April 05, 2017
Chicago’s Cardinal Blase Cupich has unveiled a $250 million program to combat violence in the city, introducing the program with a message of support from Pope Francis.
Cardinal Cupich revealed that he will invest $250,000 of discretionary funding to launch the Peace Venture Philanthropy Fund. He hopes to attract other donors to the fund, which will support neighborhood initiatives against violence. The cardinal will draw further attention to the project on Good Friday by leading the Stations of the Cross through one of Chicago’s most crime-plagued neighborhoods.
“If we don’t do this as a Church, we might as well pack up,” the cardinal told an April 4 press conference.
In a message of support for the initiative, Pope Francis wrote: “The consistent practice of non-violence has broken barriers, bound wounds, healed nations—and it can heal Chicago.” The city has suffered from soaring rates of gang activity and handgun violence.
Father Michael Pfleger, a Chicago inner-city pastor who has clashed repeatedly with Church leaders in the past, remarked: “I’m glad to have lived long enough to see a pope and a cardinal who are really speaking about people’s needs and people’s hurts and pains.”