For immediate release: Friday, Sept. 20, 2013
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
Fairbanks Bishop Donald Kettler has been named to head the St. Cloud Minnesota diocese. We’re disappointed by this choice.
Kettler graduated from St. John’s in St. Cloud, a dreadfully abuse-ridden institution. For a decade he’s run a scandal-ridden diocese. (There are 45 proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting Fairbanks clerics, according to BishopAccountability.org) We’ve seen no signs that Kettler has learned from these experiences and handles child sex crimes any differently than most of his peers, who continue to put their careers above the well-being of their flocks.
In fact, Kettler’s most noteworthy act as bishop was to exploit and hide behind Chapter 11 laws to avoid facing tough questions under oath about predator priests. This is a shrewd and manipulative tactic that protects only the reputations of complicity Catholic officials and endangers vulnerable Catholic children, by continuing to keep secret the names of those who commit and conceal heinous child sex crimes.
Pope Francis has made some promising words and gestures about numerous subjects. But he’s taken no action that has any impact on children’s safety. And he continues the patterns of his predecessors by promoting men like Kettler who have done little to heal the wounded, protect the vulnerable or expose the truth.
We hope Minnesota Catholics will continue to speak out about abuse and cover ups. We hope every single Minnesota Catholic and citizen who sees, suspects or suffers abuse will call police, expose wrongdoers, protect kids, deter cover ups and start healing.