Saturday, October 11, 2014

Amazing Article: Archbishop Chaput

The Southern Nebraska Register is honored to exclusively publish this column by Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia. Archbishop Chaput submitted this column in continuance of Bishop Conley’s series on building a culture of life.

History is a useful teacher.
I was a seminarian in Washington, D.C. when Bobby Kennedy was running for the Democratic party’s 1968 presidential nomination.  I was also an active volunteer in Kennedy’s campaign. I can still remember helping with secretarial work in the same room where Edward Kennedy and Pierre Salinger labored away on the campaign’s strategy. It was my first involvement in elective politics, and, after the Vietnam Tet Offensive in February and Martin Luther King Jr.’s murder on April 4, Kennedy’s cause seemed urgent. Then, on June 5, Kennedy was gunned down himself.
After Robert Kennedy died, the meaning of the 1968 election seemed to evaporate. I lost interest in politics. I didn’t get involved again until the rise of Jimmy Carter. Carter fascinated me because he seemed like an untypical politician. He was plain spoken, honest, a serious Christian and a Washington outsider. So I supported him during his 1976 campaign when I was a young priest working in Pennsylvania. After his election as president, I went to Denver as a pastor in 1977. I eventually got involved with the 1980 Colorado campaign for Carter’s re-election on the invitation of a parishioner and Democratic party activist, Polly Baca, who was a good friend.
Carter had one serious strike against him. The U.S. Supreme Court had legalized abortion on demand in its 1973 Roe v. Wadedecision, and Carter the candidate waffled about restricting it. At the time, I knew Carter was wrong in his views about Roe and soft toward permissive abortion. But even as a priest, I justified working for him because he wasn’t aggressively “pro-choice.” True, he held a bad position on a vital issue, but I believed he was right on so many more of the “Catholic” issues than his opponent seemed to be. The moral calculus looked easy. I thought we could remedy the abortion problem after Carter was safely returned to office.
Carter lost his bid for re-election, but even with an avowedly prolife Ronald Reagan as president, the belligerence, dishonesty and inflexibility of the abortion lobby has stymied almost every effort to protect unborn human life since.
In the years after the Carter loss, I began to notice that very few of the people, including Catholics, who claimed to be “personally opposed” to abortion, really did anything about it. Nor did they intend to. For most, their personal opposition was little more than pious hand-wringing and a convenient excuse – exactly as it is today.
Why do I mention this now?  Back in 2008, a group called “Roman Catholics for Obama ’08” quoted my own published words in the following way:
So can a Catholic in good conscience vote for a pro-choice candidate? The answer is: I can’t, and I won’t. But I do know some serious Catholics – people whom I admire – who may. I think their reasoning is mistaken, but at least they sincerely struggle with the abortion issue, and it causes them real pain. And most important: They don’t keep quiet about it; they don’t give up; they keep lobbying their party and their representatives to change their pro-abortion views and protect the unborn. Catholics can vote for pro-choice candidates if they vote for them despite – not because of – their pro-choice views.

What’s interesting about this quotation, which is accurate but incomplete, is the wording that was left out. The very next sentences in the article of mine they selected, which Roman Catholics for Obama neglected to quote, run as follows:
But [Catholics who support pro-choice candidates] also need a compelling proportionate reason to justify it. What is a “proportionate” reason when it comes to the abortion issue? It’s the kind of reason we will be able to explain, with a clean heart, to the victims of abortion when we meet them face to face in the next life – which we most certainly will. If we’re confident that these victims will accept our motives as something more than an alibi, then we can proceed.

On their website, Roman Catholics for Obama stressed that:
After faithful thought and prayer, we have arrived at the conclusion that Senator Obama is the candidate whose views are most compatible with the Catholic outlook, and we will vote for him because of that – and because of his other outstanding qualities – despite our disagreements with him in specific areas.

I’m familiar with this reasoning. It sounds a lot like me 34 years ago. And 34 years later, we still have a million abortions a year. We also have the most aggressively abortion-friendly White House in history, a coercive HHS mandate and an administration that seems intent on bullying individuals and whole organizations into violating their religious and moral convictions.
Catholics – some naïve, some confused and a few frankly worse – helped to ensure that.
What’s the lesson? People who represent Catholic citizens like you and me, or seek to do so, need to offer more than pious talk about their “personal opposition” to killing unborn children when they ask for Catholic support.  They need a plan of action to restrict and eventually end that killing. And then they need to be held accountable. Because we’ve seen what happens when they’re not.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Will Chicago get a red hat before Los Angeles?

