MN - Archbishop does "boilerplate PR"

For immediate release: Thursday October

Statement by Barbara Dorris, Outreach Director, 314-862-7688 [email protected]

We agree with Nienstedt: he and his staff can “do better.” But they don’t.

Instead they posture. And they perpetuate the fallacy that child abuse is the root of this inexcusable horror.

It’s not.

Priests that sexually assault adults and kids are NOT the root of this crisis. All kinds of trusted adults sexually violate the vulnerable. (And it’s pretty hard to stop them, at least before the first offense.)

The cover up of those crimes that is the root of this crisis. (That’s what enables the second and 22nd offense. And that’s what enrages Catholics, citizens and victims – knowing that prompt, honest and responsible moves by Nienstedt and his staff would have prevented others from being hurt  by at least some of the 34 publicly accused abusive Twin Cities clerics.)

And the cover up is what Nienstedt refuses to mention today. Conveniently, he focuses on just how bad those awful predator priests are, cleverly diverting attention from his actions that ignore, minimize, conceal and enable those predator priests to commit their heinous crimes.

It’s deliberate deception. It’s a carefully-devised public relations calculation designed to shift blame and attention to those who can’t control themselves (the predators) and attention away from those who won’t control them (their peers and supervisors, the Nienstedts, McDonoughs, Bairds, et al.)

And it’s the latest in a long string of diversions. Bishops have claimed divorced parents, gay priests, bad psychology, the 1960s and our sexualized culture have caused or enabled priests to molest kids.

But bishops should recall the words of Pogo: “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Bishops have caused and are still causing this horror.

Nienstedt of course has the power to change this, at least in his own archdiocese. Right now, he could turn over information to police and protect the children. But again, he chooses to do all he can to make sure this information never sees the light of day (while pledging “openness” yet again).

And since he’s still hiding hundreds or thousands of pages of long-secret church records about accused sex offenders, Catholics can’t help but ask “What else is he hiding?”

Instead of real openness, Nienstedt is doing what embattled bishops have done time and time again: hire more lawyers and pretend it's something different. (The most recent bishop to enlist another law firm to look at his clergy sex abuse files was Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City who was later convicted of withholding evidence from police about a priest's child sex crimes. That priest is now in prison for 50 years.)

Nienstedt's pablum about how “we” must “empower the community” and "we" must “educate children and parents” about abuse and being “open to research and development, gaining insight from psychology, sociology and forensic sciences” is yet another dodge.

He and his top staff are causing this crisis. It’s not the community, the parents or the kids. No lack of "research and development" and “insight from psychology, sociology and forensic science” caused these smart men in the chancery office to hide evidence of known and suspected child sex crimes.

What a head-scratching contradiction Nienstedt offers today. He says “we” must “cooperate with civil authorities. Then he basically says “I’m not giving this information to police. I'm choosing and paying my own lawyers to look at it.”

Finally, like Nienstedt, I have lost my parents. But unlike Nienstedt, I wouldn’t dream of exploiting their deaths for any of my wrongdoing.

Likewise, I wouldn’t shift blame and seek sympathy for my and his staff’s alleged inexperience for sympathy. It’s disingenuous for him to pretend that things haven’t been “clear” to him or that since 2002, “we all hoped and believed that the horror of sexual abuse of minors by clergy was behind us.” He knows better. He knows there are always have been and will always be child molesting clerics.

This is a predictable, boilerplate move to give the appearance of change without really changing.

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747[email protected])


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  • Jonathan Hinck
    commented 2013-10-25 09:57:07 -0500
    One more thing, if I may: As Fr. Tom Doyle has essentially said, efforts to cleanse the church of these informal predator protection policies are not anti-Catholic; rather, they represent necessary reforms, which the Purple Culture has been stubbornly resisting.
  • Jonathan Hinck
    commented 2013-10-25 09:18:14 -0500
    Another red herring bishops often employ is to claim that the percentage of offenders in the priesthood is actually lower than that of the general population, and that offenders also exist in Protestant denominations. They then go on to make the straw man argument that this shows that the Church is being unfairly persecuted by “anti-Catholics.” As Barbara Dorris points out, it is the protection and enabling of offenders that is the REAL issue here.
  • Michael Ference
    commented 2013-10-24 19:05:50 -0500
    Look for the Pittsburgh Diocese to fall next, and soon.

    The dysfunctional sex freaks (offending priests) have the goods to blackmail bishops and cardinals. It’s that simple. The case of Father John Wellinger from the Pittsburgh Diocese is a classic example. Bevilacqua was the bishop of the Pittsburgh Diocese when Father Wellinger drugged a University of Pittsburgh student and the entire event was covered up. Even though a paper trail exists from the diocese to the victim’s father.

    Not only was Father John Wellinger a dysfunctional sex freak; he was a skilled and probably highly trained predator. Here’s why the local media won’t touch this case, Wellinger also lured and abused the college student’s mother. Wellinger had enough to blackmail Bevilacqua, Wuerl and current Pittsburgh Diocesan head honcho Zubik.

    Sadly, Wellinger was also able to silence the family. But since this original crime, (notice I did not use alleged) at least two suicides have taken place involving victims associated with Wellinger, at least one attempted murder, and scores of other victims.

    Anyone reading this post interested in exposing the Pittsburgh Diocese may contact me at 412-233-5491. Or, we can let the criminals run the prison.

    I’ll be protesting on Thursday, October 31, at 11:00 am in front of the Pittsburgh Diocese headquarters on the Blvd. of the Allies in downtown Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh Diocese will have two choices deny my story or admit it took place. Watch for a press release with more details.
  • @ tweeted this page. 2013-10-24 14:53:56 -0500

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