New Chicago archbishop weighs in on politics and the church

“I would not use the Eucharist, or as they call it ‘the communion rail,’ as a place to have those discussions or a way in which people would be either excluded from the life of the church,” he told CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell in an interview that aired on “Face the Nation” Sunday. “The Eucharist is an opportunity of grace and conversion. It’s also a time of forgiveness of sins, so my hope would be that grace would be instrumental in bringing people to the truth.”

Isn’t this statement a sellout? Can Archbishop Cupich even give us just **one **example of where a pro-abortion politician has changed his/her stance on abortion?

Anyone who partakes in the Eucharist unworthily puts condemnation on himself.

Giving tacit approval to people publicly preaching mortal sin is putting the communicant’s soul, and the souls of those around him who see callous Church discipline that acts it doesn’t matter, in clear danger.

Yes, it’s a cop-out, and a disastrous one.

Also, if they want forgiveness of sins, that’s what confession is for.

But doesn’t it make a difference to you that the Pope, the Cardinals and Bishops of the Church are feeling moved to examine these questions with the Holy Spirits guidance? I simply don’t understand where the confidence comes from to try and silence this movement. People obviously feel more holy and educated than the holy, educated Fathers and the Pope but I just don’t get it.

Has every change in Church discipline over the ages been guided and encouraged by the Holy Spirit?

Precisely. Those who constantly speak as if whatever the Holy Spirit allows, it must therefore be the will of God. However, this argument fails to take into account that God has both a positive will and a permissive will. Not to mention that Protestants also believe that the Holy Spirit guides them.


I see, so they are suppose to defile the Eucharist and THEN change their ways. Gotcha, Excellency.

Examine what questions?

Let’s not pretend that these things are “political” issues. They are not. NOBODY EVEN BELIEVES THAT in the first place! I hate to scream but it is such a cop out to say, “Politics don’t belong in church,” or statements to that effect, because nobody actually believes these are “political” issues in the first place.

It always goes something like this, using gay marriage as an example:

Catholic person 1 “It is wrong to partake of the Eucharist in a state of mortal sin. It is wrong for politicians to support and vote for legislation that contradicts morality. Faith and reason tell us that.”

Catholic person 2 “GAY MARRIAGE NOW GAY MARRIAGE NOW! We believe gay marriage is a moral good. WE CALL ON YOU SENATOR JIMBOB [who happens to be Catholic] TO LEGALIZE GAY MARRIAGE 'CUZ JESUS…”

Catholic person 1 “It is wrong for politicians, especially Catholic ones, to support so-called gay marriage.”


Catholic person 1 “I don’t even know what to say lolol…” face hits the desk

The gay marriage supporter is never even making an essentially political argument in the first place, neither is person 1. Both sides make essentially moral arguments and political arguments are only secondary/contingent/“to get something done.” Yet person 2, either out of a clearly ridiculous level of ignorance or malice as the case may be, asserts that person 1 is “politicizing” things, whatever that means, when clearly person 2 perverts a few Bible verses and politicizes the faith in a utilitarian attempt to get what he wants. Then on Sundays he expects to “get the Eucharist” because “Jesus forgives, besides gay marriage is great! We’re having a rally on Tuesday…”

I have no clue whatsoever what you mean by, “I simply don’t understand where the confidence comes from to try and silence this movement.”

It will be interesting to see if Senator Durbin’s status has changed in Chicago.

I imagine we’ll be seeing the Rainbow Sash Movement test the waters and see if Bishop Cupich gives them communion at Holy Name Cathedral. Cardinal George refused in the past, but times may be changing. The Rainbow Sash Movement already sent a welcome delegation for Bishop Cupich.

What if a Catholic is ‘obstinately persevering in manifest grave sun…’?

Can. 915 Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.

So you guys are in favor of denying Republican politicians who vote in favor of drastic cuts to social welfare programs or for wars, correct? Or is this just pro-choice and pro-gay marriage politicians? And the Eucharist shouldn’t be used as a weapon. There is no chance for discussions with the person in question if an in your face approach is used.

How does cutting a social welfare program put a Catholic in mortal sin? In terms of wars, there are Just wars and non-Just wars. Check out this quote from then Cardinal Ratzinger:

  1. Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.

