MN--Why resignation? Why not removal?
For immediate release Monday, June 15
Statement by Frank Meuers, Southern Minnesota SNAP Leader, ([email protected] 952-334-5180)
Finally, more than a year and a half after the breaking of the story of widespread abuse and cover up in the St. Paul/Minneapolis Diocese, Archbishop John Neinstedt has finally resigned. This is a tiny but belated step forward.
After centuries of abuse and cover up done in secrecy, and decades of abuse and cover up done somewhat in public, evidently one pope has finally seen fit to oust one archbishop for complicity in clergy sex crimes. That's encouraging. But it's only a very tiny drop of reform in an enormous bucket of horror.
Neinstedt’s departure will, in the short term, make some adults happier. By itself, it won't, in the long term, make many kids safer.
Keep in mind that dozens of St. Paul/Minneapolis Archdiocese Catholic employees are concealing or have concealed clergy sex crimes. So it's irresponsible for anyone to get complacent. Protecting predators and endangering kids is a deeply-rooted and long-standing pattern in the Catholic hierarchy. It didn't start with one man and won't stop with one man. There were dozens of church staff who could and should have stopped many of these abusers’ crimes by simply calling 911. But they protected themselves and their jobs by staying silent. They too should be ousted by the Vatican.
Virtually no St. Paul/Minneapolis Catholic employee spoke up on behalf of brave whistleblowers like Jennifer Hasselberger or joined us to challenge Neinstedt for keeping Fr. Keating, Fr. Wehmeyer, and others in ministry.
The scandal in Minnesota goes far beyond a local crisis. It's crucial to remember that basically no Catholic supervisors have been punished, worldwide, for enabling and hiding horrific clergy sex crimes. The Pope must start defrocking clerics who cover up sex crimes (like Nienstedt), not just clerics who commit them (like Wehmeyer). Until that happens, little will change.
So to us it's clear: despite new promises, pledges, panels, protocols and procedures - and new scandals - in the Minnesota dioceses, virtually no one in the church hierarchy is really reforming.
There are now, according to BishopAccountability.org, fifty-five publicly accused Twin Cities area child molesting clerics/staff. That's a fraction of the real total. Neinstedt alone did not enable, ignore and conceal their crimes. Sadly, he has had and still has plenty of help continuing the cover ups.
So vigilance, not complacency, is needed now. It's crucial that those who see, suspect or suffer clergy sex crimes and cover ups in the Twin Cities, or anywhere, keep finding the strength to get help, protect kids, call police, expose wrongdoers, deter wrongdoing, and start healing.
(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)
Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747,[email protected]), Verne Wagner, Northern Minnesota SNAP director (218-340-1277, [email protected]), Frank Meuers, Twin Cities SNAP director (952-334-5180, [email protected])