US archbishops Chaput and Cupich offer sharply different visions of Vatican synod

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Chicago Archbishop Blaise Cupich, shown with Pope Francis in Rome on Sept. 2, 2015, has called for tough gun control laws. Photo by Rich Kalonick

Chicago Archbishop Blaise Cupich, shown with Pope Francis in Rome on Sept. 2, 2015, has called for tough gun control laws. Photo by Rich Kalonick

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VATICAN CITY (RNS) Philadelphia's Chaput said "anxieties are running high" among conservatives, while Chicago's Cupich, a reform-minded delegate, said hard-liners need to be like Francis and chill out.

  • Mary

    The Catholic Church has retained its beliefs since the time of Christ. If we, as Catholics, are to remain faithful disciples, we cannot change the teachings, nor should “pastoral flexibility” on doctrinal issues be permitted. We need only to recollect what transpired after Vatican II when progressives decided to interpret the documents incorrectly. Archbishop Chaput, as usual, is correct in his assessment.

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  • Don

    Cupich v. the Catechism. I’ll go with the Catechism.

    Archbishop Cupich:

    “We do have to believe in the mercy of God, and the grace of God to trigger conversion, rather than having it the other way around, as though you’re only going to get the mercy if you have the conversion.”

    Catechism of the Catholic Church:

    1847 “God created us without us: but he did not will to save us without us.”116 To receive his mercy, we must admit our faults. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”117

    116 St. Augustine, Sermo 169,11,13:PL 38,923.
    117 1 Jn 8-9.

    1864 … There are no limits to the mercy of God, but anyone who deliberately refuses to accept his mercy by repenting, rejects the forgiveness of his sins and the salvation offered by the Holy Spirit.137

    137 Cf. John Paul II, DeV 46.

  • Richard Rush

    One thing that never seems to change is the substantial number of Christians (not just Catholics) who remain stridently adamant that the most crucial Godly endeavors are to deny verified reality, and to protect the sanctity of traditional church cruelty (while often pretending it is love).

  • Michael Skiendzielewski

    Archbishop Chaput:

    “And for good reason. Practice inevitably shapes belief.”

    Wonder whether this understanding or perspective was the basis for Chaput’s decision in Denver to support the pastor’s decision to block the enrollment of young children to the local Catholic elementary school because the parents were lesbians.

    Or was this an instance of where “belief shapes practice”. In any case, we can be certain that our young children should not be blocked from learning about Our Lord and the Catholic faith.

  • Betty Clermont

    Of course the pope was “calm.” He knows that at the end of this synod really nice stuff is going to be said but that, as he has often stated, there will be no change in doctrine. Therefore he (French ambassador not approved for being gay, priest fired from the Vatican for being gay), his bishops and pastors will continue to discriminate against and persecute women and gays.

  • Kathryne

    Mary, luckily the administration of the Catholic Church has changed its practices over the centuries. Conservatives like to point and say, oh, these changes which were made were not beliefs, but mistaken practices by “locals” who were uninformed. However, old, now changed, practices were treated and taught as beliefs to the laity and accepted as beliefs by the curates. (A few examples in my lifetime include the requirement of women to have a covered head in Church, lack of female altar servers, no Baptism or admission to the priesthood for those born out of wedlock)

    You *are* correct in that our basic beliefs as proscribed in the Creeds does not change, but I don’t see anything in there that says gay Catholics are to be denied the Sacrament of Matrimony, for example.

  • Rod

    Keep calm. This is not some VS others. This is a Synod.

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  • Bernardo

    Conservatives, liberals? It makes no difference. The RCC and Christianity are slowly being replaced by phrases such as “Do No Harm”. No all-male, old white guy hierarchy needed or desired.

  • Daniel Berry, NYC

    Well-put, Mr Rush: nothing I can think of in Roman catholic affairs has enjoyed the priority of excluding people, which, IMHO, kinda goes against the grain of the Gospel. But the Roman ecclesiocrats have never been strong on the Gospel: they much prefer law.

  • Daniel Berry, NYC

    I made a typo–many apologies: I meant to say nothing in RC affairs has enjoyed the priority enjoyed by excluding people.

    The Romans are still stuck on being right and everybody else being wrong. It all goes back to their cultural imperative of maintaining the prestige of the priestly caste above all else. How else can you explain how the pedophilia issue has been managed?

  • Sister Geraldine Marie, OP, RN, PHN

    A Church that remains counter-cultural IS what is needed.
    Giving in to sin doesn’t make saints. Call it “tough love” if you want modern jargon, but that’s what it is.
    Homosexuals are accepted, not their practices. The divorced and remarried are accepted, not their practices.
    The Church would be denying the sacrificial actions of Christians who DO follow the Messiah at whatever cost. It would be saying, “Anything goes.” WHY BOTHER TO HAVE A CHURCH?! We are still being martyred for the faith in other parts of the world and persecuted in the Western world for our beliefs. In Ancient Rome we were called “haters” of mankind, too. Remember the ways of ancient Rome? Much the way the modern world is going again.

  • Clyde Christofferson

    Jesus Christ preached the reign of God; the Pharisees preached doctrine. Jesus was a Jew, and held to “every jot and tittle” of the law. The reign of God is something more. As the Catholic Church has long taught, there is a hierarchy of teachings, with love and mercy at the top. Jesus gave an example of how the reign of God goes beyond the law. When the woman caught in adultery was brought to him he asked, “let the one who is without sin cast the first stone.” Under the law, the woman was to be stoned. We don’t know whether the woman did as Jesus said: “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” But the mercy shown her may well have set her upon the path of reforming her life, not by the Pharisaical practice of following the law but by following the Spirit of Christ written on her own heart. This is the meaning of the reign of God.

  • John McGrath

    Not true. The fiooque was added to the Nicene Creed on flimsy grounds. An infallible pope in the 1800’s issued an encyclical condemning Democracy as against natural law, that is, using the same Natural Law reasoning used to condemn contraceptives. This infallible doctrine was quietly put aside by a pope in the mid-1900’s. The church also changed itsv teaching on the sinfulness of charging interest on loans.

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  • Marsha West

    Are you unaware that doctrine has developed over time and that the Church was not given a blueprint by Jesus as to how to live out his teachings. Let’s trust the Bishops and the Pope to guide us safely through difficult waters.

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  • Maureen

    Thank you Sister for putting it succinctly. Let us pray for Wisdom and Grace for those who fail to ask the Holy Spirit for the light of life, to guide them to the foot of the Cross where mercy reigns.

  • IrishAmericanCatholic1916

    Read history and you will see the truth in terms of innumerable changes the church made during 2000 years. Remember that Archbishop Lefevbre (sp) of France said the church was not following the 2000 year tradition you speak of and he and his misconceived rump (literally and institutionally) were bounced by both St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict.

  • David Philippart

    I thank God for Archbishop Cupich.