Animosity and enmity are a cancer on the nation’s civic health, says Blase Cupich.
Chicago's Archbishop Blase Cupich opened his homily during the St. Patrick's Day mass, by sharing a funny story about his last name with his congregation. The venue was the Old St. Patrick’s Church in Chicago. It was just a few days after the city witnessed heavy violence during a political rally. The congregation included many of the state's and city's prominent political and civic leaders. Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago was also present.
Archbishop Cupich said the story happened when he was a secretary at a bishop's service. He was asked to get another bishop on the phone. So he called that bishop's residence. The bishop's housekeeper answered, and insisted that he provide her his name. When the housekeeper asked Cupich to spell out his last name, he did, and the housekeeper started laughing and said it is a funny name. Cupich, who was young, and who lacked in restraint back then, retorted by saying that it used to be O'Cupich, but he shortened it.
The Archbishop said that the nation has lost its sense of cultivating and keeping friendships. The hallmarks of the political system today are animosity and enmity. It is a “cancer” and is a threat to the country's civic health. He said that people do not value growing up together anymore. As a result, there is much hostility towards each other. The Archbishop did not name any political party or politicians, however, the gist was clear.
Quoting from Isaiah 32:15-18, the Archbishop explained that the growth and progress of human civilization requires a discipline and that discipline is required from each and every individual. Growth is not something that can be forced, it is not something that can be achieved by favoring a group of people and ignoring the others. It is also something that cannot be left to chance as well. It has to be purposeful, ordered, and intentional.
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Reminding everybody that the growth without any order leads to cancer in living beings, Archbishop Cupich said that if the aim of the society's growth is not for the good of all, but for the good of a specific people, it will only lead to the destruction of the society. He said the Easter Rising that happened in Ireland in the year 1916 stemmed from the exclusion of a group of people from the society, and from their treatment as below standard human beings. Loss of hope and solidarity made the people hard-hearted, and the violence that erupted left around 2000 casualties.
Archbishop Cupich asked the people of Chicago to open their hearts, build friendships, and reach out to each other. He reminded them that 2016 is the Jubilee Year of Mercy.