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Cardinal Cupich criticises ‘astonishing’ Viganò claims

Cardinal Blase Cupich (Getty Images)

Cardinal Blase Cupich has described the remarks by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò as “astonishing” and denied any knowledge of being appointed at the behest of Archbishop McCarrick.

The cardinal also reiterated his view that homosexual clergy are no more likely to commit abuse than heterosexual ones, however he did not specifically defend Pope Francis against the charges he rehabilitated Archbishop McCarrick.

In his 11-page “testimony” released this weekend, Archbishop Viganò, a former nuncio to the US, said Archbishop McCarrick had orchestrated the appointment of Cupich to the Archdiocese of Chicago.

“The appointments of Blase Cupich to Chicago and Joseph W. Tobin to Newark were orchestrated by McCarrick, Maradiaga and Wuerl, united by a wicked pact of abuses by the first, and at least of coverup of abuses by the other two,” he wrote. “Their names were not among those presented by the Nunciature for Chicago and Newark.”

However, in a statement on the website of the Archdiocese of Chicago, Cardinal Cupich wrote:

“I consider these remarks astonishing. The only substantial conversation I have ever had about my appointment to Chicago with the former nuncio was on September 11, 2014, when he called to inform me of the appointment. The former nuncio started the conversation by saying: “I call with news of great joy. The Holy Father has appointed you the archbishop of Chicago.” He then congratulated me upon hearing of my acceptance. That is the extent of any conversation I have ever had about this matter with the former nuncio.

“Moreover, the former nuncio personally participated in my installation ceremony in Chicago in November 2014 and personally presided at the imposition of the pallium the following summer, and on both occasions offered only supportive remarks and congratulations.

“As to the issue of my appointment to Chicago as well as the question of episcopal appointments in general, I do not know who recommended me for the Archdiocese of Chicago, but I do know that Pope Francis, like his predecessors, takes seriously the appointment of bishops as one of his major responsibilities.”

Viganò goes on to say about Cupich: “[O]ne cannot fail to note his ostentatious arrogance, and the insolence with which he denies the evidence that is now obvious to all: that 80% of the abuses found were committed against young adults by homosexuals who were in a relationship of authority over their victims.”

He also accuses the cardinal of holding a “pro-gay ideology”.

Cupich responds: “Any reference I have ever made on this subject [of homosexuality] has always been based on the conclusions of the “Causes and Context” study by the John Jay School of Criminal Justice, released in 2011, which states: ‘The clinical data do not support the hypothesis that priests with a homosexual identity or those who committed same-sex sexual behavior with adults are significantly more likely to sexually abuse children than those with a heterosexual orientation or behavior.’ John Jay researchers came to this conclusion after reviewing many studies on the topic. Their scholarly work is not to be dismissed out of hand.”

Cardinal Cupich concludes by saying the rest of Archbishop Viganò’s claims need “thorough vetting” before “any assessment of their credibility can be made”.