Rorate Caeli

The Franciscan Revolution
The winds of change blow across the US Church
Time to stop denying the obvious.

As reported by the Associated Press and a growing number of secular media outlets, the appointment of the Bishop of Spokane, Blase Cupich, 65, as the next Archbishop of Chicago is set to be formally announced by Rome. 

It is worth noting that the "National Catholic Reporter" is celebrating the appointment of this "good model for how bishops should conduct themselves in the public square" with an article (to which we will not link here) based on the very real actions and tone that he set as Bishop of Spokane -- on the issues of homosexual "marriage", on evangelization, on Obamacare (the system as implemented, with all its anti-faith inclusions), on "lay ministry" and, most importantly, on the upcoming Synod of Bishops.

Others will surely find many articles online about Bishop Cupich's directives regarding (i.e. against) prayer by priests and seminarians outside abortion clinics, directives first made public, then, when exposed, implemented even more strongly in private, on which the "conservative" Catholic media in the USA rightly did not give him any pass or defense in the years of Benedict XVI. 

After Bishop Tobin's unusual article surrendering to the Kasperite position (almost a year after he had spoken of his "disappointment" with Pope Francis) and Cardinal Dolan's remark earlier this month that the issue of denying communion to pro-abortion politicians is a thing of the past (in addition to his actions over next year's St. Patrick's Day Parade), the appointment to the Windy City is the strongest indicator yet that the winds of change are indeed blowing through the American Church, in a direction firmly away from that of the previous two pontificates, a change of tone in the major American Sees that had taken so much time and hardship to implement. 


Finally, a note to American Catholic 'neoconservatives', with their endless excuses and inventive ways of telling themselves, and others, that nothing has really changed in the Church's direction since 2013. 

Stop pretending that nothing has really changed. You cannot have it both ways. You cannot celebrate the appointment of "conservative" prelates to a handful of mid-level sees as proof that the Franciscan papacy is an extension of that of Benedict XVI, yet pretend that this appointment, the looming defenestration of Cardinal Burke, and many other previous appointments on the same or greater level of influence, mean nothing. It is delusional to celebrate minor appointments and victories as indicators of "continuity", then react to major developments with the attitude that "my faith does not depend on what Pope Francis does."  No one's faith should depend on the motions of ecclesiastical politics, but all the same, these actions will have its effect on the faith of millions for years and years to come.  You know this: otherwise you would not feel the need for excuses.

"But bishop so-and-so has always been sound and orthodox when necessary!" But as anyone knows, what matters in Catholic pastoral work is not just what one professes to "personally" believe, but how one acts, speaks, and sets his tone in the public square. The reality is that, more than words, actions and tone are a greater indication of what one truly believes, or holds dear and worth defending. 

The Church in America suffered terribly (and still does, and still pays for it) due to lousy episcopal appointments to major sees in the 1960s and 1970s -- they caught American Catholics off-guard, afraid to say anything, obedient even to the most absurd decisions. And all know what happened as a consequence of that attitude of sycophantic silence.

If you do not wish to say anything that can be seen or even misinterpreted as critical of Pope Francis, fine. But at least stop fooling yourselves, and others, that there has been no real change in direction in the Church. Shoring up morale and keeping up appearances for the sake of the "culture wars" (or, worse, for preserving one's place of influence at the table of secular party politics or for reasons of cupidity) are not enough reasons to lie about the truth.