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WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) - One of the most left-leaning cardinals in America may potentially chair the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities.
Next month, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will vote for the next chairman of the committee, and in a statement last week announced the two nominees: Cdl. Blase Cupich of Chicago and Abp. Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas.
The two prelates contrast sharply over their approach to abortion, with Cupich arguably at the fore among prelates in the United States pushing a heterodox agenda.
After the Center for Medical Progress exposed Planned Parenthood's grisly traffic in aborted babies' body parts in 2015, Cupich stunningly compared the barbarism of this trade with issues like joblessness and a broken immigration system. In an op-ed published in August 2015 in the Chicago Tribune, he insisted:
We should be no less appalled by the indifference toward the thousands of people who die daily for lack of decent medical care; who are denied rights by a broken immigration system and by racism; who suffer in hunger, joblessness and want; who pay the price of violence in gun-saturated neighborhoods or who are executed by the state in the name of justice.
He called for American society to adopt "a consistent ethic of life" — a reference to the "seamless garment" theory of his modernist predecessor, Chicago Cdl. Joseph Bernardin, often credited with bringing about much of the destruction of the Church in America.
A short while later, writing in the National Catholic Register, Fr. Raymond J. de Souza called Cupich to task. "Is the consistent ethic consistently applied or does it mainly serve to downplay the urgency of the abortion question?" he asked. "Three recent major addresses by Cupich suggest that it is the latter ... his is an inconsistent ethic of life."
In November 2014, Cupich showed no objection — contrary to Canon 915 — to pro-abortion politicians receiving Holy Communion. When asked point black on Face the Nation whether he would deny the Eucharist to politicians who promote intrinsic evil, Cupich answered, "I would not use the Eucharist or, as you say it, the Communion rail as a place to have those discussions or a way in which people would be ... excluded from the life of the Church."
Cupich has gone so far as to suggest that active homosexuals should be admitted to Holy Communion, saying at the 2015 Synod that such decisions should be left to one's "conscience." Cupich's commentary earned him the rebuke of fellow Illinois bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield.
For years, Cupich has pressured his priests and seminarians to avoid praying in front of abortion mills and to refrain from supporting the annual 40 Days for Life campaign, responsible for saving more than 13,000 lives since its launch in 2007. In contrast, in many dioceses bishops themselves lead Rosaries outside abortion mills, including Washington, D.C.'s Cdl. Donald Wuerl.
And in May 2015, Cupich appeared with Democrat senator Dick Durbin — who has a 100-percent rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America — to push immigration reform. In fact, Cupich has a history of refusing to condemn pro-abortion politicians. During the 2004 election, Cupich failed to join other bishops in condemning Catholic politicians for their pro-abortion stance and declaring they are ineligible to receive the Eucharist.
"We cannot cherry-pick particular issues," he told the Rapid City Journal. "We have to be willing to talk about all issues. Our position begins with protecting the unborn, but it doesn't end there."
In September 2014, as Cupich prepared to take power in Chicago, Vaticanista Sandro Magister penned a scathing profile of the archbishop:
Cupich's voice — as noted both by conservative Catholics with distress and by progressives with satisfaction — always rings out loud and clear when the talk is of immigration or the death penalty, but he seems to get laryngitis every time there is a discussion of abortion, euthanasia and religious freedom or criticism of the Obama administration over health care reform.
Cupich had agreed to offer Mass in 2015 for a leftist event hosted by The National Catholic Reporter, notorious for its dissent from Church teaching. Speakers at the event included staff who promote abortion, contraception and gay "marriage." He pulled out at the last minute over a "scheduling conflict."
After homosexualist Jesuit Fr. James Martin, known for his crusade to normalize homosexuality, was disinvited from several major speaking engagements over his controversial pro-LGBT stance, Cupich publicly invited him to speak at his cathedral in Chicago. Martin afterwards boasted of the speaking invitation on his Twitter page.
Archbishop Joseph Naumann, in sharp contrast, regards abortion as a fundamental crisis.
Currently a member of the USCCB's Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Abp. Naumann made headlines in May when he severed diocesan ties to the Girl Scouts, citing their links to radical feminism and Planned Parenthood.
Shortly before the 2016 presidential election, Abp. Naumann denounced vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine, a Kansas City native, as a "cafeteria Catholic." Listening to Kaine, Naumann said was "painful," as the politician rehashes "the same tired and contorted reasoning to profess his personal opposition to abortion while justifying his commitment to keep it legal."
Again in the leadup to the election, Abp. Naumann banded together with Kansas' other bishops to produce a video, reminding the state's Catholic voters that "All Catholics have a moral obligation to keep [the] human rights catastrophe" of abortion "at the forefront of their minds when voting."
In 2008, Abp. Naumann publicly directed pro-abortion Catholic, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, to refrain from receiving Holy Communion until she took "the necessary steps for amendment of her life, which would include a public repudiation of her previous efforts and actions in support of laws and policies sanctioning abortion."
The USCCB Fall General Assembly will take place November 13–15 in Baltimore.