Cardinal Cupichs Uncertain Trumpet
April 2018By John A. Perricone
Fr. John A. Perricone is Professor of Philosophy at St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights, New York. His articles have appeared in St. Johns Law Review, The Latin Mass, The Journal of Catholic Legal Studies, and at Crisis.com.
Ghosts from the 1970s were stirring at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., this past November at the Catholic Theological Union, to be exact. His Eminence Blaise Cardinal Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, was the guest speaker, and his speech was steeped in some of the most beloved argot of that bygone era. It seemed to be an exercise in superannuated enthusiasms, all of them relevant to theologians of a certain age but risible to the millennial audiences of today. This new generation seeks a robust and dynamic existential Catholicism. Instead, what they heard was a hoary, hallucinatory Catholicism long relegated to the landfills of toxic theological experiments. Is this too harsh? Judge for yourself.
The good cardinal began his Murnion Lecture, titled Dialogue in the Key of Pope Francis (Nov. 2), by quoting the Holy Father: The flock has an instinctive ability to discern the new ways that the Lord is revealing to the Church. Francis is, Cupich said, trying to figure out where the Lord is taking us, and the growing disquiet in the life of the Church today is due to the unfamiliarity with the method of discernment that Pope Francis often uses. Cupich then let forth with a stunning volley of provocative invitations: It is our job, he said, to take up that discernment, and that takes time. It involves discipline. Most importantly, it requires that we be prepared to let go of cherished beliefs and long-held biases.
Hmm. What could His Eminence have meant? The most cherished beliefs of Catholics usually mean the articles of the Creed and the moral law. Cardinal Cupich could not possibly have been referring to these, right? Then what? The uncertainty was unsettling.
And what of long-held biases? Headstrong secularists deploy this epithet against the Churchs teachings, particularly those concerning marriage and the family. What for secularists is bias, is for Catholics fidelity to God fidelity not only to divine revelation but to the revelations of reason available to all men.
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