by Jonathan Petre CARDINAL Cody of Chicago. accused of illegally channelling church funds to a female relative, received a massive show of support recently when more than 6.000 schoolchildren. teachers and adults in the black community turned out in tribute.
Their message to the Cardinal was that he could "lean on us".
Speaking for the 80 parishes in the black community of Chicago, Divine Word Father Dominic Cannon welcomed the Cardinal and expressed gratitude for "everything you have done for our schools and churches during the 16 years of your administration.' "We are also thankful for your foresight in providing education not only for Catholic children but for all the children in our community," Fr Cannon said. "And you continue to support that effort although our schools number 75 per cent non-Catholic students."
The mood of the occasion was summed up by Kuchambi Myhand, a pupil from Holy Angels School. who told the gathering that friendship was like the seasons, and that now it was 'winter for the Cardinal. "Today we come to him," Kuchambi said, "And say lean on us. We are your strength. We are your friends' " A plaque was presented to the Cardinal which read: "The black community of Chicago presents this tribute for fulfilling the ideal that Catholic means universal. for not only having the courage to defy the powers that stand in the way of God's people who happen to be black but for opening to them the educational paths leading to success in this world and for providing them pastoral guidance leading to eternal happiness in the next."
In reply the Cardinal assured the gathering that he would do everything he could to clear up the charges made against him in the Chicago Sun-Tintes. "I certainly am happy to be with you
here this morning to ask almighty God's intercession: Give me wisdom, give me strength to be able to cary on with my duties as archbishop of Chicago as I intend to do." he said.
. In a separate development, a Chicago alderman has compared the Chicago Sun-Times to the Ku Klux Klan for its series questioning the financial dealings of Cardinal Cody.
The archdiocesan newspaper has accused the Sun-Times of breaking its promise to give the archdiocese the chance to respond before publishing its investigative series. A federal grand jury is in the process of investigating the allegations.