The Chicago Cubs could very well win the World Series this season after a 107-year drought. The oh-so-humble Archbishop Blase Cupich could very well run the church in Chicago into the ground in a fraction of that time.
The faithful priests here preach in trepidation, while the faithful laity will suffer once again. Cardinals Cody and Bernardin (probably more so the latter) inflicted tremendous damage on the archdiocese; the late Cardinal George, though not perfect, did his best to pick up some of the pieces.
Now we’ve taken four steps back.
From Catholic World News:
Speaking to reporters at the Synod of Bishops, [Cupich] invoked the authority of conscience in answer to a question about whether Catholics who are divorced and remarried should be allowed to receive Communion.
“If people come to a decision in good conscience then our job is to help them move forward and to respect that,’ he said. ‘The conscience is inviolable and we have to respect that when they make decisions, and I’ve always done that.”
Responding to a follow-up question, the archbishop said that the same logic would apply to homosexual couples who approach the Eucharist.
Regarding the matter of conscience, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:
Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings. (1783)
In other words, we can’t fool ourselves into thinking an objectively sinful act isn’t sinful for us simply because our “conscience” says so. Yes, many people have malformed consciences, but that doesn’t negate sin. We have to adhere to divine and natural law; to traditional magisterial teaching on matters of faith and morals.
Dissident groups such as Catholics for Choice would heartily approve of Cupich’s notion of conscience. Their essential argument is that abortion isn’t a sin if your “conscience” tells you it isn’t. Therefore, you needn’t go to confession and you should feel free to receive Communion.
Is this a surprise coming from Cupich? Unfortunately, no.
As LifeSiteNews.com reports:
In 2011 Cupich, then bishop of Spokane, forbade priests in his diocese from taking part in the semi-annual 40 Days for Life pro-life prayer vigil. His response to the recent U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to redefine marriage focused primarily on decrying discrimination against homosexuals rather than criticizing the imposition of same-sex ‘marriage.’
And more recently, he wrote an op-ed for the Chicago Tribune on the (well, sort of) Planned Parenthood scandal, in which he asserted:
While commerce in the remains of defenseless children is particularly repulsive, we should be no less appalled by the indifference toward the thousands of people who die daily for lack of decent medical care; who are denied rights by a broken immigration system and by racism; who suffer in hunger, joblessness and want; who pay the price of violence in gun-saturated neighborhoods; or who are executed by the state in the name of justice.
Shortly after Cupich was appointed by Pope Francis to lead this archdiocese, I asked a Chicago priest: “What do you think of the new archbishop?”
The priest replied: “We’re in trouble.”
Indeed we are.
Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He’s been interviewed on MSNBC, NPR, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.