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Chicago: prohibido llevar armas en las iglesias y escuelas católicas.

Prohibidas las armas en parroquias y escuelas católicas de Chicago

El cardenal Cupich instituyó la prohibición de entrar armados a las estructuras vinculadas con la diócesis. Gesto simbólico en una metrópolis en la que ha aumentado la violencia

El cardenal arzobispo de Chicago, Blaise Cupich

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Pubblicato il 13/09/2017
Ultima modifica il 13/09/2017 alle ore 19:24
GIORGIO BERNARDELLI
ROMA

Quien lleve consigo un arma en una iglesia, una estructura parroquial o una escuela católica será invitado a abandonarla inmediatamente. Y lo mismo vale para el clero y los empleados de las estructuras eclesiales. Lo estableció el arzobispo de Chicago, el cardenal Blaise Cupich, con un decreto que envió en estos días a todos los sacerdotes de la diócesis de Illinois.

 

Prohibir portar armas en una iglesia parecería una indicación obvia, pero no lo es tanto en un contexto como el de Chicago, que ha vuelto a caer desde hace un par de años en la pesadilla de la violencia urbana. El año pasado (2016) tuvo números que no se habían visto en los últimos 20 años: las estadísticas de la policía hablan de 762 homicidios, 3.550 balaceras, 4.331 heridos por arma de fuego. Un nivel de violencia que, en una especie de círculo vicioso, ha hecho aumentar enormemente las armas para la defensa personal. En una ciudad con 2,7 millones de habitantes hay 212 mil licencias registradas para poseer un arma, con un aumento del 21% con respecto al año anterior.

 

Con base en estos datos, el arzobispo decidió ofrecer una indicación precisa a las parroquias de Chicago al prohibir entrar con armas a cualquier estructura eclesial. «El objetivo —explicó en la nota enviada a los sacerdotes— es establecer un equilibrio entre los derechos de cuantos se acercan a las iglesias, a las escuelas o a las demás estructuras y la mejor protección posible para los niños, los ancianos y las personas más vulnerables en nuestra sociedad». Desde 2013 una ley del estado de Illinois permitía que algunas estructuras, entre las que estaban las iglesias, impusieran prohibir la entrada con armas; pero hasta ahora la decisión de usar o no esta facultad estaba en manos de cada uno de los párrocos. Ahora, en cambio, se convierte en una obligación para toda la arquidiócesis de Chicago.

 

En la entrada de cada una de las estructuras eclesiales habrá un símbolo: una pistola dentro de un círculo rojo y una barra roja dividiéndolo en dos. Además de la excepción que se hace para las fuerzas del orden, los sacerdotes que practican la caza o deportes relacionados con las armas de fuego podrán poseerlas, pero tendrán que guardarlas bajo llave.

 

Más allá de los efectos prácticos, la decisión del cardenal Cupich tendrá un significado principalmente simbólico en relación con un tema que divide desde hace tiempo a los políticos y a la opinión pública de los Estados Unidos. Prohibir entrar con armas a las estructuras católicas es, de hecho, clara expresión una postura en contra de los que no quieren escuchar hablar de límites al derecho constitucional de armarse en el país. Hace dos años, Cupich, en un artículo publicado por el diario «Chicago Tribune», invocó expresamente una ley para controlar la venta de armas: «La segunda enmienda entró en vigor cuando las fuerzas organizadas de policía eran exiguas y las milicias ciudadanas estaban unidas para mantener la paz. Quien la escribió no podía imaginarse que habría llegado un momento en el que las armas que tenemos el derecho de poseer habrían incluido fusiles de asalto que han transformado nuestras calles en campos de batalla».

 

Además hay que añadir que prohibir entrar con armas en las estructuras eclesiales es solamente uno de los compromisos que la Iglesia católica de Chicago está poniendo en práctica para afrontar la oleada de violencia. En abril de este año, por ejemplo, la Arquidiócesis lanzó un programa de 250 mil dólares para apoyar iniciativas para prevenir la violencia y programas parroquiales para reducir la pobreza y el crimen entre los jóvenes de las zonas más difíciles de la ciudad.

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Entrevista con el Card. Cupich de Chicago (USA)

Face to faith with Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich

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Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich leads Mass in Italy in November 2016. (Photo courtesy of Catholic Extension Society/Rich Kalonick)

The first time he had an opportunity to reshape the Catholic hierarchy in the United States, Pope Francis turned to an obscure bishop in Spokane, Wash., and in 2014 made him archbishop of Chicago, the third-largest diocese in the country, with about 2.3 million Catholics.

Francis famously said that he was looking for shepherds who smell like their sheep, and he found that in Blase Cupich.

