IL--Chicago’s Cardinal lets another wrongdoing cleric just move elsewhere
For immediate release: Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016
For the second time in five months, top Chicago Catholic officials are letting a priest who engaged in sexual misconduct move down the road to even more vulnerable and unsuspecting families where he’s apt to hurt others. It’s a continuation of the callous and irresponsible pattern of moving predators that Catholic staffers have engaged in for centuries.
In August, Cardinal Blasé Cupich sent Fr. Marco Mercado to Texas to work, even though the priest had, in church officials’ own words “an inappropriate adult relationship." (Notice this is no “allegation.” Cupich is admitting the Fr. Mercado misused his power and prestige as a priest to sexually exploit another person.)
Now, Cupich is sending Fr. Mercado to Mexico, or at least letting Fr. Mercado move there. According to NBC 5, “Cupich played a role in the latest decision that sent Mercado back to Mexico. The Chicago Archdiocese refused comment."
So just last year, Cupich deemed Fr. Mercado too dangerous to work in a Chicago parish. But he apparently has no problem if Fr. Mercado works in Texas or Mexican parishes. Shame on him and on every Catholic staffer who is choosing to protect himself, his comfort and his career by staying silent while the higher-ups deliberately and repeatedly act recklessly.
Several factors make Mexican families even more vulnerable to offending priests like Fr. Mercado. First, the gaps between a priest and his parishioners - in terms of education, prestige, sophistication and money – are even greater in Mexico, giving the priest considerably more power over his flock. Second, there’s an even longer and deeper culture of unquestioning respect for priests in Mexico than here. Third, the US enjoys a stronger investigative media climate and justice systems, making it more apt that Fr. Mercado might be exposed, prosecuted or sued in the US than in Mexico.
It’s like catching the fox but moving him to an even bigger hen house.
Finally, we hope Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) will finally reverse himself and publicly admit that his buddy Fr. Marcado is in fact an offender. Guetierrez has backed Fr. Marcado, no doubt doing damage to the priest’s victim or victims and discouraging others in pain from reporting sexual violence.
No matter what officials do or don’t do, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in churches, schools or other institutions to protect the vulnerable by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling law enforcement, get justice by calling attorneys, and be comforted by calling support groups like ours. This is how we will all be safer, victims will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Chicago-Area Priest Removed From Ministry for 'Inappropriate Relationship' Returns to Mexico
By Mary Ann Ahern
A Chicago-area priest who was removed from the ministry for an "inappropriate relationship" was hoping to start over in San Antonio, Texas, but has instead relocated to Mexico.
The San Antonio Archdiocese told NBC 5 that Fr. Marco Mercado "never had a formal assignment" and has returned to live with his family in Mexico.
Mercado was formerly the rector of the Our Lady of Guadalupe shrine in Des Plaines.
In September 2015, he was invited by Congressman Luis Gutierrez to witness Pope Francis address Congress in person. Just one month later, Cardinal Blase Cupich removed Mercado from his post because of . . .