Archbishop Cupich: Respect Lesbian and Gay People’s Consciences

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 2.34.17 PM.png
Archbishop Blase Cupich

Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago again defended the primacy of conscience regarding lesbian and gay people in an interview in which he also spoke against those who seek to deny Communion to certain Catholics.

Cupich was interviewed by Alan Kreshesky of ABC 7, and he touched on October’s Synod on the Family. Asked about the pastoral care of same-gender couples, the archbishop replied:

“When people who are in good conscience, working with a spiritual director, come to a decision that they need to follow that conscience. That’s the teaching of the church. So in the case of people receiving Communion in situations that are irregular, that also applies.

“The question then was, ‘Does that apply to gay people?’ My answer was, ‘They’re human beings, too.’ They have a conscience. They have to follow their conscience. They have to be able to have a formed conscience, understand the teaching of the church, and work with a spiritual director and come to those decisions. And we have to respect that.”

These remarks build upon his work at the Synod, during which he told Bondings 2.0 that the proceedings would have benefited from listening to lesbian and gay couples. In the past year, he also said that the church must seek “new avenues and creativity when it comes to accompanying families,” and he endorsed legal protections for families headed by same-gender couples in 2014.

Questioned specifically about denying Communion to lesbian and gay people, Cupich responded:

“I think that when people come for Communion, it’s not up to any minister who’s distributing the Eucharist to make a decision about a person’s worthiness or lack of worthiness. That’s on the conscience of those individuals [receiving communion].”

Cupich’s approach is opposite to the one taken recently by Newark’s Archbishop John Myers, directed his priests not to give communion to lesbian and gay couples who have legally married. Cupich is increasingly critical of this nation’s bishops in general, on display most recently during the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ fall meeting.

Archbishop Cupich’s words are certainly strong ones in support of LGBT Catholics and their families, but his defense of conscience is undercut by the Archdiocese of Chicago’s harsh ecclesial reality. Two church workers, Sandor Demkovich and Colin Collette, have lost their jobs for making conscience decisions to themselves to a same-gender partner in legal marriages. The Archdiocese denies discrimination in these cases, and Cupich himself has remained quiet.

Advocating respect for Catholics’ conscience, particularly when the faithful dissent from the bishops’ teachings, is greatly needed in our church. That message is far more powerful when advocates live according to the values about which they advocate.

–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry



12 thoughts on “Archbishop Cupich: Respect Lesbian and Gay People’s Consciences

  1. Brian Kneeland December 15, 2015 / 3:07 am

    The Archbishop needs to get his priests together and get them to understand his position and that of the pope (and of the Church for so many centuries) that the conscience can and does overrule policies! Then he needs to talk to other bishops and get them to remember it! He could be the one light shining in the darkness of these decisions!!

  2. Brian Kneeland December 15, 2015 / 5:58 am

    Cupich needs to tell his priests to lighten up and then he needs to spread that message to other bishops! I know our local archbishop has said we excommunicate ourselves when we marry a same-sex spouse. Same for another from my home diocese. Time to remember that the conscience trumps church practice – has for so many centuries! Then they are really following church teaching and living as Christ instructed!

  3. Paula Mattras December 15, 2015 / 6:44 am

    When people do something “wrong’ they oftentimes lie about it, attempt to cover it up or conceal any information about it. Here we have our LGBT brothers and sisters living openly in loving and committed relationships, contributing to the common good, rejoicing in raising their families and keeping the faith under tremendous negative pressure. Where do they get the strength? I say, “God bless them and enlighten those who do not understand.”

  4. richardjclarkson December 15, 2015 / 1:06 pm

    This is what I have said for decades : a gay Catholic who has consulted his well-formed conscience may attend Mass and receive the Holy Eucharist as well . There is an old saying in the Church which I learned from a favorite priest-professor ( He taught me theology ) that when Catholic theologians disagree amongst themselves on an issue , the faithful may follow the one that conforms with their conscience . When the priest places the host on my tongue , I am at peace with myself and with my divine savior . . This year my domestic partner and I celebrated our 45th anniversary together in a common-law marriage .

  5. r.wilson December 15, 2015 / 4:54 pm

    I do not intend to be disrespectful but it seems the church has lost it’s credibility to dictate on matters of sexual orientation. The “Big White Elephant” at the Vatican that nobody wishes to acknowledge is the factual inability of many of our clerical leaders to live sexual lives matching their own teachings. We have between 30-50 percent of priests being gay, almost all dioceses that are paying for children fathered by priests, many priests do not follow their vows of celibacy. Finally the crimes of sexual abuse and the church’s utter failure in responding to the crisis underscores why the catholic laity feel so alienated from the church. Hypocritical behavior on such a huge scale seldom inspires the faithful to follow. The fact is gay Catholics are banging on the church doors to be let in while the leadership tries to lock them out. I must laugh at the concept of following one’s conscience requires a spiritual director. Gay people have always known they are gay and the idea of coming to this conclusion to support following your own conscience is almost funny. When I look at all the scandals from sexual abuse to banking problems, seems we are turning to our leadership who, according to their behaviour, have demonstrated they are not to be followed as they lack the spiritual character to be leaders. Of course their are many good priests and religious. And we do have advocates but few clerics are willing to support inclusion or love of those who are banging on the doors of the church to be welcomed, included, loved…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s