A day before Cardinal Blase Cupich is expected to address the latest in the Catholic Church’s sex-abuse scandal, local Catholics and those visiting Chicago shared their thoughts about how Pope Francis and others in leadership have responded to the ongoing crisis.
Here’s what some of them shared Friday as they stood outside Holy Name Cathedral:
Adriana Ramos, 24, Chicago: “I think they should’ve stepped up to the plate and really been true pillars of the community and (said), ‘Hey, you know what? This is what’s going on. This should not be going on at all. This is what we can do to prevent from situations like these from happening again.’ … But at the end of the day, we’re all humans, we all make human errors.”
Leonor Abarca, 29, Chicago: “Regardless of what they did, you can’t judge the whole Church because of (some) priests … I think it’s part our fault because we don’t pray for our priests, because we think they’re superhuman and they’re not going to fall … I’m not justifying what they did. I think the Church needs a purification, and that’s what’s happening right now.
“But it’s not my job to judge anyone, not even the priests. My duty is to pray for them and to do whatever I can so they can repent … I’m not the one to judge because everyone does (make) mistakes.”
Mary Ann Zehnder, 68, St. Louis: “I’ve been a Catholic my whole life … I think what is going on in the Church is abhorrent, and I don’t think saying ‘sorry’ is enough. I couldn’t even read the report out of Philadelphia because it was so upsetting to me.
“It is time for the Church to stop saying they’re sorry and to take some action. I personally would almost like to see all bishops resign in the United States … What is more important than what they’ve done to the young people of this Church and how they’ve alienated more people from this Church?
“Now having said that, I’m very faith-filled. It’s between my God and myself. I still feel very strongly about going to Church, and my Mass is very important to me … But I would like to see more women, more laypeople, and I want to see more accountability from the bishops … I love this pope. I think he’s brought many wonderful things to the Catholic Church. He’s very much aware of the poor, and he’s very hands-on … I don’t want to see him resign.
“My church is everything to me, and humans make mistakes. But I don’t think there’s been enough accountability about what has happened, and I want to see more.”
Kristi McCotter, 34, Chicago: “I think it’s appalling. I’ve been a Catholic for my entire life. I am Catholic educated, and I think it’s appalling that the Church has covered it up, has stood by silent for as long as they have and is continuing to kind of brush it under the rug. I hope the pope leads by example because it can’t go on anymore.
“[The pope] is the leader of the church and of the Catholic Church, and he should be the one leading by example. I think he should be the one speaking up first and foremost and saying that we won’t tolerate this, and it needs to trickle down. It just has to stop.”