Pope Appoints Blase Cupich to Bishop Selection Committee

By Goat_Girl [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
By Goat_Girl [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Chicago archbishop appointed to bishop advisory position by Pope Francis.

Pope Francis exhibited his increasing confidence in Blase Cupich, the archbishop of Cupich, when he appointed the latter to the Vatican Congregation for Bishops. This is the office which proposes candidates for episcopacy. This move by the pope comes after two years when Cupich was appointed by Francis to helm the Chicago archdiocese.

Pope Appoints Blase Cupich to Bishop Selection Committee.[/tweetthis]

According to Crux, a website dedicated to Catholic news, Cupich is scheduled to join Congregation for Bishops and this event will place him, along with the Cardinal Donald Wuerl, as the American “Kingmakers” during the time of Pope Francis.

The announcement was made on July 7. The present congregation has two Americans, Cupich and Wuerl. This turnover of the American personnel on the congregation during recent years has significance for a number of reasons. Other than the pope, the congregation is an extremely important link for the creation of bishops. Just after he got elected, the pontiff removed two American Cardinals, Raymond Burke and Justin Rigali from the congregation. They were both important players when it came to constituting American episcopacy from the Benedict XVI papacy days. Rigali previously served as the congregation's secretary. A large proportion of bishops were conservative “culture warrior” holders who opposed issues like same-sex marriage and contraception.

There is a good reason for Cupich's appointment. The American is known for his moderate views and they line up with Francis's own. It marks a distinct change from the conservative stance of late Cardinal Francis George, Cupich's predecessor. A spokesperson for the Chicago archdiocese claimed that the move was an appointment, not a promotion. However, it was clear that the pontiff liked Cupich; the latter was regarded as special appointee for attending a synod held recently.

Pope Francis has said that he has the intention to reform the method by which the church chooses its bishops. The latter wields decisive power when it comes to administering church affairs. They also interpret the doctrine of the church at the local level. At present, local bishops propose a number of names to their country's Vatican ambassador. The person then sends the possible candidates to Rome for the necessary review.

However, Francis, who was formerly known as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, has personally experienced how the process could be manipulated through ideologically-driven interests. It was clearly seen when many of the candidates sent by the future pope were blocked at the time he was Buenos Aires' archbishop.


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