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Archbishop Cupich holding court with select media during a break at Synod on the Family in Rome.John-Henry Westen / LifeSiteNews

October 9, 2016 (LifeSiteNews)—On Sunday, Pope Francis announced that Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich will be appointed a cardinal on November 19. The move is alarming pro-life, pro-family, and tradition-minded Catholics because of Cupich’s record as an extremely liberal bishop.

As a cardinal, Cupich will be eligible for the papacy and able to vote in papal elections. At the end of his Angelus message Sunday, Pope Francis announced that he will hold a consistory to appoint the new cardinals.

Prominent Vatican journalist John Allen Jr. revealed the “seismic shift” nature of at least Francis' three new American cardinal picks, writing in Crux News today

“Pope Francis on Sunday engineered what may prove to be a seismic shift in the Catholic hierarchy in the United States, elevating not one or two, but a full three new American cardinals seen as belonging to the centrist, non-cultural warrior wing of the country’s hierarchy.”

The other two named Americans are Archbishop Joseph Tobin (not to be confused with strongly pro-life Rhode Island Bishop Thomas Tobin) and Bishop Kevin Farrell. The latter was recently appointed to head the Vatican’s new Dicastery for the Laity, Life, and Family.

The Crux article called the new U.S. cardinals' “stance reminiscent of the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin's “seamless garment,”' which caused a damaging weakening of emphasis from many US bishops on pro-life efforts and opposition to contraception.

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In a 2011 Salt & Light television interview with Allen admirer Fr. Tom Rosica, Allen stated of pro-life Catholics, “we realize the sterility of this dead-end street of importing the culture wars into the Church”. In that interview Allen used the demeaning phrase “Taliban Catholics” for pro-life and similar Catholics.

Brietbart today characterized the pope's U.S. appointments as “promoting a number of well-known progressives while snubbing conservatives who were up for the job.”

Blase Cupich worrisome history

Pope Francis also recently named Cupich to the Congregation for Bishops, a key role giving the archbishop a significant say in determining who are appointed new bishops in the United States.

Cupich, whom a reliable Vatican source warned LifeSite that the then Spokane bishop was potentially “the most dangerous”-to-the-faith bishop in the United States, has undergone a rapid increase in status and influence in the Church under Pope Francis.

As the bishop of Spokane, Washington, Cupich requested that priests and seminarians of his diocese not participate in 40 Days for Life prayer vigils outside abortion facilities.

In August 2015, in the wake of the Center for Medical Progress videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s baby body parts trafficking scandal, Cupich wrote that unemployment and hunger are just as appalling as the killing of millions of children in the womb and the damages that many of their mothers have experienced.

Cupich has openly contradicted Catholic canon law on giving Holy Communion to those in a state of mortal sin. Shortly after his appointment as Archbishop of Chicago, Cupich said that giving Holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians can be a good thing. Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law instructs those “conscious of grave sin” on their soul to refrain from receiving Holy Communion.

At the 2015 Synod on the Family, Cupich laid out a pathway for same-sex couples and the divorced and remarried to receive Holy Communion in accordance with their consciences.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that proper consciences are formed according to the teachings of the Church. “Conscience can remain in ignorance or make erroneous judgements. Such ignorance and errors are not always free of guilt,” the Catechism teaches (CCC 1801).

Cupich hailed Pope Francis’s exhortation Amoris Laetitia as a “game-changer” that could normalize his unorthodox approach to those living in situations the Church labels objectively sinful.

Cupich recently concurred, with another progressive Francis U.S. bishop appointee, San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy, that “the issues of global poverty and the degradation of the environment now need to be put in that first tier of (election) issues” for Catholics in line with “Pope Francis priorities.”

In a Chicago Tribune Op-ed, Cupich responded to the revelations of large scale trafficking in aborted baby body parts by Planned Parenthood by equating the mass killings of the unborn with lack of “decent medical care”, “a broken immigration system”, “racism”, “hunger, joblessness and want”, gun violence and capital punishment.

With the exception of racism, Cupich's listed items have been explicitly stated by both Pope's St. John Paul II and Benedict, to be matters of prudential judgment compared to abortion and now euthanasia, both of which, in every single case, involve intended deliberate killing of the most vulnerable. St. Pope John Paul II also frequently warned of an insidious”Culture of death” that would inevitably spread into all facets of a culture that did not totally oppose these evils. 

In 2002, when he was the Bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota, Cupich locked the doors of a Catholic parish during the Easter Triduum, one of the holiest points of the Catholic liturgical year, in order to prevent Traditional Latin Masses from taking place. The church was forced to hold its Good Friday liturgies on the sidewalk.

More on all 17 appointments

National Catholic Register columnist, Edward Pentin, wrote in his column on the appointments today,

“Notable eligible prelates omitted at the upcoming consistory include those from a number of sees that have traditionally been cardinalatial. In the U.S. these include Los Angeles and Philadelphia, headed respectively by Archbishops Jose Gomez and Charles Chaput. Instead, Pope Francis has chosen prelates whose views are closer to his, and in particular those who have been publicly and clearly supportive of his interpretation of his post-synodal apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia.” 

Here is a list of the 13 cardinal-elector (can vote for next pope) prelates of the 17 whom Pope Francis announced cardinal appointments:

  • Italian Archbishop Mario Zenari, currently Apostolic Nuncio in Syria

  • Central African republic Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga, C.S.Sp. of Bangui

  • Spanish Archbishop Carlos Osoro Sierra of Madrid

  • Brazilian Archbishop Sérgio da Rocha of Brasilia

  • American Archbishop Blase J. Cupich of Chicago

  • Bangladeshi Archbishop Patrick D'Rozario, C.S.C. of Dhaka

  • Venezuelan Archbishop Baltazar Enrique Porras Cardozo of Mérida

  • Belgian Archbishop Jozef De Kesel of Mechelen-Brussels

  • Mauritian Archbishop Maurice Piat of Port-Louis  

  • American Bishop Kevin Joseph Farrell, prefect of the new dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life

  • Mexican Archbishop Carlos Aguiar Retes of Tlalnepantla

  • Papua New Guinean Archbishop John Ribat, M.S.C. of Port Moresby

  • American Archbishop Joseph William Tobin, C.S.S.R. of Indianapolis

The 4 additional appointments, who are all above consistory voting age are:

  • Archbishop Anthony Soter Fernandez, Archbishop Emeritus of Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

  • Archbishop Renato Corti, Archbishop Emeritus of Novara Italy

  • Archbishop Sebastian Koto Khoarai, Bishop Emeritus of Mohale’s Hoek Lesotho

  • Father Ernest Simoni, presbytery of the Archdiocese of Shkodrë-Pult, Scutari – Albania

LifeSite will present further information on this this development and the other appointments in the days ahead.