The Dispatch: More from CWR...

Cardinal Cupich: “The Pope has a bigger agenda”

The cardinal archbishop of Chicago said of Pope Francis’ critics: “Quite frankly, they also don’t like him because he’s a Latino.”

A screenshot from Cardinal Blase Cupich's interview with NBC 5 Chicago.

In an interview with NBC 5 Chicago, Cardinal Blase Cupich spoke about accusations from former papal nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano that Pope Francis knew about allegations of sexual misconduct by Archbishop Theodore McCarrick. Cupich was named in Vigano’s 11-page testament as one of the American prelates who owes his advancement to McCarrick’s influence.

“The record shows that whenever there’s actionable information, Pope Francis acts,” Cardinal Cupich told NBC 5’s Mary Ann Ahern. Pope Francis refused to comment on Vigano’s statement when asked about it by reporters on Sunday.

Cardinal Cupich seemed to defend Francis’ silence on Vigano’s charges.

“The Pope has a bigger agenda,” he said. “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 also had thoughts about the motives of some of Francis’ critics: “Quite frankly, they also don’t like him because he’s a Latino.”

Cardinal Cupich indicated that the Catholic Church should not be the only institution under scrutiny for its protection of minors.

“It’s not just about the Catholic Church. Let’s look at all the agencies and institutions that deal with children on a day-to-day basis.”

[Update] The full interview with Cardinal Cupich can be viewed here.

[Update #2] Cardinal Cupich has said that the TV interview was unfairly edited. From an Aug. 29  press release: “An NBC Chicago TV report that aired Monday night was edited in such a way that gave the false impression that Pope Francis and I consider the protection of children to be less important than other issues, such as the environment or immigration. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

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About Catherine Harmon 577 Articles
Catherine Harmon is managing editor of Catholic World Report.


  1. What else would one expect from Cupich? He is a staunch defender of the homosexual subculture in the Church. Any distraction will do – such as the Pope’s inane ramblings about the environment and and the rights of illegal immigrants – to avert attention from the disease that is rotting away the very heart of the Church. Francis must resign, And take Cupich with him.

    • Is it any wonder that the Christian Evangelical movement is rapidly becoming the Road to heaven? With leaders like Cupich it is easy to see why. The slide of the Church can be traced to weak leadership and a hierarchy that is steeped in a grossly flawed system that has gotten away from the Word.

      • The “road to heaven” has been and always will be through grace, by faith in Jesus Christ.

        “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Eph. 2:8-9.

        • Br. Dave:

          On its face, your comment is absolutely correct. However, Roman Catholic theology and soteriology are considerably more nuanced than a simplistic truism from the curriculum of a 5th grade Protestant Sunday School class.

      • Please note that all Christians (including Roman Catholics) are called to be evangelicals (evangelizers). What you really meant to say was “Protestant Fundamentalists.” Not surprising, it’s the right-wingers in the Roman Catholic Church who are closet-case neo-Calvinists–and behave more like our Protestant Fundamentalist colleagues (and Jihadist Muslims) than Roman Catholics.

        At least in the United States, your canard about Protestant Fundamentalists leading Roman Catholics astray is demonstrably and empirically false. By their own admission, the largest Protestant denomination in the world (the Southern Baptist Convention) has seen a precipitous world-wide decline in the number of annual Baptisms for more than a decade. With a couple of minor exceptions, the same is true for most Protestant sects.

        Even the Protestant Fundamentalist mega-churches (Willow Creek, Vineyard, Calvary Chapel, etc.) are so pressed for faithful active adherents that they must pay their Sunday School teachers and choir (music team) singers. Their pews (theatre seats) may be full, but the faith life of many of the ones filling those seats is a mile wide and an inch deep.

        All of the Protestant church growth experts agree that about 80% of Protestant Fundamentalist mega-church members stay for about 18 months and then move on. And while they call themselves “evangelicals,” a large majority of these churches do precious little actual evangelism–leading “non-churched” people to a life-changing encounter with God (through Jesus Christ).

