Cardinal Blase Cupich of the Chicago Archdiocese Does Not Want to Go down a Rabbit Hole
By Kate Bochte
August 31, 2018
Statement by: Kate Bochte, 630-768-1860, firstname.lastname@example.org
In the Catholic Church, whistleblowers are punished and fixers are promoted. Cardinal Blase Cupich of the Chicago Archdiocese wants to keep climbing up the ladder.
Make no mistake; the Chicago cardinal embraces his role as fixer. Earlier this week, he told NBC 5's Mary Ann Ahern, "Before we give the pope another task to do, let's look at what we're supposed to do. What's on our agenda to fix this? That's where the failure is."
Fix what? Where, exactly, does Cardinal Cupich see failure?
Is it in the fact that priests are still abusing children? That abuse survivors are still left to carry the burden for crimes they didn't commit? That serial rapists ordained by Catholic bishops still roam freely because either the statute of limitations on their crimes have expired or their victims are yet too wounded to come forward?
Or is it the failure of American bishops to convince enough Americans their scandal is over and that it is the Catholic Church, as they claim, that is the model for child protection and victim outreach every other institution ought to copy? As hard as they have tried, the clergy abuse scandal keeps rearing its ugly head out of the proverbial rabbit hole, forcing bishops like Cardinal Cupich to answer bothersome questions from persistent reporters, attorneys general, and members of what they call their flock.
SNAP commends all those who question and all those who truly care. We are grateful beyond words.
The public outrage, however, did not sit well with the cardinal. He defended his recent ivory tower comments by blaming inappropriate edits to his videotaped interview with Ms. Ahern, even though the raw footage is just as damning as the edited version.
In his interview this week with NBC5, Cardinal Cupich welcomed the idea of a full investigation into clergy sex crimes within his jurisdiction. "By independent review, would that be Lisa Madigan and the Attorney General's office?" Ms. Ahern asked. "No! No! No!" the cardinal replied.
The Church's idea of "independent investigation" is the bishops making up their own rules and bringing in their own referees. In other words, the hierarchs want to control the outcome. That is exactly what they have been doing since they promised annual independent audits of every diocese in the U.S. And that is why they always pass. No doubt all the dioceses in Pennsylvania passed all of their annual "independent" audits without the scope and depth of the scandal in that state ever coming out prior to the recent grand jury report.
That is why civil authorities MUST thoroughly investigate each and every diocese and Catholic order of priests, brothers, nuns, monks, and friars in the country with even the slightest suspicion of abuse, no matter how long ago.
That's why Americans, Catholic or not, MUST demand from their elected representatives a complete investigation, exhausting every lead and leaving no stone unturned. The safety of children demands it. The well-being of clergy abuse survivors demands it.
And so does common decency.
If the cardinal in Chicago, the pope, and other Catholic bishops are intent on changing civil policies on gun violence, climate change, immigration, global economies, and whatever else they want to focus on, they should run for elected office. As overseers of the Roman Catholic Church, they ought to focus on cleaning up their own house before shaking their fingers at everyone else and leaving the truly vulnerable and marginalized to suffer by their own actions.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been working for thirty years to support victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings and has more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)