MN archbishop will comment on his crisis today; SNAP responds
For immediate release: Thursday, Oct. 24
Statement by Bob Schwiderski of Wayzata, SNAP Minnesota Director
Archbishop John Nienstedt is a coward. His archdiocese is embroiled in scandal. Already wounded clergy sex abuse victims feel re-victimized. And thousands of Nienstedt’s flock feels betrayed.
Based on the on-going recklessness, callousness and deceit by Nienstedt and his colleagues, those feelings are justified.
Yet the 'shepherd' of this 'flock' refuses to talk about the scandal he has largely created, despite repeated pledges, year after year, to be "open and transparent" about clergy sex crimes.
He answers a handful of questions, in writing, from Minnesota Public Radio yesterday and promises he’ll write about this crisis on his website today. Big deal.
Nienstedt isn't alone. Most accused wrongdoers Twin Cities Catholic circles are dodging the media.
St. Thomas University officials are keeping silent about their alleged investigation into a predator priest on their payroll.
Accused enablers - including Fr. Kevin McDonough and Msgr. Peter Laird - are keeping silent.
Accused predator priests - including Fr. Michael Keating and Fr. Jon Shelley - are keeping silent.
Ironically, one predator priests, Fr. Robert Kapoun, has commented. He told Minnesota Public Radio that he rarely sees anyone from the archdiocese. Yet days later, one of Nienstedt’s top public relations staffer claimed that Fr. Kapoun was being supervised.
And in another irony, Nienstedt and his staff are even keeping silent about whether they've hired a Boston-based public relations firm, Rasky Baerlein, the one that helped Cardinal Seán O'Malley orchestrate then-Pope Benedict's visit with a handful of hand-picked clergy sex abuse victims several years ago.
(Child molesting clerics didn’t hurt kids because Archbishop John Nienstedt has too few public relations advisors. Bringing on even more PR professionals is bad move. What’s needed is real reform, not more smoke and mirrors. An obsession with spin is part of the self-serving strategies that have enabled more predators to hurt more kids. Public relations professionals work to improve wrongdoers’ images, but the concern should be on the protection of the innocence not the reputations of complacent or complicit.)
Add to this the fact that Catholic officials won't say who's on Nienstedt’s ‘review board’ that found a child sex abuse report against Fr. Michael Keating “inconclusive.”
None if this is being “open and transparent” as Catholic officials have long pledged to be in clergy sex cases.
All of it is more proof that the self-serving secrecy that got Twin Cities Catholic officials into this mess continues.
How does any of this secrecy and silence make even one child one bit safer? It doesn’t.
(NOTE: the archdiocesan review board is different from the new archdiocesan panel just set up. The former looks at actual cases of reported abuse. The latter is looking at church internal abuse procedures. The membership of the former is secret. The membership of the latter is not.)
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.