Cardinal claims ‘greatest Christians’ may have no ‘faith system’. Here’s why he’s wrong
September 5, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) -- An American cardinal appointed by Pope Francis has made the unbelievable statement that someone can be a “great” follower of Jesus Christ while having no “faith system.”
“Some of the greatest Christians I know are people who don’t actually have a kind of faith system that they believe in,” said Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich in an August 24 interview with Chicago Sun-Times.
The Cardinal made this astounding statement when asked what he tells people who struggle with their faith.
I think the main problem with Cupich’s statement is that it is simply impossible for anyone to be a genuine follower of Jesus Christ without subscribing to, at a bare minimum, what C.S. Lewis once famously coined as “mere Christianity.”
To be a Christian means that you have the basic “faith system” as taught by the Apostles and handed to future generations through the Bible and the teachings of the Church.
At a bare minimum, to be a Christian means to believe that Jesus is Lord and Savior; that he died, rose from the dead, and will come again to judge the living and the dead; and that he was sent into the world to save mankind from sin and make heaven available to anyone who would repent and believe in him. To be a Christian means to belong to Christ through, and by means of, his mystical body, the Church. It means to believe and profess the same truths about Jesus Christ that the apostles believed and professed.
You see, the very word “Christian” denotes having a rather solid and well-established “faith system” that the Christian believes and would even be willing to shed his blood for rather than deny it, if it came to that.
The “greatest Christians” I know are the ones who witnessed to the truth of the Gospel with their lives. Some names that come to my mind are Pope John Paul II, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Maximillian Kolbe, C.S. Lewis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Chuck Colson.
These Christians were great because they lived according to a common “faith system” to which they all subscribed and which governed every aspect of their lives, from their thinking to their writings and actions.
As canon lawyer Dr. Ed Peters recently pointed out, for Cardinal Cupich to make such a statement is simply “confusing.”
“I suggest, being ‘Christian’ has something to do with, among other things, professing faith in Jesus Christ; being a ‘great Christian’ has something to do with, among other things, proclaiming him boldly; and thus, holding out persons with no discernible beliefs as examples of the ‘greatest Christians’ is not helpful especially in days of so much confusion about the meaning of, and the importance of being, Christian,” he said.
I’ll take this one step further: With Cardinal Cupich’s approval of Holy Communion for pro-abortion politicians, habitual adulterers, and active homosexuals, and with his call for an “adult spirituality” where Christians use “freedom of conscience” to “discern truth” in their lives, I suggest that Cupich has next to no idea about what makes one a good Christian.
His statement is not only unhelpful, it's downright misleading. All it will do is empower those who already struggle with the truths of the Christian faith from following these truths. And, unfortunately, maybe this is what Cupich had in mind. Whatever the case may be, a statement like this coming from a man Pope Francis has tasked with helping select future bishops is very alarming indeed.
We live in a time when Christians are called to “greatness” precisely by first believing and then living in the public square the reality that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and that he is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. Only those Christians who have a deep rooted “faith system” for which they are willing to sacrifice everything will achieve such greatness, and, in the life to come, eternal life.