        Most of the mega-churches are simply “stealing sheep” from smaller churches (usually dominated by angry old geezers who insist on total control while demanding that everyone entering their door look, act, and believe just like they do). In other words, just like the vast majority of old crones (male and female—mostly male) demanding (their version) of purity in the Roman Catholic Church.

        Thankfully, in 20 years, most will be dead and soon forgotten.

  2. Oh yes, the environment and migrants are so much more important than protecting children everywhere. The nebulous phrase “the work of the church” comes last. And let’s throw in a little something about not liking him because he is a Latino. Just to stir the pot and take people’s minds off the main issue. Disgusting.

    • Cardinal Cupich excuse for the pope’s failure is disingenuous nonsense. People don’t like the pope because he’s Latino?

      The pope’s parents were full blooded Italians, born in Italy. The pope is an Argentinian national, but hardly a Latino. Cupich didn’t know that? How many Italian pope’s have we had? What ghastly stupidity.

      And to think this man followed Cardinal George into his present position in Chicago. That should be a scandal in itself.

  3. Really? REALLY?? The pope has a bigger agenda??? Compare this with what George Weigel wrote today at First Things. There is no possibility that this will simply go away. This is the church’s Watergate.

  4. Cardinal Cupich is correct on one point: the Church should not be the only institution under scrutiny. It has even been proposed by some that the Church should not cooperate with civil authorities until there’s credible assurance of a level playing field alongside other entities,e.g.,public schools,especially if the statute of limitations is lifted. A fledgling proposal trounced earlier by the teachers’ union, superintendents and principals; (–pals not principles!)

    As for his other points, Cardinal Cupich plays the race card (“They don’t like him because he’s a Latino.”) How utterly banal and even predictable can one get? Such nonsense. That’s almost as shopworn as labeling others as “bigots, fundamentalist, rigid”, and recently “fixistic”. Thank you, again.

    And as for his major point (“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 hold on this.”) It is precisely this selective and politicized morality in matters of prudential judgment–at the expense of fundamental morality and now coverups and careerist gamesmanship–that is at issue.

    A “rabbit hole” would be most welcome compared to the yawning chasm of hell that now has been exposed within the Church. All those other things–the political/social/economic agenda–have served too long almost as a decoy-morality for not keeping our own house in order and, more, proclaiming the whole Gospel in its entirety.

    But, yes, now any vestige of relevance for the Church–in helping to deal with touchy questions and more or less secular challenges of the Common Good–is in jeopardy. Worse still, in the sacramental domain Old Scratch would be quite satisfied to use the current moment to drive a wedge between the laity and the ordained clergy.

    • Yes, but, are public school teachers responsible for offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to God? Are they theoretically responsible for helping people make it to Heaven? I agree with your other comments but this is the argument put forth by Phil Donohue and it strikes me as a huge cop-out because the claims the priesthood makes of itself and its true nature are so far above and beyond the teaching profession. God uses earthen vessels to accomplish His work on earth but Priests are absolutely to be held to a higher standard.

      • I concur with your point, absolutely, but also notice that the secularists have an agenda of their own. I think you’re referring to BILL Donohue from the Catholic League. Phil Donohue was the TV talk show host who preyed on his own staff, and after a few weeks he was back on the air as if nothing happened. That’s my point.

        It’s not a cop-out if everyone is held accountable. I don’t think Bill was suggesting that civil investigations should actually stop. The momentum seems opportune to demand, what’s that phrase, oh yeah, equality before the law.

      • You are spot on!! We, as the Body of Christ, NEED TO PRAY LIKE WE HAVE NEVER DONE BEFORE. I will not abandon the Catholic Church nor will I stop giving for the upkeep of my parish; St. Elizabeth in Columbus, Ohio.

    • Your hypothesis seems to be that it is okay that Catholic priests — who hold themselves out to be representatives of Christ on Earth — can molest and rape children until other organizations are examined.

