‘Say it ain’t so…Blase!’ Spokane Bishop Cupich restricts priests and seminarians from pro-life activities

If only he was as welcoming to the pro-life cause...

Shades of El Paso with this story…

Hard to imagine why any Catholic Bishop would restrict pro-life activities within his diocese, but that appears to be exactly what’s happening with Bishop Blase Cupich of the Diocese of Spokane. Mark Shea received the following from a reader on his blog…

A reader writes:

Dear Friends,

We recently learned about a troubling decision regarding pro-life activities by our bishop, His Excellency Blase Cupich of the Diocese of Spokane.

I am emailing you because you are a parishioner in the diocese, or have a connection to the diocese, or you have the ability to make public this regrettable decision.

Bishop Cupich has informed all of his priests and seminarians that they cannot:

– pray outside of Planned Parenthood

– promote or organize peaceful protest outside Planned Parenthood in their parishes (naming 40 Days for Life specifically)

– or allow pro-life material to be distributed in their parishes unless it is published by the Washington State Conference of Catholic Bishops or the USCCB–who, ironically, support 40 DFL.

This information came to us directly from multiple Spokane priests. We were also told by these priests that Bishop Cupich identifies himself as pro-life, but disagrees with the “tactic” of praying outside of abortion clinics. The reason he gave for his decision is that he does not want his priests being identified with “extreme” pro-life persons.

We know you all understand the great concern that comes when a bishop is 1) not overtly supportive of pro-life activities and 2) will not allow his priests to fight for the pro-life cause by praying and giving witness to the sanctity of human life outside of Planned Parenthood.

My wife and I have written a letter that we will be sending to the bishop tomorrow and have copied the text below. I am asking that you also do what you can to help him change his mind, especially since we begin the fall campaign of 40 Days for Life in a few weeks.

Let us all pray for Bishop Cupich that he has a conversion of heart on this issue.

May God bless each of you as you fight for life!


Most Reverend Blase J. Cupich

Diocese Of Spokane

1023 W. Riverside Avenue

Spokane, WA 99210

Your Excellency:

We have recently learned of facts that are highly disturbing to us. We are seeking clarification from your office.

We have been told that you have forbidden priests and seminarians of the Diocese of Spokane from praying in front of Planned Parenthood, participating in 40 Days for Life, organizing peaceful protest outside of Planned Parenthood (either as a part of 40 Days for Life or otherwise), and endorsing/allowing communication of pro-life activities involving the above two methods in a parish.

We also learned that no pro-life literature may be distributed in a parish except for those produced by the Washington State Conference of Catholic Bishops or by the USCCB. A few months ago, we learned that you declined to endorse 40 Days for Life—something Bishop Skylstad, your predecessor, did indeed endorse. Even the USCCB supports and promotes this organization.

We were concerned, but hoped you had a good reason for your decision, and that it might be a misunderstanding. With this new information, we find it hard to believe it is a misunderstanding.

As members of the Diocese of Spokane, we do not understand why our bishop, the man entrusted by the Church and by Christ to lead the flock, would not allow a peaceful protest of the destruction of human lives. The pro-life issue, which has been championed and endorsed by Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI and the USCCB, is the most important of our age.

In the last 38 years, since abortion became legal in the United States, over 50 million children have been lost (that we know of) through the horror of abortion. While we are hoping that your denial of priests to pray for the unborn outside of the very place where children are murdered is a matter of disagreement on tactics, it seems as though you do not support the movement at all; again, we hope that is not true.

However, we do not understand how a bishop could not endorse praying the rosary, Our Lady’s prayer, for the sake of the unborn, their mothers and fathers and the workers, at the very scene of their deaths. Prayer and peaceful witness are the only ways that we will win the battle of converting hearts to believe in the sanctity of every human life. If what we heard is true, telling priests not to pray outside of abortion clinics would be equivalent to telling a priest in Germany or Poland that they should not pray outside of Death Camps. The same tragedy that happened in Germany is happening in our country today, but too many people are standing by without defending the unborn.

We need our priests and our bishops, our spiritual leaders, to take on the cause of defending the unborn! We need our priests and bishops to unabashedly proclaim the sanctity of human life! We need our priests and bishops to witness to the women who are going into a clinic and are in need of a friendly face! If they don’t lead the people of God, how will we win this battle for the lives of the unborn? How do we tell the world that the Catholic Church is the most pro-life faith when our bishops are not willing to sacrifice for the life of a baby?

We are not necessarily asking you to pray outside of Planned Parenthood or be the leader of 40 Days for Life, although we wish you would desire to do so.

But we are asking you to clarify why you would not allow your priests and seminarians to take part in this essential part of the pro-life movement. We are also asking you to publicly endorse 40 Days for Life, an important part of our witness in this diocese each year.

It saddens us that our new bishop is not overtly pro-life, let alone that he will not allow his priests and seminarians to express their own pro-life convictions.

Know that we will pray for you as the shepherd of our diocese. However, if this decision remains in effect, we will not be able to support you financially. We will be rescinding our 2011 pledge to the Annual Catholic Appeal, additionally.

