MN- National bishops group should censure Nienstedt, SNAP says
For immediate release: Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
America's bishops meet tomorrow in New Orleans. We urge officers and members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to censure - or at least harshly denounce - current and former Twin Cities bishops for the ongoing horrific cover up scandal there, especially Archbishop John Nienstedt, retired Archbishop Harry Flynn, and Archbishop Robert Carlson (who now heads the St. Louis archdiocese).
In recent depositions
--Flynn claimed he couldn’t recall details about predator priests 132 times,
--Carlson claimed he didn’t remember 193 times, and
--Nienstedt admitted that he never took any action against those who enabled child sex crimes and he doesn’t believe he should.
These revelations, under oath, speak volumes about how top Catholic officials are still dealing with the child sexual abuse scandal – through continued cover-ups and deceit.
Every promise made over the last 12 years by every US Catholic official - about children’s safety, and openness, transparency, and “zero tolerance” - rings hollow when prelates gather, year after year, and stay silent about their complicit colleagues.
Bishops who conceal child sex crimes are virtually never punished, either in the church or in the secular courts. So at a bare minimum, they should be denounced in public, especially by their colleagues, if there's ever going to be a chance at real reform of the church hierarchy.
At recent USCCB meetings, every single bishop kept quiet after Bishop Robert Finn was convicted of hiding child sex crimes. We beg America’s bishops to find some courage tomorrow and not make the same mistake by ignoring the on-going crimes and cover ups by Nienstedt, Flynn, Carlson and others who are protecting or have protected Twin Cities predator priests and are endangering or have endangered Twin Cities children.
(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)
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.
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.