By Seán-Patrick Lovett
Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago is part of the organizing Committee for the February 21 to 24 meeting of Presidents of Bishops’ Conferences, called to focus on the protection of children in the Church. In the Crux interview, Cardinal Cupich confirms that the Committee is “committed to achieving specific outcomes from this meeting that reflect the mind of Pope Francis.” He also stresses the consultative role of “both clerics and lay women and men, who have shown expertise and experience” in the area of abuse.
A global summit for a global Church
The Cardinal emphasizes that, by calling the February summit, Pope Francis is seeking the “full involvement of the global Church in assuring the protection of children around the world from clerical sexual abuse.”
The Pope understands this to be a global issue, says Cardinal Cupich, “and he wants to reinforce our shared commitment as a Church to establishing responsiveness, accountability, and transparency.”
By calling all the Presidents of Episcopal Conferences from around the world, he says, the Pope is seeking “both a comprehensive understanding of past failings, as well as global solutions moving forward.”
A change of culture
Cardinal Cupich says he is aware of the high expectations for positive and concrete outcomes from the February meeting. But he adds that, in order to fully address the issue of sexual abuse, deeper transformation is needed.
Pope Francis is calling for “a change of culture”, continues the Cardinal. That is, “a reform in how we approach ministry. For, in addition to being a crime, sexual abuse of minors by clerics is about the corruption of our ministry. This is why this meeting has to be understood as part of a long-term commitment to reform, realizing that one meeting will not solve every issue,” he said.
A worldwide reform
Cardinal Cupich concludes by describing the February meeting in the Vatican as “the start of a process… The beginning of a worldwide reform that will need to be ongoing and will involve a process of initiatives of regional, national and diocesan levels.”