Blase Cupich was not the choice of the Congregation of Bishops to replace Cardinal George as Archbishop of Chicago. But Pope Francis overrode its recommendation and appointed Cupich anyway. While unusual, the move was not unprecedented. And of course it was the Pope's right.
Within a year, Cupich had been asked to participate in the Synod on the Family in Rome. He was not one of the four bishops elected by the Unites States Conference of Bishops to attend the Synod. Once again, he was the personal selection of Francis.
Then Francis appointed Cupich himself to the Congregation of Bishops.
Now there is speculation that Francis will soon name Cupich a cardinal.
From Bishop of Spokane to potential red hat in less than two years. That's pretty good.
Blase Cupich is the Pope's man.
I was reminded of this while reading a local story about the opening of the new Pope Francis Global Academy in Chicago, although the opening is actually more of a consolidation or downsizing - one school with two campuses will replace four schools that just closed. Cupich candidly admitted that the new school will be the "end of an era" for the Far Northwest Side of Chicago.
Like Francis, Cupich stresses "participation," presiding over meetings of parish representatives and strongly urging them to contribute their "input." On one view, however, it's all for show, comprising nothing more than potential validation at best and top-down manipulation at worst. And of course, some would claim that that's the same basic strategy employed by the Bishop of Rome.
While it would be unfair to suggest that everyone was opposed to the school consolidation, there was significant opposition. Here's the first comment on an article about the "merger."
This has been completely disorganized. Downtown has dictated what the "merger" will be. Input from the parishes was not accepted. When we pay for school we go from parishioners to customers. We were told a Church can survive without a school. Not if the parishioners move to a different school, then the Church is no longer receiving their donations.
But what first caught my attention was the issue of how the new school was named. Indeed, I almost missed it. My annotations will be in red.
GLADSTONE PARK — Archbishop Blase Cupich will celebrate the opening of Pope Francis Global Academy with a mass at St. Tarcissus Church, officials with the Archdiocese of Chicago said.
The academy — the first Chicago school named for the pontiff — will merge the schools of four Far Northwest Side Catholic churches that closed in June: Our Lady of Victory, St. Tarcissus, St. Pascal and St. Cornelius.
St. Pascal was the childhood home of Cardinal Francis George, who died earlier this year . . .
In an online vote held earlier this month, 500 parishioners and parents picked from four finalists: Pope Francis, Mother Teresa, St. Francis or Blessed Frederic Ozanam for the school's name, the archdiocese said in a statement.
However, it was not clear from that statement whether Pope Francis was the pick of most of those who voted.
The pope's name was added to the list of three finalists — Mother Theresa, St. Francis and Ozanam — selected by a group of teachers, parents and parishioners by Cupich.Parish members don't appoint cardinals. Popes do.
Cupich wants the hat.