The archbishop of Chicago, Blase Joseph Cupich, sat down with journalists Friday and responded to their vast array of questions in a side room of the Holy See Press Office, following the synod briefing of the day. Fr. Manuel Dorantes, a Vatican Spanish-language spokesman and Chicago native, provided a transcript of the Q-and-A after the encounter; the link is below.
Responding to ZENIT about how the synod is encouraging families to play a larger part in the Church and to get involved beyond receiving the sacraments, Archbishop Cupich said, “People go through phases in their lives so we have to be patient with them and always available and present to them.”
The archbishop added, “I don’t worry too much about market share. I want to invite people, and we have to look for ways. One of those ways for younger generation is through volunteering for Catholic Charity events.”
“Young people today are generous. When they come and participate in that kind of work, that’s where you really engage them, and that’s where you invite them to be part of the life of the Church,” he reflected. “It might not be at Sunday Mass, but you can engage them through the generosity that’s in their hearts. I have a great hopefulness about young people; they are very generous.”
He noted that he goes to the universities in Chicago, says Mass for the students, and talks to them afterward: “I really enjoy that, I’m energized by that.”
“Now, do these kids go to Mass every weekend? Probably not. But there’s something else in their lives that really is an issue, and they have to know that we are with them.”
What’s at stake in synod
Asked what is at stake at the synod and what is its point, he said: “I think that by having us come together and listen to each other there is great benefit.
“Maybe we’re not going to come out with the sharp, clear answers that you in the media would like to have in order to write nice stories, but I’m seeing real transformation happening in the Aula [synod hall]: people are talking to each other, they’re listening to each other, they’re coming in with a sense that their own views are changing. I have changed. I have listened to the other side where I have really taken to heart what has been said across the board. One of the participants said he felt like one of the three kings — he’s going to go back by a different way. And I think that’s true for all of us. So if it has that impact I think the synod will be a success just for that.”
When asked what has been the role of the African bishops at the synod, the Chicago prelate stressed how they have reminded the bishops of the value of the extended family.
“In the US,” he pointed out, “the extended family support system has really eroded, because of the mobility in the workplace, people are not with their extended families any more like they would be in some other countries or cultures. So they’re reminding us of the importance of the extended family.”
He noted that in his intervention, he stressed what the Church needs to do in Western society, and in the US in particular: to be a substitute for the extended family because nuclear families are detached from the extended family, and the Church needs to be “the family for families.” “That was the point that I tried to make.”
When asked by a journalist, “What is your most abiding impression of the synod?,” he said, “It’s the Holy Father. It’s just seeing him there, listening attentively, nodding once in a while.”
“But he is very attentive to what is happening. He comes and mixes with us during the coffee breaks. He seems very joyful, very much at peace; that’s why any of the tensions that people talk about, or the fears and anxieties … you would think this Pope didn’t have a care in the world. He’s a man who is really very much at peace. Cardinal George, of happy memory, was asked at his 50th anniversary celebration to describe the Pope. He said: ‘He’s really free.’ Well that’s coming out to me.”
“The thing I am coming away with,” he said, “is that it’s a great privilege to be in the presence of a wonderful man who cares about and loves the Church and is very free to let people speak their minds, and who believes in the power of the Holy Spirit to lead the Church.”
Archbishop Cupich said this gives him great confidence and that’s what he takes away.
Other topics touched on during the question and answer session were Cardinal Walter Kasper’s proposal and developing pastoral approaches to welcome the divorced and remarried, as well as those with homosexual tendencies.
On the NET:
To see the full transcript, on this tweet from Fr. Dorante, click where it says ‘transcript:’ https://twitter.com/tweetingpriest/status/655159590309482496