic Charities? Will the bishops now concede that groups like LifeSiteNews and the American Life League and the Lepanto Institute can — and should — be ignored? That perhaps it might even behoove the bishops to make clear that these organizations do not speak for the Catholic Church.
OK, for those of you who don’t know, Catholic Relief Services passes out birth control. Gee! No reason to comment there. Google, people.! I’m perfectly fine with you checking the veracity of LifeSiteNews, American Life League, Catholic Whoever, but if there’s a problem with the story, how about you report what the problem is, Michael, rather than merely suggesting they are “not upholding their interpretation of a Catholic’s civic obligations.” I think we’re actually obliged, as Catholics, not to cooperate with evil. Don’t you? Oh, wait, your group actually DOES want to cooperate with evil: https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/grace-margins/laudato-si-should-have-lifted-ban-contraception (Please note, NcR has no trouble being critical if it doesn’t jive with their thoughts.)
Catholic Campaign for Human Development and Catholic Charities? They have similar skeletons. Mr. Winters also forgot to mention the Bellarmine Foundation, which has done extensive work undermining the Church. Here’s a link to help him with his list of organizations he feels should be investigated just on his say-so. https://bellarmineforum.org/2015/09/12/why-not-give-to-the-catholic-campaign-for-human-development/
Again, Mr. Winters, how about you support your accusations with some facts on CCHD, Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief Services to rebut these “evil organizations” reporting on them. What? You can’t? Please note this, people. Mr. Winters’ accusations are the epitome of the saying, “Big hat, no cattle.” You’re adults, verify yourselves.
Another thing Cupich said in the discussion is worth repeating. When discussing why some people are upset about Francis, Cupich said: “He’s calling people to have an adult spirituality, rather than being infantilized in their spirituality.” He noted that people who like telling other people what to do have trouble with the sense of responsibility to which Francis is calling us all.
Oh, yeah. That would upset people like Cardinal Burke to no end. No, seriously, he doesn’t believe in adult spirituality?!? (insert rolling eyes) Please. And what is with “people who like telling other people what to do?” In my world, we call that parenting, and it’s all about responsibility. What Cardinal Cupich is really trying to say here is, “Those big old meanies who try to teach you what is right and what is wrong, don’t listen to them! I’m the only one you should listen to because, well, me!”
The codification of ecclesial practice and norms was a leitmotif of the pontificate of St. Pope John Paul II: He authorized the catechism, he updated the universal code of canon law, he issued a compendium of the church’s social doctrine. There is always a need for such codification: No society exists without laws and rules. But, that codification is there to serve the church’s essential mission of proclaiming Jesus Christ, our risen savior; it is not there for its own sake. As St. Paul wrote to Timothy, “the Word of God is not imprisoned.”
Babbling. Translation: Just don’t worry about all those rules. They’re so judgey.
As Pope Francis likes to say, “The Word still wants to take on flesh.” Rules and codes can imprison the Spirit if they replace the kerygma as the central focus of ecclesial life. The Lord said to Nicodemus, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” That is not a vision of certainty or even clarity, and some people crave certainty and clarity.
As far as what “Pope Francis likes to say”, I’ll have to take your word for the quote because I can’t find it anywhere but this article. A link would have been nice. Anyone? Regardless, it almost seems like we’re just going to throw a whole bunch of random thought, add a bible story and see if the confusion sticks.
One of the most constant refrains among the complaints against Pope Francis is that he sows confusion. Only if you have placed law or ideology at the heart of ecclesial life is his approach to governing the church confusing. He is calling to maturity. He calls for discernment, not libertinism, and discernment is always done with and within the church.
Huh? Did he really use the word libertinism there? Yes, I think it was it was a typo based on the title of the article but kind of funny. Seems like that’s what the likes of Cupich, McElroy, and Martin are pushing for. For the record, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone from “my side of the fence” put down discernment, and I’d put money on the fact that Michael Sean Winters probably couldn’t find anything to back this up. Of course, what does Mr. Winters and club want us to discern? Whether we can thwart the teachings of the Church and still be worthy of Heaven? Good luck with that.
As Jesuit Fr. Jim Martin pointed out in responding to the Weinandy’s strange account of how he came to the conclusion that Jesus wanted him to write to the pope: “If one’s idea of discernment is seeking signs like this, then why would one trust, say, a divorced and remarried Catholic to consult his or her conscience about whether it is permissible to receive Communion? It is no wonder that discernment seems so arbitrary to some people. And so frightening.”
Let’s see. Father Weinandy asking for a sign from God whether or not he should write a letter is the same as discerning whether or not someone living in sin should double-down on a mortal sin? Yeah, that’s totally comparable. For the life of me I cannot see why people act like Fr. Weinandy is mentally ill for asking for a sign. How many saints have done the same? Are they always given? No, but some have been quite clearly given the signs they’ve asked for, which is a special gift. I do think it funny, though, that the NcR crowd frowns on Fr. Weinandy’s “discernment” when we are told that Pope Francis wants us to discern. Make up your mind. Oh, I get it! We’re just supposed to discern in a manner that brings us to the same conclusion as Cardinal Cupich, Bishop McElroy, Fr. Martin, and, I guess, Michael Sean Winters. Got it. That kind of discernment is just peachy. No scoffing if you come to their conclusion.
By the way, I’ve got to laugh at the severe over use of discernment. There’s not one in the bunch that can say “judgement”, which is what discernment actually means. The “j” word, however, has been dumped on by this crowd so many times they’ve got to dance around it.
Cardinal Cupich’s conversation with Dionne contained other gems, such as his criticism of libertarianism. Dionne joked that the press had their headline: Cupich criticizes libertarianism at University of Chicago! His comments about abortion were very strong, which is always a bit of a risk in a secular venue. I encourage everyone to watch this video. Cupich is, par excellence, a bishop for the era of Francis: engaged, sympathetic, compelling. If only the rest of the body of bishops would follow his lead.
Drooling much? I mean, the keyboard is probably pretty soggy at this point. Somebody’s getting a “Cardinal Cupich Fanboy” shirt for Christmas. Well, as usual, Mr. Winters doesn’t fail to disappoint when it comes to linking to quotes, Church teaching, and facts, but hey, he hit the jackpot in conjecture, say something until it’s true and slander. Same old, same old.