Note: The following is a media statement released November 7, 2013 by the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform (CCCR).
Catholics are gathering in front of the chancery office of the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis on Saturday, November 9, from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., urging Archbishop John C. Nienstedt to resign his leadership role in the St. Paul/Minneapolis Archdiocese.
“We need healing, but healing cannot begin with the knife still in the wound,” said Bob Beutel, St. Paul, co-chair of the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform (CCCR). “The archbishop himself is fomenting divisiveness, not showing leadership for a healthy Christian church.”
The action is spurred by revelations in local media of an on-going cover-up of sexual abuse by priests and possible danger to minors in parishes where they have been appointed to minister.
Since 2002 the Catholic Church has said it has and is following protocols for protecting children. Nienstedt took over the leadership of the Archdiocese in 2008, succeeding former Archbishop Harry Flynn. In his October 24 statement in The Catholic Spirit, Nienstedt admits that “There is reason to question whether or not the policies and procedures were uniformly followed. There is also a question as to the prudence of the judgments that have been made.”
Bob Denardo, Eagan, says “With the loss of the faith and trust of a large section of the community, Archbishop Neinstedt has also lost the credibility to assure us that all allegations will be given to the appropriate civil authorities for their review and determinations.”
“The reoccurring stories about this Archbishop's failure to truly provide protection for our children put an end to my faith and trust in his leadership,” said Doug Rodel, Eagan.
The editors of the blog The Progressive Catholic Voice say that Nienstedt has caused alienation among Catholics from the beginning of his tenure as Archbishop. They enumerate instances of what they consider to be the Archbishop’s divisiveness:
• his vociferous and expensive campaigning against civil marriage for gay and lesbian citizens;
• his refusal to let people of differing points of view meet in their own parish buildings and his censoring of speakers in parishes;
• his intimidation of parish workers who “stay under the radar” for fear of losing their jobs;
• his refusal to be open and transparent about finances.
“He needs to be in dialogue with the laity because laity is church. If John, our brother and bishop, finds he cannot be in dialogue, the laity needs to find a leader who will be,” says Judith Pryor, St. Paul.
Related Off-site Links:
Some Rich Minnesota Donors Turn from Archbishop Nienstedt – Baird Helgeson (Star Tribune, November 7, 2013).
Archdiocese Led Lobby to Stop Abuse Law Change – Tony Kennedy (Star Tribune, November 5, 2013).
See also the previous PCV posts:
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?