A Bishop Who 'Gets' Pope Francis

Over at the website of the diocese of Spokane, they have just posted the ordination homily preached by Bishop Blase Cupich over the weekend. All of it is splendid but he noticed something about Pope Francis' Evangelii Gaudium that had escaped my notice. +Cupich writes:

All throughout the history of salvation, those called out of love by God are called to become part of the family of God’s holy people. That is what it means to be a people sacred to the Lord. Pope Francis is quite effective in exploiting this point in the Joy of the Gospel, as he literally redefines the word “sacred,” which becomes clear if we look at the dozen or so times he uses that word. Instead of the sacred being that which is set apart from the ordinary and mundane, outside of the temple, as the word “pro-fane” suggests, the sacred, according to the pope, has to do with human solidarity, of bringing “others to a communitarian experience of journeying to¬wards God.” He speaks of the need to learn the “‘art of accompaniment’ which teaches us to remove our sandals before the sacred ground of the other (cf. Ex 3:5).”

This is a profound insight the pope is teaching us and, so far as I know, no commentator picked up on it yet: Every mention of the sacred in Evangelii Gaudium involves relationships, people, solidarity. While some bishops are trying to explain away the pope's trenchant cultural critiques, or privatize them, here we have a bishop who is still reading the pope's words and finding new insights there. Bravo! 

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