At last! Cardinal Cupich has released a statement: “Letter from Cardinal Blase J. Cupich to the People of the Archdiocese of Chicago in Response to the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report.”
Here’s what it contains:
- A statement that the bishops as a whole will investigate McCarrick’s misdeeds, and add to their reporting system methods of reporting misconduct by bishops.
- A list of actions undertaken by the Catholic Church in America as a whole, starting in 2002, and by the Archdiocese of Chicago, starting in 1992.
- Contact information to report any instances of abuse.
Here’s what it does not contain:
- A pledge that, within our diocese, all misconduct by clergy prior to instituting these policies has been brought to light so that no such clergy, nor any priests reassigning them and turning a blind eye to their actions, remain in ministry or in any position of trust, particularly not in any place of honor, and that any equivalent grand jury report in the diocese would only produce cases which were already disclosed and known.
- An offer that he will make all necessary archival materials available to investigators, whether criminal investigators or concerned laypeople.
- A promise that at no point in his priestly/episcopal career was he ever involved, in any way, with any such reassignment or cover-up.
- An affirmation that he himself never heard any accusations, stories, rumors, about McCarrick’s behavior or the behavior of others, and that he is certain that stories of misconduct in seminaries are not applicable to our seminary.
- A pledge that, regardless of any papal action, if he does at any point hear of misconduct by another bishop, he will hold that bishop to account, by any means possible, regardless of whether some bureaucratic process or another places the responsibility elsewhere.
- And a statement that, in addition to abuse of minors, there are similar policies in place and being followed regarding sexual misconduct in situations of imbalance of power (e.g., seminarians vs. professors, or female parishioners seeking counsel), and policies to address situations of even fully-consensual sexual acts among clergy.
When will we see the follow-up statement?