Cardinal Cupich Booed and Heckled by Some at March for Life Chicago

Interruptions began when Cardinal Cupich shared words of support for mask-wearers in the crowd. Also in his remarks Jan. 8, he referred to the possibility of ‘Roe’ reversal: ‘We have many reasons to be hopeful that the legal protections for the child in the womb, which we have advocated for decades, will soon become a reality.’

In this screenshot, Cardinal Blase Cupich speaks at the March for Life Chicago on Jan. 8.
In this screenshot, Cardinal Blase Cupich speaks at the March for Life Chicago on Jan. 8. (photo: March for Life Chicago screenshot via Spirit Juice Studios)

CHICAGO — An otherwise-peaceful March for Life event in Chicago on this weekend turned contentious when some in the crowd booed and heckled Cardinal Blase Cupich during his speech at a rally at Federal Plaza.

Cardinal Cupich was escorted away by security personnel after speaking on Saturday, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Approximately one minute into his speech, Cardinal Cupich, who wore a mask at the outdoor rally, elicited a ripple of boos when he shared words of support for those he saw in the crowd wearing masks.

“You know, we come here in these days of the pandemic when life is threatened. And I‘m so glad that I see many of you wearing masks. I hope that you continue to look for ways in which we can end this pandemic by promoting life. It’s really important to do that,” Cardinal Cupich said.

Hearing boos and shouting from some in the crowd, Cupich then added: “Now I know you people, there are some in the crowd here who don‘t respect the unborn, and that’s too bad. But let me speak. Let me speak.” 

Cardinal Cupich’s remarks in the March for Life Chicago are included in this video, beginning at the 45:00 mark.


The booing and heckling subsided momentarily, but grew louder toward the end of Cardinal Cupich's remarks. Some in the crowd could be heard shouting statements about “Biden,” and one man yelled, “Tell the USCCB!”

“Now, these people won‘t let me talk because they’re not here to respect the unborn. They're not here to respect you,” Cardinal Cupich responded.

Cardinal Cupich was criticized by some in the pro-life movement last year for leading an effort to head off a direct confrontation between the U.S. Conference of Bishops and President Joe Biden, who as the country's second Catholic president has pursued policies at odds with official Church teaching against abortion and same-sex “marriage.”

A year ago, Cardinal Cupich took to Twitter to issue a scathing criticism of what he called an “ill-considered” statement the USCCB released on the day of Biden's inauguration that called abortion “a direct attack on life that also wounds the woman and undermines the family.”

Cardinal Cupich flew to Rome to meet with Pope Francis 10 days later, in a move some observers saw as an attempt to enlist the Vatican's help in steering the USCCB away from adopting a policy of denying Communion to Biden and other politicians who actively promote legalized abortion. The U.S. bishops in November voted 222 to 8, with three abstentions, in favor of releasing a new teaching document that calls for Eucharistic renewal in the Church. The document does not mention Biden or any other politicians by name.

In his remarks on the March for Life rally on Jan. 8, Cardinal Cupich referred to the possibility that the U.S. Supreme Court will reverse the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide when it rules on the Mississippi abortion case Dobbs v. Jackson Womens Health Organization later this year.

“We have many reasons to be hopeful that the legal protections for the child in the womb, which we have advocated for decades, will soon become a reality,” Cardinal Cupich said.

“But as we‘ve heard already today, that’s really not our only goal,” he said. “We march today for respect for all human life. That’s the goal that we need to pursue.” Cardinal Cupich later pointed to the need to defend the elderly, the sick, immigrants, and those living in poverty, among others, against a mindset that treats human life as if it were “disposable.”

March for Life Chicago is considered the largest pro-life event in the Midwest. This year's event drew thousands of pro-life marchers as well as a smaller counterdemonstration.

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