Pope Replaces Far Right Chicago Archbishop With Liberal

For nearly 20 years, the leader of the Chicago diocese of the Catholic Church has been Archbishop Francis George, who is deeply ignorant and paranoid (this is a man who says allowing gay people to get married will be just like Sharia law — never mind that he’s agreeing with Sharia law in wanting it outlawed). Pope Francis I is now replacing him with a far more liberal leader.

Pope Francis on Saturday will name Bishop Blase Cupich of Spokane, Wash., a prelate closely identified with the Catholic Church’s progressive wing, to be the next archbishop of Chicago, according to news reports and multiple church sources.

It is the pontiff’s most important U.S. appointment to date and one that could upend decades of conservative dominance of the American hierarchy.

Cupich, 65, will succeed Cardinal Francis George, a doctrinal and cultural conservative who has headed one of the American church’s pre-eminent dioceses since 1997. In that time he became a vocal leader among the bishops and earned a reputation as a feisty culture warrior in line with the Vatican of the late St. John Paul II and retired Pope Benedict XVI.

That track record won him fans on the Catholic right, but George was seen as out of step with Francis’ desire for more pastoral bishops who are less focused on picking fights over sex and more involved in promoting the church’s social justice teachings and sticking close to the poor…

In March 2012, for example, in the midst of the bishops’ nasty battle with the Obama administration over religious freedom and the employer mandate to provide free contraception coverage, Cupich wrote an essay in America magazine titled “Staying Civil.”

In that column, Cupich called for dialogue with the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services rather than constant confrontation, and said the crisis was a chance to find “common ground.”

“While the outrage to the H.H.S. decision was understandable, in the long run threats and condemnations have a limited impact,” he wrote.

The phrase “common ground” also resonated because it was associated with the approach of George’s predecessor in Chicago, the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, who embodied the hopes of a more progressive church — hopes that seemed to end with George.

These appointments may be very important in the long, slow effort to moderate the church’s position on such issues. It’s at least a step in the right direction.

"The Guardian piece is hardly cheering. They basically say "it's better than his usual drivel ..."

Breaking Down Trump’s Afghanistan Speech
"Also, some of them are Hispanic, and they're all rapists."

Breaking Down Trump’s Afghanistan Speech
"I am less worried by this than most of his other decisions. Frankly the more ..."

Breaking Down Trump’s Afghanistan Speech
"Those few times when he acts like an actual adult are when he’s reluctantly play-acting ..."

Trump Wars 4: A New Hope
Follow Us!
POPULAR AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • davem

    Cupich, 65, will succeed Cardinal Francis George,

    65? Time to retire, methinks…

  • some bastard on the internet

    Any bets on whether George whttp://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamentalist_Church_of_Jesus_Christ_of_Latter-Day_Saints leave the Roman Catholic Church and found the ‘Fundamentalist Roman Catholic Church’?

    Hey it happened to the Mormons.

  • some bastard on the internet

    Well, my copy/paste skills seem to need some work.

  • jefferylanam

    davem, the guy he’s replacing, Francis George, is 77. The RCC hierarchy is a gerontocracy.

  • raven

    …leave the Roman Catholic Church and found the ‘Fundamentalist Roman Catholic Church’?

    Francis George probably won’t. Archbishops get way too many perks to bother with that.

    But there are all sorts of RCC schismatic cults. Some remain within the RCC but set up their own subchurch. Others break away and try to recreate the Dark Ages. IIRC, some of these splinter groups are wildly misognynistic even compared to the misogynistic RCC. These are the groups that don’t think the Pope is Catholic enough or soft on heretics and women.

    Mel Gibson is in one of these.

    PS Nothing new about this. Xian sects shism all the time. There are at least 100 Mormon shismatic sects. My own natal Protestant sects have split so many times, no one has any idea how many there are. And that is why there are 42,000 xian sects with more being created all the time.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    It is the pontiff’s most important U.S. appointment to date and one that could upend decades of conservative dominance of the American hierarchy.

    How fucking gullible do you have to be to think ONE appointment will “upend decades of conservative dominance of the American hierarchy?” Does this so-called reporter even CARE what he’s saying?

    And how much leeway does this “liberal” have to do anything meaningful within a Church hierarchy where all power still rests at the very top? American bishops didn’t exactly lurch to the far right on their own steam — they did it under orders from the Vatican.

    “While the outrage to the H.H.S. decision was understandable, in the long run threats and condemnations have a limited impact,” he wrote.

    In other words, he still supports the reich-wing party line, and his only differences with it are tactical. That’s your idea of “a far more liberal leader?”

  • http://drx.typepad.com Dr X

    It’s potentially misleading to characterize George as a far-right bishop. He’s not far-right in the sense that many evangelicals are far-right politically. He’s far right on all matters sexual. He’s a liberal on immigration, race, social saftey nets, war and capital punishment. Granted, orthodox Catholic views on sex affect views on pulbic policy in many areas, but for Catholic bishops it’s very much about sex rather than buying into pro-war, “small government nationalism,” anti-immigrant, anti-brown people, anti-welfare, anti-public education, anti-union, anti-minimum wage, anti-business regulation, anti-environmentalism, pro-gun. On all of these matters outside sex, George is much more liberal leaning. And had ACA not included the birth control provision, George would have been on board with it. That isnt to approve or even apologize for his position. It’s just to point out that painting him as far right applies too broad of a brush. All of that said, I don’t like the guy because of his sexual views and his personal manner. And by making common cause with Christianists on birth control, the Catholic hierarchy has opened itself up to misperceptions about their political views, but the fact remains, in many critical areas of social policy, they don’t have far right inclinations.

  • Michael Heath

    Dr. X writes:

    And by making common cause with Christianists on birth control, the Catholic hierarchy has opened itself up to misperceptions about their political views . . .

    A lot of Catholics remind me of many libertarians. They may argue many positions consistent with liberalism; but the proof is in their voting patterns. That’s where they reveal their priorities.

    From this perspective it’s a lot of talk where they’re effectively supporting the conservative agenda; even on positions where they claim to take an opposite position.