Tuesday, June 16, 2015


by Dr. David Pence

In Minnesota, Archbishop John Nienstedt and Bishop Lee Piche have resigned after a devastating criminal complaint against the Archdiocese by Ramsey County Attorney John Choi showed the roles of both men in the protection of Curtis Wehmeyer, a defrocked priest now spending five years in prison for sexual abuse of young males. The criminal complaint against the Archdiocese for an "institutional and systemic pattern of behavior" sets the stage for civil procedures to interfere with self-governance by the Church. The one defense the Church could mount as an institution is that these were crimes of individuals. If the Church as an institution is deemed criminal, this may cut victims off from insurance compensation. The Church as a system and institution is built on a purity code of fatherly and fraternal love which was severely abused and undermined by the last three Archbishops and their Vicars General. It is not our purity code, or our system of a hierarchical celibate male clergy, which is the problem. The problem was a corruption of our purity code and the brotherhood of fathers. This corruption was similar to mob takeovers of labor unions; and the mobsters all have names. The men involved clearly were not carrying out the mission of the Church to be good shepherds and fathers as they acted more like a protection racket among hirelings. If there was a man among them, he would ask that the prosecutor redirect the charges against himself as an errant churchman and not against the Church herself. The resignation by Archbishop Nienstedt did not hint that he would consider protecting Mother Church by shifting the blame upon himself. He didn't start his public ritual with the Confiteor. He assured all assembled that he left with a clear conscience.

The resignation of Bishop Lee Piche along with Nienstedt implies the Vatican request for resignations  was a direct result of the criminal complaint which implicated Piche more greviously than revealed before. Some bishop or the papal nuncio for the U.S. must have gotten word to the Vatican that this required immediate action. Nienstedt has said repeatedly he would not resign unless asked by superiors. The priests of the archdiocese gathered in Rochester, Minnesota, at the biannual presbyteral assembly from Monday June 15 to Thursday June 18.  Bishop Nienstedt  wrote to the priests: "I would have preferred to share this with you in person, but the desire of the Holy See to announce this made it impossible to wait."

One welcome 'Pope Francis effect' has emerged very clearly. There are mechanisms emerging whereby bishops of a nation or the nuncios can communicate to Vatican authorities a problem with a local bishop and an effective timely process for removal is now in place. The criminal indictment was issued on June 5. Their resignations came June 15. This incredible shrinkage of response time bodes well for the future. How the Church (regardless of civil actions) will accuse and render judgment on Archbishops Flynn and Nienstedt, Bishop Piche and Father McDonough for their immoral behavior is not at all clear. Losing an honorific office is hardly a judgment or punishment for crimes against the Church. It is also becoming increasingly clear that without the establishment of facilities for confinement, punitive labor, and penance, there will be no true reform of the priestly fraternity within the Church.    

Archbishop Nienstedt with Bishop Piche in the background


In Minnesota, Catholics are enduring a host of  media-selected progressive priests, progressive theologians, and progressive lawyers explaining  how the fall of Nienstedt may lead to the inclusive Church they have been championing all these years. They like to add that Pope Francis is on board with their project. This hopelessly flawed narrative will not last long as it runs into a multitude of inconvenient truths. Here are three:
  1. The reality of Pope Francis is that his love of humanity is coupled with  his disdain for "gender ideology."
  2. The reality that the culture of abuse and deceit in the Archdiocese of St. Paul rose out of  the embrace of open and covert homosexuality by Catholic priests and seminarians in the last forty years under the "progressive" regimes of Archbishop Roach, Archbishop Flynn, and Vicar General McDonough. The advancement of this subculture in place of the purity of the Eucharistic priesthood  was the primary reason for the breakdown of protective fraternity and fatherhood in the priests of our local church. It was not the system of a hierarchical celibate masculine priesthood which led to the abuse scandal. We didn't have that system. The priests lost a sense of the sacred in their liturgy and prayer life; they stopped cultivating purity in thought, word and action. Their personalities were desacralized and emasculated. The masculine priestly fraternity meant to protect widows, orphans, and  Mother Church was corrupted and hijacked by careerists and con men in a huge racket of employment opportunities for gays, feminists, and their fellow travelers.
  3. The third truth the media narrative will not be able to face is the personality structure of their favorite villain, John Nienstedt. His masquerade as a "warrior bishop " for orthodoxy (as the local paper called him) is in fact the costume of another repressed closet homosexual at war with his own manhood and priestly identity. Can the media even ask what it is about John Nienstedt that allows this dismal parody of a shepherd to depart "with a clear conscience"? There is a reason the Vatican in its document on the admission of homosexuals to seminaries has said that the psychological deficiencies of this affective disorder make spiritual paternity impossible.
The secular media, the favored spokesmen among our local priests, and the repressive personality of John Nienstedt will not tell this tale well. (Someone who does, however, is Mr. Lawler at 'CatholicCulture.') Let us pray the Catholic laymen and priests of our local Church shall not stutter. May a new fraternity of purity and courage be invigorated by the grace of the Holy Spirit. Like the first apostles and followers of Christ, we were scattered by our fear and lack of faith. Let us implore the Holy Spirit to reunite our spiritual fathers to protect the purity of the Bride of Christ, the integrity of the Eucharist, and message of the Gospel.

The progenitor of corrupt priests flees into the night

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