WHAT HE'S SAYING: Well, there you have it at the top of this posting. Archbishop Nienstedt's full statement in response to the revelations contained in documents in last week's settlement of the Curtis Wehmeyer case in St. Paul-Minneapolis can be found appended to this article by Marino Eccher in Twin Cities Pioneer Press. Nienstedt's response:
I am a heterosexual man who has been celibate my entire life.
The screen shot at the head of the posting is the header from an article by Jean Hopfensperger in the Star Tribune.
WHAT HE'S ALSO SAYING:
John Nienstedt, the former archbishop of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul, said accusations of sexual misconduct against him were part of a false smear campaign in response to his opposition to gay marriage
~ Marino Eccher's report in Twin Cities Pioneer Press again
He called the allegations "a personal attack against me due to my unwavering stance on issues consistent with Catholic Church teaching, such as opposition to so-called same sex marriage," and went on to say that he saw the allegations as retribution for decisions he made as a supervisor and leader of the archdiocese.
~ Laura Yuen and Peter Cox, MPR News
WHAT DOCUMENTS DISCLOSED IN LAST WEEK'S SETTLEMENT REVEAL:
A July 2014 memo from the Rev. Daniel Griffith, who at the time was in charge of the archdiocese's department focused on protecting children, accuses the apostolic nuncio — the Vatican's representative to the United States — of ordering the investigation to end abruptly, without following up on all the leads investigators had uncovered.
Griffith also alleges the nuncio — who, at the time, was Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano — ordered top church officials to destroy a letter that indicated their disagreement with him.
If that assertion is true, it means the Vatican could have played a role in destroying potential evidence.
~ Laura Yuen and Peter Cox again
In internal memos released Wednesday, a priest with ties to the investigation said the law firm conducting it — which collected 10 sworn affidavits from accusers and others interviewed — found the allegations to be credible.
~ Marino Eccher, Daily Globe (Worthington, MN)
The Greene Espel lawyers took affidavits from 11 credible witnesses who had known the archbishop, the memo said, containing evidence of "sexual misconduct; sexual harassment; reprisals in response to the rejection of unwelcome advances." The lawyers "stated they had at least 24 more leads to pursue."
~ Laurie Goodstein and Richard Pérez-Peña, New York Times
WHO COMMISSIONED THIS INVESTIGATION OF ALLEGATIONS ABOUT NIENSTEDT:
The archdiocese [with Nienstedt as archbishop] had hired the Minneapolis law firm of Greene Espel to examine allegations going back years against the former archbishop, and investigators were in pursuit of 24 leads, Griffith said.
~ Jean Hopfensperger, Star Tribune
BUT THEN THIS HAPPENED:
However, the information discovered by investigators about possible sexual improprieties by Nienstedt — spanning from Minnesota to Detroit and Rome — so concerned former auxiliary bishop Lee Piché and bishop Andrew Cozzens that they flew to Washington, D.C., to present the findings to then-Vatican emissary Carlo Vigano, Griffith wrote. Nienstedt accompanied them.
Soon after that meeting, Vigano ordered the investigation curtailed, wrote Griffith, adding that Nienstedt "may have convinced the Nuncio that the allegations against him were all false. … "
"The Nuncio said that the [Greene Espel] lawyers were not to pursue any further leads," the memo said.
~ Jean Hopfensperger again
He [i.e., Father Daniel Griffith] says shortly after the meeting in Washington, Nienstedt convinced the nuncio that the allegations were not as serious as described.
The nuncio then instructed the lawyers at Greene Espel not to pursue any further leads, Griffith writes. Even more damning, Griffith says, Vigano instructed the bishops to destroy a letter in which they objected to his decision to shut down the investigation.
He calls the events a "good, old-fashioned cover-up to preserve power and avoid scandal and accountability."
~ Laura Yuen and Peter Cox again
WHAT THE VATICAN IS SAYING:
A spokesman for the Vatican, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said in an interview on Thursday, "This is a very complex issue and we need more information before we can make any comment."
WHAT JEFF ANDERSON, REPRESENTING SURVIVORS IN THIS CASE, SAYS:
"All roads of concealment and cover-up lead to Rome," said Jeff Anderson, a lawyer who represents 350 suspected victims of clergy sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul. He spoke at a news conference on Wednesday in which he made the memo public.
WHAT SNAP HAS SAID:
This revelation will shock some but should shock no one. When the veil is pulled back on church’s hierarchy’s secrecy in child sex and cover up cases, this kind of self-serving and deceitful behavior is almost always found, even now, despite decades of devastating scandal.It matters less if evidence was destroyed or what the two bishops did. What matters most is that the pope's highest US representative reportedly told two bishops to destroy a document that may have helped prosecutors build a stronger case against an archbishop accused of committing sexual misdeeds and concealing child sex crimes.
~ David Clohessy on behalf of SNAP
WHAT WHISTLE-BLOWING FORMER CHANCELLOR FOR CANONICAL AFFAIRS IN THIS ARCHDIOCESE, JENNIFER HASELBERGER, CONCLUDES:
Finally, the conclusion of the criminal process does not mean that all is well within the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. The failures acknowledged in today's admission of guilt are systemic, pervasive, and longstanding. It is beyond the power of any civil authority to bring about the changes that are required in order to truly create a safe environment in the Catholic Church. Therefore, we must all continue to be vigilant and to work for justice inside the Church and without.
~ Jennifer Haselberger at her blog
WHAT HE HAS DONE AS A PASTORAL LEADER:
1. Spent over $650,000 attacking the right of gay citizens of Minnesota to marry civilly.
2. Produced and sent 400,000+ videos to Catholics across Minnesota instructing them to vote for an amendment to the state constitution outlawing same-sex marriage (though it was already outlawed in Minnesota at this time).
3. Instructed priests in his archdiocese either to toe the line or shut up when he led the attack on the rights of gay citizens of Minnesota.
4. Tried to turn Catholic schools and parishes into weapons to be used to politicize Minneosta Catholics and organize Minnesota Catholics to oppose the rights of LGBTQ citizens of their state.
5. Denied communion to Catholics supporting gay rights.
6. Told a Catholic mother of a gay son to reject her son or risk going to hell.
WHAT HE IS DOING AFTER HE RESIGNED AS ARCHBISHOP:
Nienstedt's attorney, Jon Hopeman, said the archbishop recently became an outside consultant to the Napa Institute Foundation, which put on the leadership conference where he recently led Masses, to edit documents on religious topics for publication. Hopeman said Nienstedt lives within the Diocese of Santa Rosa in northern California, with the permission of the local bishop who also works on this project.
~ Steve Karnowski, Washington Post
If this story is a parable about something — say, the current state of the Catholic church — what conclusions should be drawn from this parable, do you think?