Cardinal Cupich: How can we end clerical sex abuse and purify the church?

America Magazine

November 29, 2019

By Cardinal Blase J. Cupich

Editor’s note: This article is based on a talk delivered by Cardinal Blase Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, at the Latin American Congress on the Prevention of Child Abuse in the Catholic Church, held at the Pontifical University of Mexico on Nov. 8, 2019.

One day, a man in his mid-50s came to my office and shared the painful story of being sexually abused by his pastor. He started serving Mass when he was 9 years old, and the pastor always asked him to stay afterward to tidy up the sacristy. One day the priest took him to the basement and sexually abused him. He did this every Sunday over four years. After abusing him, the priest would walk the boy home and have dinner with the boy’s family. Adding another demonic layer of pain to the sexual abuse itself, each Saturday the priest would drive the boy to another town and force him to confess his supposed sins to another priest. Finally, the boy had the courage to tell his father, and the abuse stopped. Seeing the suffering in this victim-survivor’s eyes, witnessing his courage in sharing this horrible experience with me, I knew I had to act.

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