Congregation for Bishops not consulted, says Italian reporter
Cardinal McCarrick
Cardinal McCarrick
The following comes from a Sept. 30 story by Sandro Magister on La Chiesa, part of La Repubblicanewspaper website.
While still reeling from the news of the imminent removal of Cardinal Raymond Burke, the more conservative and traditional Catholicism of the United States – and historically the more “papist” – has been dealt another blow with the appointment of the new archbishop of Chicago.
Francis’ selection of Blase Cupich as the new pastor of the third-ranking diocese in the U.S. has plunged this particularly dynamic component of American Catholicism into a profound depression, almost to the edge of a nervous breakdown. It is enough to scan the reactions of the websites and bloggers of this area to grasp the embarrassment and disappointment over the appointment.
On the contrary, the more progressive segment of American Catholicism, historically hypercritical of the recent pontificates, has celebrated with enthusiasm the arrival of Cupich, called a “moderate” by the secular press, a description typically used in the United States to indicate a “liberal” who may not be radicalized, but is still a “liberal.”
Cupich’s predecessor, Cardinal Francis George, had written not long ago in a column for the diocesan newspaper:
“I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the Church has done so often in human history.”
George has always been highly critical of the secular tendency in the legislative field established under the presidency of Barack Obama, whom he has known well since he was a senator for Illinois. But it is difficult to imagine that his prophecy will come true, at least for his immediate successor.
In order to understand this, it is enough to peruse even briefly the ecclesiastical career of the new archbishop of Chicago.
Cupich, 65, is not originally from Chicago, like George, but from Omaha, in the outlying rural state of Nebraska.
His first episcopal see was Rapid City, where he succeeded the conservative Charles Chaput. And it was in this tiny diocese of South Dakota that in 2002 he became noteworthy for prohibiting a traditionalist Catholic community from celebrating the Easter Triduum according to the ancient Roman rite, which was later liberalized in 2007 by Benedict XVI with the motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum.”
Conservative Catholics also remember that during the clash between the bishops of the United States and the White House over health care reform, Cupich was one of the very few prelates, fewer than a dozen, who said not even one word against it, even though the criticism of Obamacare was not a position of some “extremist” bishops or “culture warriors,” as they are often called in a disparaging sense, but the official position of the episcopate.
After being made bishop of Spokane in 2010, the following year Cupich prohibited his priests and deacons from taking part in prayers in front of abortion clinics. A ban in stark contrast with the “mainstream” of the Church in the United States. The Rosary is in fact recited in front of these clinics in almost all the dioceses of the United States. And dozens of bishops participate in them, including, for example, the “moderate” cardinal of Washington, Donald Wuerl, and the current president of the episcopal conference, Louisville archbishop Joseph Kurtz.
Cupich’s voice – as noted both by conservative Catholics, with distress, and by progressives, with satisfaction – always rings out loud and clear when the talk is of immigration or the death penalty, but he seems to get laryngitis every time there is a discussion of abortion, euthanasia, and religious freedom, or criticism of the Obama administration over health care reform.
Significant in this regard is the fact that Cupich decided to expand the scope of the Respect Life office in the diocese of Spokane, to give the fight against the death penalty the same weight as the fight against abortion.
So Cupich seems to be bringing Chicago back to the heyday of Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, George’s predecessor, a champion of “liberal” Catholicism in the United States and the creator of the mountainous bureaucratic machine of the episcopal conference, of which he was president from 1974 to 1977 and “dominus” until his death in 1996.
And the Bernardin era seems to be coming back thanks to a move of Pope Francis, who has taken by surprise and wrongfooted an episcopate, like that of the United States, today widely characterized by appointments made by John Paul II and Benedict XVI.
That it was a surprise can be noted from the fact that a few days before the appointment the newspaper Our Sunday Visitor, the most official of the American Catholic periodicals – its president is the journalist Greg Erlandson, a member of the commission for the reorganization of the Vatican media that met in Rome for the first time last week – in listing eight names of possible successors to Cardinal George did not present the one selected by pope Jorge Mario Bergoglio, that of Cupich.