      We need to STOP with the relativism and blaming others. This is a horrible cancer on our faith and it is past time for excuses!

    • Yes, the race card. This citizen (the Cardinal) illustrates one of the many problems with the prelates of the Church. Also, as noted in other postings, his reference to the need to look at sexual abuse in other organizations is just another way of distracting from the culpability of clerics and bishops; i.e, if we can spread the blame, then perhaps we don’t look so bad.

      And as far as the bigger agenda the Pope has in mind, does Cupich or P. Francis really think they will now be able to advance any agenda other than that of cleaning the Augean stables and not only the “matter” in the stables but some of the horses as well. These two may in fact be some of the horses that need to be put out to pasture.
      But who is going to do that?

  5. What world does this person inhabit? Clergy abuse cover up and the horrendous abuse of young men is less important than the environment and migrants? Sorry, that doesn’t cut it. He’s telling us “deplorables” to go away because we don’t have the intelligence to know life’s priorities. And we are now racist too? What hubris and condescension. Well, like Pope Francis himself during the recent press meeting.

  6. Yes. What can be bigger than Europe flooded with culturally hostile Muslims, using all means available for smaller families to save the environment? The Gospels? Let’s just accept the reality that homosexual abuse is part of life. This is a secular humanist agenda that would have made former pres of The Council on Secular Humanism Dr Paul Kurtz quite proud of the Cardinal.

    • Dear Rev. Morello.
      Well put! I was not surprised at all that Cupich pulled the race card, the neo-pagans (that is what the left really are, not progressive at all, actually quite regressive, 2000 years to be exact!), favorite weapon when they are dead wrong. Never mind both men (Vigano and Borglio) are Italian and identify as such. Another shameless lie from another impostor Cardinal, what a shock! God help us, because our shepherds are betraying us, BIG TIME! Can I get a “pathological prevaricators are intrinsically disordered” anyone!

  7. The Church has a problem with bishops who bury sex abuse down a hole and the solution is….don’t look in that hole! Brilliant!

  8. I’m no fan of Pope Francis, but have not heard of Archbishop Vigano before this weekend either. With this weak and cowardly rebuttal by Cardinal Cupich …”they don’t like him because he’s Latino”, I no longer doubt the basic truthfulness of Vigano statements. Pope Francis should resign if he really loves the Church, and has any fear of God. Hopefully, the silver lining in all of this is that we will able to clearly demonstrate the intended limits of Papal infallibility, to our skeptical protestant friends.

    • Yup.
      And he thinks we are so stupid as to not catch the error.
      Cupich believes we are his medieval peasants, nothing more.
      By the way, cardinal, my checkbook is closed.

      • medieval peasants would have seen through him in a second. Maybe one day we’ll have a Catholic Pope and a Catholic Archbishop of Chicago, but not yet.

  9. Bergoglio’s parents were from Genoa – as in – Italy. Vigano: Italian too. That’s a strange form of racism.

    This strutting peacock who is renown for political astuteness and choosing his words very carefully just poured gallons of gasoline onto the fire. He needs to resign. Immediately.

  10. And may I add: stooping to race-baiting is a not only a public sin by Cupich; but it indicates that he and his fellow members of the post-Catholic McCarrick establishment know they cannot defend their position (since they are in fact apostates and abusers and coverup artists), so they are viciously attacking anyone who dares to try to hold them to account.

  11. Whether it’s McCarrick, Cupich, Wuerl or Bergoglio himself, they all share the ability to remain calm, dissociate, compartmentalize and manipulate. The more jocular version of this? Dolan in NY.

    Sociopathic, self-validating peace.

  12. “They don’t like him because he’s Latino?” Lol.
    Who is they? What is he talking about?
    What a childish cowardly untrue statement if I ever heard one. It’s almost like saying ” You’re just jealous because I’m more smarter than you are!”
    It’s obvious the Cardinal is using the race card and trying to get off the topic and pretending to be a victim. The arrogance of him.
    It’s hard to be humble right Cardinal?

