Chicago archbishop speaks at clergy abuse summit as new scandal surfaces back home

Chicago archbishop speaks at sex abuse summit

The Archbishop of Chicago spoke Friday morning at the Vatican's summit on clergy sex abuse as a new scandal surfaced back at home. Cardinal Blase Cupich called for accountability for priest sex abuse and said the church "demands a mindset that categorically rejects cover-ups" created out of fear of legal ramifications or scandal. It comes as the Chicago archdiocese admits "a very small number of priests have fathered children" and "four remain priests in the archdiocese."

The archdiocese told CBS News the last time a priest there fathered a child was nearly 20 years ago and that financial support was provided for each child through college age. That revelation came after we interviewed Cardinal Cupich. He didn't address the issue Friday morning.

Before speaking to nearly 200 Catholic leaders, Cardinal Cupich sat down with CBS News correspondent Nikki Battiste.

"The meeting really, I think, is off to a good start where the Holy Father had a very, I think, very strong introduction, welcoming people and then giving the number of points in which he wanted us to look at as we move forward," Cupich said of the summit. 

Some of those "reflection points" the pope provided include establishing "specific protocols for handling accusations against bishops" and creating groups comprised of both clerics and lay-people for victims who want to report any crimes. 
 
"It's clear to me that where the Holy Father is going on this and what I'm hearing from the other bishops is that there are going to be concrete procedures, concrete steps," Cupich said.
 
That's what dozens of survivors who followed the bishops to Rome are looking for, demanding the church adopt reforms to punish not only priests who abuse children but also bishops who cover it up.

Asked if the cover-up is more of a focus at this summit, he said, "The Holy Father has made it very clear … that if someone mishandles this, even if it's not out of malice or their fault -- objectively if they mess it up they are going to be risking being removed from office."

At the summit, church leaders watched video testimony from several survivors.
 
"I don't think there was a person in the room who did not feel a sense of urgency but also disgust at what they said," said Cupich, who spoke with other victims privately.  "It was very enlightening … I encourage them to keep speaking. We need to hear their voices, they're the ones who have got us here."

The summit is scheduled to end Sunday but Cardinal Cupich told CBS News the pope has now asked him and other members of the organizing committee to stay for an extra couple days after the summit ends. He said that's when they will meet with senior Vatican officials to discuss implementing those concrete measures the pope wants.