ROME, February 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, one of only two cardinals on the organizing committee for the upcoming Vatican abuse summit, was repeatedly pressed by journalists at today’s press conference in Vatican City on the role of homosexuality and of a homosexual subculture in the clerical abuse crisis.
Faced with the comments of Cardinal Müller that “more than 80 percent of the victims of these sexual offenders are teenagers of the male sex” — put to him at the presser by LifeSiteNews — Cardinal Cupich was unable to deny this fact. But he denied any causal connection, while providing no explanation for the overwhelming disparity.
Famously, the now-debunked Kinsey Report vastly overestimated the percentage of the population who are homosexually inclined as up to 10 percent. According to Gallup, in 2018 a record 4.5 percent of US adults identified as “LGBT.” And yet 80 percent of clerical sexual abuse is male on male.
Of course, in the context of seminary, opportunities for abuse of power in this regard will entirely focus on persons of the same sex but seminarians were mysteriously dropped from the ambit of the summit.
At today’s press conference, Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register said: “It was often said during the Synod on Youth that the abuse of seminarians and vulnerable adults would be addressed at this meeting, partly because of the McCarrick scandal. When this meeting was initially announced, it was to be about the protection of minors and vulnerable adults, but now it seems to be about the protection of minors only.”
“Will this meeting include abuse of vulnerable adults and seminarians in particular?” Pentin asked.
Archbishop Scicluna ingeniously argued that the question would be dealt with by not being dealt with: that through concentrating on minors, the participants would learn valuable lessons despite never dealing with the question of seminarians and other vulnerable adults. Cardinal Cupich seconded Archbishop Scicluna and said that they needed to concentrate on minors because minors don’t have a voice.
Of course, seminarians may have a voice but they are often prevented from using it because their victimizers employ guilt and fear of exposure and threat of expulsion as a way of silencing and controlling them, and at times causing them to identify with these practices and become advocates for them. But the question of grooming and blackmailing seminarians will not be discussed at the upcoming meeting, because it’s been left off the agenda.
How important addressing this question is in dealing with abuse at all levels was pointed out by CNN’s Delia Gallagher. Gallagher observed at the press conference that not only “conservative circles” but also “a French gay author” with a forthcoming book have argued that even prelates who are not involved in the abuse of minors or vulnerable adults, but who are engaged in clandestine homosexual activity, are disposed to cover for fellow clerics accused of abuse in order to maintain the conspiracy of silence that allows them to pursue their own lifestyle.
In response, Cardinal Cupich essentially said he would refuse to answer until he was given proof. He said: “I think you were right in saying it’s a hypothesis, and hypotheses have to be proven. And I think that that’s something that has to remain at that level of hypothesis.”
In his response to the initial question from LifeSite, Cupich had rather obscurely referred to the correlation between homosexuality and abuse as being “a matter however of opportunity and also a matter of poor training on the part of people.”
Sandro Magister of L’Espresso pointed out that the screening now conducted in seminaries is aimed precisely at “the elimination of the presence of homosexual tendencies in aspirants to the priesthood.”
Confronted with the implication of his earlier remarks, Cupich rolled back, attempting to deny a specific connection between effective screening and the detection of homosexual tendencies. “The screening is important, not in terms of the issue of homosexuality but in terms … [of] an attitude about human sexuality that is not in keeping with the Church,” he said, emphasizing that “it is not a particular screening that has to do with one’s sexual orientation as the major factor.”
This conflicts with the Church’s law which excludes those with deep-seated homosexual tendencies from consideration for the priesthood. The 2005 Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders states: “The Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture.”
Cardinal Cupich’s comments at today’s Vatican press conference show that he denies any causal connection between homosexuality or a homosexual subculture and sexual abuse, even though he doesn’t deny that 80 percent of the abuse is same-sex — and even though the most extravagant estimates say that a mere 10 percent of the population is homosexually inclined, and more recent and systematic estimates would put it at an all-time-high of only 4.5 percent.
Cupich, while denying the importance of screening for homosexual tendencies, places the burden of proof on others and so by implication refuses to investigate whether there is a tacit agreement among homosexual prelates to cover up such abuse.
While the cascade of disturbing revelations that have rocked the Church in the last few years have compelled the convening of the Meeting on “The Protection of Minors in the Church,” its organizers have lost none of their ability to ignore the elephant in the room.
Watch the full exchange with Cardinal Cupich here. A full transcript is below. The full two-hour long press conference may be viewed here.
Edward Pentin, National Catholic Register (1:12:18):
It was often said during the Synod on Youth that the abuse of seminarians and vulnerable adults would be addressed at this meeting, partly because of the McCarrick scandal. When this meeting was initially announced, it was to be about the protection of minors and vulnerable adults, but now it seems to be about the protection of minors only? I just wanted to know: will this meeting include abuse of vulnerable adults and seminarians in particular?
