Every couple of months I get a plea for help or a phone call asking me what on earth is the deal with Bp. Blase Cupich in Spokane–typically from people living in Spokane. Not living there myself and only going on his mysteriously hostile actions toward the prolife movement, I tell people I don’t know. But I’d be lying if I said I could interpret his behavior as being anything but unrelievedly hostile to the prolife movement. Again and again and again, he has taken actions that can only be described as acts of hostility and, when caught doing so, offered clarifications that only clarify how hostile he is.
I have heard from seminarians in Spokane who are forbidden from participating in 40 Days for Life (despite the approval of the USCCB). And I and others have personal experience with his absolute refusal to so much as reply to very respectfully worded requests for dialogue in response to manifestly unjust treatment. So it is, sadly, not a surprise that I just got another email from a prolifer in Spokane who has been completely stiff-armed by her shepherd and, in turning to the internet to try to figure out why he is treating this person and the rest of the prolife movement with such hostility, happened across previous documentation of his hostility to prolifers on my blog and elsewhere. This person writes:
I read with interest your post on Bishop Blase Cupich and his ban on prolife materials and activities. I have been writing to the Bishop for months asking him why he has banned prolife literature; his assistant, Mary Cole, accidentally sent me a message meant for Cupich, in which she mentioned he had instructed her not to answer me.
Note: The reader forwarded me the inadvertently forwarded communication from Cole to Bp. Cupich. It reads: “Bishop, in the past you have asked me not to respond to her emails. She is also not listed in our diocesan system. She emailed again last night. Please advise. ”
Once I wrote her that I had received that, she got rather testy, and after I asked some more questions about his anti-life policy and caught her in at least two apparent fibs— she said there was a 20 year ban on prolife literature, I could not find any evidence of it, and she wouldn’t provide any. Then she said that there was no difference between the policy of bishop Cupich and those of his predecessor. This was untrue, as Bishop Skylstad endorsed 40 Days for Life, and Cupich told his priests and seminarians that he didn’t want them to take part!–She then blocked me from emailing any one who works for the Spokane Diocese! Her “sit down and shut up” attitude towards the Prolife movement is…interesting.Anyway, I’m trying to get together as many people as possible to email the bishop and request that he repeal his ban. They’ll be pretty busy trying to block us all.
If you know any one who’d join in, please let me know!
I can’t for the life of me understand why Bp. Cupich is treating the prolife movement in Spokane–surely some of the best and most devoted children and allies of the Catholic Church, with such cold contempt. What does he hope to accomplish beyond what this email evidences: namely the growth of a group of prolifers under his care who are coming to believe that their spiritual father regards them as enemies and not as his children? Are not these men and women members of his flock too? Do they not at least deserve to have their existence acknowledged? If he thinks them to be too in bed with conservative agenda items not to his liking, would he not do better to *teach* them to distinguish the prolife movement from secular (and often anti-Catholic) agendas rather than simply treat them like enemies to be ignored, undercut, defeated and, in my reader’s case, humiliated? Does he not realize that such treatment is almost guaranteed to drive lay Catholics further away from the bishops and into the arms of right wing demagogues who care nothing for the Church’s teaching except how it can be exploited from political gain?
I do not understand this man. I pray that the Spirit would move this shepherd to act like a shepherd toward people who love the Faith and who only wish to serve the Church he loves and is charged to feed.