In a newsletter to members of the Church of St. Peter in North St. Paul, Father Bill Deziel called for the resignation of Archbishop John Nienstedt as part of three critical steps toward ensuring justice and restoring credibility at the Achdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
The message comes in response to allegations of sexual abuse and cover-ups at the Archdiocese. Fallout from the accusations includes the resignation of Nienstedt's vicar general, the Rev. Peter Laird, and the retirement and resignation of two top officials at the University of St. Thomas.
"It now is clear that only outside, independent investigating can get to the bottom of this and can begin to get us out of this mess," Father Deziel wrote. "Our blue ribbon commission may help get us there, but in addition to this, I believe that the following steps need to be taken to ensure justice and to begin to restore credibility to the archdiocese."
3 STEPS TO FIX PROBLEMS
Release the priest list: "The list of 33 priests whom the archdiocese believes have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children must be released. If it is not, it leaves all of us wondering who these men are, and which priests may be threats to our children and young people. Other dioceses including Chicago, Los Angeles, Tucson and Baltimore have done this and it's time for us to do so as well."
Open the vault: "The so called "vault" in the chancery offices that contains files on priests needs to be opened for inspection by law enforcement. All of the files should be examined by competent independent authorities who can make decisions as to which files contain potentially criminal behavior and which do not. The findings of this investigation should be made public and charges filed if necessary."
Clean house: "It may be time for a do over with our archdiocesan leadership. This is not to say that our leaders have not done their best to serve us in these matters and others. They have served admirably in many powerful ways, but when things get this bad, sometimes a fresh start is needed for all involved. A fresh start in leadership could get us moving forward again with all that Christ calls us to do. I realize that they are dramatic and bold steps, but I fear that we will not proceed with the fundamental change that is needed to ensure justice, and begin healing without such steps. Short of these the good faith and credibility of the archdiocese will be considered suspect, or downright bankrupt for years."
A column by Nienstedt, addressing alleged misconduct by priests, will be published later this week.