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Archbishop Cupich stresses serving flock's everyday needs

Archbishop Blase Cupich in August | File photo

To better serve the faithful, the Catholic Church must cut through the often “archaic and simply incomprehensible” language of the past and do more to meet people’s everyday needs, Archbishop Blase Cupich said at a luncheon Wednesday.

Having recently returned from a meeting of bishops in Rome — an event where his comments about possibly creating a path for those divorced and remarried to receive Communion drew criticism from some conservative Catholics — Cupich reiterated the need for the church to be more open to new ideas. Cupich was one of two American bishops personally appointed by the pope to take part in the synod, a conference of bishops meeting to help guide the pope on church matters.

“Our responsibility to teach is tethered and co-equal to our responsibility to learn so we can benefit from the wisdom of the people we serve,” Cupich said, speaking at DePaul University.

As an example, Cupich repeated a story he heard while in Italy about a a boy whose parents have “an irregular marriage.” Cupich later clarified that the couple had married outside the church.

The boy approached his priest to take his first communion, but the boy’s parents stayed behind in the pews, Cupich said.

After receiving communion, the boy returned to his seat and divided the wafer with his parents.

“I don’t think there was a person in the room who would have condemned this young boy for committing a sacrilege or in some way told him he did something gravely wrong,” Cupich said.

Cupich said Pope Francis wants the church to be more inclusive, more “energetic . . . always on the move, not sitting on the sidelines or looking at the world from a glass castle.”

Cupich described last month’s synod format as an often exciting exchange of ideas.

“People could get up and disagree with each other — lowly bishops against cardinals, even cardinals with the pope,” Cupich said. “It didn’t matter — everybody had a voice.”