Archbishop Scicluna: My take on it is that when we’re talking about the sexual abuse of minors, we talking about a very important issue. But the prudence that you need in confronting the sexual abuse of minors will also serve you in confronting other types of misconduct. This meeting has to be focused because the comment has justifiably been said that, you know, it’s not going to be a three-day wonder and we’re not going to solve all the problems. Follow-up is going to be of the essence. But if we’re going to focus on something which is truly urgent and very grave; however, on discussing misconduct of that nature we’re obviously going to share good practices which will help you as a bishop in other forms of misconduct. So there is a beneficial effect on other types of misconduct which we do not want to underestimate or devalue, but that will certainly be a beneficial effect on something which is focused. Otherwise we get distracted and we don’t do what we need to do. But certainly, I get your point which is valid. What I say is that what we’re going to share is going to be useful to bishops when they are facing other types of misconduct.
Cardinal Cupich: I fully agree. I think that the learnings that we will have can be applied across the board. Those other issues of misbehavior on the part of clerics with vulnerable adults or other adults are topics that need addressing. But we are focusing in these days on those who have so little voice. Young people, minors, don’t have a voice, and they are kept in silence. So this is about making sure that their voice is heard. That’s why we’re focusing the attention on them.
Diane Montagna, LifeSite (1:27:15):
Recently, Cardinal Muller, former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith — which gives him a unique perspective on these problems — said, as others have … that more than 80% of the victims of these sexual offenders are teenagers of the male sex. Will the problem of homosexuality among the clergy be addressed as part of this problem? It’s obvious from the data that many of these acts committed against minors are homosexual acts. In fact, the majority [are]. So will this be part of the Church’s ‘transparency’ over the course of the coming days?
Cardinal Cupich: Yes, I believe that it’s important to admit the fact and recognize the fact of what you said in terms of the percentage of abuse involving male on male sex abuse. That is important. I think that has to be recognized. At the same time, as professional organizations studied the causes and contexts — such as the John Jay School of Criminal Justice and also the Royal Commission’s report in Australia — indicated that homosexuality itself is not a cause. It is a matter however of opportunity and also a matter of poor training on the part of people.
Just to put a fine point on that, it’s very clear that we have had, at least in the United States, a dramatic drop in cases on an annual basis in the United States, which peaked in late 60s and early 70s. Today the statistics show — from the CARA report, for the Center for Applied Research at Georgetown University — that on average there are about 5 cases a year and in fact the last report in 2017 said 6 substantiated cases of abuse and 4 of those allegations involved one priest … so we’ve dropped dramatically the number. So if in fact you, as some say, there is homosexuality in the priesthood, you can see already that it is not as a result of being homosexual that you abuse, as though homosexual people are more prone to abuse children than straight people, but it is a matter of making sure that the opportunity and the protection of children are priorities.
I think that that is what not only the research shows but also what our efforts have done protecting in children, at least in our country.
Archbishop Scicluna declined to comment.
Delia Gallagher, CNN (1:30:30):
Cardinal Cupich and Archbishop Scicluna. Just to follow up on what the Cardinal was just saying. In some circles for some time now there has been the hypothesis — not with regards to the abuse itself but with regards to coverup — part of the problem is that priests, bishops and cardinals are themselves engaged in illicit sexual behavior and therefore are unwilling to denounce each other. And that is the hypothesis both in conservative circles and now being raised again. There’s a book coming out shortly by a French gay author who claims there are these gay relationships in the hierarchy which enable coverup. In your investigations, Archbishop Scicluna and in your experience — perhaps even Fr. Zollner — in your experience Cardinal, is that true?”
Cardinal Cupich: I think you were right in saying it’s a hypothesis, and hypotheses have to be proven. And I think that that’s something that has to remain at that level of hypothesis.
Archbishop Scicluna: I’ve investigated cases. I have not investigated coverups. But I think that the fact that we’re going to insist on transparency is not something which, you know… it’s deliberate. Because where there’s a system that ensures coverup is a no-go. We have to move forward from that and condemn it without any hesitation.
Sandro Magister, L’Espresso (1:48:40):
A question for Cardinal Cupich. Before, you underlined that in the United States there has been a sharp drop in recent years in cases of abuse against minors, against teenagers. You added that this has come from very strong screening in seminaries. Therefore, this means — and you can confirm it for us — that you can resolve the problem of abuse by going to the roots, that is, to the elimination of the presence of homosexual tendencies in aspirants to the priesthood and then in the clergy.
Cardinal Cupich: Thank you for that question. I also mentioned that the success in keeping children safe has also been due to a wide program of safe environment where people know how to report, young children are trained, and so it’s a full range of efforts that are part of any safe environment program. And it is also making sure that reporting to authorities is part of the issue as well. The screening is important, not in terms of the issue of homosexuality but in terms, as it was already noted, that if in fact someone has an attitude about human sexuality that is not in keeping with the Church, or the protection of children isn’t important, or if there are other factors as well that make them high risk because of their own psyche — and I think that Fr. Hans could speak more about this — then that also has to be taken into consideration. But it is not a particular screening that has to do with one’s sexual orientation as the major factor. So I’m going to let Fr. Hans speak about that in particular because he’s familiar with those tests.