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Cardinal Cupich at The University of Chicago Institute of Politics Nov. 6, 2017. Facebook / University of Chicago IOP

CHICAGO, September 10, 2018, (LifeSiteNews) – When challenged about the clergy sexual abuse scandal now facing the Church, Cardinal Blase Cupich told a large gathering of seminarians that the Church’s agenda is “bigger” than the sexual corruption now facing the Church.

“While the church’s ‘agenda’ certainly involves protecting kids from harm, ‘we have a bigger agenda than to be distracted by all of this,’ including helping the homeless and sick,” Cupich said, according to seminarians who related the Cardinal’s words to Chicago Sun-Times.

“What is bigger than a Church collapsing around us?” asked Janet E. Smith in a response to the Cardinal's remarks posted on Facebook.  Smith is a noted Catholic author and professor of moral theology at Detroit’s Sacred Heart Major Seminary.  

At the August 29 gathering of roughly 200 future priests at Mundelein Seminary, located in the Archdiocese of Chicago, one young seminarian said in regard to the ongoing avalanche of scandals, “I’m hurting, I can’t sleep, I’m sick,” according to the Sun-Times report

A few minutes later, Cardinal Cupich later declared the opposite, “I feel very much at peace at this moment. I am sleeping OK,” which, according to the report, caused many in attendance to shake their heads in disbelief.  Some seminarians reportedly said Cupich is “tone-deaf.” 

Another of the seminarians said that Cardinal’s remarks were “non-pastoral,” and went on to tell the Sun-Times that “the people of God need to know that their seminarians care” and “aren’t going to repeat the mistakes of the past — not only not repeat them but have them cleaned up.”

Cupich seemed to disregard straightforward statistics revealed in the recently published Pennsylvania grand jury investigation into clergy sexual abuse, showing that three-quarters of all reported abuse were homosexual in nature. He said he “doesn’t buy the argument advanced by some in the church that homosexuality is at the root of much of the sexual abuse by priests,” according to the Sun-Times story.  He said the ‘facts don’t bear that out, and it’s wrong’ to blame a group of people that way.”

The Windy City’s Cardinal then reverted to a Vatican talking point, and blamed “clericalism” for the crisis now facing the Church.

In an attempt to justify the practice, Cupich went on to assert that other professional groups––such as police officers––sometimes display their own forms of “clericalism” in covering up for each other when accused of wrongdoing. 

In his explosive testimony released last month, former papal nuncio, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò said of Chicago’s Cardinal: “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.”

Cardinal Cupich allegedly said in his talk to the seminarians that “If I say what [Archbishop Viganò] says is credible, then I have to say what he’s saying is credible about me.”

Catholic author Leila Marie Lawler said of the statements of both prelates, “TRUE, and TRUE,” in a Facebook posting.

The theme of Cupich’s comments to the seminarians echoes his former statements declaring that “The Pope has a bigger agenda,” and that, “He’s got to get on with other things,” such as “talking about the environment and protecting migrants.”  

Cupich has also characterized Viganò’s testimony as a “rabbit hole,” meaning it is a worthless distraction from more important things.

The cardinal has been roundly criticised in recent weeks for outrageous public statements made in an effort to discredit Archbishop Viganò’s testimony, going so far as to claim that critics of Pope Francis are racist bigots, and that those who disagree with Pope Francis “don’t like him because he’s a Latino.”