Tuesday, September 16, 2014

From Crux: More propaganda against Archbishop Nienstedt...

Archbishop Nienstedt (foreground) 

Theology professors from the University of St. Thomas join the critics of Archbishop Nienstedt.

Warning of a 'pastoral breakdown' in the Archdiocese, the professors add fuel to the contention that the Archbishop should resign, because of the sex abuse scandals and how these have been handled by the archdiocese.  Perhaps there's a personnel problems which acerbates the situation?  In other words, maybe Nienstedt is not the problem?  After all, he is working to restore confidence - maybe his critics don't want it restored?

Right from there were people in this archdiocese who were not happy with the appointment of Archbishop Nienstedt.  Local pastors who call for his resignation included - and now the theologians have joined in.  Is it a conspiracy?  I'm not sure.  Although I'm very much reminded of the anti-clericalism leading up to the French Revolution when I read stories such as this - which resonate with the complaints made by certain pastors within the archdiocese who have already called for the Archbishop's resignation:

A group of theology professors from the largest Catholic university in Minnesota penned an open letter to the archbishop of Minneapolis and St. Paul, lamenting ongoing revelations of clergy sex abuse and “also to the manner in which these scandals have been handled.” 
Addressed to Archbishop John Nienstedt, under fire for allegedly mishandling reports of clergy sex abuse, twelve tenured faculty members of St. Thomas University wrote, “Recent events have shown how badly the pastoral leadership of the Archdiocese has failed” to respond to the pastoral needs of Catholics there. 
The group stopped short of calling for Nienstedt’s resignation, writing that they “remain committed to working and praying for the good of the whole archdiocese, including its pastoral leadership.”

“The harsh light now being shone on the inner governance of the Archdiocese makes clear that the problems are not merely personal,” the authors wrote. “They are systemic, the product of a long-standing and deeply entrenched clericalism that does not have to be the corollary of the ordained priestly ministry.” - Finish reading here.

The suggestions for 'recovery' in the archdiocese proposed by the theologians are not at all unreasonable however:
The theologians suggest ways for Nienstedt and his team to “proposals that may open a path toward recovery from the pastoral breakdown we are witnessing,” such as a series of town hall-style meetings at parishes, stepping away from direct involvement in legal proceedings, and engaging more lay people in church governance.
 The Archbishop has started that, employing Timothy O’Malley, the former head of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, to fill a leadership position created by the archdiocese in response to the wave of clergy abuse allegations in the past year.  This is a signal the Archbishop is working to restore confidence - perhaps he's not moving fast enough for his critics?  Give him a chance and support him in his efforts.

That said, I'm not sure "engaging more lay people in church governance" holds great promise.  It seems to me there are plenty of laity involved as it is.  I think we need more priests and religious, but who will be attracted to religious life when they witness such division and lack of support among church people?  And what priest would ever consent to being a bishop in such a negative culture?

Pray.  Pray for the Church and the Archbishop.  Pray for vocations.

H/T Ray and Maria.


  1. "Give him a chance and support him in his efforts."

    Agree...let's also support him and all of our bishops in prayer especially in this time where much prayer for our beloved Church is needed.

    1. It's almost unbelievable, isn't it?

    2. Not really, I mean all we need do is re-read what our Lady of Fatima says about it. Some things never are far from thought but I still need to pray to trust and to hope one day at a time, otherwise, with everything that is happening right now in the Church and in the world, all so overwhelming, I might lose my faith and I can't have that...none of us can for that matter.

      Let's keep praying because the Body of Christ is suffering so much these days.

  2. I've been flabbergasted at some of the content on the Crux site, and the fact that many leading cardinals in the US and elsewhere have taken an active role in stewarding Crux into the spotlight. Don't they read what the site produces? Don't they care about the teaching office of the Church, the Deposit of Faith? What happened to the Catholic Church? Seriously. I've never considered myself the naive type, but I guess I am.

    One bit of gallows humor: am I the only one that has noticed the cascade of bad news since Apple's Siri announced that the Gates of Hell have now been opened? Terry, that may have been your MOST IMPORTANT POST EVER!!! :-)

    1. Haha! I keep thinking on the Siri Gates of hell thing too.

    2. From what I've seen Crux is very similar to what you get from the National Catholic Reporter and Commonweal. I've been trying to wean myself from these downers for years. I'm avoiding Crux because I don't need anymore bummers in my life.

    3. You know demons are the ultimate Kardashians, preening and posing for every scrap of attention they can get. They absolutely hate the fact that they have to stay hidden nowadays but it's good policy ("the Devil's greatest trick was to convince people that he didn't exist"). They also like to joke--though always in a malicious vein. If the Gates of Hell were to be opened, they would give some sorry software engineer the inspiration to post it all over the internet in some way. They would find it amusing, and it would satisfy their vanity a little.

  3. Theology is essential for plumbing the riches of the Faith, but theologians have no authority to act as arbiters or umpires within the Church. They are called to study and examine the content of the Faith but they are not mandated to tell the clergy or the laity how to act. The Bishops have the mandate from the Lord to teach the faithful.

    Golly Uncle Jed, I'm going to be a theologian! And then I can commence to tellin' both the Bishops and the little people how they should act and think.

    Sorry -- sometimes I have to amuse myself.


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