Check out this excerpt from an interview with Bishop Sheridan:

DC: Do the Church’s social justice teachings require Catholics to support government welfare programs?

Sheridan: Not that I’m not aware of. I think we recognize that the government can and should do things for people, especially people who are in great need. But really the obligation is for us as individuals, as Catholics, as believers, to be charitable toward our neighbor. I don’t know that that extends to supporting government welfare programs.

“The Eucharist is an opportunity of grace and conversion. It’s also a time of forgiveness of sins, so my hope would be that grace would be instrumental in bringing people to the truth.”

The Eucharist for pro-abortion activists without any repentance? I hope that that is not what he meant, for that would be very, very questionable.

We can have legitimate debate about welfare policies and military defense policies without any sin being involved. Christians can validly hold a wide variety of opinion on many political issues. However, there is no such valid debate on the Holocaust of abortion of innocent children. I agree that there should be private discussion with those involved in abortion to warn them of the very grave evil that they are involved in. Those who persist in advocating abortion of children or forcing the public to finance it are involved in the most serious evil and offering them the Eucharist would be scandal.

Cuts for social welfare? War in general? No. It is rare indeed for a Republican to make categorical statements about those issues.

But if a Republican were to say something to the effect of, “It should be made illegal to help poor people financially,” then yes, absolutely, it would be entirely consistent for a bishop to deny him/her Communion. Or a statement like, “War is inherently good, we should do it all the time, lives be damned.”

Tbh I never see where some people get these things. Seriously, in your face approach? Denial of Communion for politicians over these issues is almost always instituted privately and we often hear of situations where bishop will have multiple conversations with the person in question. When we do hear about particular instances of denial, it’s almost always something the politician himself/herself talks about, that’s how it gets out. How is that in your face? How is that a weapon? I could just as easily say that it is a weapon to give the Eucharist to people who are publically scandalizing people, just as an implicit weapon against Catholics who try really hard to understand and accept the teachings of the Church even when they find them personally hard. Then again, this whole weapon business is just rhetoric and I really don’t want to get bogged down in it.

War and welfare are not categorical “yes or no” issues like abortion and gay marriage. There is zero wiggle room on these issues ultimately.

It will be interesting too to see how he handles Senator Durban, who has been refused communion in his hometown by his bishop there but does own property in Chicago.

The Death Penalty is a yes or no issue; certain wars are a yes or no issue. For instance, John Paul II was adamantly against the War in Iraq (and given the mess that it Iraq is in now, he was right in hindsight.) So a Catholic politician who voted in favor of the Iraq War is should be denied Communion based on this logic.

As for “in your face,” this all started because then Archbishop Burke decided to publicly demand that John Kerry be denied Communion. Burke never met with Kerry or any of the other politicians who he demanded be denied Communion and I doubt that there were any heartfelt counseling sessions. Before that outburst, this wasn’t an issue that Catholic bishops had to respond to. Nor is this an issue with most American bishops who just let it be between the politician and their conscience. I know that Kerry and all the rest regularly receive Communion at events in Boston. Cardinal O’Malley apparently has them cut the TV feed during Communion time so he doesn’t have to deal with the Communion police.

Church doctrine recognizes the death penalty.
Church doctrine recognizes Just War doctrine. There was a lot of debate whether the Iraq war fulfilled Just War criteria.

You can disagree with a Pope’s PERSONAL opinion and still be in good standing with the Church.

Withholding Communion from one in Mortal Sin is an act of mercy.

“The question has been raised as to whether the denial of Holy Communion to some Catholics in political life is necessary because of their public support for abortion on demand. Given the wide range of circumstances involved at arriving at a prudential judgment on a matter of such seriousness, we recognize that such decisions rest with the individual bishop in accord with the established canonical and pastoral principles. Bishops can legitimately make different judgments on the most prudent course of pastoral action. Nevertheless, we all share an unequivocal commitment to protect human life and dignity and to preach the Gospel in difficult times.”

From Catholics in the Political Life, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2004.

God bless Bishop Cupich, especially considering the enormous responsibility he has been given. I, for one, do not feel qualified to dismiss his decision as a “cop-out.”

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