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A Failed Bishopric: Farewell, John Neinstedt

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  • Perhaps the archbishop’s Edina “apology” is best interpreted as just a preliminary to his resignation. Boil it down and you get: “I dropped the ball on the church’s most persistent and damaging problem in order to pursue a deliberate political agenda aimed at crushing dissent in my church and exerting influence in the political affairs of the state. I am no longer worthy to lead this archdiocese. I quit.”
  • Pope Francis, The Vatican: Stop Sexual Abuse For Good

Nick Coleman, The State I'm In

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archbishop-john-nienstedtI am shocked — SHOCKED! — to find pederasty in here. 

Dec 16, 2013 | That derisive laughter you heard Sunday was the response of many Twin Cities Catholics to Archbishop John Nienstedt’s pre-Christmas “apology” for letting down his flock — again. As reported by local media with a straight face, Nienstedt’s humbug homily was supposed to be taken as an effort to come clean by a guy who seems to have missed the past 30-year history of efforts to rein in sexual abuse in the Church. Nienstedt’s words weren’t an apology; they were just another cover up. This time, it was his own back end he was trying to cover.

This was an attempt to pass the buck for a lack of due diligence by a church leader who came to the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis in 2007 with a very specific agenda in mind — an agenda that was not focused on protecting the most vulnerable members of the church but on destroying the liberal bent of an archdiocese that some in Rome — including former Pope Benedict XVI — wanted to quash. Nienstedt, appointed by Benedict to replace the liberal Archbishop Harry Flynn, was just the man for the job. He already had smashed the liberal legacy of the late bishop of the Diocese of New Ulm, Minn., Raymond Lucker, who strongly supported women in the church and recommended that married men be eligible for ordination. In St. Paul, Nienstedt wasted no time cracking down on dissenters in the Twin Cities church, his actions largely focused against gays and homosexual support groups: He supported an outfit that claimed to be able to “cure” gay Catholocs, refused Communion to gay activists, ordered St. Joan of Arc in Minneapolis to cease holding a “Rainbow Mass” during Twin Cities Pride week and even wrote a cranky letter to the University of Notre Dame opposing the school’s decision to invite “anti-Catholic” gay rights supporter Barack Obama to speak. At one point, the bully in the pulpit even told an anguished mom that she better be careful about supporting her gay child or she could end up in hell.

Nick Coleman is a Minnesota journalist, blogger (The State I'm In <http://www.nickcolemanmn.com>) and former  columnist for the Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN)

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Pope Francis, The Vatican: Stop Sexual Abuse For Good, Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, Change.org

  • Australian Catholic Bishops Geoffrey Robinson, Bill Morris and Pat Power call on Pope Francis to seize the opportunity of his appointment to establish a Council of the whole Church, inclusive of the laity from around the globe, to confront the global sex abuse scandal and address the issues that contribute to the causes of systemic sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.
  • Sign this petition Sign the petition

 

 

Child Sex Abuse Crisis of the Religious Right Grows

Sex & Relationships

  • Why should parents of high-school students feel any trust in sending their kids off to a university whose president writes a letter urging leniency for a man who molested teens?
  • Pope Francis, The Vatican: Stop Sexual Abuse For Good
  • Catholic Church ramps up opposition to Minnesota anti-bullying bill

Frederick Clarkson, Daily Kos

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013 | A few months ago I wrote about how the child sex abuse crisis in evangelical Christianity, although less reported, is at least as bad as it is in the Catholic Church. Taken together, this suggests that there is a crisis of a different kind looming for the leaders of the Religious Right, whose concern for the victims of abuse has been too muted, and too often belated when it is evident at all. There is also too often an obvious and alarming tendency to sympathize and side with the abuser over the victims. The proud defenders of what they call "family values" become bizarre self-parodies, at best, under such circumstances.  

There are signs that accountability is coming.

This week as the the world considers the life of Nelson Mandela, a leading advocate for victims of sex abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention offered a remarkable idea. Christa Brown of Stop Baptist Predators suggested a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, modeled on the one that helped South Africans put the horrors of apartheid behind them, might also help the Southern Baptist Convention come to grips with it's child sex abuse scandal.  She thinks that Baptist leaders have been long on reconciliation and short on truth, and that maybe a comprehensive effort at both might help.

Frederick Clarkson is Senior Fellow at Political Research Associates. He has written about politics and religion for thirty years. 