The fact that the appointment wrongfooted the U.S. episcopate is evident from the results of the elections of the current president and vice-president of the episcopal conference that were held less than a year ago, in November of 2013.
At that electoral cycle, in fact, the ten candidates included Cupich. And his was considered by his colleagues the most distinctly “progressive,” ecclesiasticaly speaking, of the candidacies presented.
So then, at the first round of voting, which saw the immediate election as president of the outgoing vice-president, Archbishop Kurtz, with 125 votes out of 236, Cupich was back in seventh place with only 10 votes.
More ballots went to Houston cardinal Daniel DiNardo (25), Philadelphia archbishop Chaput (20), archbishop of Los Angeles José Gomez and of Baltimore William Lori (15 votes each), and New Orleans archbishop Gregory Aymond (14).
In the two rounds of voting for the vice-presidency, Cupich was far from being elected, coming in fifth (out of nine) both at the first round, with 24 votes out of 236, and at the second, with 17 votes out of 235.
For Chicago, then, Pope Francis did not take the outlook of the local episcopate into account, unlike for example what he did in Spain, where in Madrid he promoted Carlos Osoro Sierra, who as archbishop of Valencia was elected vice-president of the episcopal conference in the first round last March, with 46 votes out of 79.
Nor does it seem that the pope took account of the recommendations of Cardinal George, who is believed to have asked for a priest of his diocese as coadjutor. Unlike what happened in Sydney, where instead on September 18 Francis appointed the Dominican Anthony Colin Fisher, the protégé of the outgoing archbishop, conservative cardinal George Pell, whom the pope has called to Rome as the czar of the Vatican economic-financial apparatus.
There is only one point on which Francis used the same procedure in Chicago as he did in Madrid and Sydney. In all three cases he proceeded with the appointment without having it discussed first by the cardinals and bishops of the congregation for bishops, even though all of them were confirmed by him last year with significant new additions and just as significant removals (the most sensational of these being that of United States cardinal Burke).
For Chicago, it appears that Pope Francis proceeded with his own personal consultation, parallel to that of the dicastery. The appointment of Cupich is thought to have been recommended to the pope with particular enthusiasm by Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga and above all by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop emeritus of Washington, a representative of the “liberal” old guard of the U.S. episcopate.
To tell the truth, it is nothing new in this pontificate for official appointments, even important ones, not to be discussed collegially by the appropriate Vatican congregation. With Benedict XVI there was no discussion over the staffing of Venice (but with Milan, Mechelen-Brussels, Santiago, and Manila there was). With this pontificate, however, procedure seems to be set aside much more frequently.
The congregation was in fact not consulted to examine not only the appointments of Chicago, Sydney, and Madrid, but also, in Germany, the selection of three names to be submitted according to tradition to the chapter of Cologne, as well as all of the appointments, about twenty, for Argentina.
In Italy – to give two examples – the congregation for bishops was not consulted to examine the successors for Locri and Isernia, where the promotions went to the vicars general of two churchmen in the pope’s good graces, respectively of the bishop of Cassano all’Ionio and secretary general of the episcopal conference, Nunzio Galantino, and of the archibishop of Chieti-Vasto and special secretary of the upcoming synod of bishops, Bruno Forte.
Returning to the United States, at this point it will be interesting to see what will happen at the upcoming consistory for the creation of new cardinals.
Currently there are three traditionally cardinalate U.S. dioceses led by an archbishop not yet with the scarlet: Chicago, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia.
It is easy to guess that Pope Francis will grant the biretta to that of Chicago, the only one of the three that he has nominated.
But it will be curious to see if at the same time the scarlet will go to the diocese of Los Angeles, whose ordinary is of the clergy of Opus Dei, or to that of Philadelphia (not both at once, because it seems unthinkable that pope Bergoglio would make three new U.S. cardinals in one fell swoop).
Or if instead, as a further signal sent across the Atlantic, Chicago’s scarlet will be bare. Without any trim.