For immediate release: Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-503-0003, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
Twice Archbishop John Nienstedt's former second-in-command suggested that the archbishop consider resigning, according to a just-released sworn deposition.
We are grateful that Msgr. Peter Laird made this recommendation but what he should have done is call police and prosecutors, like whistleblower Jennifer Haselberger did. And he should have voluntarily disclosed that he asked or urged that Nienstedt step down, instead of keeping quiet and making this public when he was forced to do so under oath and tough questioning by attorneys for a brave abuse victim.
At the same time, no one should be fooled into thinking that a bishop's resignation fundamentally changes anything. Msgr. Laird knows that in the Catholic hierarchy there's a long-standing, widespread and deeply-rooted culture of self-preservation and secrecy, especially in clergy sex abuse and cover up cases. So one person leaving - whether by promotion or death or resignation - really changes little.
We don't believe Nienstedt will resign. We don't think he should be allowed to resign. We believe that Pope Francis should fire him, plain and simple. That might make a difference. That might make other Catholic officials think twice before endangering kids, protecting predators, deceiving parishioners, hiding evidence, mistreating whistleblowers and stonewalling police and prosecutors.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 18,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)