Canonist Ed Peters eviscerates bishops – one in particular – who won’t apply law

Right away go over to canonist Ed Peters’ place and read his vivisection of Card. Cupich.

It’s not just Cupich whom he has eviscerated.  It’s all the bishops who refuse to implement the Church’s Canon Law.   I believe bishops take oaths when they are consecrated and when they take an office.   Am I wrong?

Since he doesn’t have a combox, and he doesn’t mind reposting of text with attribution…

Cupich’s rationales for not taking canonical action against prominent pro-abortion Catholic politicos are as unconvincing as ever

No one thought that Chicago’s Blase Cdl. Cupich would follow Springfield’s Bp. Thomas Paprocki’s example in calling upon Catholic state legislators, who had supported Illinois’ express attack on the basic rights of pre-born babies, to refrain from holy Communion until they repented of their evil deed (Canon 916), further directing that his ministers withhold holy Communion from two specific legislators based on their protracted and public support of such measures (Canon 915), so no one was surprised when Cupich didn’t. But, if only ‘for the record’, some replies to Cupich’s rationales for not following Paprocki’s example are in order.

1. Cupich claims that “it would be counterproductive to impose sanctions”. This misrepresents a crucial point: withholding holy Communion under Canon 915 is not the application of canonicalsanction but rather the observance of a sacramental disciplinarynorm. Casting the operation of Canon 915 as a sanction (implying thereby proof of canonical crimes upon the observance of special penal procedures) is a straw-man frequently posed by prelates skirting the plain provisions of Eucharistic discipline.

2. Cupich claims that “sanctions [sic] … don’t change anybody’s minds”. This misrepresents the two-fold purpose of withholding holy Communion, namely to prevent the scandal to the faith community that arises from the administration of holy Communion to Catholics who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin (say, by their formally depriving innocent human beings of any protection under civil law) and to prevent sacrilege from being committed against the august Sacrament. ‘Changing people’s minds’ has nothing to do with either goal.

3. Cupich claims that, when confronted with prominent Catholics who formally and actively cooperate in depriving innocent human beings of their right to life, his “primary responsibility is to teach”. This misrepresents the fact that bishops have not one but three primary responsibilities, namely, to teach, to sanctify, and to govern the People of God (Canon 375, emphasis added). Preserving sacramental discipline in the Church entrusted to him is a crucial part of a bishop’s governing duty (Canon 392). A bishop cannot therefore point to his admittedly sound teaching in regard to the right to life as if that satisfies his duty of governing his Church in support of that teaching, any more than a father can excuse sitting by while members of his household act against the common good, by saying, “Well, I told them what was right and wrong.”

4. Cupich might (it is not clear from the CNA article) claim that Paprocki’s action was taken in response to legislators “who championed the law”, referring only to the awful bill passed in Illinois a couple weeks ago. But if this is Cupich’s claim it would be factually wrong, for Paprocki, in invoking Canon 915 against two named politicos, expressly underscored their repeated and prominent role in advancing pro-abortion state legislation over a period of time and in multiple ways. Paprocki did not act upon news of a single bad act (although he might have been justified in doing so on these facts).

5. Finally Cupich claims that “an elected official has to deal with the judgment seat of God” adding that God’s judgment will be “much more powerful” than any here on earth. In that regard Cupich is certainly correct. Elected officials will be answerable to God for their acts and omissions. As will bishops. And cardinals.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in 1983 CIC can. 915, Canon Law, Emanations from Penumbras, Liberals, The Drill and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Ms. M-S says:

    Any member of the clergy who thinks that his primary responsibility is (effectively only) to teach, that sanctions don’t change minds and are counterproductive, and that any other similar waffling nonsense they offer up excuses them from the duties of their office no matter how high or low should watch the movie Becket until something sinks in.

  2. GM Thobe says:

    He doesn’t seem to be the temple-clensing type. Unfortunate, under the circumstances (and admittedly easy for me to say from my armchair).

  3. bobbird says:

    Let us not pretend that Cupich is merely misguided. He is part and parcel of the satanic take-over of the hierarchy, a Prince of the Church who is a traitor. He is also, quite likely, not the sharpest knife in the drawer. One is reminded of Fouquier-Tinville during the French Revolution: a wooden-headed order-taker.

    Cupich did not hesitate to sanction his priests in Spokane from participating in abortion clinic prayer witness and protests. And THIS from a man who nearly became head of the USCCB’s prolife committee??!! Likely he would have maneuvered to create a similar order, nation-wide, had he assumed the chair.

    The Akita predictions of 1973 from Our Lady are being fulfilled.

  4. Pius Admirabilis says:

    Okay, so let’s just abolish the law. Because, God is our Judge, right? So there’s no need for any law here on Earth. Great reasoning. Keep it going, Cardinal Cupich.

