Cardinal Blase Cupich. / Daniel Ibanez/CNA.
CNA Newsroom, Jul 14, 2023 / 10:35 am (CNA).
Cardinal Blase Cupich recently expressed confidence in the intentions behind the German Synodal Way while warning of divisions and praising the pontificate of Pope Francis as “historic” in a carefully-worded interview with German diocesan media.
Described by Cologne’s Domradio on June 27 “as a leading voice of the progressive Church in the U.S.A.,” the archbishop of Chicago also spoke about the blessing of same-sex unions as well as the pontificate of Pope Francis.
Asked about the controversial German Synodal Way, the 73-year-old cardinal acknowledged that he had no direct firsthand insight into the process but expressed his trust in the German bishops.
“I know that they have only the best intentions. They are good shepherds who do their best to listen to the voice of the faithful, to see their wishes and hopes,” he told Domradio.
At the same time, Cupich warned: If the German process is “indeed a kind of parliamentary process in which democratic votes are paramount, in which votes are counted and arguments are pitted against each other, then it would indeed be difficult to defend it from a Catholic perspective.“
Cupich also addressed the issue of blessings for same-sex couples, a topic that has caused controversy within the Church, particularly in Germany where blessing ceremonies for same-sex couples have been held in open defiance of Vatican directives.
The American prelate emphasized the need for respect and clarity, stating: “We do not want to spread the message that we exclude people or show them no respect. At the same time, we need to ask ourselves: What exactly does it mean to bless a union? Is it blessing a friendship, a nonsacramental union? We need to clearly define what we mean by that. I don’t see that clarity in the Church at this point.”
The cardinal also commented on overcoming wider division in the Church and the pontificate of Pope Francis. He expressed his support and admiration for the Roman pontiff’s leadership.
“The division has always been there. Now it is perhaps coming more to the surface. The Holy Father is courageous in tackling problems that have long been simmering under the surface,” he said.
Cupich added: “I have great confidence in the course the Holy Father has set. I know that there are critical voices, but they are few. They are loud, but they are not many.”
Cupich, who has been a cardinal since 2016 and is also a member of the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops, concluded with a call for attentiveness and openness.
“We will not have a future if we do not also place value on our present. Where does the Holy Spirit want to lead us at this moment? I have confidence in Pope Francis. He wants us to be attentive and to leave our own perspectives sometimes. It is precisely in these moments that we feel the grace of God and see the Holy Spirit at work.”
In the same interview, Cupich also addressed the role of women in the Church, particularly in relation to preaching.
He noted that women’s voices are already being heard in some contexts outside the celebration of the Eucharist. “So the reflections and thoughts of women play a great role for the Church,” he said.
However, Cupich emphasized the traditional link between the proclamation of the Gospel and the homily delivered by the priest. He suggested that there might be room for women or laypeople to offer reflections elsewhere in the Mass, perhaps after receiving Communion.
“We should look for ways to strengthen such approaches,” he said.