An Interview with Cardinal Blase Cupich

Updated: Oct 7, 2018



by Kevin Gimpel

Assisted by Eileen Quinn Knight PhD


Kevin Gimpel: Cardinal, this is such an honor to interview you. I am a member of Holy Name Cathedral and the Young Adults. You seem very interested in the Young Adult population. Your support of Night Fever and (re)ENCOUNTER have assisted in engaging the young adults. How did you decide on these programs?


Cardinal: These programs were initiated prior to my being here as the Archbishop, and I saw that they have great value and I want to everything possible to promote them.


Kevin Gimpel: You seem to really enjoy your ministry in the Archdiocese of Chicago. What sustains and supports you in this challenging task?


Cardinal: Quite honestly, I enjoy being a priest, which I have been for nearly forty-three years. The constant encouragement I receive from people and my own prayer life are of great sources of support to me.


Kevin Gimpel: What are the issues of primary importance to you and why?


Cardinal: Building up family life and helping young people develop their own spiritual life.


Kevin Gimpel: You came from another diocese before you started your work here. Tell us about the diocese


Cardinal: I was in two dioceses before coming to Chicago. The first was in Rapid City, South Dakota, where I was bishop for twelve years. There are five Indian reservations in that diocese. It was a very small diocese in terms of population with only 27,000 Catholics in an area that is the size of Pennsylvania. They were very happy years for me. After that in 2010, I was appointed to Spokane where I was bishop for four years. The far west is a different culture altogether, and I enjoyed my time there.

Kevin Gimpel: Father Cameli's new book entitled: Church, Faith, Future has helped others to think about how we can assist the next generation in being good Catholics. I have found that literature has really assisted me on my journey. How does the book engage you?


Cardinal: Father Cameli is a very good writer and he has a way of provoking people’s thoughts. What I like in particular is his outline of a procedure for examining our own commitment to the faith and tying it in with our Renew My Church program. The Renew My Church effort in the Archdiocese of Chicago is central to what we are doing and his book makes a great contribution to that end.


Kevin Gimpel: The Catholic School system under the leadership of Dr. Rigg has made some wonderful advances. Could you tell us some of those advances?


Cardinal: Dr. Rigg has undertaken a reexamination of our vision and goals for the future. We are very confident that our schools have the possibility of not only growing but improving so that we keep up with development and education. We have the largest number of Blue Ribbon Schools in the nation, whether that is compared with other private, public and parochial schools. I believe that we are well situated to continue to grow, especially with the Tax Credit Scholarships that are available within the state.


Kevin Gimpel: The social media of this day and age has provided some wonderful aspects of communication as well as drawbacks. How do you think this helps the evangelization movement?

Cardinal: It is difficult to tell how social media is going to advance evangelization. I say this because I think evangelization happens in a more personal way rather than through electronic means. At the same time, social media is able to connect people to one another, and that can be an entry point. However, I do think that in the long run, people have to meet person-to-person in order for real evangelization to take place.


Kevin Gimpel: What part of your previous life has been meaningful to you?


Cardinal: Building up family life and helping young people develop their own spiritual life.

Kevin Gimpel: What are your hopes for the future for the Church?


Cardinal: My hopes for the future of the church is that we continue to listen to Christ who is leading us and that we remain together as one body of Christ, which gives witness to the world.


Kevin Gimpel: It seems that our world is changing rapidly and you as the leader of our Archdiocese continue to find ways to assist us in keeping Christ in the equation. Could you talk about some of those movements forward?

Cardinal: While we have to be attentive to developments in the world, it is even more important to keep our eyes fixed on where Christ is leading the Church, so that is my starting point in considering any forward movement. That is why the synodal approach advocated by Pope Francis is so very important for he fully understands that the spirit of Christ active in the Church is discerned when we come together and identify priorities. The synod on the family resulted in defining some of those priorities which the pope expressed in Amoris Laetitia. We now move on to consider youth and vocations in the next synod. Thus, in a word, it is not up to me to decide the direction, as I do it in concert and union with the Church.


Kevin Gimpel: Renew My Church provides us with ways in finding out if our parish is sustainable. What are some of the reports you have received so far? Both positive and negative.


Cardinal: Overall those in the first waves have found it a positive experience. I say that while fully admitting that there is pain in the process as change is never easy.

Kevin Gimpel: Being part of the younger generation and knowing that our planet is in jeopardy. We are trying to live Laudato si which deals with the environment.

The White Sox have decided not to have straws in the park as a small step to save the planet. Have you received any other ideas how to do this better?


Cardinal: I think we all individually have to make a decision to live much more simply.


Kevin Gimpel: Could you tell us of some of the recent efforts to curb violence in the city of Chicago?


Cardinal: We assisted with creating job opportunities for young people last summer and we will again this year. We have established safe havens for those threatened by gang violence and we have advocated for sensible gun legislation. We hope to announce more initiatives soon.

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