The Catholic Church is witnessing sweeping changes worldwide, and some of these tranformations are becoming apparent in Chicago.
The New York Times reports: “In Pope Francis’ most significant move yet to reshape the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States, Blase J. Cupich took his seat in Chicago on Tuesday as archbishop of the nation’s third-largest Catholic archdiocese and called on the church not to be afraid of change.”
“While his elevation unfolded in a series of scripted, centuries-old rituals, Cupich delivered personal remarks that set the tone for his tenure and marked the unprecedented transfer of power from one archbishop to another, as Cardinal Francis George became the first Chicago archbishop to retire,” according to the Chicago Tribune. Cardinal Francis George is battling cancer and has also faced criticism over his handling of clerical sexual abuse allegations.
Retirement has historically been rare among ranking Catholic clergy, but perhaps Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation has created a model for Catholic archbishops and bishops to resign when unable to fulfill their duties?
Chicago Catholics are experiencing broader changes that go well beyond clerical transitions and procedural changes. “The archdiocese, with 2.2 million Catholics, embodies the changing face of the American church, in which Latin American immigrants are displacing those originally from Europe,” according to The New York Times. “The installation Mass featured participants speaking Spanish, Polish, Tagalog, Croatian, Vietnamese, German, Italian and Ojibwa.”
The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune report on Archbishop Cupich and the changes in the Catholic Church in Chicago. The Chicago Tribune has published numerous additional articles dealing with the transitions in the archdiocese.
NIU students working on religious politics will be interested in following this developing story.