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Related:

Pope Francis, The Vatican: Stop Sexual Abuse For Good, Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, Change.org 

  • Australian Catholic Bishops Geoffrey Robinson, Bill Morris and Pat Power call on Pope Francis to seize the opportunity of his appointment to establish a Council of the whole Church, inclusive of the laity from around the globe, to confront the global sex abuse scandal and address the issues that contribute to the causes of systemic sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.
  • Sign the PetitionSign this petition
     

Catholic Church ramps up opposition to Minnesota anti-bullying bill, Beth Hawkins, MinnPost

  • “All we are asking folks to do is to make sure a school setting is safe and allows a child to learn,” Senator [Scott] Dibble" — a Minneapolis DFLer and the chief author of both the same-sex marriage bill and Safe Schools said. “Why should it be so hard to make sure kids are not singled out for harassment?
  • “The archdiocese has done nothing to sit down and problem-solve what would be best for kids,” Dibble concluded. “The truth is bullying is a problem we have to solve. It happens every day and it is a real problem.”

The pope vs. the bishops: Challenges to building a church for the poor

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  • Pope Francis has won over many with doctrine-based economic populism. Why is he so alone among Catholic leadership?
  • 5 reasons you should stay off the Pope Francis bandwagon

Vinnie Rotondaro, Salon 

 

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pope_francisPope Francis celebrates a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican, Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini) (Credit: Andrew Medichini) 

 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013 | In under a year, Pope Francis has managed to rouse and inspire Catholics across the world with his calls of a “church for the poor.” He has done this without making any changes to church doctrine.

 

Last week, Francis continued his populist charge, releasing a powerful papal exhortation titled “Evangelii Gaudium.” The document decries economic inequality as “the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation,” ideologies, like trickle down economics, that “reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control.”

 

Vinnie Rotondaro is a Salon writer living in Brooklyn, NY

 

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5 reasons you should stay off the Pope Francis bandwagon, Timothy McGrath, GlobalPost

  • He loves the sick and the poor. He lives a simple life that reflects his values. He has criticized the Catholic church for its alienating obsession with social issues. And he has called out global capitalism for the greed it has produced and the social devastation it has wrought.
  • Sounds good? Not so fast.
  • The shame of the Catholic workplace
  • Pope Francis, The Vatican: Stop Sexual Abuse For Good

From Rome, Five Basic Insights on Inequality

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  • In plain yet powerful language, Pope Francis is challenging the givens of our deeply unequal world - and helping inspire resistance to it.
  • Where the Minimum Wage Would Be If It Kept Pace with The Earnings of the 1%

Sam Pizzigati, Inequality.org

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pope-francisA new exhortation from Pope Francis offers a wide-ranging condemnation of the economic gaps that divide us.

Sunday, 01 December 2013 | Sometimes you don’t have to say anything “new” to make news. Consider, for instance, the “apostolic exhortation” the Vatican released last Tuesday.

This statement from Pope Francis, observers note, didn’t really break any bold new theological ground. But the Pope’s exhortation, the first all his own since he stepped onto the world stage last March, still made front pages the world over — and fully merited all that attention.

Veteran labor journalist and Institute for Policy Studies associate fellow Sam Pizzigati edits Too Much, a weekly newsletter on excess and inequality.

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minimumwagefeatureWhere the Minimum Wage Would Be If It Kept Pace with The Earnings of the 1%, by Alan Pyke, Think Progress 

December 1, 2013 | If the minimum wage had grown at the same rate since 1960 as the earnings of the top 1 percent of Americans, the federal wage floor would be more than triple the current hourly minimum of $7.25.

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5 reasons you should stay off the Pope Francis bandwagon

Belief Banner

  • He loves the sick and the poor. He lives a simple life that reflects his values. He has criticized the Catholic church for its alienating obsession with social issues. And he has called out global capitalism for the greed it has produced and the social devastation it has wrought.
  • Sounds good? Not so fast.
  • The shame of the Catholic workplace
  • Pope Francis, The Vatican: Stop Sexual Abuse For Good

Timothy McGrath, GlobalPost

This article is made possible with the generous contributions of all reader supported Evergreene Digest readers like you. Thank you!

Pope FrancisNov 18, 2013 | This week GlobalPost showed why so many people are digging on Pope Francis. He loves the sick and the poor. He lives a simple life that reflects his values. He has criticized the Catholic church for its alienating obsession with social issues. And he has called out global capitalism for the greed it has produced and the social devastation it has wrought.

Sounds good? Not so fast.

Here are some reasons we should think twice before hopping on the Pope Francis bandwagon.

Timothy McGrath is a contributor to GlobalPost

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The shame of the Catholic workplace, Jim Smith, Minneapolis (MN) StarTribune

  • Even as the pope moderates, discriminatory practices continue.
  • Can Pope Francis Change the Church?