It is essential that the Catholic Church be the beacon of hope in this time where our society finds it acceptable to murder innocent human life by the millions each year.

May God bless you in your ministry and give you wisdom as you lead our diocese.


13 thoughts on “‘Say it ain’t so…Blase!’ Spokane Bishop Cupich restricts priests and seminarians from pro-life activities”

  1. It must be one of those regrettable misunderstandings? Actually, this is an MO engaged in by certain prelates with a less than sensus catholicus.

    Cardinal Schonborn does the same thing to his pro-life organizations and even forbid Auxiliary Bishop Laun from publicly joining protesters at an abortion clinic.

  2. I agree with this letter to the Bishop of Spokane. In Beaverton, OR I regularly for many years have stood outside Planned Parenthood which is the killing place of unborn children. How can a Bishop not agree that we should pray outside an abortion mill? I really don’t understand this.

  3. I am pleased that OUR bishop wrote a special prayer for the fall campaign for the 40 Days for Life and he regularly comes to pray at the abortion mill. He used to pray in Wichita where the abortion centers closed down.

    I am sorry for this bishop’s attack on pro-life efforts. Isn’t the attack from the government enough?

  4. I live 2 blocks from Planned Parenthood in Spokane. There has never been any act of violence committed on their property by Pro-lifers. The only acts of violence are committed inside by the Abortionists. Ironically they have a sign saying that all weapons are banned on their property – I guess that Weapons of Mass Destruction inside the facility do not count.

  5. I just have to wonder, if we looked in one of the local Masonic rosters if we wouldn’t find Bishop Cupich on the list. He seems to enjoy all that we find wrong with the world

  6. I am continually dismayed and saddened to learn of bishops acting in ways which seem to follow the politically correct down the black hole of moral relativism. These people are supposed to be our shepherds, and leaders. What are they thinking???

    Thank God for the courage of Pope Benedict XVI, who in his courageous humble but steadfast way, continues to speak out against the evils being portraying as progress and good in the 21st century.

  7. Hi,

    I was under Bishop Blaise Cupich for awhile, when he was in Rapid City SD. He was the least pro life Bishop that I have ever been under. He never once spoke against the murder of unborn children and the sin of Abortion while I lived in Rapd City.

    Yes, we do need to pray for Bishop Cupich. May God have mercy on him and may he one day become an othrodox Bishop. I don’t understand how the Vatican allows such people to be Catholic Bishops.

  8. Bishop Cupich is justified in his decision. The priestly ministry requires priests to pray, console and forgive. Prayer against abortion does not have to take place at a public display. In fact, church is the appropriate place to pray for the repose of souls and to ask for God’s intercession against oppression and injustice, including abortion. It is also the place that those individuals who committed those offenses can seek forgiveness and reconciliation. The Pharisees were prone to public displays and Jesus did not join them. Rather, He went where he could do the most good – to the sinners, the poor, the invalid and the disfigured. Priests should imitate Jesus in every respect, an Bishops should challenge them to stay the course.

    Pro-life is a great effort, and it should be pursued through legislation, courts and raising awareness. These are secular approaches that you and I can do. So why not focus on our job, and let the priests do theirs?

    1. Graveyards are also appropriate places to pray for the dead, and in a very sacred way, this takes place at every Catholic funeral with a graveside service. Praying for the dead is not only appropriate in a Church, but at the graveside. Would a widow be chastised for praying for her husband, sobbing at the foot of his tombstone, simply because she was making a public spectacle, and not choosing instead to pray inside of a Church for his salvation?

      A graveyard is where bodies are laid to rest. In abortion clinics, children who are murdered are thrown in the dumpster, and disposed of like trash. They get no remembrance, no funeral. Nowhere are they laid so that others can pray for their repose. They are not even granted a public notice of death, or any type of acknowledgement of their existence.

      The Pharisees were prone to public displays not to rail against sin, but to bolster their own self-importance. I completely agree with you that priests should imitate Christ in every way. Christ himself made public displays all the time. He threw over tables in the temple, visible to all there (Matthew 21:12-14). He cast out demons and sent them into a swineherd, which threw themselves off a cliff, all in public view to those around Him (Matthew 8:28-34). He rode on a donkey through the city to fulfill Scripture (which necessitated a public display), claiming His divinity, and marking the beginning of his impending Crucifixion, Death, and ultimately, Resurrection (Matthew 21:1-11).

      But most pointedly, when the Scribes and Pharisees brought a woman to Christ who had been caught in adultery, seeking to ‘stone her to death’, Christ, in the presence of all the people, defended the woman and saved her life, because their actions (which according to their law would be justified), were unjust in God’s eyes. She was not deserving of death, but life, and forgiveness of her sins (John 8:1-11).

      Christ shows us that repentance and mercy are necessary, but He also gives us many examples of where public actions are necessary to heal and amend for sin. Priests are defenders of Christ’s law, of His Body and Blood in the Eucharist, and of the faithful. The children who are murdered by abortion need protection. It is completely appropriate for a priest to stand at the forefront, not to make himself known and popular, but to lead the charge against such a heinous sin, and be the first to die to himself so that another might live.

      Tim, I am afraid you are completely wrong, and misguided on this matter.

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