While many in Chicago are learning about their newly appointed archbishop, Blase Joseph Cupich wasn’t new to Lumen Christi when he was installed as the ninth Archbishop of Chicago in Holy Name Cathedral on November 18th.
Cupich visited Chicago in 2012 (then Bishop of Spokane, Washington) to attend the fifth annual Conference on Economics and Catholic Social Thought. The theme of the conference was “Toward a Moral Economy: Policies and Values for the 21st Century,” and was sponsored by the Lumen Christi Institute, The John U. Nef Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago, and the leading German center for Catholic social thought (the Katholische Sozialwissenschaftliche Zentralstelle or KSZ).
It was an opportunity for the bishop to meet and engage with leading University of Chicago economists—Nobel Prize-winner Roger Myerson and MacArthur Fellow Kevin Murphy—as well as Reinhard Cardinal Marx, whose opening remarks made the case for a global “social market economy” as a corrective to the economic problems facing a world shaken by financial crisis. In using the term “social market economy” Marx refers not to state-planning or socialism or to government intervention in the economy, but rather to a market economy with rules to ensure the market’s freedom and fairness. Marx is also a member of the Council of Cardinals—a group of nine cardinals appointed by Pope Francis to serve as advisers to the pontiff.
During the day-long session of the conference in downtown Chicago, Cupich participated in a conversation with economists, bishops, philosophers, theologians, policymakers, and business leaders from across America and Europe on topics such as: “What Would a Moral Economy Look Like? Values and Metrics;” “Global and Local Solidarity: Issues of Globalization;” “The Family in the 21st Century;” and “Causes and Implications of Social Mobility and the Problem of Rising Income Inequality.”
Cupich has repeatedly spoken on the needs of the poor, on the importance of the Church to be a people for others, to especially embrace in love those who have been abandoned, neglected, and forsaken. In his first homily as Archbishop, Cupich said: “[Pope Francis] is challenging us to recognize that Christ is always inviting us to more, to greater things. It is the kind of invitation our bishops’ conference is making to our nation to be what it has always promised to be, to protect the vulnerable, poor and weak, to treat immigrants with justice and dignity, to respect life and to be good stewards of creation. It is the invitation of Jesus, ‘Come, take the risk of being more.’”
Lumen Christi welcomes Cupich back to Chicago—and looks forward to further conversations that invite us all to work more energetically to alleviate suffering, and to seek above all the common good.