Cardinal Blase Cupich released a statement Sunday expressing “astonishment” over recent allegations that former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was behind his appointment as archbishop of Chicago.
In an 11-page affidavit accusing Pope Francis of rehabilitating Cardinal McCarrick despite knowing of his record of homosexual abuse of priests and seminarians, the former papal nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, also named Cardinal Cupich as someone who had benefited personally from the patronage of Cardinal McCarrick.
In his statement released Saturday, Archbishop Viganò refers to Cardinal Cupich as a man “blinded by his pro-gay ideology” who was appointed as archbishop outside of normal Church protocols because of the powerful backing of three influential cardinals, including McCarrick.
“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,” Viganò stated in his communiqué.
Cardinal Cupich has been a vocal supporter of Jesuit Father James Martin, a pro-LGBT priest also criticized in the Viganò document.
“He really is one of the, if not the foremost evangelizer in the Church today, especially for young people,” Cupich said last November of Father Martin. “I appreciate what he’s doing.”
After Father Martin had three public lectures cancelled as a reaction to his pro-gay advocacy, Cardinal Cupich invited the priest to speak in Chicago.
“I wanted to make sure that I affirmed what he was doing,” Cupich stated. “And I wanted to let him know that I support him.”
In his statement Sunday, Cardinal Cupich claims that any reference he has ever made on this subject “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.’”
Cardinal Cupich said that he considers Viganò’s remarks regarding his appointment to Chicago to be “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,” he said.
“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,” he said, “but I do know that Pope Francis, like his predecessors, takes seriously the appointment of bishops as one of his major responsibilities.”
“Pope Francis has made it clear that he wants pastoral bishops, and I work each day to live up to that expectation in collaboration with many fine lay and religious women and men, my brother priests and brother bishops,” he said.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter Follow @tdwilliamsrome