Archbishop John Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis is being investigated for ‘multiple allegations’ of inappropriate sexual conduct with seminarians, priests, and other men, according to the archbishop’s former top canon lawyer, Jennifer Haselberger. The investigation is being conducted by a law firm hired by the archdiocese. Nienstedt denies the allegations.” By grant Gallico, Commonweal — Click here to tread the rest of this story.
A Catholic archbishop in Minnesota who has been one of the hierarchy’s most vocal opponents of gay rights is himself the target of an investigation into allegations that he had a series of sexual relationships with priests, seminarians and other men, it was reported Tuesday (July 1). The investigation of Twin Cities Archbishop John Nienstedt is being conducted by a prominent Minneapolis law firm hired by the archdiocese after church officials received numerous allegations against Nienstedt.” By David Gibson, Religion News Service, in National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.
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.
“The archbishop has denied the accusations as ‘entirely false,’ saying they date back over 10 years and do not involve minors or criminal conduct. But he felt obliged to hire a law firm to investigate them.
“Meanwhile, his handling of the pedophilia scandal is under fire from all sides. This week (week of July 14), an affidavit from Jennifer Haselberger, the former canon law chancellor for the archdiocese, accused the archbishop and his ranking prelates of systematically ignoring warnings about abusers in a five-year period, while failing to inform civil authorities of possible criminal acts.”
Editorial by The New York Times — Click here to read the rest of this editorial.
For the better part of 40 years in churches across the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester, clergy ceded the floor to laypeople for the delivery of the homily — the sermon that follows the reading of the Gospel at Mass.
“The practice, which dated to the mid-1970s and was simultaneously derided by the faithful for running afoul of church law and praised for its inclusiveness, has come to an end.”
By David Andreatta, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Voice of the Faithful® posted a link here several days ago to Minnesota Public Radio’s documentary Betrayed by Silence. The station’s expanded story about the Catholic clergy child sexual abuse and cover-up scandal in Minnesota’s Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is available now in four chapters on its website. Click on the titles below for individual chapters in the Betrayed by Silence story.
Betrayed by Silence
For decades, leaders of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis have been reassigning, excusing and overlooking sexually abusive priests among their ranks. Some received additional retirement benefits. In August, a top church lawyer, shocked at what she saw, brought the story to MPR News. What happened next is still unfolding.
It all began in Lafayette
After clergy sex abuse rocks a Louisiana diocese, a newly appointed bishop develops the tactics he’ll later use in Minnesota.
The church protects its own
With the abuse scandal threatening to spread beyond control, an archbishop and a victims’ attorney become adversaries.
Archbishop makes vow, breaks it
Harry Flynn helps craft the U.S. church’s tough-sounding response to the abuse crisis, but then he disregards it at home.
Cover-up unravels from the inside
A new archbishop’s top adviser wants no part of the decades-long effort to protect abusive priests and keep their crimes secret.
It is time for Archbishop John Nienstedt to go.
Reading the affidavit of Jennifer Haselberger, the former chancellor of the Archdiocese of St. Paul, is grim. Caveat: A lawyer friend told me that a good defense attorney could drive several trucks through the document and that may be true. But, even if a quarter of what is asserted in that document is true, it is obvious that the Archdiocese of St. Paul has failed to live up to the bishops’ own requirements regarding the protection of children. Instances of suspected child abuse were not reported to the civil authorities. Clergy were not removed from active ministry as required by the Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children. Almost every page of Haselberger’s affidavit illustrates a clerical culture that, when confronted with evidence of proven or potential sexual abuse of a minor, instinctively reacted with the thought, ‘poor Father.”’
By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this commentary.
Voice of the Faithful® in the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut, in an extension of its contacts with Bishop Frank Caggiano, will send delegates to the diocesan synod to begin this fall and run through the diocese’s next fiscal year.
An article announcing the synod, which appeared in the July 15 Darien Times, said, “The process has already begun, with parishes and schools throughout Fairfield County that belong to the diocese choosing delegates to represent them during the spring … Caggiano said approximately 300 to 400 delegates have been chosen and there will also be a group of young people who will parallel the synod. Other groups represented will include immigrants, ethnic groups and Voice of the Faithful. Caggiano broke the Diocese of Bridgeport’s long-standing policy of rejecting Voice of the Faithful since its inception … Diocese communications director Brian Wallace told The Darien Times earlier this year that ‘one of the first things Bishop Caggiano did after arriving here was to reach out to the Voice of the Faithful, and in four months he has had several conversations with the VOTF leadership.'”
Click here to read the entire article in The Darien Times.
The hour-long documentary Betrayed by Silence on Minnesota Public Radio presents the systemic coverup by three archbishops of the St. Paul and Minneapolis Archdiocese, including the current one, over the sexual abuse of children in that diocese — all the while, the archbishops were professing publicly to the contrary. Whether one believes it represents lying, denial, or anything else, the piece demonstrates conclusively what has become the systemic pattern of Catholic hierarchy’s response to the pervasive evidence of sexual abuse of children by clergy. In no other part of our society would such blatant contradictions be tolerated without accountability of those responsible.
Click here to listen to this documentary.
Posted by William Casey, former Voice of the Faithful® Board of Trustees Chairman
Just two years ago, the Roman Catholic archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis was making headlines as a leader in the battle against same-sex marriage. But for the last year and a half, the archbishop, John C. Nienstedt, has been battling to hold onto his post in the face of a series of scandals, which further deepened on Tuesday (July 15) with the filing of an explosive affidavit by the former chancellor of the archdiocese.
“The troubles started in May 2013 when the accountant for the archdiocese pleaded guilty to stealing more than $670,000 in church funds, and intensified when the chancellor, Jennifer M. Haselberger, quit and went public that autumn with allegations that the archbishop and his inner circle had covered up the actions of pedophile priests in recent years and funneled special payments to them.
“This month brought new revelations, first reported by the Catholic journal Commonweal, that Archbishop Nienstedt had earlier this year commissioned an investigation of himself in response to allegations that he had a series of inappropriate sexual relationships with men, including seminarians and priests he supervised, as he moved up the church’s hierarchy in Detroit and Minnesota.”
By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times — Click here to read the rest of this story.