Nienstedt throws “PR ploy” task force under the bus

On October 5, the Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis, which has been mired in a sex abuse and cover-up crisis, announced that an “independent” task force will convene to investigate how archdiocese officials handled abuse allegations, as well as review policies and procedures in place.

Independent task force? I was just kidding.
Independent task force? I was just kidding.

The official announcement stated that “The Vicar [Fr. Reginald Whitt] and the task force, which will convene this week, will have full authority and all the resources needed to complete their work. The findings and recommendations of this task force will be released publicly when the final report is complete.”

Then, less than two weeks later in a letter to clergy, Rev. Reginald Whitt wrote “Access to these files will be within my control, and limited only to what is necessary for the Task Force to be able to make an informed decision with respect to their policy review.”

Sound familiar? It’s the same tactic that bishops have been using with lay review boards for years: make a big announcement about being “open and transparent,” appoint a review board, then, when media attention dies down, tie the board members’ hands behind their back and throw them under the bus.

It’s public relations, nothing more.

There is no way that any bishop would allow anyone without a search warrant and the swat team to come in and have access to secret files. This task force, like lay review boards, is “consultative”—they are formed and exist at the whim of the archbishop. That means that Archbishop Nienstedt never had any intention of allowing real access or transparency. He’s not even backpedaling—it was his intention all along to make sure that this board was nothing more than a puppet.

Nienstedt wants good headlines. And he will play whatever game is necessary to get them. Unfortunately for him, he was dumb enough to show his hand early in the game.

My recommendation to the members of the task force: Quit. Quit publicly and loudly. Make statements about how you really wanted to make a difference, but were instead manipulated into becoming PR ploy. Then tell what you know and stand with victims.



2 thoughts on “Nienstedt throws “PR ploy” task force under the bus

  1. Well…I live in this state of Minnesota. I think they should go in with search warrants and a swat team
    to get those secret files hidden in the bowels of the basement…Who else gets to hide secret files of
    criminal activity in secret files in secret safes in their basements?? Today in the StarTrib 2 more priest
    abuse stories. One is Mark Huberty (do I have to say ‘The Reverend’?) with an abusive relationship with
    a female parishioner who came to him for help. Another crazy story…each one exceeds the outrageousness of the one before. I am so, so sad and sorry for these people who had this happen to
    them by these criminals.

  2. And the children, families and parishioners of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis-St.Paul are supposed to rely on this approach to ensure the safety and protection of their children from sexual predation and abuse ?

    Rev. Reginald Whitt, professor of canon law at University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis – Director of Task Force, Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

    “Canon law is very eloquent on what a bishop is supposed to do, but there is no list of Thou Shalt Nots,” says Father Reginald Whitt (2002). “These (sex abusers) are criminals, but they are our criminals and we can’t lose them. Indeed, the bishops have a duty to try to save them,” says the Rev. Reginald Whitt, professor of canon law at University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis. (2002)

    “……BISHOPS HAVE A DUTY TO TRY TO SAVE THEM (sex abuser priests)…..” Well, Fr. Whitt, where is it written (no, not in text or canon law…….it is written in one’s heart and soul) that the bishops have a duty to try to save the CHILDREN ABUSED and INNOCENT CHILDREN from the risk of abuse?

    Seems like little has changed since these issues were studied over a decade ago by during the Dallas Charter Charade of the USCCB.

    Father Whitt has a degree in canon law and civil law. Which perspective will take prominence and priority when he reviews the findings of the task force committee he established to review the debacle in the archdiocese? It is humanly, ethically and morally IMPOSSIBLE to avoid/resolve the conflicts of interest from both perspectives (civil and canon law) when attempting to review and support the rights of priests vs the rights of child victims.

    Boston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Kansas City move over…………….here come the Twin Cities and their unique brand of US Catholic Church leadership.

    Michael Skiendzielewski
    Captain (retired)
    Philadelphia Police Dept.

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