Archbishop Blase Cupich has made some troubling choices over the years. As the Bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota, he decided to bar the parishioners of the local Latin Mass parish from entering the church during the Easter Triduum so that he could provide “an opportunity on an annual basis for us to all worship together, for one moment of unity as a Catholic church.” Evidently, this was so important to him that he physically locked them out of the parish without discussion. He also, according to the local news, engaged in the general practice of forbidding these Catholics from receiving First Holy Communion or Confirmation under the traditional forms.
He made news again when, as Bishop of Spokane, Washington, he was reported to have “told the priests of his diocese not to be involved with the 40 Days for Life campaign” because he didn’t want them to be “identified with the ‘extremists’ of the pro-life movement.” When public pressure mounted, the diocese released a weak statement, falling back on soft language and allusions to conscience to hide a thinly-veiled threat to any priests who wished to participate.
After Cardinal George stepped down in the face of rapidly-advancing cancer, Pope Francis sent Cupich to Chicago. It wasn’t long before the new Archbishop made his mark on his new see. From allegedly going “ballistic” over the dearth of females in the sanctuary at his installation Mass to his near-instantaneous collaboration with pro-abortion politicians (to whom he refuses to deny Holy Communion) to his unruffled, almost acquiescent statement on the SCOTUS ruling on so-called “gay marriage,” the impression is given that Cupich has little real interest in fighting for the Catholic Faith.
This week, Archbishop Cupich has crossed another line. In an op-ed published in the Chicago Tribune, he directly equates the moral severity of abortion (as exposed in the recent Planned Parenthood videos) to other Social Justice issues (emphasis added):
This newest evidence about the disregard for the value of human life also offers the opportunity to reaffirm our commitment as a nation to a consistent ethic of life. While commerce in the remains of defenseless children is particularly repulsive, we should be no less appalled by the indifference toward the thousands of people who die daily for lack of decent medical care; who are denied rights by a broken immigration system and by racism; who suffer in hunger, joblessness and want; who pay the price of violence in gun-saturated neighborhoods; or who are executed by the state in the name of justice.
Perhaps Archbishop Cupich is confused. Perhaps he feels that it is his duty to resurrect the “seamless garment” philosophy dreamed up by his predecessor-before-last, the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin. If so, he is mistaken. It is a philosophy as bankrupt as it ever has been, and it looks even more dated in light of the videos from the Center for Medical Progress.
The problem with “seamless garment” thinking is simple: some sins are quite obviously worse than others.
My questions for the Archbishop are similarly obvious: is there some comparable expose, showing the eviscerated remains of those with insufficient medical insurance, or can’t manage to immigrate legally, or suffer from racism? Is there even a shred of evidence that there are really “thousands”of them who “die daily”? Is he aware that over 2,000 abortions in the United States are performed every day?
Has the Archbishop even watched the Planned Parenthood videos? Does he comprehend what the 58 million US abortions really means? How about 1 billion worldwide? Did he watch those dismembered baby parts being picked over with tweezers while resale value was being discussed?
And if he did, how could he write something that so drastically undermines the severity of this atrocity?
Cardinal Timothy Dolan hasn’t been getting many kudos from orthodox Catholics of late, but to his great credit, he did not equivocate in expressing the reality of what we are facing:
“[T]he folks at Planned Parenthood finally told the truth about what they are actually doing when they abort over 300,000 babies each year – that’s more than 20% of all abortions in this country: they are putting an end to an innocent, fragile, defenseless, human life.
The importance of this is made particularly stark in a horrifying moment in one of the videos. A technician is exchanging small talk with the interviewer, all the while as she coldly describes her handling of the various organs of one of the aborted babies.
She is then heard to exclaim, ‘Another boy!’
The pathos of that scene is almost beyond human comprehension. But the acknowledgement of the truth is a pivotal moment. Nobody can hide from it any longer. It comes right out of their own mouths. It’s not a thing. It’s not just some tissue. ‘It’s a boy!’ It’s a human, baby, boy.
Many years ago, during the great moral crusade to eliminate the human slave trade, a medallion was used by men such as William Wilberforce to advance their cause. It depicts a slave, bound in chains, and asks a simple question — ‘Am I not a man and a brother?’
‘Another boy’ now asks us that same question. How will we answer?”
Archbishop Cupich has given his answer. He got it wrong.
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher and Executive Director of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have seven children.