Second report of the day dedicated to "accountability" (having to give an account) to the meeting on "Protection of minors in the Church". The cardinal represents a Church, that of the United States, long struck by accusations of abuse and the silence of the hierarchy. He himself is suspected of silence on the McCarrick case. Structural, legal and institutional reform is necessary.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - A "growing mistrust in our leadership, not to mention the outrage of our people ": these are the effects caused by " little care given to abused children, or even worse, when it is covered up to protect the abuser or the institution”, noted by Card. Blase Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago, president of the Commission for the Protection of Minors of the United States Episcopal Conference. The cardinal's speech is the second of the day dedicated to "accountability" in the meeting on the "Protection of minors in the Church" under way in the Vatican.
Card. Cupich is the representative of a Church that has long been hit by accusations of abuse and by the silence of the hierarchy. The cardinal himself was often accused of being a party because he was a collaborator and friend of the former Card. Theodore McCarrick, now dismissed from the clerical state, and having kept silent for years on his pedophile and homosexual tendencies exercised on minors and seminarians. And perhaps the annotation of the report refers to McCarrick which says: " This past year has taught us that the systematic failures in holding clerics of all rank responsible are due in large measure to flaws in the way we interact and communicate with each other in the college of bishops in union with the successor of Peter. ".
Card. Cupich calls for a "structural, legal and institutional reform" of the Church. First of all this implies a "a perpetual stance of radical listening to comprehend the deadening experience of those who have been sexually abused by clergy", putting aside "the institutional distance and the relational blinders".
Then the laity, especially parents, must be integrated into the community's commitment: "Every member of the Church has an essential role in helping the Church to eliminate the horrific reality of clergy sexual abuse. In large part it is the witness of the laity, especially mothers and fathers with great love for the Church, who have pointed out movingly and forcefully how gravely incompatible the commission, cover-up and toleration of clergy sexual abuse is with the very meaning and essence of the Church. ". And again: "we as bishops and religious superiors have often been blinded to the scope and damage of sexual abuse of minors. The parents are witnessing to dual realities that must be pursued in our church today: an unceasing effort to eradicate clergy sexual abuse in the church, and a rejection of the clerical culture which so often bred that abuse."
To really know how to "render accountable", accompaniment is above all necessary: "Each instance of a survivor approaching the Church, whether he or she is seeking solace or justice, retribution or peace, is an invitation for the Church to genuinely be Pietà, marked with tenderness and empathy."
Finally, the Cardinal suggests that "specific institutional and legal structures" should be implemented, especially "in cases involving the bishops' misconduct and their improper handling of cases of pedophilia".