More Names Hidden in Chicago, SNAP Responds

Less than a week before the international summit he is slated to lead, Chicago’s top Catholic official is facing new questions about his knowledge and handling of three “credibly” accused priests in his Archdiocese. 

According to the Chicago Sun Times, Church officials in the Archdiocese of Chicago claim they only learned two months ago that three abusive clerics have lived for years on church property near Northbrook. We find this hard to believe, but at the very least Cardinal Blase Cupich should have disclosed their presence as soon as he learned of it. We wonder if the names would ever have been revealed if the Sun Times had not broken the story.

Just a few months ago, when asked about keeping track of religious order priests who have been accused of sexual abuse, the Cardinal’s spokeswoman said, “it is done on a regular basis.” That was apparently not true, or at least the basis was not regular enough.

Cardinal Cupich claims that he did not know about these priests – Fr. Joe Fertal and two others who Catholic officials still refuse to name – and may say that the responsibility for his lack of knowledge will rest on someone else’s shoulders. But we say that the buck must stop somewhere, that there must be one person within the Archdiocese who is willing to accept responsibility for leaving the names of accused perpetrators off of lists, for consistently choosing not to inform community members of their presence, and for continuing to obfuscate and minimize allegations of clergy misconduct.

Given that Cardinal Cupich is in charge of the dioceses within Illinois, SNAP believes this person should be him. The Sun Times story is yet another reason why the Cardinal should step down from his role in next week’s Vatican abuse meeting.

Fr. Quang Dinh is the supervisor of these priests, as the head of the Divine Word religious order, and we believe that he should be held equally responsible along with Cardinal Cupich. If these two men want to show that they are taking this abuse crisis seriously, they should immediately disclose the names, photos and full work histories of these three clerics. 

We also call on anyone who saw, suspected or suffered crimes or cover ups by Catholic officials, whether archdiocesan or religious order staff, to find the courage to make a report to independent law enforcement officials and to reach out to secular sources of help like therapists, police or support groups like ours.

CONTACT: Larry Antonsen, SNAP Chicago Leader (lpantonsen@sbcglobal.net, 773-255-3382), Kate Bochte, SNAP Chicago Leader (keight@sbcglobal.net, 630-768-1860), Zach Hiner, Executive Director (zhiner@snapnetwork.org, 517-974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)


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