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Archbishop Cupich: 'I get up every morning loving the fact that I'm here'
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Archbishop Cupich: 'I get up every morning loving the fact that I'm here'

Posted on Fri, May 1, 2015

From the Chicago Tribune

Archbishop Blase Cupich, who took the helm of the Chicago Archdiocese on Nov. 18 as the spiritual leader of 2.2 million Roman Catholics, met Thursday with the Tribune Editorial Board. Here are five points he made:

•I think that parents, no matter what their economic background is, should have a choice for their children's school . . . Really for me, it comes down to the fact that we have a proven product. We believe that people who want that service, want that school system to benefit their children, should have that choice, should not be eliminated from that possibility because of their inability to pay . . . It's financially smart to look at that because in this state, we have 150,000 children who are being educated in Catholic schools. ... We're saving right now the state about $2 billion a year through our Catholic school programs . . . We want to build strong school programs, but it makes economic sense for people to look at that.

•(Pope Francis) says . . . that realities are greater than ideas. I think what he meant by that is that ideas are important because they help us clarify and make distinctions, which are a way to get at the truth. But we also have to start with the real lives of people and make sure that we, as he says, become the field hospital for the world, in which we treat people and then help them and accompany them through life. That's a whole different way than saying, this is the teaching of the church, these are the ideas and you abide by them and then you'll be measured by that. He begins, however, by saying, 'Where are you going? Let me walk with you. What's the reality of your life? Let me tell you about my experience, and then we walk together.' I think that's the refreshing approach that people are attracted to at this time because he's saying that your lives are valuable where they are. We're not coming to judge you, sit in judgment of you. We're here to help you in the next step of your journey.

•I want to stay here (Chicago) and do the work that has to be done. I've received a lot of invitations outside of the archdiocese that I've said 'no' to. The only one that really I've accepted in terms of a speaking engagement, major one, was Boston College to give a commencement address. I'll be doing that in mid-May. There is a lot to do here, and I like being here. I don't need to go someplace else, to travel, in order to feel energized. I get up every morning loving the fact that I'm here and I get to work with great people. I know there are a lot of issues that have to be done. So I like being here. It doesn't mean that in time I'm not going to address the issues of the day. The Holy Father is coming out with an encyclical on ecology, on the environment. I hope to weigh in on that and join his voice on something that he's saying. I've spoken out about immigration. I can speak to the issues of the day, but I want to make sure that whatever I say is rooted in the experiences that I've had here. I speak in a way that is going to serve first of all the needs of the people that I'm assigned to serve. That's my focus.

•Public protests, surely, are part of our heritage as a nation from the time that priests and religious were involved in civil rights protests to those which have to do with immigration reform to the defense of the unborn. I suspect that's going to continue and think it should because those public manifestations allow a peaceful way for people to express themselves but also for issues that otherwise would not get attention to be raised up for people to consider as important. My concern would be when any of these are used in such a way that denigrate people or get involved in name-calling or become so that would in any way lead to unnecessary divisiveness in society, a society that's already divided. I think that that's where we need to look at what we're doing, what's the impact of what we're doing and how are we doing it.

•We applauded the president for making the decision to issue the executive order (on immigration). We think that it's important to deal with the situation that's broken, at least in a temporary way. However, we feel that it's only a Band-Aid. We think that there should be a regularization of people's status, a path to citizenship. Our bishops' conference has been very clear on that, and I've spoken to that before, and I will continue to do so.


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