The Proclamations of Cardinal Cupich: Preservation is Bad

“We are not a Church of preservation, but rather a Church of proclamation.”

So sayeth Cardinal Cupich in 2017 when he gave the Murnion Lecture at the Chicago Theological Union, titled “Dialogue in the Key of Pope Francis.”  Right out the gate, Cupich praised Cardinal Bernadin.  He also declared in the context of expelling a revolution afoot in the Church, that “we are not a Church of preservation, but rather a Church of proclamation.”

From there, a good portion of the lecture is all about building bridges and dialoguing. Talking. I wonder how much dialogue Cardinal Cupich had with the parishioners of St. John Cantius.

No Talk, No Dialogue, Just Proclamation

In 2016, the time for the ordination of deacons came around in May. Among the candidates was Br. Trenton Rauck. At that time, Rauck was a candidate for ordination to transitional deacon as a seminarian, a step towards priestly ordination the following year. According to the reports I received at that time, on the day of ordination, Cupich refused to ordain him.

Cupich reportedly said that he did not know him.

Where’s the Dialogue?

I don’t know. I’m not a Cardinal or anything, but it seems to me like if I had a list of a few guys I was supposed to ordain, that I’d have looked at the list before the people showed up. You know, maybe even dialogue with them.  If I didn’t know who one of them was, I’d ask “who is that guy?”  I might have even built a bridge with the guy at some point before that day. Maybe even picked the phone up when I was out marching against gun violence. Maybe call the guy while I was on hold to talk to a Congressman about illegal immigration. Maybe invited him to a lecture I was giving on Dialogue. You know, just talked to the guy…. Dialogued, even. But, that’s probably one of many reasons why I’m not a Cardinal. I would have looked at the list some point before the day of.

Surely the people who had travelled there to be at the ordination had to be confused. No. It was apparent already what was happening to them. Rumors around the archdiocese already swirled. It had been reported, for instance, that a fine traditional restoration was planned in the archdiocese seminary. Cupich allegedly halted them. Some rumors suggested that it was only after a very wealthy family insisted, did Cupich finally allow it. Rumors like that.

I think I see what that means, though. No preservation there, just proclamation. The proclamation was “I’m not ordaining him.”

Eventually, It Worked Out

About a week later, the parishioners of St. John Cantius rallied support and people came over a Memorial Day holiday. Br. Rauck was ordained a deacon apart from the others, but at St. John Cantius that week. It was Cupich’s first visit to the parish. The report of the ordination on their website is very gracious in overlooking the fiasco.

(For those who are curious, in 2017, Fr. Rauck was ordained a priest at the cathedral with the regular ordinations).

Proclaiming Dialogue By Blowing Up Bridges

There is some déjà vu in the situation at St. John Cantius with Cardinal Cupich. You see, back in 2002, the Rapid City Journal reported that then Bishop Cupich locked the parishioners of a latin Mass parish out of their church on Good Friday. The paper reported:

“We’ve been prohibited by the bishop from celebrating the Easter Triduum liturgies and locked out of our church from noon on Holy Thursday until 8 a.m. on Easter morning,” Dan Carda, 58, of Piedmont, said.

My favorite part of the report is how Cupich explained his action.

“We’re just looking for an opportunity on an annual basis for us to all worship together, for one moment of unity as a Catholic church,” Cupich said. “I’m looking for one time each year to do that, and it seems the day the Lord died for us all would be a good day to do it. That’s all that this is about.”


Cupich says he’s sorry the Latin Mass community is having trouble with his invitation to worship with him at the main Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help during Holy Week instead of at Immaculate Conception. “I’m supportive of their desire to have Sunday Mass there, and I’m going to be very patient with them,” he said.

So let me get this straight. Getting locked out of your parish is an “invitation?”   HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

I don’t mean to make light of the awful thing done there, but seriously? An invitation? That’s a demand. no dialogue, no bridge.

Like all “dialoguers” though, Cupich passed the blame on to someone else:

Rome, Cupich said, has made it clear that any celebration of the Latin tradition is at the discretion of the local bishop. “And I’ve made my decision,” he said.

Did you catch that? Rome made him do it. Rome forced him to close the parish. Rome is the bad guy. He just wanted them to come to the cathedral and be with him. Rome is to blame for their loss. And if you have a problem with it, he had an answer for that, too:

Complaining about him to the Vatican and worshipping on the sidewalk probably won’t help the Latin-rite cause, Cupich said. “My impression is that it will not help their standing with the wider church.”

No preservation of Catholics in the Church… just a proclamation. I’m seeing how this course of “dialogue in the key of Pope Francis” works.

“Dialogue” with Father Phillips

If you weren’t getting the idea how “dialogue” and “bridge building” works, yet, then let’s just take a quick peek at one of the strangest events yet. Earlier this year, the weekend before Palm Sunday, the Cardinal Cupich removed Father Phillips from St. John Cantius. (at least he didn’t drop the bomb during Holy Week this time).

The official statements reported that the Archdiocese had received credible accusations of improper conduct with adult men.

Think about that for a minute. You know what the inference is there, right? Sodomy or homosexual acts.

The Problem is Not Investigating Credible Allegations

I want to make one thing clear:  I think the diocesan policies of temporarily removing a priest on credible allegations while investigated is a prudent move. With that said, however, if you look around at the facebook profiles of Chicago priests, you will find direct evidence of improper conduct with adult men. Any reasonable person who sees this would wonder why they have not been removed also. There’s your first hint. You should draw reasonable inferences from this. Nevertheless, when it came to Fr. Phillips, he was removed while the allegations were being investigated. The stuff on facebook willingly posted by other priests in the archdiocese doesn’t matter. Even if there are rainbows and pride parades.

