It speaks volumes that Cupich' motto is "Peace be with you". He spent ages thinking about that didn't he?
Last weekend, Cardinal Blase Cupich was spotted in Rome (as posted here), Everyone immediately jumped to the conclusion this was about Cupich's twitterations and fallout with Archbishop Gomez (including me).
It seemed that the Pope was supporting his favourite US Bishop and his support of the Biden administration in opposition to Archbishop Gomez. As I wrote here the links between Francis and Cupich are interesting and complicated. Cupich seems to have been brought to the Pope's attention by one of his key supporters, Cardinal Maradiaga. Maradiaga himself is mired in a veritable swamp of controversy. Speaking about disgraced ex-cardinal an serial abuser Theodore McCarrick, Maradiage stated back in 2018 that it was “something of a private order,” and “an administrative matter.”
Today, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued an ill-considered statement on the day of President Biden’s inauguration.— Cardinal Cupich (@CardinalBCupich) January 20, 2021
++Maradiaga accused of receiving $41,600 a month from the Catholic University of Tegucigalpa and investing $1.2 million in London companies "that later vanished into thin air." #Pope said to be "saddened" by the allegations, determined to get to the truth https://t.co/TyVQ4PikWn— Edward Pentin (@EdwardPentin) December 21, 2017
As I wrote about here, Cupich worked at the nunciature and clearly this has been part of his route to power. What surprises me is he doesn't seem to have any obvious talent. Contrary to Damian Thompson's assessment. A priest from his diocese told me:
"Cupich has no credentials, no work skills and is no great public speaker"
But yesterday morning we have a CNA offering a different possibility They suggest that Cupich was actually being groomed to take over from Cardinal Ouellet as head of the Congregation for Bishops:
"...sources in Rome who spoke to CNA on background said that Cupich met the pope not to speak of what happened in the recent past, but what may happen in the near future: Blase Cupich replacing Cardinal Marc Ouellet as prefect of the Congregation for Bishops."
There is, understandable, utter misery being echoed around the globe about this. Bruvver Eccles winner in the World Cup of Bad Cardinals in charge of choosing future bishops seems nothing short of a disaster for the Church.
The CNA article continues:
He wants more very bad bishops? https://t.co/yI9pMqP5ri— Eccles (@BruvverEccles) February 4, 2021
according to the source, the pope has started to lean more toward Cardinal Cupich because of his higher profile and “the message that his appointment would deliver regarding the type of bishops he wants for the Church.”Oh Lord preserve us!!
However, there's another theory. A source in Rome has told me that this promotion isn't because Francis likes Soapdish, but rather about the recent polarisation of the USCCB. We know that Francis likes to promote problematic prelates and there is an old addage that if you are useless in the Church you get promoted to the curia. We know the pope isn't a fan of Americans and I am told that this is not about the Pope liking Cupich. This theory resonates because Cupich seems totally useless to me. Remember in 2017 Cupich ran for chair of the pro-life committee? Cupich was expected to win by force of Francis’s implicit endorsement. As George Weigel pointed out in a post-election write-up for the National Review: “There are few episcopates in the world more loyal to Rome or more deferential to legitimate papal prerogative than the American bishops.”
Naumann won 96 to 82. The liberal Catholic media went into panic mode. How did Cupich miss his own coronation?
Of course there was no ambiguity about Cupich’s candidacy. His record is clear, and his relativising of abortion would have become the more or less official position of the USCCB. That is one line the bishops apparently were not willing to cross. Thank God!
Also, since Cupich's twitter outburst, precisely NO bishops supported him. But since he attacked Gomez, he has been been on manoeuvres. So is the Pope considering appointing a bishop with no support from the public or his brother bishops into a key position for selection bishops for the future? Who knows what the outcome will be?