Saturday, October 26, 2013

More Minnesota: Recent Commentary on Situation in St. Paul-Minneapolis and Nienstedt's Leadership

For those continuing to follow the situation in the archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, a selection of valuable commentary I've read in the past few days:

1. For Commonweal, Grant Gallicho looks carefully at Archbishop John Nienstedt's responses to questions put to him by Minnesota Public Radio (I linked to this article Wednesday) and concludes,

Nienstedt answers relatively straightforward questions with something shy of the whole truth.

2. The Catholic Coalition for Church Reform has voted no confidence in Nienstedt's pastoral leadership of his archdiocese: 

CCCR expresses "grave concerns that the pastoral needs of the archdiocese will be compromised by the amount of time, energy and money that Archbishop Nienstedt will expend as he defends himself and his previous actions in the ongoing sexual abuse and cover-up crisis."

3. National Public Radio has interviewed the former canon lawyer for the diocese, Jennifer Haselberger, who states, 

I wanted them to do the right thingI wanted them to take allegations seriously. I wanted them to get offending priests out of ministry. I wanted them to be disclosing to the police and working with law enforcement to make sure that our churches were safe for children, and the vulnerable and the elderly.

4. The St. Cloud Times finds Nienstedt and the archdiocese forfeiting credibility:

Not only is it the archdiocese’s own documentation that shows key leaders knew of such behaviors [i.e., by the priests that archdiocesan officials knew to pose a threat to minors, but kept in minstry] and said nothing, but all of this took place just after the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and even Pope John Paul II in 2002 declared the church must put a premium on prevention and no longer stand silent. 

5. For Minnesota Post, Beth Hawkins reprises local responses to the crisis in the archdiocese. Among those she interviews is Paula Ruddy, secretary of the board of the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform, who tells Hawkins she and CCCR have repeatedly written Nienstedt asking for dialogue with him, and he replies,

He has told us we should find another church if we don’t agree with the teachings of the Catholic church.

6. Finally, there's Fr. Thomas Reese's report on Bishop Charles Scicluna's recent presentation to the Canon Law Society of America, about which I plan to comment in a separate posting (it's here). Since Scicluna has served as Promoter of Justice for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (and oversaw Vatican response to abuse cases in that capacity), what he has to say is directly pertinent to the situation in St. Paul-Minneapolis, though he doesn't explicitly mention that situation.

The graphic: a photo from a December 2007 vigil at the Catholic cathedral in St. Paul, in which local Catholics expressed solidarity with LGBT Catholics and their disagreement with Archbishop Nienstedt's declaration in November 2007 that such solidarity is "cooperating in a grave evil." The photo is from Michael Bayly's Wild Reed blog.

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