    Pride before the fall.

  13. Pope Francis is not Latino!!? Both of his parents are 100% Italian that migrated to Argentina.
    Being born in Argentina doesnt make him a “Latino”. Bergoglio sounds really latino to me. Lol.
    Cardinal get your facts straight.
    The reporter who interviewed him should of called him out on this false remark.

  14. Dear brothers and sisters, do you not see these divisive attacks serve only the purpose of the Evil One? Satan is more active now and sees our weakness in dividing the Faithful and eroding the relationship with not only the Religious but with the Holy Father. I beg all not to be further tempted to help Satan in his mission, commit yourself to Christ and His mission of love in all things and pray for all in His Church.

    • Bob Ward- tell that to the bishops and Cardinals who allowed the homosexual subculture and heresy to grow and expand in the church under Satan’s rule and also allowed liberal priests who supports LGBT demonic movement to be normalized and accepted in our parishes.
      Now who are the ones committing disunity?
      Have you written a letter to your local bishops yet about this evil crisis?

      The following statements are found where in the Bible?…
      Prayer is good, but faith without works is dead!
      Judge justly.
      Paul confronted Peter to his face.
      Expose the darkness.
      If your brother sins against you confront him.
      If you cause one if these little ones to stumble it’s better if you tie a millstone around your neck and cast yourself to the sea.

    • Well, the problem is the erosion of the relationship to the Religious and the Holy Father was because of the sin and perversion of the religious and the Holy Father. How can we stand with the occupant of the Seat of Peter when he is completely complicit in all this filth?

      Every news that comes out implicates him farther. As for the bishops, they were complicit or were themselves perpetrators.

      You cannot bury your head in the sand and pretend that all is rosy. The hierarchy has been steeped in this filth for a long while.

  15. Cupich’s comment on disliking Francis because he is “Latino” (which I consider the opposite of “Gringo”, by the way; yes, throw all Hispanic-Americans into the same pot) not only is stupid but absolutely insulting. I am not aware of any Hispanic priest or nun or religious in the United States having been discriminated by any Catholic or at any parish for being Hispanic. What Cupich suggests is unthinkable, unless he himself is a racist. Would not surprise me one bit. Should he be made to attend sessions for what is now the vogue, that is, “unconscious bias”? Being in Chicago, I am sure there would be plenty of choices. I bet he wishes he could take that ridiculous comment back. But by its mouth the fish dies.

  16. Card. Cupich had best be mindful that his is a tentative existence and that he should speak truthfully – if he dares, and if he cares about the survivors of abuse – to the questions raised by Archbishop Vigano. Everything Card. Cupich has said thus far tends to indicate that he lacks the “chops” to comprehend and contribute something useful and positive toward a solution to the abuse crisis.

    Why is it that when progressives feel personally threatened they resort to playing the race card and politicking, thereby exposing themselves as unwilling to confront the issues with honesty and integrity? Their lack of appreciation of the seriousness of the current crisis tends to cast them in the role of enablers of a culture of perversion and abuse.

    Lastly, I don’t dislike Pope Francis because he is from Latin America and of Italian heritage. I intensely dislike his actions which have created widespread confusion and because, on more than a few occasions, his comments have been beneath the dignity of the Petrine Office.

  17. Some interesting and bizarre comments. Note: bizarre’s origin is Italian “bizzarro” ‘angry’…actually very humorous in the context.
    For those not exposed to courses in Aristotle’s logic, the “ad hominum” arguments shoot down what could be valid comments.

  18. Cupich’s comments are breathtakingly stupid. He is obviously in way over his head. To me, he validates Archbishop Viganò’s testimony.

  19. Watching Cupich and the other propagandists spin and defend Francis is like watching the Freak Show at a traveling circus. I swear Cupich’s nose grew a little more as he deflected and played the race card in that interview.

