Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago and Archbishop José Gómez of Los Angeles, who at least on some matters, would be regarded stereotypically as representing “liberal” and “conservative” views, will headline together a major convening of Catholic leaders this June aimed at overcoming division, building relationships, and strengthening the Catholic community’s contribution to the common good.
“Through Many, One: Overcoming Polarization Through Catholic Social Thought,” will take place June 4-6 at Georgetown University and is a project of the university’s Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life in response to what its organizers have described as “the harmful divisions within our Church.”
Cupich – who was appointed to Chicago in 2014 – is widely perceived as one of Francis’s closest allies in the U.S. Church and has been a strong champion for worker’s rights, immigration, and the consistent ethic of life. Gomez has led the nation’s largest and most diverse diocese since 2011 and is currently the vice-president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). He was ordained a priest through Opus Dei, a movement that is widely viewed as having conservative leanings, and has been a vocal advocate for pro-life and religious liberty causes. In recent years he has also become one of the most vocal leaders within the U.S. Church hierarchy calling for comprehensive immigration reform.
The gathering will focus not on internal Church issues, but on “the neglected challenge of bringing Catholic principles to public life so as to truly be ‘salt, light and leaven’ in a divided society.”
John Carr, the Initiative’s director, and Kim Daniels, a member of the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications and a consultor to the USCCB’s Committee for Religious Liberty, are leading the conference, which will bring together 60 select attendees from across the ideological spectrum with the stated goal of exploring ways to help overcome division and to help forge a more unified witness.
In an interview with Crux, Carr said Catholics have an unprecedented opportunity with Francis’s leadership to bring Catholic teaching into the public square, but he believes internal divisions among some are squandering that prospect.