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Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago in an interview with Salt and Light, May 1, 2017.

CHICAGO, June 9, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — American Cardinal Blase Cupich has interpreted Pope Francis’ controversial Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia as a call for Catholics to graduate from “an adolescent spirituality into an adult spirituality” where they will be able to use their “freedom of conscience” to “discern truth” in their life. 

“What it [Amoris Laetitia] does is it really asked people to have an adult spirituality,” Cupich, the Archbishop of Chicago, said in an interview with Salt and Light’s Fr. Thomas Rosica that was published June 4 via a YouTube video. 

Cupich explained to Rosica that an adult spirituality means “being able to, in some way, realize that you have the grace by God to discern truth in your life in terms of where the Lord is calling you to the next step. It does put the responsibility on each individual, rather than an outside authority telling people what to do, as though they were children.”

“What the Holy Father is calling us to, what the Church is calling us to now, is to be able to take responsibility for our lives. And that means making sure that people understand the freedom of consciences but also the responsibility that goes with it. So, this really, I think, is a movement to moving out of an adolescent spirituality into an adult spirituality. That’s a big significance, and it’s been going on since the Second Vatican Council,” he added. 

Amoris Laetitia, released last year, has been interpreted by various bishops as allowing Holy Communion to be given to those living in objective situations of grave sin, including adulterers and fornicators. Other bishops, however, have interpreted the document in exactly the opposite way, so that it aligns with previous Catholic teaching. 

Pope Francis named Cupich to the College of Cardinals in October last year. The Archbishop’s elevation came as a shock to faithful Catholics aware of his public dissent from Catholic teaching on sexual morality. 

During the 2015 Synod of the Family, which Cupich attended at Pope Francis’ personal invitation, the then-Archbishop proposed a pathway based on what he called an “inviolable” conscience for allowing active homosexuals to receive Holy Communion. He later defended his view in an ABC interview, stating that if “gay people” in “good conscience” discern that they should receive Holy Communion, then “they have to follow their conscience.”

The Catholic Church teaches that while a person “must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience” the conscience, at the same time, must be formed by the “Word of God” and the “Church’s authority and her teaching” to make judgments that are “in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator.”

Salt and Light's Fr. Thomas Rosica interviews Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, May 1, 2017.

“Conscience can remain in ignorance or make erroneous judgments. Such ignorance and errors are not always free of guilt,” the Catechism of the Catholic Church states.

The Church condemns homosexual activity as a “grave depravity” that is “intrinsically disordered” since it holds that such activity is “contrary to the natural law” in that it “close[s] the sexual act to the gift of life.”

Earlier this year, Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, one of the dubia signers, said that it would be a “suicidal act” and “cutting the ground from under his feet” if the pope were to teach in his Exhortation that conscience is the ultimate guide in moral matters, trumping even Catholic teaching as well as Divine Revelation.

“That is why among the five dubia, dubium number five is the most important,” he said. 

Among the yes-or-no questions dealing with the indissolubility of marriage, the sacraments, and moral norms, question five asks if one can ever use “conscience” to justify engaging in “intrinsically evil acts.”

Last year, days after being elevated to cardinal, Cupich criticized the four cardinals for raising questions to Pope Francis about Amoris Laetitia, saying anyone who has “doubts and questions” about the Pope Francis’ teachings needs to “have conversion in their lives.”