With the Pope’s Support, Cardinal Cupich Takes on Violence in Chicago

via Michael O’Loughlin:

Cardinal Blase Cupich announced he will use $250,000 from his discretionary charitable fund to create a new foundation to fund anti-violence programs throughout Chicago, an initiative with support from Pope Francis.

The cardinal told reporters on April 4 that the archdiocese will expand existing mentorship, educational and job programs at Catholic entities and partner with non-Catholic agencies. Speaking in a neighborhood where gang violence is rampant, Cardinal Cupich said the Catholic Church is committed to peace-building.

“We are here because the kids are here, because the families are here. They deserve our support,” he said….

Among the programs the archdiocese says it is committed to over the coming months, in addition to the “venture philanthropy effort,” are a revitalized youth program, implementing “a robust anti-racism component” to religious education classes, the construction of a new job training center and the launch of a program for youth from around the city to dialogue about ways to combat violence in the city. Various Catholic agencies will expand summer jobs programs and the archdiocese will invest additional resources in its prison ministries.

via Julie Zauzmer:

Now Chicago’s violence is the subject of a letter from an unexpected source: Pope Francis.

“Please convey to the people of Chicago that they have been on my mind and in my prayers,” the pontiff wrote Tuesday in a letter to Cardinal Blase Cupich, the archbishop of Chicago. “I know that many families have lost loved ones to violence. I am close to them, I share in their grief, and pray that they may experience healing and reconciliation through God’s grace.”…

Francis quoted King in his note to Cupich, writing, “I urge all people, especially young men and women, to respond to Dr. King’s prophetic words and know that a culture of nonviolence is not an unattainable dream, but a path that has produced decisive results. The consistent practice of nonviolence has broken barriers, bound wounds, healed nations — and it can heal Chicago.”

via MSW:

The job of confronting violence will never be finished this side of the eschaton. But, after twenty years of seeing the Catholic Church defined so largely by its failure to protect children from sexual violence, perhaps yesterday will be seen, in future times, as the day the church began to acquire a new public image, as the Church of Jesus Christ, engaged with other civic groups, working to protect children from gun violence, gangs and drugs on the streets of our nation’s cities.