Friday, July 18, 2014

Calls for Archbishop John Nienstedt to Resign Grow Louder

The New York Times editorializes:

When Pope Francis met earlier this month with victims of rape and sexual abuse by priests, he vowed to hold bishops accountable for covering up the scandal instead of confronting it. 
A good place to start is with the St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese, where calls are mounting for the resignation of Archbishop John Nienstedt, a warrior against same-sex marriage who, it turns out, is facing accusations that he indulged in improper sexual conduct in the past with priests, seminarians and other men.

 As Laura Yuen and Madeleine Baran report for Minnesota NPR,

The call for change among lay Catholics is rising after an MPR News documentary showed how three Twin Cities archbishops kept quiet about priests who sexually abused children.

Yuen and Baran note that among local Catholic lay leaders asking the archbishop to step down is John Frey, a major donor to Catholic organizations, who states,

I would say if there's anything the laity can do, it's to speak with one voice to say as loudly as we can, "The time has come to resign."

Isn't it curious that with increasing numbers of Catholics in the St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese pleading with Archbishop Nienstedt to step down, and with National Catholic Reporter columnist Michael Sean Winters, hardly a wild-eyed liberal, echoing the call for Nienstedt to resign, some Catholics for whom targeting, demeaning, and excluding gays is a defining mark of the true Catholic church want to suggest that it's the gays who are pushing for Nienstedt's resignation?

Or as Ms. Ineptiae, to whose comment the preceding link points, patiently explains to us, "an opulently-funded, nihilistically cynical pressure group of non-Catholics has a political vendetta" against the archbishop, who is, after all, no worse than most other bishops in his willingness to protect child abusers, but who has the virtue of letting the gays know they're not welcome in her church whose Catholic identity is all about hating gays. And so he should stay in power and the pope should make a point of demonstrating that he will not concede to the gays those nasty nihilistic non-Catholic pressure groups who are driving the call for Nienstedt's resignation. 

Thus declareth Ms. Ineptiae.

As I said two days ago, I think Jerry Slevin is absolutely correct when he argues that the reform papacy of Pope Francis will be a complete failure if he does not meet the abuse crisis head-on — as he has failed to do up to now. Meeting the abuse crisis head-on would require him to deal with the magical theology of the priesthood — with the deeply embedded clericalism which causes the ordained to imagine that the church revolves around themselves and no one else — as Colleen Baker argues eloquently in the latest posting at her Enlightened Catholicism blog. 

And as the New York Times points out, where better to start than with an archdiocese that is in shambles now due to the lack of pastoral leadership of its current archbishop, where the former vicar general of the archdiocese Father Laird, who wanted to silence a fellow priest speaking out to defend the gays, has called on the archbishop to resign, where former gubernatorial candidate Tom Horner is stating that the archbishop has now become ineffective as a result of his squandering of leadership, and where the head of a family foundation Larry Lejeune has stopped his foundation's donations to the archdiocese until Nienstedt is gone?

But most of all, where the former canonical expert of the diocese Jennifer Haselberger has just revealed in painful detail the archbishop's complicity in covering up abuse, putting minors at risk, and lying to the public, and has challenged Nienstedt to step down for the good of the local church . . . .

The photograph of a broken cross on a gravestone at Dunkeld cathedral in Perthshire, Scotland, is by Iain Sarjeant and is from his photography website. I don't see a prohibition at the website against circulating images from the site on blogs. If anyone knows of such a prohibition, I'd welcome the information.

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