On April 2, Archbishop John Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis was deposed by attorney Jeff Anderson as part of a lawsuit filed by a man who claims he was molested by a priest in the 1970s. The plaintiff alleges that the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, along with the Diocese of Winona, created a public nuisance by failing to disclose information about clerics accused of sexual abuse. At a press conference this afternoon (Apr. 22), Anderson released as lightly redacted transcript of the deposition. The archdiocese posted the transcript and full video to its website, noting that Anderson did not ask any questions about the abuse allegations that occasioned the deposition.” By Grant Gallicho, Commonweal — Click here to read the rest of this story and listen to Nienstedt’s deposition.
Bishops Need to Be Couragious, Listen to the People — Discussing a Roman Catholic, Married Priesthood / National Catholic Reporter
Many Catholics will find hope in the conversation between Brazilian Bishop Erwin Kräutler and Pope Francis in which they discussed the ordination of married men as a serious and positive possibility.
“For the first time in a very long time, the idea of a Roman Catholic married priesthood is a topic that can be discussed and is being discussed inside the Francis administration. Pietro Parolin, recently made a cardinal, was clear about this in media interviews shortly after the pope named him secretary of state last summer. Celibacy ‘is not a church dogma and it can be discussed because it is a church tradition,’ Parolin said. Even as archbishop in Argentina, then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was open to the idea, saying celibacy for priests ‘is a matter of discipline, not of faith. It can change.’”
Click here to read the rest of this editorial by National Catholic Reporter.
Click here to see the Voice of the Faithful® webpage “Crisis in the Priesthood: Conversations about Celibacy,” which contains links to the history of celibacy in the Roman Catholic Church, VOTF position papers on celibacy and its effects, and action steps toward optional celibacy for Catholic priests.
Twin Cities Task Force into Prevention of Clergy Child Sexual Abuse Reports ‘Serious Shortcomings’ in Archdiocesan Policies / National Catholic Reporter
Too much power in too few hands. Inadequate oversight. Broken communication channels and compartmentalized information. An outdated record-keeping system, and no meaningful program to audit and monitor compliance.
“Those ‘serious shortcomings’ emerged from a lay task force’s six-month independent review of the policies and organizational structures within the St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese related to the prevention of clergy sexual abuse of minors.
“‘The work of the Task Force revealed that, despite Archdiocesan policies and procedures designed to protect against clergy sexual abuse of minors, a flawed organizational structure with little oversight and accountability created opportunities for some priests to harm children, the seven-member Safe Environment and Ministerial Standards Task Force said in its 53-page report, released Monday.” (boldface added)
By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Rep0rter — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Pope Francis has created a special commission to advise him on the protection of minors and the reform of church procedures. One glaring area that must be addressed has been the Vatican’s failure to punish members of the church hierarchy who took part in the widespread, systematic cover-up of the pedophilia scandal and shielded priests from being charged in the criminal courts.
“For all the pope’s heartfelt comments, his and the church’s record on this shameful issue will depend considerably on whether Francis calls diocesan leaders to account for their crucial role in perpetuating the scandal.”
The above are the last two paragraphs in an editorial in The New York Times today. You can click here to read the rest of the editorial, but particularly interesting is NYT’s calling “diocesan leaders to account for their crucial role in perpetuating the scandal.”
Roman Catholic Bishops from England and Wales Call for Church to Allow Priests to Marry / The Independent
Roman Catholic bishops have called for the Church to take the historic step of allowing priests to be married amid growing signs of liberal reform under Pope Francis.
“The controversial issue is set to be raised at the next Bishops’ Conference after three bishops in England and Wales spoke out in favour of relaxing the centuries-old ban. Their comments follow signals from the Pontiff recently that he could be open to change on the issue and criticism of Britain’s most senior Catholic leaders for refusing to release the findings of a survey of their views on sexual ethics.”
By Jonathan Brown, The Independent — Click here to read the rest of this story.
They are expected in the Vatican at the end of next week, before the ceremony for the canonization of John XXIII and John Paul II, set for Sunday 27 April. Straight after this, on Monday 28, Francis’ team of eight cardinal advisors will reopen the dossier on Curia reform and will begin examining each of the Pontifical Councils, weighing up all the various proposals for mergers and changes.” By Andrea Tornielli, La Stampa — Click here to read the rest of this story.
The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis suffers from ‘serious shortcomings’ in its handling of child sex-abuse complaints that have allowed priests to continue abusing victims, sometimes for years, a task force reported Monday (Apr. 14).
“The solution, according to the church-ordered study, is to foster a culture that ‘places victims first’ and creates more accountability by involving ordinary church members in the oversight and discipline of wayward clergy …
“’As long as we act like these are ‘mistakes’ and not intentional, self-serving choices by smart but selfish men, kids will continue being hurt and crimes will continue being concealed,’ said Barbara Dorris, national outreach director for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.”
By Jean Hopfensperger, Star Tribune — Click here to read the rest of this story.