(CBS) –One week from today, Chicago will have a new archbishop: Blase Cupich. This week, both the current and future archbishops of Chicago are attending the fall Bishops Conference meeting in Baltimore.
CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine talked to church leaders and insiders and reports some have known Cupich for decades others for just a short time, but all seem to agree that the Pope has made a good choice.
“I’ve known Blase Cupich since September 1, 1972 because that’s the day I arrived at the North American College as a 22-year-old new man and who was at the door, one of the ones to meet me? Blase Cupich,” said Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York. “And then we were together at Catholic U. He was sent to get graduate work in theology and I was sent for church history and then I was sent to follow him at the apostolic nunciature.”
But many of the bishops at the conference are just now getting to know the Nebraska native who served nearly anonymously in Rapid City and Spokane but who is now considered a highly symbolic choice and important selection by the Pope.
“This is going to be the going to be the only major appointment pope Francis makes in this country likely, because of the ages of the other cardinal heads of major dioceses,” said Rocco Palmo of “Whispers in the Loggia.”
“You’ve got a sharp mind, you’ve got a pastoral heart, you’ve got a great communicator,” Cardinal Dolan said. “There’s going to be a lot of snap crackle and pop there.”
Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington is softer spoken but very influential.
“You’re gonna the see gifts he has,” Cardinal Wuerl said. “They are many and they’ll unfold quickly.”
How Pope Francis by many accounts came to personally choose Cupich when neither apparently knew the other, is thought to be because he had some powerful support.
Not even Cupich himself may know how and why he was chosen, but his easygoing, inclusive style seem to have made him the logical choice for Pope Francis, regardless of how he found out about him.