In a recent “Face to Faith” podcast interview with Cupich, we get a window into the mind of the man that Pope Francis made a cardinal in 2016. (Excerpts that follow have been edited for length and clarity.)

 

 

Like any good journalist, interviewer Bob Herguth attempted to get the cardinal on the record on controversial issues like how many parishes and schools was he going to close, what he thinks of President Trump and how was he going to deal with the Chicago political machine.

What comes across in the interviews is a calm, happy and open person who is not trying to impose his views on others but wants to listen and work with people of various views.

“I take time to be with people,” he said, “and I learn a lot.” This appears to come naturally to him. “I enjoy people,” he concluded. “I like what I do.”

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Season 2 of our podcast is here! Listen to the current episode

When asked about parish closings, he said that the decisions were not going to be made simply on the basis of finances or personnel, although those would have to be part of the mix.

“For me, the real goal is how do we make vibrant and vital faith communities that are sustainable for the long run.” He wants people and parishes focused on the threefold task of “making disciples, building communities and inspiring witness so people live their faith in the world.”

But there is no prearranged plan; rather, he is asking the parishes to consider the situation and come up with a plan that he would have to approve. This may involve parishes cooperating in ways that they have not before. He is looking for new approaches, not simply preserving the status quo.

In talking about people who don’t go to church anymore, he was not condemnatory but acknowledged that people have “many more options with their free time. A lot of people are exhausted from having one or two jobs and caring for children.” He noted that participation in all volunteer organizations is down.

“At the same time, people do have faith issues. Do the communities that have been a part of their own family history continue to nourish them today?” He continued: “People are looking for a way in which their spiritual life can be deepened. They are finding it in some of our Catholic parishes and sometimes not in others, and that opens the door for them to go elsewhere.”

In response to a question about Trump, he diplomatically responded, “I like to talk about issues rather than people.”

“We live in a democracy, and we get the leaders we deserve, because we elect them,” he said. Rather than complaining about leaders, he would like to see people get involved in the process. “We still have very low voter turnout, very low participation in the political realm by people. If people don’t like their leaders, they should become involved in the process.”

With regard to local politicians, he wants to help people trust and talk to each other. “We see a polarization, not just here in Chicago, but nationwide among the population, not just politicians.” He wants to be an instrument for bringing people together. “I want to be a partner with business, labor, civic leaders, foundations, other churches so that we can work together. … If I can talk to all of these people and have something in common, maybe I can get them to see that they also have something in common with each other when we come together.”

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Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich, shown with Pope Francis in Rome on Sept. 2, 2015, has called for tough gun control laws. (Photo courtesy of Catholic Extension Society/Rich Kalonick)

When asked about Springfield Bishop Thomas Paprocki’s decree banning funerals for those involved in gay marriage, Cupich said that was not the policy in Chicago.

What about Mafia funerals, asked Herguth. Cupich explained that funerals are not about honoring the deceased but about comforting the families of the departed. For a notorious person who has done great harm to the community, the proper response could be a simple, private ceremony that did not glorify his life. But “comforting those who mourn is an important work of the church,” he said.

When asked if he missed parish work, he described walking to work every day. “I don’t think a day goes by that somebody doesn’t stop me in the street and say hello, ask me to pray for them. I take time to talk to them,” he said. “So, while I don’t have a given parish with boundaries, I do have a parish in terms of the people that I meet through my own pastoral ministry.”

He spoke of a young woman he met the day before who was having trouble getting through her last year at Loyola University. He encouraged her, “The Lord’s grace has gotten you to this point; he is not going to abandon you now.” On the other hand, “Sometimes people just want a selfie, and that’s fine too.”

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Cardinal Blase Cupich led the Good Friday Walk for Peace on April 14 through Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood, a community that has been scarred by gun violence. (RNS photo by Emily McFarlan Miller)

Cupich’s response to the last question was perhaps most revelatory. “What do you say to people who have doubts about the existence of God or whatever it is?”

Since he sees faith as a gift from God, “when people are struggling or feel they have no faith at all, I shouldn’t say, ‘Well, it is their fault.’” Rather, what he says to them is: “There is still a hunger in your life for more. There always is. Be in touch with that, and be the best person you can be.”

He went on to recall that “some of the greatest Christians I know are people who don’t actually have a faith system that they believe in, but in their activity, in the way they conduct themselves, there is a goodness there.” What he tries to do is encourage that. “How God allows that to mature with his own way, that is up to God. I learn from people who say they don’t believe and yet are very good people.”

Yes, this is a man who likes people and enjoys his work.

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Cardinal Blase Cupich speaks at the announcement of an anti-violence initiative led by the Archdiocese of Chicago on April 4. (RNS photo by Tom Gallagher)

[Jesuit Fr. Thomas Reese is a columnist for Religion News Service and author of Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church.]

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