By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
NOV. 18, 2014
New York Times
In Pope Francis’ most significant move yet to reshape the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States, Blase J. Cupich took his seat in Chicago on Tuesday as archbishop of the nation’s third-largest Catholic archdiocese and called on the church not to be afraid of change.
×Ads By minibarIn a multilingual installation Mass at Holy Name Cathedral, with American bishops, his large extended family and Mayor Rahm Emanuel looking on, Archbishop Cupich was handed the golden crosier, a shepherd’s staff, that belonged to a powerful liberal predecessor, Cardinal George Mundelein, who became archbishop of Chicago 99 years ago and served for 24 years.
“We as a church should not fear leaving the security of familiar shores, the peacefulness of the mountaintop of our self-assuredness, but rather walk into the mess,” Archbishop Cupich said in an upbeat and plain-spoken homily.
|American bishops at the bishops' conference in Baltimore attended Mass on Monday.U.S. Bishops Struggle to Follow Lead of Francis|
Cardinal George will keep his red hat and can vote in a papal conclave until he turns 80. Only then would Archbishop Cupich be eligible to be made a cardinal, because, with rare exceptions, a diocese can have only one voting cardinal at a time.
The transition ritual began Monday night, when Archbishop-elect Cupich symbolically knocked on the door of the cathedral. He said his priorities would include immigration, street violence, the poor and working people just scraping by.
In his homily on Tuesday, he avoided explicit political statements, but he made a point of giving special recognition to those he said had shaped his ministry: immigrants, in particular his immigrant grandparents from Croatia; Native Americans, whom he came to know as bishop of Rapid City, S.D.; and nuns, whose largest organization in the United States is still under scrutiny by the Vatican over questions of adherence to church doctrine.
The archdiocese, with 2.2 million Catholics, embodies the changing face of the American church, in which Latin American immigrants are displacing those originally from Europe. The installation Mass featured participants speaking Spanish, Polish, Tagalog, Croatian, Vietnamese, German, Italian and Ojibwa.
Archbishop Cupich grew up in Omaha with eight siblings, the son of a postman. He was previously the bishop of Spokane, Wash., and before that, the bishop of Rapid City. He was chairman of the American bishops’ committee on preventing sexual abuse of children by priests.
In his homily, he acknowledged the need for him and his brother bishops to “reach out” to abuse victims and “rebuild the trust that has been shattered in our communities by our failures.” He also cited the necessity for bishops of “holding each other accountable.”
He quoted Jesus, of course, and Pope Leo I from the fifth century; Pope Paul VI, who addressed the archbishop’s classmates on the day they were ordained; Pope John Paul II; and Pope Francis. But nothing from Benedict XVI, pope emeritus, a favorite of Catholic conservatives, whose retirement in 2013 led to the election of Francis.
|Guests endured the cold while in line at Holy Name Cathedral for the installation of Chicago's ninth archbishop. Credit Pool photo by Antonio Perez|
In closing remarks, before sending the crowd out into an unseasonably frigid afternoon, Archbishop Cupich thanked Pope Francis and said, “He can count on the Archdiocese of Chicago to be fully behind him and with him.”
A version of this article appears in print on November 19, 2014, on page A13 of the New York edition with the headline: Vatican’s New Direction Gains a Voice in Chicago.
American bishops at the bishops' conference in Baltimore attended Mass on Monday.U.S. Bishops Struggle to Follow Lead of Francis
NOV. 11, 2014
Bishop Blase J. Cupich, left, will succeed the conservative Cardinal Francis George, who is ill with cancer, as archbishop of Chicago on Nov. 18.Pope Sets Tone in U.S. by Naming Inclusive Prelate as Chicago Archbishop
SEPT. 20, 2014
With Archbishop Cupich now seated, Pope Francis gets a media-savvy American communicator in tune with his message of reinvigorating the church by stressing mercy over judgmentalism, change over stasis, and the imperative for all Catholics to go to the margins of society to serve the poor, migrants and those without hope. It is a message that not every bishop has enthusiastically embraced.
Guests endured the cold while in line at Holy Name Cathedral for the installation of Chicago's ninth archbishop. Credit Pool photo by Antonio Perez
Archbishop Cupich (pronounced SOO-pitch), who is 65, becomes the ninth archbishop of Chicago, succeeding Cardinal Francis George, 77, who is retiring after 17 years and has cancer. At the close of the Mass, Archbishop Cupich led a long standing ovation for the cardinal and said he would be instructing his priests to include Cardinal George’s name alongside his in the Eucharistic Prayer said during Mass.