Charles Joseph Chaput 300x225 Pope Francis Names 17 New Cardinals

Charles Joseph Chaput, Archbishop of Philadelphia

This past Sunday, when the eyes of many were focused on the political theater that was The Donald vs. The World debate, Pope Francis announced that he would appoint 17 new cardinals on November 19th. His choices were from 11 countries on five continents, and included the first cardinals from Bangladesh, the Central African Republic, Lesotho, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea. The cardinal-designate from the Central African Republic, Archbishop Dieudonne Nzapalainga of Bangui, was born in 1967, and will be the youngest member of the College of Cardinals. A future African pope perhaps?

Three Americans were among the new cardinals; one was the recently appointed archbishop of Chicago, Blaise Cupich, a man with impeccable liberal/progressive credentials. Another was Archbishop William Tobin of Indianapolis, a relatively small archdiocese never before considered important enough to be headed by a cardinal. The third American cardinal-designate is a former bishop of Dallas. Vatican observers have noted that all of the new cardinals reflected the preference of Pope Francis for liberal progressives over conservatives. On the other hand, Pope Francis passed over the conservative archbishops of Philadelphia, Detroit, and Los Angeles, even though their archdiocese were much larger than Indianapolis. Among those passed over for elevation to cardinal was the archbishop of Philadelphia Charles Chaput. Many of you may recall that last year, Pope Francis visited Philadelphia, and Archbishop Chaput was responsible for bringing him to the United States for the World Meeting of Families. At the time, I wrote an article on these pages, available here, that stated that the Pope squandered a number of opportunities for a more clear and robust witness for Jesus Christ.

Last year, in an essay in the Chicago Tribune, available here, written in the aftermath of the released Planned Parenthood human trafficking videos, Archbishop Cupich wrote:

While commerce in the remains of defenseless children is particularly repulsive, 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.

Thus, Archbishop Cupich declared that abortion was no more important than a number of other social justice issues such as unemployment, immigration and capital punishment. Only one week later, Archbishop Chaput responded with a sharp rebuke to Cupich in his own diocesan newspaper, Catholic Philly. In his article, bearing the pithy title “There is no equivalence,” Archbishop Chaput stated: “The deliberate killing of innocent life is a uniquely wicked act. No amount of contextualizing or deflecting our attention to other issues can obscure that.” Personally, I find that the gruesome ripping apart of unborn children and the sale of their organs by Planned Parenthood is also particularly heinous and in a category of evil by itself.

On September 15, 2016, Archbishop Chaput delivered the Tocqueville Lecture at the University of Notre Dame. The title of his powerful and deeply thoughtful talk was “Sex, Family, and the Liberty of the Church,” which is available here. I would encourage each of my readers to read his thoughtful remarks. And yet, with the selection of the new American cardinals, Pope Francis has made an important statement of where he wants the American Roman Catholic Church to go. Incidentally, one of my astute readers informed me about a new documentary that was released in late September on EWTN entitled, “A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing,” which shows how Alinskyite Marxist and socialist organizations have impacted our society’s culture, marriage, family life, morality and religion. Many of you know about Saul Alinsky and his influence on both Mr. Obama and Ms. Clinton. But he has also had an important influence in the Roman Catholic Church, and in particular, in the Archdiocese of Chicago. You can view the film’s trailer here. It is an important film for both Roman Catholics and other Christian believers. As Christians, we must never lose hope, though sometimes we can be dispirited and even pessimistic as we see the increasing evil around us. Lord, have mercy!