“The Holy Father does want episcopal conferences to take responsibility, that was never a question, but we have to do it in such a way that we work together with each other -- that is part of synodality -- that is part of collegiality that this conference wanted to highlight,” he said.
In November, the Vatican intervened in the meeting of U.S. bishops to vote on a plan to address instances of episcopal sexual misconduct, which included the creation of a code of conduct for bishops, a whistleblower hotline, and the establishment of an independent lay-led team of experts charged with investigating allegations made against bishops.
“With regard to the November meeting in Baltimore among the bishops, it was clear that -- talking with the bishops beforehand even before we knew about this --- that the proposal submitted by the bishops was problematic for many. I believe that it would not have received the 2/3rds vote anyway,” Cupich said.
“I think that in many ways that Holy See did us a great favor in pointing out some areas that already were problematic for a number of bishops,” he continued.
“Now this meeting with allow a pathway forward so that what we do in the United States will be in line with the expectations with the rest of the world, so I think it was an important moment to step in,” he added.
The American cardinal emphasized the success of screening efforts in U.S. seminaries in preventing sexual abuse of minors.
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“When you put in proper screening processes for seminaries as we have in the United States, you see that the instances of abuse drop dramatically. And so it is incumbent on our part to be responsible and accountable at that level of admitting candidates into the seminaries,” Cupich said.
“The screening is important, not in terms of homosexuality, but in terms of … if someone has an attitude with regarding sexuality that is not in keeping with the Church or that the protection of children is important or that there are other factors as well that made them high risk because of their own psyche,” he continued.
Father Hans Zollner, president of the Center for the Protection of Minors at the Pontifical Gregorian University as well as member of the summit organizing committee, clarified that “a psychological test or interview can never determine whether someone is homosexual or a higher risk” to commit sexual abuse with 100 percent certainty.