When you see news coverage of the criminal charges against the Archdiocese for child endangerment, are you sad, disgusted, embarrassed, angry-- all of the above? So are we.
It is obvious to most that we need new leadership. CCCR called for Archbishop Nienstedt's resignation in November 2013. It didn't happen. We don't really understand the inner workings of the Vatican or the centuries-old procedures involved in dealing with situations like this. Can a bishop resign like the CEO of a corporation and apply for a different job elsewhere? Can he pack up his mitre and crozier and go live in Acapulco?
At what point does it become feasible for the Pope and his delegate to the U.S., Archbishop Viganò, to put another bishop in place? Is it necessary for Archbishop Nienstedt to stay until the bankruptcy reorganization plan is approved by the federal bankruptcy court or until the criminal charges are settled? Those are reasons given.
As you have probably heard, Pope Francis is setting up a Vatican office to hold bishops accountable in cover ups of sex abuse by clergy. http://ncronline.org/node/103916 We applaud that move.
But we may not have to wait for that. Here is an idea we are working on:
Can the creditors of the Archdiocese in the bankruptcy case say they will not agree to a reorganization plan that does not include a change of leadership? The argument would be that the future finances of the Archdiocese to support a reorganization plan depend on new leadership. Moreover, a plan for the protection of children is only as effective as the leadership's ability to enforce it. For effective enforcement a new leadership structure is necessary. The criminal charges demonstrate the weakness of the present leadership structure.
By filing for protection of the U.S. bankruptcy court against its creditors, the Archdiocese has submitted voluntarily to the court's jurisdiction. Can it now say the court has no authority to determine what is necessary for reorganization to succeed?
If you know any of the bankers, pension fund managers, or sex abuse victims on the bankruptcy creditors' committee, start asking these questions.
About 100 parishes have grouped together to have a seat on the creditors' committee. Is your parish one? Your parish administrator would know. Give him/her a call with the ideas in red above to present to their attorney. We will let you know what answers we get.
In the meantime, how do we sustain our faith and a just attitude in the midst of this situation in our local church? What faith leaders can we call upon to draw us together, to transcend this tragic situation in hope and joy? Do we need that, or as Minnesotans, do we just duck for cover and wait it out?
Let us know what you think. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AND KEEP INVITING NEW REGISTRANTS FOR THE LAY NETWORK! Registration at www.cccrmn.org.
Thanks from all of us at CCCR and Council of the Baptized