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Pope Francis, The Vatican: Stop Sexual Abuse For Good, Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, Change.org

  • Australian Catholic Bishops Geoffrey Robinson, Bill Morris and Pat Power call on Pope Francis to seize the opportunity of his appointment to establish a Council of the whole Church, inclusive of the laity from around the globe, to confront the global sex abuse scandal and address the issues that contribute to the causes of systemic sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.
  • Sign this petition

A Petition Asking Archbishop Nienstedt to Resign

  • We believe that now is the time for healing, which begins with your resignation. Quite simply, the trust and confidence you once enjoyed are gone and will not return. You can no longer lead because we can no longer follow. We believe our energies and financial resources can no longer be spent defending the indefensible.
  • I affirm this petition.

  • Answer the survey based on the Vatican questions sent to bishops

Tom HayesThe People in the Pews

Thanks to Evergreene Digest reader Catholic Coalition for Church Reform for this contribution.

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November 15, 2013 | Dear Archbishop Nienstedt,

We are the people in the pews. We are the sea of faces you see at confirmations. We serve lunch in the gym after funerals for people we don’t know and we serve communion alongside our priests. We teach religion classes and we work the school carnival. We help with clothing and food drives. We are the ushers, committee members and envelope stuffers. We are the set-up team and the clean-up team. When the plate is passed or the rectory needs a new roof or the archdiocese makes an appeal, we give.

We have been taught well by our Church. We know right from wrong. We also know that every moment of every day we must do everything we can to protect our children. But somehow our leadership has taken a different course. For decades, you and your predecessors have tried to balance the protection of our children with the protection of your priestly reputations. Now, it is obvious you have done neither. So we are left to explain to our children, neighbors and friends how we can believe in a Church that acts in ways so contrary to what it professes. So, we have lost faith in our local church’s leadership, but not in our Church or our Lord.

I affirm this petition.

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Answer the survey based on the Vatican questions sent to bishops, The Future Church

  • If you want input into the Bishops' Synod on the Family scheduled for October 2014, answer the survey based on the Vatican questions sent to bishops.  
  • The sponsoring organizations include: American Catholic Council, Call To Action, Catholic Church Reform, CORPUS, DignityUSA, Federation of Christian Ministries/Roman Catholic Faith Community Council, Fortunate Families, FutureChurch, New Ways Ministry, RAPPORT, Roman Catholic WomenPriests, Southeastern Pennsylvania Women's Ordination Conference, Voice of the Faithful, Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER), and Women's Ordination Conference.

The Radical Christian Right and the War on Government

  • The rise of Christian fascism is aided by our complacency. The longer we fail to openly denounce and defy bankrupt liberalism, the longer we permit corporate power to plunder the nation and destroy the ecosystem, the longer we stand slack-jawed before the open gates of the city waiting meekly for the barbarians, the more we ensure their arrival.
  • How these gibbering numbskulls came to dominate Washington.

Chris Hedges, Truthdig

This article is made possible with the generous contributions of all reader supported Evergreene Digest readers like you. Thank you!

Oct 6, 2013 | There is a desire felt by tens of millions of Americans, lumped into a diffuse and fractious movement known as the Christian right, to destroy the intellectual and scientific rigor of the Enlightenment, radically diminish the role of government to create a theocratic state based on “biblical law,” and force a recalcitrant world to bend to the will of an imperial and “Christian” America. Its public face is on display in the House of Representatives. This ideology, which is the driving force behind the shutdown of the government, calls for the eradication of social “deviants,” beginning with gay men and lesbians, whose sexual orientation, those in the movement say, is a curse and an illness, contaminating the American family and the country. Once these “deviants” are removed, other “deviants,” including Muslims, liberals, feminists, intellectuals, left-wing activists, undocumented workers, poor African-Americans and those dismissed as “nominal Christians”—meaning Christians who do not embrace this peculiar interpretation of the Bible—will also be ruthlessly repressed. The “deviant” government bureaucrats, the “deviant” media, the “deviant” schools and the “deviant” churches, all agents of Satan, will be crushed or radically reformed. The rights of these “deviants” will be annulled. “Christian values” and “family values” will, in the new state, be propagated by all institutions. Education and social welfare will be handed over to the church. Facts and self-criticism will be replaced with relentless indoctrination.

Chris Hedges is an American journalist, author, and war correspondent, specializing in American and Middle Eastern politics and societies. He is currently a senior fellow at The Nation Institute in New York City.

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Related:

How these gibbering numbskulls came to dominate Washington, George Monbiot, Guardian

How was it allowed to happen? How did politics in the US come to be dominated by people who make a virtue out of ignorance? Was it charity that has permitted mankind's closest living relative to spend two terms as president? How did Sarah Palin, Dan Quayle and other such gibbering numbskulls get to where they are? How could Republican rallies in 2008 be drowned out by screaming ignoramuses insisting that Barack Obama was a Muslim and a terrorist?

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