Chicago's New Archbishop Cupich Encourages Protections for All Families

Archbishop Blase Cupich on "Face the Nation"

Archbishop Blase Cupich on “Face the Nation”

Newly appointed Chicago archbishop Blase Cupich appeared on CBS’ “Face the Nation” program last Sunday where he offered strikingly positive remarks about LGBT people and their families and seemed to endorse legal protections for families led by a same-sex couple.

Introduced as “America’s Pope Francis,” Cupich was asked how the church should respond to the rapid legalization of marriage equality and whether the church needed to change. Speaking about his own experience in Washington State, where same-sex marriages were legalized through a successful 2012 referendum, the archbishop said:

“I said first of all that we cannot use this moment of public debate to say anything or do anything that would provoke violence against gay and lesbian people. We have to make sure that we’re not part of that and we would condemn that. At the same time it’s not just about gay marriage. It’s about whether or not we’re going to have statutes in our states that uphold and protect people who take the risk of bringing children into the world. People who as mothers and fathers coming together in their love, continue the human race.”

At this point, host Norah O’Donnell asked Cupich whether he thought same-sex parents were included in those needing protection, and specifically whether he considered them to be good parents. The archbishop responded:

“I think there are people not only who are gay but many single people are good parents. And I don’t think that’s the issue. I think the real issue is, should we have — should we continue to have legislation that supports, protects and upholds those people who take the risk of actually bringing children into the world and preserving the human race…

“I do know that there are gay couples, there are others — grandparents, single people who adopt children, who maybe even have children not from the act of love, but to care for children in that way.

“And yes, I think that there has to be way in which we do support them. But I do think there is something unique about a man and woman coming together and bringing children in to the world, preserving the human race and providing that example as a mother and father, a male and female within family that also deserves the state’s support and also protection.”

It is also worth noting that Cupich positively evaluated Pope Francis and promised a similarly pastoral direction for his leadership in Chicago, saying:

“I’m going to do what I’ve tried to do the 16 years that I’ve been a bishop of a diocese. And that is to get to know people. I think one of the things that the Holy Father is appreciated for by people is that he is speaking in a way that really resonates with their aspirations and concerns. What I find to be very interesting in the Francis effect as people call it, is that people do have a sense that the church is listening to them, and also that he is speaking to their deepest desires. And if I can in some way emulate that example then I think that I’m probably on the right track.”

Cupich also affirmed he would not deny Communion to pro-choice politicians, making a larger point that bears on LGBT issues in the church:

“I think that is important always to begin with an attitude of dialogue. It’s important to listen to people and it’s very hard to have dialogue because in order for someone to tell you why they think you are wrong, you have to sit in patience to allow that to happen. The community — as I say, cannot be the place where those discussions are fought, but rather we have to look at how we’re going to deal with the tough issues of the day in a constructive way and as adults who respect each other.”

All of this led to a decidedly different interview with Face the Nation than the typical episcopal appearance. Too often, these interviews have been used by Cupich fellow American bishops to hammer away at LGBT equality. Instead, Cupich’s pastoral inclinations are clear, as is his commitment to dialogue and to respecting difference.

Further, he recognizes LGBT advocates within the church as adults with whom a constructive conversation can occur.

Most striking is Cupich’s admission that gay parents are good and society should evaluate how it can protect all families which, while not endorsing marriage, is a significant shift given his peers’ stated views.

Whether or not Cupich is “America’s Pope Francis” remains to be seen, but what is clear is that his leadership in Chicago signals a new voice in the American church. At the very least, LGBT advocates have a prominent archbishop who says he is ready to listen, willing to dialogue, and seems to be more realistic about what family life really consists of today.

You can watch the full interview by clicking here.

–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry

11 replies
  1. Friends
    Friends says:

    OK, he “Talks the Talk”. Now let’s see if he “Walks the Walk”. The prospects look good, when compared to what the “Pope Benedict Clones” are constantly raving on about…i.e., the “wickedness” of abortion, rational birth control, and same-sex civil marriage. If he really wants to impact the horrendous hatefulness and negativity being promulgated by the vast majority of his “brother bishops”, he’s really got his work cut out for him.

  2. Rosa G. Manriquez, IHM
    Rosa G. Manriquez, IHM says:

    Yes. I agree this is a beginning. Personally, I am very tempted to begin criticizing his words and gearing up for a debate. But in order to build bridges, I would quiet those angry, hurt voices and walk to where this bishop is. It is closer than his predecessor. I think I would want a clarification from him: what would he say is something that burdens heterosexual couples from raising a family? I would present this in the interest of dialogue, not debate.

  3. Bill Freeman
    Bill Freeman says:

    Honestly, his words aren’t what I would hope for. Nevertheless and like Pope Francis, I have the feeling that I could sit down with him, share tea, and have a conversation where he would listen to each other. He doesn’t have the “gatekeeper” feel that so many bishops have.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] called for the church to respect lesbian and gay people’s consciences and said every family deserves legal protections.  A participant at the 2015 Synod on the Family, Cupich told Bondings 2.0 that hearing from […]

  2. […] must seek “new avenues and creativity when it comes to accompanying families,” and he endorsed legal protections for families headed by same-gender couples in […]

  3. […] Face the Nation last year, he affirmed the need for same-sex couples and their families to be legally protected , and he called for a tempered response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2015 decision to […]

  4. […] Cupich’s words are worth noting not only for the message given to the congregation gathered, including twenty bishops, but for their broader significance given this church leader’s rising significance. He was Pope Francis’ first major episcopal appointment in the United States, coming with a largely positive record on LGBT issues that was further confirmed when he said last yearon CBS’ “Face the Nation” program that all families deserve legal protection […]

  5. […] last June’s Pallium Mass in Rome. He made headlines in December for calling on the church to support protections for all families, continuing more measured and respectful tone exhibited while bishop in […]

  6. […] Chicago archdiocese is under new leadership with Archbishop Cupich, who has signaled his willingness to dialogue and respect differences in the church. He can start exemplifying this willingness by […]

  7. […] New Ways Ministry: Chicago’s New Archbishop […]

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