It's not often that I offer health advice here, but I think it's relevant now, what with the bombshell news that Pope Francis appointed Blase Joseph Cupich as the next Archbishop of Chicago.
Now, if you processed that news and are still the proud owner of a foam finger that says "Francis #1!" I don't think this post is for you. In fact, it's really not. In fact, if I post your comment, it will probably be as a sign of how far gone you are.
For those of you taken aback by the appointment of a certified hater of TLM massgoers and pro-lifers--and even Al Kresta!--to one of the most important sees in North America, this post is for you.
An eclipse is at hand, and things are about to get unpleasant for people who think being Catholic has some supernatural value. The bottom lines are four:
- First: B.J. Cupich is the man the post-Burke shake-up in the Congregation of Bishops came up with. *This* is the man the Pope wanted to run one of the top three sees on the continent.
*This* is the Pope's vision of the ideal bishop for American Catholics. From that, all else follows.
The nausea you feel is quite understandable. All the wrong suspects are celebrating his alleged inclusiveness (Disclaimer: "Inclusiveness" and "pastoral" are void with respect to Those People Who Still Believe That Shit). Cupich's public record confirms that he's yet another Dad more popular with other people's children. He's Edward Egan, only with pretensions to intellectualism and sans the charm.
Sing a new church. Actually, an old church. That 70s Church, in fact.
2. Second, the Pope just sent a big signal to careerist clerics: picking public fights with pro-lifers and traditionalists is no obstacle a-tall! In fact, it's your ticket to the top.
Get ready for some unpleasant displays from priests and bishops, alas. Fallen human nature being what it is.
3. If you like your bishop, storm heaven for him.
Pray God he's not retiring soon, or otherwise the Wuerlwind is going to deposit yet another touchy, iron-fisted "pastoral" dialoguer on your doorstep.
4. The hermeneutic of continuity is dead, dead, deadski.
If the Pope was really in tune with his predecessors not named "Paul VI," Bishop Cupich would hit age 75 as the Bishop of Spokane. Pope Francis is a Reformer, and sees himself as one. Unlike Benedict, he's just fine with everything Vatican II did. He's never uttered a cross word about the 21st ecumenical council. Not a one. I'd love to see anything like Benedict's criticisms about V2 (no, not that one...) from him, but they simply do not exist. It was a break with the past, and that's a good thing in his book. To the contrary--the people dwelling in the past are the problem, as he has scolded constantly. And as BJC affirms in this love-fest interview with the National Catholic Reporter (indirect link). This part stands out.
I think that he’s asking us — this is one of things I brought up in my talk in the response to Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga at that conference that we had in Washington last June. I think the pope is giving us a new epistemology, a new way of learning, of knowing — another way in which we’re informed.
The Pope is giving us a new theory of knowledge? And I thought he was just the Pope.
As they say, "after hubris, nemesis."
It is now clear that this is a papacy to be endured and survived. He has little use for anything that proceeded the last ecumenical council, and even less use for those who anchor their spirituality pre-1962. Sure, you can pray the Rosary 'n stuff, but for pete's sake, don't use math!
It's not going to be pleasant. In fact, it's going to feel a lot like the seventies to a lot of you (or the 2000s, if you were in Mahony, Untener, Clark or Hubbard country).
It can be endured, though--just recognize the reality and drop the pollyanna. The Pope wants shepherds who smell first and foremost like him, and not at all like disfavored members of his flock. Pray, build, and stay in contact with the other faithful. We will all need the encouragement and support.