The investigation yielded a conclusion that Fr. Phillips was innocent. Cardinal Cupich dug in and said he would not allow Fr. Phillips to return.

Said Cupich:

“I am aware that this is difficult news to receive, but the Archdiocese of Chicago is committed to ensuring those serving our parishioners are fit for ministry,” Cupich said in a statement.

(See Chicago Tribune report)

People that know Phillips knew that the allegations were false. The investigation proved the allegations to be false. And yet, Cardinal Cupich believes there is a pastoral reason making Fr. Phillips unfit for ministry to parishioners.

Wait a minute…  by what standard is fitness being measured here?

A Possible Standard Proclaimed By Cupich

We began with a statement that Cupich gave that we are not a Church of preservation, but one of proclamation. We’ve covered some of those proclamations by Cardinal Cupich. We can see he probably means that we should not preserve the traditions of the Catholic Church.

It’s about Preserving the Church

The same Chicago Tribune report above had this to report about Fr. Phillips:

“The preservation of the traditional Catholic art and the Catholic music are a means of evangelizing to people,” Phillips told the Tribune in 2000. “The sacred arts should draw the hearts of individuals closer to God.”

(id. emphasis added)

It can’t be that simple, can it? That Fr. Phillips wants to preserve traditions and latin.

Our Lord Charged the Apostles to Preserve

Cupich proclaimed that we are not such a Church that preserves. Forget Our Lord’s charge to the Apostles that they are “Salt.”  As St. John Chrysostom explained, we are precisely to preserve the Church…  well, not “we” but the Apostles were:

“Salt cannot help what is already corrupted. That is not what they did. But what had first been renewed and freed from corruption and then turned over to them, they salted and preserved in the newness the Lord had bestowed. It took the power of Christ to free men from the corruption caused by sin; it was the task of the apostles through strenuous labour to keep that corruption from returning.” (Homily XV on the Gospel of St. Matthew.)

Anyone who thinks St. John Cantius and Fr. Phillips were doing anything but what St. John Chrysostom said is ignorant or insane.

But that’s apparently not what Cardinal Cupich thinks “Church” is anymore.

Coincidentally, Cupich gave a lecture on St. Patrick’s day wherein he complained that the Irish elite tried too hard to preserve. In it, he almost blamed the famine on the efforts of elites to preserve their way of life. At first blush, I thought I was hearing the old bourgeoisie  complaints all over again, and thought I was hearing that the proletariat was being oppressed.

The New Pastoral Standard?

Especially in light of the facebook profiles I’ve seen with my own eyes that contain rainbows, pride messages, and frankly obvious insinuation of improper conduct among adult men makes me wonder what precisely makes Fr. Phillips unfit while those stay. It must not be “improper conduct with adult men.”  It must be something else. Otherwise, those other priests would have been immediately removed as well, right?

So what is the standard? Is it that Fr. Phillips was not dialoguing with them?

Or is it that Fr. Phillips was preserving cherished Catholic practice and belief?

Cardinal Cupich said, in that same Murnion lecture, that Catholics must give up “cherished beliefs.”  Understand now? No preservation, no dialogue for you, and you better stop clinging to that nice stuff of the old church.

It’s all getting clear now. We’ll have our parishes closed, our priests removed, and worse…  if we won’t do what he proclaims and give up our treasures preserved by Mother Church.

If you thought I was kidding in Detente with the Devil, that you’re being pushed out of your own Church, then this should have shaken you up. This little stroll through his lectures and history should make it crystal clear what Cardinal Cupich seems to be “proclaiming” to us: Cross the bridge to AmChurch, give up preserving your cherished traditions, or get out — You’re not “fit” for this new church.


Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!


Afternote. I do think it is worth reporting on rumors that circulate the underworld of Catholic Chicago. DISCLAIMER:  While I hear these things among many and I have reason to believe that the people reporting them are sincerely reporting what they believe, I have no direct knowledge of these things. Thus, I call them “rumors.”  1) It is said among many that the supposed allegations were manufactured. Some of these reports further allege that the allegations were paid for. 2) it is said that the allegations were insisted to contain reference to clown suits.

A Reasonable Catholic should weigh the evidence of such rumors against the totality of facts available to them. I make no claim or assertion as to the quality or veracity of the things alleged in the rumors, but do report that the rumors themselves are real and have a variety of collateral claims to substantiate the allegations thereof.

This article, The Proclamations of Cardinal Cupich: Preservation is Bad is a post from The Bellarmine Forum.
Do not repost the entire article without written permission. Reasonable excerpts may be reposted so long as it is linked to this page.

John B. Manos

John B. Manos, Esq. is an attorney and chemical engineer. He has a dog, Fyo, and likes photography, astronomy, and dusty old books published by Benziger Brothers. He is the President of the Bellarmine Forum.
  • Bob says:

    One of your very best, John. Thanks for keeping us up on this travesty. I’m reminded of a remark made by a well-known Catholic lawyer at the end of his presentation on the state of our Church: “It seems today at the Vatican the only good Catholic is a bad catholic.”

    • John B. Manos says:

      Thanks be to God.
      I hate to agree with your lawyer friend, but I think he may well have been right!

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  • Nora says:

    Mr. Manos, “It seems what we have here is a failure to communicate.” Cdl. Cupich speaks what sounds like English, but the words “improper conduct,” “unfit,” “invitation,” “dialogue,” etc. have completely different meanings to him than they do to actual Catholics. Of course, he relies on the majority of people who are completely unacquainted with him and authentic Church teaching to give his version of teality its effective force. I believe this is his definition of the word “pastoral,” though he will likely use his own language rather than ours!

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