Cardinal Blase Cupich penned a letter earlier this month that gives insight into the upcoming global summit on the sex abuse crisis that has rocked the Catholic Church.
Pope Francis called the rare meeting of Catholic leaders from around the world, requesting their attendance at a five-day conference from Feb. 21 to 24 at the Vatican.
Cupich is playing a key role at that meeting, as one of the four organizers tapped to lead the summit.
In an op-ed in the Chicago Archdiocese's newspaper "The Chicago Catholic" on Jan. 23, Cupich said the aim of the summit is "to provide clear direction and concrete steps so that when the bishops return to their home countries around the world, they will know exactly what the church expects of them regarding the prevention of abuse, the need to provide care for victim-survivors, and the obligation to make sure abuse is not covered up.”
Bishops Discuss Abuse Allegations at Conference
The global summit comes after what has been called “the summer of shame” for the Catholic Church in the United States and elsewhere. Allegations of abuse surrounding Cardinal Theodore McCarrick forced Pope Francis to remove McCarrick as cardinal. The Pennsylvannia and Illinois attorneys general also initiated investigations to expose church records that had been kept secret.
Cupich said in his letter that the focus of the summit will be on sharing best practices for reform, highlighting “the important role of the media in forcing the church to respond to the previously largely hidden and undervalued demands of transparency.”
Cupich also made it clear “sexual abuse is a crime and therefore requires justice for victims-survivors.”
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops enacted reforms concerning priest abuse in Dallas in 2002 but Cupich noted that “a global response is needed.”
A Vatican spokesman has already said “if the problem is not fully confronted in all its aspects, the church will continue to find itself facing one crisis after another” and its credibility will remain wounded.