Monday, June 15, 2015

CCCR Responds to Archbishop Nienstedt's Resignation

As a co-founder and current board member of the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform (CCCR), I wholeheartedly agree with and support the following media release issued earlier today in response to news of the resignations of Archbishop John C. Nienstedt and Bishop Lee Piché of the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis.

The Catholic Coalition for Church Reform and the Council of the Baptized welcome the news of the resignations of Archbishop Nienstedt and Bishop Lee Piché. Healing can now begin.

Leadership change will not be enough, though: this diocese, and the Church as a whole, needs to shed the cloak of clericalism and adopt a new attitude of inclusiveness. The faithful need to step up and play active roles in the governance of our Church as prescribed by the Open Windows principles of the Second Vatican Council.

CCCR has called for the re-establishment and empowerment of an effective Archdiocesan Pastoral Council to consult with and to guide the bishops, and for the adoption of the Standards of the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management, the same standards of accountability and transparency in governance and management adopted by many of our parishes.

CCCR has already submitted to the Papal Nuncio, the Pope’s representative in Washington, DC, the names of proven senior pastors in our diocese who are outstanding candidates to be named bishop. Rome needs to hear the voices of experience and judgment of local Catholics in the selection of our next leader.

For more information, contact Bob Beutel, CCCR co-chair at 651-324-0577 or

The Catholic Coalition for Church Reform is an organization in the Twin Cities metropolitan area that envisions a church fully alive, locally and universally, that radiates Jesus’ core teaching of radical equality, unabashed inclusivity, and transforming love.

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Roman Catholicism's Fundamental Problem: The Cultic Priesthood and Its "Diseased System" of Clericalism
Paul Lakeland on How the Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal Reveals a Crisis of Leadership
Has Archbishop Nienstedt's "Shadow" Finally Caught Up With Him?
It's Time for Nienstedt to Resign
Time for a Fresh Start in the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis
In the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, the Unravelment Continues

Related Off-site Links:
Archbishop Nienstedt Resigns After Twin Cities Archdiocese Charged with Failing Children – Joshua J. McElwee (National Catholic Reporter, June 15, 2015).
Archbishop Nienstedt Resigns – Grant Gallicho (Commonweal, June 15, 2015).
Archbishop Nienstedt Resigns After Sex Abuse Coverup Charges Against Archdiocese – Inés San Martín (Crux, June 15, 2015).
Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt Resigns After Charges Over Abuse Scandal – David Gibson (Religion News Service, June 15, 2015).
In Twin Cities, A Clean Sweep – Archbishop and Auxiliary Take the Fall – Rocco Palmo (Whispers in the Loggia, June 15, 2015).
Minnesota Bishops Resign in Vatican Crackdown on Sex Abuse by Priests – Stephanie Kirchgaessner (The Guardian, June 15, 2015).
Catholic Archbishop and Aide Resign in Minnesota Over Sexual Abuse Scandal – Mark S. Getzfred and Mitch Smith (New York Times, June 15, 2015).
Minnesota Archbishop Steps Down After Rocky Term – Amy Foriti (The Associated Press via Yahoo! News, June 15, 2015).
John Nienstedt, Archbishop of St. Paul, Resigns After Archdiocese Charged with Cover-Up – The Associate Press via NBC News (June 15, 2015).
Profile: Archbishop Bernard Hebda, Temporary Caretaker of the Twin Cities Archdiocese – Tom Scheck and Jon Collins (MPR News, June 15, 2015).
In the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, "Regime Change is Not Enough" – Bob Beutel (The Progressive Catholic Voice, November 10, 2013).


Gail said...

I am sorry about Lee Piche. I always liked him and he seemed like a very decent man. He was very committed to ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue. I think it shows how the system is really the problem: all that stupid, patriarchal, hierarchical, obedience loving structure. It took a woman to crack it open. No wonder they don't let them in the priesthood. The whole thing would unravel.

Greg said...

The Archbishop of San Francisco is cut from the same cloth as Nienstedt, and is causing damage to the Church in the Bay Area. Hope he's the next to go.

McAuley Hentges said...

Minnesota Public Radio has consistently had the best investigative coverage of the clergy sex abuse scandal in the St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese. Once again, their coverage provides excellent background and context for today's announcement of Nienstedt's resignation.

The story that Ms. Hasselberger tells of the young woman writing to Nienstedt about having been conceived by in vitro fertilization, and his response that he was "uncomfortable" confirming her, is heart rending. The truth is that there are so many more stories of this level of pastoral callousness.

When I first heard the news I thought, "If anyone uses the words 'healing' and 'closure,' I'm going to puke." The hurt to individuals, families, and parish communities, and the damage to the church's infrastructure will take a long time to mend. It will only come about if the Vatican sends progressive leadership willing to make significant changes in governance, accountability, transparency, and lay participation. There will have to be a major shift from the model of top down hierarchical control, a morality based on policing the smallest infractions against everything from sexual practice to liturgical rubrics, to a model of subsidiarity, community, inclusiveness, and respect for a diversity of local practices.