  20. They all need to be thrown down the proverbial Rabbit Hole straight to the hell that this Pope says doesn’t exist.
    Every last one of them who participated in abuse or covered it up.
    What will be left will be a much better church.

  21. Accusing someone of racism is very serious, because racism is evil. It is from the depths of hell. If someone accussed me of that i would have to approach them. And if they are a man– I would proceed to KHA.

  22. If Cardinal Cupich really cared about the mission of the Church he would speak of saving souls, drawing people closer to Jesus Christ, helping to make the Mysteries more accessible and meaningful in people’s lives, living the Gospel more deeply. But instead his instant go-to response was the environment and immigration? If that truly is the “bigger agenda” then we are all already in the rabbit hole…and pretty far in there.

  23. I am so clad that Cardinal Cupich came out and told the truth: many of us have known that the Pope has a very big agenda indeed, and that agenda is anti-Catholic.

    • Yes Father! Silly silly me…. all these 62 years of my life I thought the agenda of the Catholic Church and Her leadership was the salvation of souls! What a silly soul am I…..

  24. He just doesn’t get it does he? The Church is facing its greatest trial since Luther and we’re going to worry about the environment and immigration? It’s not a “rabbit hole” Your Emminence, it’s the Father of Lies waging war against the Body of Christ.

  25. For Cupich to make a comment like “they don’t like him because he is Latino” tells me all I need to know. And I would love to know what this mysterious “bigger agenda” is. Exasperating and infuriating!

  26. “Quite frankly, they also don’t like him because he’s a Latino.” What utter nonsense!
    (And in spite of my name, I’m English – born there and lived there for over half a century.)

  27. Absolutely mind boggling and infuriating that he believes things like that. I’m a relatively recent convert and while I’m not so naive as to think that the all humans in the church can avoid being human, I am completely outraged by this. These people should be in jail and a man with that perspective on the priorities of the Church should be thrown out on his posterior.

  28. The Pope has a bigger agenda….talking about the environment

    Geeze, And I thought it was to help all strive for holiness to gain heaven.

  29. After reading Cardinal Cupich comments makes me wish I was living in my hometown of Grand Rapids again and not in the Chicago area. I really feel sorry for the faithful priest in the Chicago area that have to serve the faithful in this Diocese.

  30. Chicago needs prayers. Shootings every night, failing Catholic schools, dying suburban parishes, a Traditional parish in the city that had its pastor removed for “homosexual acts with an adult” (and later exonerated), and finally Cupich. He’s been blabbing on about illegals and climate change since he came here. If you think this recent statement sounds weak, trite, avoidant, and appealing to SJWs, you’re right. We don’t need the “more lace, more grace” Catholicity here in Chicago, but it would be nice if our Cardinal didn’t carry-on like a Gen X liberal arts professor.

  31. So global warming and refugees are more important than the blatant rape of boys and young men by a homo-pederast cabal in the Vatican itself, and the loss of faith to so many in the Church due to scandal?

    • agree – that had to be one of the dumbest, most tin-eared comments I’ve ever heard. And he’s Italian, not “Latino”!

  32. I did not think I could be further sickened by the sexual scandal in our Catholic Church until I read the remarks by Cardinal Cupich. I think he is a victim of “good old boy syndrome”…deflect and deny. His comments are so insulting to the faithful that it is unconscionable that he would even feel that anyone would ever accept them.

  33. I have Latino in-laws throughout my family, and none of us like Pope Francis, because we are Catholics. And I despise Cupich, because he is a promoter of homosexual activism in the Church, among many other reasons.

  34. So other than praying, what are concerned Catholics to do? Two things come to mind: i) continue to attend Mass but STOP donating to the collection and to all so-called charities you are asked at Mass to donate to – unfortunately money talks and it talks very loudly, sometimes louder than anything; ii) corrupt parish priests, bishops or cardinals should be openly confronted by the faithful and made to leave the parish AND the priesthood, by force if necessary. I wonder why these wolves in sheep’s clothing and their protectors such as Cardinal Cupich are not excommunicated because of their vile deeds.

