What you want from the moral leader of a billion Catholics when asked if he knew of abuse by a top cardinal is a “neither confirm nor deny” statement.
And what you want from one of his highest-ranking American prelates when asked if the Pope should be a bit more forthcoming is a pitiful attempt to change the subject. The Woke Pope is woke about every subject except one, it seems:
"The Pope has a bigger agenda. He's got to get on with other things, of talking about the environment and protecting migrants and carrying on the work of the church. We're not going to go down a rabbit hole on this." – Cardinal Cupich
— Tommy Tighe (@theghissilent) August 28, 2018
The quote is accurate — see for yourself — but incomplete. Cupich went on to add when asked why he thought the Pope was taking such intense fire that his critics don’t like him … “because he’s a Latino.” If only he were a white European plausibly accused of turning a blind eye to molestation, this wouldn’t be happening.
Wait, the Pope is a white European by ancestry, born of two Italian immigrants in Argentina. Even the demagogic identity-politics defenses of him by his deputies are based on lies.
If you’re not Catholic yourself and are busy trying to navigate the clerical alliances and rivalries amid the McCarrick scandal, read Ross Douthat for guidance. As with conventional politics, there are conservative and liberal factions at odds here, and as with conventional politics, the leaders of each faction can count on near-blind loyalty from their underlings. Douthat:
That’s a major reason John Paul II refused to investigate Father Marcel Maciel, the wicked founder of the Legionaries of Christ — because the Legionaries were conservative, and apparently a great success, and that was all that mattered. It’s why many conservative Catholics unwisely defended John Paul II-appointed prelates like Boston’s Bernard Law in the early 2000s. It’s why a notorious traditionalist priest, Father Carlos Urrutigoity, could find a welcome from conservative bishops in Pennsylvania and then Paraguay, despite a trail of abuse allegations.
Now it’s why certain organs and apostles of liberal Catholicism are running interference for McCarrick’s protectors — because Francis is their pope, the liberalizer they yearned for all through the John Paul and Benedict years, and all’s fair in the Catholic civil war.
But the inevitable, even providential irony is that this sort of team thinking never leads to theological victory, but only to exposure, shame, disaster. Indeed, the lesson of these bitter decades is that any faction hoping to lead Roman Catholicism out of crisis should begin with purges within its own ranks, with intolerance for any hint of corruption.
Any guesses which faction Cupich belongs to? Right. In fact, it was Francis who made him a cardinal two years ago and installed him in Chicago. He’s not just a like-minded ideologue, in other words, he’s a crony. Watching him spin away allegations about a momentous breach of trust at the highest levels on grounds that the Vatican should be focused on glaciers or whatever, you’re watching old-school political back-scratching at work — and not a skillful example of it either. What a disgrace.