Chicago’s Cardinal Blase Cupich says Cardinal Theodore McCarrick “should be held accountable. The rules that govern clergy must also apply to the hierarchy.”
It is Cupich’s first comments since McCarrick resigned as a cardinal and Pope Francis ordered him to live a lifetime of penance and prayer. Cupich refused a request for an interview, saying “I have nothing to add since the matter belongs to the oversight of others but in general I’ve always supported making people accountable.”
Cupich answered NBC 5 questions by email. He said “I agree with the actions of the Holy Father. The canonical process is ongoing and I do not want to comment on the proceedings.” He said he was not aware of the allegations.
A spokesman for Cupich tells NBC 5 “if it is clear that we do not have sufficient procedures in place to respond in cases involving misbehavior with adults on the part of bishops, then the bishops will take action to address that.”
Who knew what and when has dominated the fallout from the McCarrick crisis. Cupich has had strong ties to Washington D.C. where McCarrick was the cardinal. Before his appointment to Chicago, Cupich served as the secretary at the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington D.C. That was before McCarrick was the cardinal of Washington D.C. McCarick held the title of bishop since 1977. Cupich also served on the Committee for Young Adults during 2000-2003 when the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops adopted the Dallas Charter establishing procedures for handling accusations of priest misconduct, was on the renamed Committee on Protection of Children and Young People in 2005-2006, then became chair for the USSCB Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People from 2008 to 2011.
In November 2016 Catholic Extension, based in Chicago, with Cardinal Cupich as it’s chancellor, gave McCarrick the Spirit of Francis award. In recent weeks McCarrick’s name as the award winner was removed from Catholic Extension’s website, but a YouTube video shows Cupich honoring McCarrick for “his own unique way of making a mark on the church.”
It was recently revealed that the Archdiocese of New Jersey settled confidentially in 2005 and 2007 with two men who claim they were sexually assaulted by McCarrick when they were seminarians and young priests. Cardinal Donald Wuerl who succeeded McCarrick in Washington D.C. said he was unaware of the McCarrick allegations or settlements.