  5. carndt says:

    I personally asked Cupich, while at the fall bishops’ meeting in Baltimore with ChurchMilitant, why he does nothing regarding the scandalous action of homosexuals in his diocese and won’t support the unborn by chastising politicians. His effeminate handshake and B.S. grin with a “no comment” as he pushed away from me said it all. I was then surrounded by security…

    Have asked many a local pastor out here in rural western Illinois if they will celebrate a TLM against our Rockford bisho p’s orders against Summorum Pontificum, they flatly refuse. Asked, that as our father of the souls they are entrusted with, why they are not willing to be white martyrs for the souls in their care? We are in great need of Church leaders that ACTUALLY believe in the Church Christ founded on earth.

  6. Amerikaner says:

    Cupich is a worldly prelate.

  7. JKnott says:

    It seems to me the other consideration of scandal and how it influences the weak to sin in this same way should carry some importance. Many Catholics hold these politicians up as examples worthy of their vote . Salvation of souls is about as mum as including the name of Jesus in the new document on sex abuse from the recent Bishops’ meeting. No wonder so many are applauding laws favoring infanticide.
    Give up and just pray. Divine intervention on a one by one basis is about all there is left.

  8. TonyO says:

    5. Finally Cupich claims that “an elected official has to deal with the judgment seat of God” adding that God’s judgment will be “much more powerful” than any here on earth. In that regard Cupich is certainly correct. Elected officials will be answerable to God for their acts and omissions. As will bishops. And cardinals.

    An added comment: St. Paul tells us that it (a) it belongs to God’s justice to punish wrongdoers, and (b) that God has delegated this task to human authorities to some extent. See Romans 13:1-4. If, as Paul says, human civil authorities have the God-given role of assisting and cooperating with God in the chastisement of criminals, then ALL THE MORE SO do God’s consecrated ecclesiastical authorities, who govern for the sake of our eternal welfare, also have a role in chastising for offenses that damage our ability to achieve our eternal goal. Christ Himself gave the bishops the role of governing the Church, and governance implies punishing as a part thereof. Otherwise they would not participate in Christ’s kingly office: those who are simply per se teachers do not govern.

    Cupich should never have been made bishop. He should never have been raised from SD to Spokane, and elevating him to the see of the Archdiocese of Chicago was an act of malfeasance of the first order. Making him a cardinal was another. He would also rightly be kicked out of any Catholic teaching position he might hold, if he really were just a teacher. Other than Card. Kasper, it is hard to think of a cardinal as deeply screwed up as Cupich appears to be.

  9. chantgirl says:

    Cupich will not withhold Communion from politicians who have voted for the execution of the unborn, but he has withheld Mass from those Catholics who wanted nothing other than to attend the Triduum in the Extraordinary Form.

    I wonder if he would withhold Communion from a politician voting to reinstate the death penalty in Illinois?

  10. tho says:

    For those who read history, the British Navy gave us an example of how to handle higher ranked people for dereliction of duty. The case I am referring to is Admiral John Byng, his cowardice, or to be kind, incompetence, resulted in a court martial, and execution by firing squad.
    In the case of Cardinal Cupich we have a clear cut instance of dereliction of duty, their positions are similar, one, as high as you can get in the Navy, the other a Prince of The Church. Both shirked their duty, ipso facto. Now, of course I don’t recommend a physical punishment for any churchmen, but I do find the similarities striking. Flogging has crossed my mind, but I think that has been discontinued, along with “splice the mainbrace”.

  11. byzantinesteve says:

    Could someone please point me to one person, just a single politician in this entire country who, as a Catholic, previously voted in favor of abortion rights and later changed their position to become pro-life and voted to protect unborn children? Just trying to figure out how well our strategy of being “the church of nice” is working out.

  12. arga says:

    Is there anyone who believes that Cardinal Cupich is prolife? Or believes in the Real Presence? That’s what’s really going on. It’s certainly not that he’s interested in either “teaching” or “changing minds.” He doesn’t apply the penalties because he doesn’t believe in the truths that these sections of Canon Law were intended to protect.

  13. Kerry says:

    In the movie about their lives, Cardinal Cupich will play Vice President Biden, and Biden, Cardinal Cupich. At Crisis Magazine, Father Rutler’s take apart of Biden is his usual remarkable word Akido. Cupich too Father?

  14. The original Mr. X says:

    Cupich claims that, when confronted with prominent Catholics who formally and actively cooperate in depriving innocent human beings of their right to life, his “primary responsibility is to teach”.

    And what exactly does Cupich think his actions are teaching, if not that supporting abortion isn’t a big deal?

  15. Uxixu says:

    “Elected officials will be answerable to God for their acts and omissions. As will bishops. And cardinals.”

    Bingo! Perfectly stated summary and conclusion.

Comments are closed.