Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Letter to Archbishop Nienstedt from the "People in the Pews"

Editor's Note: "The People in the Pews" is a lay-led effort within the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis initiated in response to the ongoing clergy sex abuse and cover-up scandals emanating from the leadership of the local institutional church.

The People in the Pews initiative invites Catholics to express the need for change, their deep desire for healing and forgiveness, and their hope for a better future by signing the following letter to Archbishop John C. Nienstedt.

Dear Archbishop Nienstedt,

We are the people in the pews. We are the sea of faces you see at confirmations. We serve lunch in the gym after funerals for people we don’t know and we serve communion alongside our priests. We teach religion classes and we work the school carnival. We help with clothing and food drives. We are the ushers, committee members and envelope stuffers. We are the set-up team and the clean-up team. When the plate is passed or the rectory needs a new roof or the archdiocese makes an appeal, we give.

We have been taught well by our Church. We know right from wrong. We also know that every moment of every day we must do everything we can to protect our children. But somehow our leadership has taken a different course. For decades, you and your predecessors have tried to balance the protection of our children with the protection of your priestly reputations. Now, it is obvious you have done neither. So we are left to explain to our children, neighbors and friends how we can believe in a Church that acts in ways so contrary to what it professes. So, we have lost faith in our local church’s leadership, but not in our Church or our Lord.

We believe that now is the time for healing, which begins with your resignation. Quite simply, the trust and confidence you once enjoyed are gone and will not return. You can no longer lead because we can no longer follow. We believe our energies and financial resources can no longer be spent defending the indefensible.

In the end, we are the people who will do the healing. We will be the ones to pay the lawsuits, comfort and support the abused, invite our neighbors and friends back into the Church they once loved and strive to forgive all those responsible.

Archbishop, we encourage you to act swiftly so that we may swiftly bring healing to our community.

Yours in Christ,

The People in the Pews

To join the growing number of Catholics
signing this letter, click here.

See also the previous PCV posts:
In the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, "Regime Change is Not Enough"
The Best Path for Archbishop Nienstedt is to Step Aside
Healing Can't Start Until the Knife is Removed from the Wound
A Call for the Resignation of Archbishop Nienstedt
Priest Demands Nienstedt Explain Handling of Clergy Sexual Abuse
Archbishop Nienstedt Does "Boilerplate PR"
To Regain Trust, Twin Cities Archdiocese Will Have to Come Clean
Catholic Coalition for Church Reform Votes No Confidence in the Leadership of Archbishop John C. Nienstedt
Can the Archdiocese Continue Under the Leadership of John C. Nienstedt?

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