In today’s new episode of Field Hospital, Jeannie Gaffigan and I are joined by Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago to talk about how Catholics should respond to the plague of gun violence in our society.
In his statement following the Uvalde shooting, Cardinal Cupich posed this question: “Who are we as a nation if we do not act to protect our children? What do we love more: our instruments of death or our future?” The Cardinal’s statement included an urgent call to action for legislation and policies that would help prevent these tragedies from happening again. This was not the first time Cardinal Cupich addressed the issue of gun violence. In the past he has spoken out strongly on the need for our nation to take strong action, including legislation to regulate gun access.
After reading his latest statement, I suggested to our production team with US Catholic that we reach out to the cardinal to to see if he was interested in joining us on the podcast to talk about gun violence from a Catholic perspective. Fortunately, he was willing to take some time out of his busy schedule.
In this episode, we discuss the Catholic Church’s support for a consistent ethic of life, respect for human dignity, our responsibilities to protect the vulnerable, and how the church can help heal the wounds of the world inflicted by gun violence. We also touch on topics including the divisions in Church and society, racism, the recent appointment of San Diego’s Bishop Robert McElroy to the College of Cardinals, and how Cardinal Cupich’s prayer life has informed and transformed his ministry.
Gun violence has become an epidemic in the United States, with an average of one mass shooting a day since the start of 2022. The month of May saw two especially violent and horrifying mass shootings: On May 14, 10 Black people were murdered in a racially-motivated attack in a grocery store in Buffalo, New York. On May 24, a gunman murdered 19 children and two teachers in a school in Uvalde, Texas.
Cardinal Blase Cupich was born in Omaha, Nebraska and ordained a priest in 1975. In 1998 Pope John Paul II appointed him bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota. Then, in 2010, Pope Benedict appointed him bishop of Spokane, Washington. Pope Francis appointed him archbishop of Chicago in 2014 and elevated him to the College of Cardinals in 2016.
Since he became a bishop, Cardinal Cupich has served as chair of the USCCB’s Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People and as Chair for the National Catholic Educational Association from 2013–2015. Currently he serves on several USCCB committees and is a member of the Vatican’s Dicasteries for Bishops and Divine Worship and the Vatican Congregation on Education.
You can find out more information about Cardinal Cupich, his statements on gun legislation, and our moral responsibility to meet the challenges of gun violence in these links.
- “Statement of Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, on the racist mass shooting in Buffalo, NY”
- “Statement of Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, on the massacre of children in Uvalde, Texas”
- “Cardinal Cupich calls on lawmakers to act to combat gun violence,” by Doug Finke.
- “The church’s future depends on mission, not maintenance.” A U.S. Catholic interview.
- “Cardinal Cupich calls for action on gun legislation,” by Heidi Schlumpf
- “Amid rising gun violence, Chicago’s Cardinal Cupich calls for solidarity—not retreating to safe spaces,” by Michael J. O’Loughlin.
- “Dear Catholics, now is an acceptable time for gun reform,” by Patrick Saint-Jean, S.J.
- “A Mercy and Peacebuilding Approach to Gun Violence” (USCCB website)
This episode of Field Hospital is supported by Catholic Theological Union.