"They simply can't comprehend how we as bishops are often blinded to sex abuse," said Cardinal Cupich, referring to parishioners, in a keynote speech to the Roman Catholic leaders gathered this week at the Vatican. "How gravely incompatible the commission, coverup and toleration of sexual abuse is to the very meaning and essence of the church," the Cardinal continued.
Friday, Chicago's Archbishop called for a new structure for investigating bishops who are themselves abusers or those who grossly mishandle abuse cases. Those men - the Cardinal believes - should lose their jobs.
Alan Krashesky: You could begin that process that could eventually lead to a bishop being dismissed?
Cardinal Cupich: Yes.
Alan Krashesky: That seems to be a very important move.
Cardinal Cupich: It's a big change.
The Cardinal's plan covers 12 points, including:
Treating abuse victims with respect
Involving laypeople to conduct investigations
Suspending Bishops immediately if necessary
Sending credible allegations to The Vatican
And finally, the Pope would make the decision to fire the Bishop.
Read Cardinal Blase Cupich's full speech here
Pope Francis listened intently to the Cardinal's proposal - as they sat side-by-side, seemingly giving his initial approval. Cardinal Cupich says the Pope gave him a "thumbs up" at the conclusion of his remarks.
American bishops as a group would need to choose this plan, but now that it's been heard here at the Vatican they would be able to consider it. In the same way, other bishops in countries around the globe now would be able to consider the proposal, tailoring this framework to their particular cultures.
There's recent precedent for this type of action. Theodore McCarrick, the former Cardinal, former Washington Archbishop and now, former priest... kicked-out of the priesthood over sexual abuse.
Cardinal Cupich's plan would also rely on the oversight of what are called metropolitan archbishops- the most influential senior bishop in a particular geographic area- empowering them to take charge of abuse investigations of other bishops. For example, since Cardinal Cupich is the metropolitan archbishop of Illinois, he would have oversight over bishop misconduct investigations in the state's five other dioceses.
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