Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-08-07
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



VIEWS Cardinal Cupich on sexual abuse: Clerical culture, not gay priests, at fault
Robert Shine

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

A top U.S. cardinal has expressed strong skepticism that gay priests are the cause of clerical sexual abuse, saying instead the problem stems from clericalism in the Church.

Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago addressed the topic of sexual abuse by clergy and, in particular, the credible allegations against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, in an interview with America Magazine. That article explained:

"In the weeks since allegations were made against Archbishop McCarrick, some commentators and clergy have suggested that allowing gay men to be priests has created a culture ripe for the kind of abuse Archbishop McCarrick is alleged to have committed.

"But Cardinal Cupich said he 'would be very careful' in accepting that conclusion, noting that similar claims made during the height of the child sexual abuse crisis in the 2000s were refuted by an independent 2011 report compiled by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

"'I really believe that the issue here is more about a culture of clericalism in which some who are ordained feel they are privileged and therefore protected so that they can do what they want,' Cardinal Cupich said.

"'People, whether heterosexual or homosexual, need to live by the Gospel,' he said, adding that he 'would not want to reduce this simply to the fact that there are some priests who are homosexual.'

"'I think that is a diversion that gets away from the clericalism that's much deeper as a part of this problem," he said.

Cupich also expressed his trust in the laity when it comes to investigating and acting on allegations of sexual misconduct in the Church, saying:

"I've always trusted the laity to do the right thing. Their expertise and their knowledge far exceeds many of us who are ordained. ... We need to pay attention to that."

Cupich's words are important for four reasons. First, the cardinal's voice carries significant weight as he is one of Pope Francis' leading allies in the United States, as well as being a public figure outside the Church. His record on LGBT issues is overall quite positive. In 2017, Cupich invited lesbian and gay people to dialogue because the Church needed to listen to them.

During the Synod on the Family in 2015, Cupich said the gathering would have benefited from listening to lesbian and gay couples, which he himself had done in preparation for the Synod. Later that year, he said the Church should respect the consciences of lesbian and gay people. In 2014, the cardinal said lesbian and gay parents should be supported even if the Church cannot recognize their marriages.

The second reason Cupich's words are important is that, precisely because of this prominence, it is notable that he directly criticized the scapegoating of and discrimination against gay priests. To do so also indirectly challenged the Vatican's 2016 instruction, reinforcing a previous document promulgated under Pope Benedict XVI, that gay men should be banned from the priesthood. He seemed to recognize that there are many good gay priests who do ministries that greatly benefit the people of God—priests like Fr. Gregory Greiten, Fr. Michael Shanahan, Fr. Steve Wolf, Fr. Fred Daley and others.

Third, Cupich directed attention to the real cause of sexual abuse and harassment by clergy, namely clericalism. Though their numbers are thankfully increasing, albeit too slowly, few prelates have been willing to acknowledge and condemn the culture among clergy which has allowed all types of abuse to flourish. Clericalism, not sexual orientation, is what allowed McCarrick to abuse children and seminarians alike. It is what allowed a prominent French priest-psychotherapist to sexually victimize patients under his care as part of "ex-gay" therapy. It is what still perpetuates a crushing homophobia in the priesthood and religious life.

Fourth, the cardinal emphasized the laity's role in helping build up a just and accountable Church. Indeed, his words now and in the past, clearly indicate his belief that the laity have an essential role to play in the life of the Church and may, at times, be more competent to lead than clergy. There are obvious parallels for listening to, learning from, and being led by the laity when it comes to not only sexual abuse, but LGBT inclusion, women's equality, racism, and other ecclesial justice issues.

For far too long, gay priests have been scapegoated and marginalized because of a false conflation of questions about sexual orientation with questions about sexual abuse. It is good to see a high-ranking Church official firmly reject such ideas, but now it is time for more bishops to echo publicly Cupich's call for justice in the Church.

Fr. Bryan Massingale, a leading theologian at Fordham University, will be leading New Ways Ministry's next retreat for gay priests, brothers, and deacons on the theme of "Living in Truth: The Call to Authenticity." It will take place Oct. 2-4 at Siena Retreat Center in Racine, Wisconsin. For more information, click here. Please share this information with gay priests, brothers and deacons that you know.

Robert Shine is the associate editor at New Ways Ministry. The article originally appeared at

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Kinley Preston previews Lips Chicago dinner theater 2019-08-16 - Lips, billed as "the ultimate in drag dining," is locating its fifth location in Chicago. The South Loop venue, opening to the public ...

Gay News

We need to talk about the 'Pose' hospital episode right now 2019-08-07 - The TV show Pose, on FX, is nothing less than astounding to me. So much could have gone wrong, with the era, the ...

Gay News

OP-ED How 'Queen Sugar' increases Black LGBTQ visibility 2019-08-06 - In 2018, there were more LGBTQ people of color on TV than their white counterparts. OWN's Queen Sugar is part of a quiet ...

Gay News

Volumes of racism, xenophobia on blast 2019-07-24 - The first time I heard the racial trope "Go back to where you came from," I was getting off of a school bus ...

Gay News

LETTER Ruffled feathers 2019-07-23 - Dear Editor: Recently, I was waiting for two friends on the patio and talking to my sister on the phone. A ...

Gay News

Larry Kramer gives us one more chance to wake the f*ck up 2019-07-10 - Our friend Larry Kramer, the godfather of the AIDS activism movement, hasn't lost his edge. That should surprise no one. In his speech ...

Gay News

Moments in the Public Health Response to AIDS, CDPH LGBTQ Outreach Keynote June 28 2019-07-01 - Chicago Department of Public Health LGBTQ Outreach Keynote Speech, given by Tracy Baim, June 28, 2019, Chicago Cultural Center The following keynote speech ...

Gay News

Looking back, looking forward 2019-06-26 - As we look forward to the anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising and celebrate PRIDE month, I think about progress made—but also about work ...

Gay News

CONCERT REVIEWS X and The Damned, Gogol Bordello, Bettye Lavette and more 2019-06-17 - If the concert scene in Chicago this past May was characterized by gloom, dampness and a scarcity of choices, the shows in June ...

Gay News

New report reviews laws, policies affecting LGBTs in U.S. territories 2019-06-11 - ( Boulder, CO ) June 11, 2019—Progress towards full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender ( LGBT ) people in the United ...


Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.