Cardinal Cupich pushes back on Illinois clergy investigation

Cardinal Blase Cupich

Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich is pushing back on a clergy child sex abuse report released by the Illinois Attorney General.

The investigation contends 451 Catholic clergy have sexually abused nearly 2,000 children in Illinois between 1950 and 2019, with Attorney General Kwame Raoul saying the number of abused children is considerably larger than the 103 individuals the church named when the state review began in 2018.

However, the Chicago Cardinal says the Archdiocese has reported all allegations of child sexual abuse by clergy to Civil Authorities, no matter when the abuse is alleged to have occurred.

In a statement distributed on YouTube, Cupich says, “There are no hidden or undisclosed cases.”

“Further, we have worked with and encouraged religious orders, who have full and exclusive access and rights to their files, to publish lists of their members with substantiated allegations.”

“Our website lists religious order priests who have ministered for the Archdiocese and were found by their orders to have substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse no matter where and when the abuse occurred.”

Raoul also accuses Illinois Catholic church leaders of being slow to acknowledge the extent of the abuse and of frequently dragging their feet to confront accused clergy.

He says Catholic church leaders failed to warn parishioners about possible abusers in their midst – sometimes waiting even decades after allegations emerged about a clergy member, but Cupich takes the opportunity to point out that a number of clergy listed in the Attorney’s report are dead.

“It is my hope that this report will shine light both on those who violated their positions of power and trust to abuse innocent children and on the men in church leadership who covered up that abuse,” says Raoul.

However, Cupich contends, “No cleric with even one substantiated allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against him is currently serving in the Archdiocese of Chicago.”

Cupich says that since 2006, the diocese has maintained a public list of clerics of the Archdiocese with a substantiated allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against them.

Please explain

Cupich notes that the Illinois Attorney General’s report states the Archdiocese of Chicago has taken the lead in the USA and beyond to meet “this societal challenge”.

However, he is confused that the Attorney General’s report names individuals who are not on the Archdiocese’s list.

Cupich says the Attorney General has failed to explain the basis by which allegations against the additional individuals were substantiated or deemed credible and by whom.

Not content on calling out the Attorney on his lack of transparency, Cupich continues saying: “We have asked repeatedly that we be informed of any cases discovered by or disclosed to the Attorney General’s office, yet we saw new unexplained names in this report.”

“Further, we (the Chicago Archdiocese) have continued to improve on our initial efforts over three decades by dedicating significant resources to creating best practices for protecting children promoting healing and preventing abuse in our church.”

Personal comment

Shifting the focus to make a personal comment, Cupich says the actions of “those who wore the Roman collar [who] egregiously violated their vows and the trust of their people by abusing God’s little ones is not only repugnant but painful for me and my brothers in the priesthood.”

He says he has made it his personal mission to take a leadership position in the Archdiocese to bring about an end to this scourge, to heal victim-survivors, and to protect children.

He says he hopes the report will cause the Attorney General to issue a rallying cry to all adults to join in the work of safeguarding children lest this moment be a lost opportunity.

Taking the conversation further, Cupich adds, “I have always been convinced that children in the church and society will only be safe if the entire adult world unites in this common cause.

“I stand ready to continue to do my part. Please join me in praying for the healing of victims and the protection of God’s children everywhere,” concludes Cupich.

The Chicago Archdiocese is one of six dioceses in Illinois.



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