Emanuel jokes about all of the time he has spent in church

Chicago’s first Jewish mayor has spent so much time at Holy Name Cathedral over the last few days, he might have to change religions — or at least be declared an honorary Catholic.

On Wednesday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel joked about the marathon hours he has spent in church at ceremonies tied to the transfer of power from Cardinal Francis George to Archbishop Blase Cupich, the Pope Francis’ choice to lead the Chicago area’s 2.2 million Catholics.

“I’ve never had greater appreciation for the shortness of Rosh Hashanah services — and for the brevity of my rabbi’s sermon,”  the mayor said laughing.

Turning serious, Emanuel said he talked by phone with Cupich “a number of times” before the installation ceremonies and came away convinced that Chicago has a new voice for social justice.

“He has been a bold voice for immigration reform. While the church had a different view of health care [than ObamaCare], once it was signed into law he wanted to make sure those without health care received it,” the mayor said.

“He takes the spirit of social justice seriously. He has a great sense of humor. He wants to make sure the church and the love and passion that you know exists within the parish walls — that the doors are open and that love and that passion for justice is taken out into the neighborhoods surrounding the church. I look forward to his voice on a whole host of issues for the city of Chicago.”

The mayor also took pains to thank now-retired Cardinal George for his “service to his hometown” and his “voice over the years in serving all parts of the city.”


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