Pope appoints Chicago archbishop to Congregation for Bishops

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Pope Francis named Chicago's archbishop to an important new post in Rome. (WLS)

ABC7 Chicago Exclusive
Pope Francis named Chicago's archbishop to an important new post in Rome.

Archbishop Blase Cupich will serve on the Congregation for Bishops, the committee that recommends new bishops to the pope.

It's an indication that the pope sees the archbishop as a key voice in shaping the Catholic Church in America. Cupich spoke to ABC7 and discussed whether he thinks this means he'll be named a cardinal very soon.

"Chicago has a lot of anticipated news and I'm sure that will keep ramping up, but for the most part, you'll just have to wait and see," Cupich said. "I don't talk about 'what if's.' I have to deal with so much reality that, for me, to speculate, is a waste of time."

The reality he's dealing with is out in city streets every day such as gunfire, drugs and gangs.

The archbishop sees Catholic schools as a means to lift inner city children out of poverty and give them a hopeful future.

"We can do something, but we can't do everything," he said. "I am convinced that if we bar those kinds of combat weapons to be sold and distributed and present in our neighborhoods, that would help a great deal."

He's deliberate when choosing his words. When a gunman massacred 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Cupich called for people to pray for "our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters."

"Out of respect for them, it was very clear that if these people were not gay or lesbian, they would not have been targeted."

He's urged greater understanding between Catholics and members of other religions recently attending a Muslim Iftar dinner during Ramadan.

In this politically charged election year, the archbishop was troubled by what some of the Muslim children told him.

"They were telling me, they were asking their parents, 'Are we going to have to leave this country because of what we're hearing?' If we're sending that message to our young people, something's wrong," he said. "We don't need to marginalize groups of people. We do not need to, in any way, tell people they are excluded or that they're not American because of their faith or ethnic background."

Archbishop Cupich hopes that political candidates can deal with serious issues without name-calling.

You can see more of the exclusive interview with the archbishop Sunday, June 10, on Newsviews during ABC7's morning news starting at 8 a.m.

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Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich reacts to his appointment to a new influential Vatican committee.

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