August 27, 2018 (Steven O’Reilly) – If you have happened upon this blog article, you are certainly aware by now of the news which has recently rocked the Catholic world. Of course, I speak of Archbishop Vigano (former papal nuncio to the U.S.) and his testimony implicating prelates both in the U.S. and in Rome, inclusive of Pope Francis, in covering up the homosexual misdeeds of the former Cardinal McCarrick. There is a great deal to the story, and we will be sure to have more commentary on it in the future – inclusive of our opinion that Pope Francis should resign as a result of these revelations.
However, for the moment, I will focus on Cardinal Cupich’s official response to statements made in Archbishop Vigano’s written testimony about Cupich. Here is an excerpt from Vigano’s testimony with regard to Cupich (NB: bold in the original):
Cardinal Cupich issued a response (see here) to these statements – trumpeted by some knee-jerk Francis apologists on Twitter as an ‘important’ rebuttal – over the weekend . I have included Cupich’s lame response below and have included my running commentary in RED:
The former nuncio makes a number of references to me in his “testimony.” The first is in the sentence: “This is how one explains that, as members of the Congregation for Bishops, the Pope replaced Cardinal Burke with Wuerl and immediately appointed Cupich right after he was made a cardinal.”
The former nuncio is confused about the sequence of these events. In fact, I was appointed to the Congregation for Bishops on July 7, 2016, and was named a cardinal on October 9, 2016.
O’Reilly comments: Cardinal Cupich’s response above notes a misstatement by Vigano, wherein the later reversed the timing of Cupich being named Cardinal with the timing of when he was named a member of the Congregation of Bishops. Vigano’s mistake is a trivial one which leaves uncontested the central point being made by the Archbishop, which is, McCarrick along with Cardinal Mariadiaga helped elevate men to important episcopal sees (and ultimately the cardinalate) who would not otherwise have been considered qualified candidates, bypassing the normal process. .
The second reference to me is in the sentence: “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. Their names were not among those presented by the Nunciature for Chicago and Newark.”
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. 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. I am proud to serve the church in Chicago and I am grateful for the help I receive.
O’Reilly comments: “Astonished” as he may be, Cardinal Cupich’s response above is irrelevant to the point made by Vigano, which speaks to the role played by Cardinals McCarrick, Maradiaga and Wuerl in the advancement of the careers of Cupich and Tobin.
Cupich regales us with the compliments, etc., received by him from Archbishop Vigano. However, that Archbishop Vigano in his official capacity – as the papal representative to the U.S. – took part in the requisite rituals, events and offered congratulatory remarks are things to be expected of someone in Vigano’s position as papal nuncio. The events or conversations related by Cardinal Cupich have no bearing on the truth or falsity of Vigano’s statement – nor do they nullify the impact of the allegation.
What seems apparent, to me at least, is that Cardinal Cupich intentionally but clumsily avoids Vigano’s central point here regarding the roles of McCarrick, Wuerl and Maradiaga in his advancement. Is Cupich really ignorant of their efforts on his behalf? Or, by his answer, is he dissembling to avoid a connection to the “kingmaker”? The latter seems the more likely to me.
The third and fourth references to me deal with my statements on the causes of clerical sexual abuse as it relates to homosexuality. Any reference I have 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.” 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.
O’Reilly comments: Nothing Archbishop Vigano wrote denied the Cardinal’s own representation of his views above. Rather Vigano was asserting Cupich’s, in holding the views that he does, willfully ignores the statistical reality that 80% of priestly abuse cases are homosexual in nature according to the John Jay report, which is a fact. Just reading Cupich’s response above, one sees that Vigano is clearly correct in his assessment of Cupich. As Archbishop Vigano stated in his own words: “Regarding Cupich, one 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.”
As for the rest of the “testimony,” a thorough vetting of the former nuncio’s many claims is required before any assessment of their credibility can be made.
O’Reilly comments: I don’t know that Pope Francis will be pleased that Cardinal Cupich did not jump to his defense more aggressively – but having made Cardinal, Cupich is watching out for himself now. Regardless, here, alas, Cardinal Cupich ends his reply to Archbishop Vigano’s testiony – without commenting upon or rebutting the Archbishop’s observation about the Cardinal’s “ostentatious arrogance” and “insolence.” Perhaps we may assume the Cardinal concedes these observations.
Steven O’Reilly is a graduate of the University of Dallas and the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is married to Margaret O’Reilly. He lives near Atlanta with his family. He has written apologetic articles and is working on a historical-adventure trilogy, set during the time of the Arian crisis. He asks for your prayers for his intentions. He can be contacted at StevenOReilly@AOL.com (or follow on Twitter: @S_OReilly_USA).