American traditionalist blogger Fr. John Zuhlsdorf posted a video on December 29, 2021 showing Cardinal Blase Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago, participating in a traditional Chinese pagan celebration called the “Lion Dance.”
Fr. John Zuhlsdorf compares Cupich’s ease of participating in pagan rites with the cardinal's severity towards the traditional liturgy.
The Lion Dance
Before celebrating Mass in the gymnasium of Catholic high school in Mundelein, Illinois on January 7, 2020, Cardinal Cupich, dressed in a red miter and chasuble, holding his episcopal crosier and surrounded by several priests adorned in this way. Then he waited for a Chinese lion-shaped puppet to dance in the gymnasium and approach them.
The prelate then placed a hand on the lion, in a gesture of blessing, using the formula: “May luck descend upon your head, may a miraculous light shine in your eyes and may your ears pick up the sounds of all directions. May the greatest, most favorable, most auspicious luck and great benefits be with you throughout the year, from start to finish.”
The school titled the video “Lion Dance and Blessing.” Lions are legendary creatures in Chinese mythology, a symbol of strength and wisdom. Dances and processions involving lions and dragons moved by people standing inside are often held during the Chinese New Year.
It is believed that these dances bring good luck for the coming year and ward off evil spirits. They often include the act of painting the costume-lion’s “to bring it ‘alive’ and empower it with ‘good luck.’ Dots are also painted on its ears, nose and mouth. It’s all very noisy and colorful.”
Fr. Zuhlsdorf, who called the event the Cardinal's “Pachamama moment,” wondered if “that the sort of thing that a Catholic bishop should preside over? A pagan ceremony intended to bring ‘good luck.’ It’s one thing to witness such a cultural event, but to be the one who performs the principle act of bringing the pagan symbol to ‘life’?”
The Jailer of Tradition
The priest also underlined the contrast between Cardinal Cupich's favorable attitude towards Chinese superstitions, to the point of granting “blessings” for good luck, and his severity towards the traditional Mass.
Indeed, the Cardinal is one of the American bishops who has restricted the celebration of the old Mass the most. Chicago priests will not be able to celebrate with the old rite on Christmas, the Paschal Triduum, Pentecost, or the first Sunday of each month and will have to gradually lead their congregations to abandon the old liturgy and use only the new one.
Cardinal Cupich also stands out as one of the bishops who fought most to ensure that pro-abortion “Catholic” politicians continue to receive Communion.