  35. After a Pole and a German, the Curia decided to return to Italians, Hence the election of FRancis, an Italian born of Italian immigrants, but raised in Argentina, which is a country in South America, but without the Native mixture that makes other countries “Latino”. Italian is the 2nd language in Argentina. Ciupich needs to apologize for his racist faux pas!

  36. After a Pole and a German, the Italian Curia decided to wrest control by electing an Italian immigrant from Argentina, There Italian is the 2nd Language. Very little aboriginal population left, so Argentina is a country in South America, but is not “Latino”. Ciupich needs to apologize for playing the race card!

  37. With Bishops like Cupich, can we still wonder why we are in this mess?

    The person himself and the circumstances of his appointment is a glaring example of the rot within the Church.

  38. I think of the film “Liar, Liar” and how it would be interesting to see what happens when Cupich, Farrell, are struck with “truthfulness”. No more stuttering and obfuscation when asked a simple question. That would be really enlightening.

    Q: When did you know about McCarrick’s foibles?
    A: Right from the beginning. I can even tell you whose who in his victim list. Give you times and dates. But there’s no way I could have said anything because we think alike and I knew I would advance in the hierarchy if I keep close to him.

  39. I’m done with the Catholic Church and so are my three kids. I am sure my wife will follow. It’s bad enough they allowed this to happen and hid it. I am totally over the socialist, globalist BS all the political, lying priests/Cardinals/Popes.

      • The church doesn’t need us, We need the church. Saint Padre Pio. Notice that he didn’t depart when he was on the receiving end of not being able to say mass publicly or hear confession.

  40. cupich made a horable mistake by saying environment is more important than his own molesting innocent children. the most discusting thing I have ever heard. he should be out of his position imediatley.

  41. To me it is a given that CWR leans to the right. If even I can figure that out, would it not be reasonable to expect Cupich to know that, and to choose his words carefully?

    Of course it would.

    So, why would he say something like “quite frankly, they don’t like him because he’x Latino.”

    I don’t get it.

    • Cupich is in over his head and simply wants to play the fashionable race card against Pope Francis’ critics. Perhaps he chose his words as carefully as he could, but his skill set is very limited.

      While Pope Francis was born in Buenos Aires and hails from Argentina, his parents were Italian immigrants and therefore he is Italian, not Latino.

  42. He sounds more like a union steward or a tree hugger than an ambassador for Christ. i am not saying the former is bad only the church is of a higher order, grooming the eternal soul of the faithful.

  43. Card Cupich’s 2018 Bigger Agenda defense of Pope Francis in response to silence over Archbishop Viganò’s charges resonate loudly 2023. “Frankly, they don’t like him because he’s a Latino (Cupich).” The race card. Obviously, those of us who questioned Francis’ silence are White supremacists.
    Catherine Harmon’s 2018 essay underscored Cupich’s naming of the larger agenda. The environment and protecting migrants. Ecology and migration. My response back then, “What can be bigger than Europe flooded with culturally hostile Muslims, and using all means available for smaller families to save the environment?”.
    It didn’t require prophetic talent to envision what’s occurred since, the ‘rehabilitation’ of Pope John Paul’s Pontifical Academy for Life to meet the interests of globalist minded cultural power brokers Bill Gates, George Soros, Jeffrey Sachs and company. Chosen by design as the instrument for implementing change including discussion on doctrinal change on homosexuality, cardinals Hollerich, McElroy redhatted papal captains for social justice inclusion implementers is the Synod on Synodality. The great universal skyward gazing research-intensive scrutiny for an epiphany. The Spirit says our pontifical commander will not disappoint.
    We’re at a precarious watershed moment. Christ’s Gospel revelation is under Vatican scrutiny for enlightened revision. Why unease? Reason is there’s more than one spirit afloat. One that the Apostle Paul refers to as the Spirit of the Air. Known in ancient Mesopotamia as Pazuzu.

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