ST. LOUIS, Mo. (ChurchMilitant.com) - Cardinal Blase Cupich is slated to be the keynote speaker at the annual conference for a notorious dissident priests' organization.
The annual assembly of the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests (AUSCP) will take place in June 2019, and the webpage for the event lists the Chicago cardinal as one of three main speakers.
The event's page notes that "Cupich welcomed AUSCP members to Chicago for the June 2016 assembly."
AUSCP shared a photo on Facebook in 2016 of the organization's leaders posing with Cdl. Cupich during a planning meeting for the June assembly.
The AUSCP is a national organization based in Ohio. It has a well-known reputation for liberalism and theological dissent. The priests' group released a statement in 2017 calling for "open discussion" of women priests — something which would be in defiance of Catholic teaching on the priesthood — and greater openness to married priests in the Roman Rite. AUSCP has called for allowing men with homosexual tendencies into the priesthood in order to be "more respectful and inclusive."
The AUSCP is part of an international collective of Catholic organizations — many of them being left-wing, theologically dissident groups — called the International Church Reform Network.
Cardinal Cupich, head of the archdiocese of Chicago, is one of the highest-ranking Church leaders in the United States and currently the pope's favored American prelate. Francis appointed Cupich to the organizing committee for February's synod on prevention of abuse of minors. It was a significant move, considering Cupich was chosen over Boston's Cdl. Sean O'Malley, the pope's chief adviser on sex abuse.
Cupich was accused by former papal nuncio Abp. Carlo Maria Viganò as a member of the "homosexual current" in the Church, who owes his Chicago appointment — one of the most important sees in America — to serial homosexual predator Abp. Theodore McCarrick.
"The appointments of Blase Cupich to Chicago and Joseph W. Tobin to Newark were orchestrated by McCarrick, Maradiaga and Wuerl, united by a wicked pact of abuses by the first, and at least of cover-up of abuses by the other two," Viganò wrote.
"Regarding Cupich, one cannot fail to note his ostentatious arrogance, and the insolence with which he denies the evidence that is now obvious to all: that 80% of the abuses found were committed against young adults by homosexuals who were in a relationship of authority over their victims," he added.
Cupich pushed back in a widely ridiculed interview with an NBC affiliate in Chicago, where the cardinal said of the sex abuse crisis, "The Pope has a bigger agenda. He's got to get on with other things, of talking about the environment and protecting migrants and carrying on the work of the Church. We're not going to go down a rabbit hole on this."
In the same interview, he accused Pope Francis' critics of being racists: "Quite frankly, they also don't like him because he's a Latino."
Cupich was blasted for both remarks, afterwards claiming his comments were taken out of context, and later issuing an apology.
Cardinal Cupich also caught flack this year for cracking down on Fr. Paul Kalchik, forced to flee into hiding after two priests from the chancery issued a veiled death threat against him. Father Kalchik burned a blasphemous rainbow banner with a cross on it that had previously hung in the sanctuary and was linked to late pastor Fr. Daniel Montalbano, who heavily pushed the gay agenda and led an immoral gay lifestyle as a priest. Kalchik's act drew ire from LGBT activists, who complained to the archdiocese, resulting in a confrontation at Kalchik's parish with Msgr. Dennis Lyle and Fr. Jeremy Thomas, who threatened to call the police if Kalchik did not leave with them immediately for St. Luke's Institute, a psychiatric treatment center for priests.
The AUSCP's national assembly will also feature pro-LGBT Canadian priest Fr. Thomas Rosica as "retreat leader." Father Rosica has heavily promoted homosexualist Jesuit Fr. James Martin, and also praised late, laicized priest Gregory Baum as his "hero" — the man who led the vanguard of dissent against Humanae Vitae in Canada in the 1960s, and who helped draft the infamous Winnipeg Statement. Baum published an autobiography before he died admitting he had been in an active homosexual relationship for 30 years while married to his wife, a former nun.
Cupich has also been an outspoken supporter of Fr. Martin. In an interview in November 2017, the Chicago cardinal called Fr. Martin "the foremost evangelizer in the Church today, especially for young people." In the midst of a rash of cancellations of Martin's speaking engagements in 2017, Cupich was the first to invite Fr. Martin to speak at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago.
The cardinal has made clear he has no problem with active homosexuals receiving Holy Communion. He has also refused to respond to media queries from both secular and Catholic news organizations asking for his opinion on Catholic teaching on homosexuality.
Cupich was exposed as the ringleader at the Baltimore bishops' conference in rejecting a proposal for laity to be involved in investigating sex abuse, instead presenting an alternate proposal allowing the bishops to investigate themselves.