Canon Lawyer Calls Out Church On Cavalier Attitude

Click here to read: “Whistleblower accuses Twin Cities archdiocese of host of misdeeds related to clergry abuse,” by Emily Gurnon,, July 15, 2014

Excerpt: The whistleblower who disclosed priest sexual abuse cases and their mishandling by the Twin Cities archdiocese has written a scorching 107-page affidavit describing top officials’ cover-ups, blaming of victims, willful ignorance, lies and a “cavalier attitude toward the safety of other people’s children.”

22 thoughts on “Canon Lawyer Calls Out Church On Cavalier Attitude

  1. Over the decades, hundreds of clerics in the Twin Cities archdiocese were fully aware of the cover ups, willful ignorance, mistreatment of victims, lies, and the cavalier attitude toward the safety of children. Loyalty superseded the moral law, the common law, the common good, fairness, the well being of children, and justice. Had a cleric stepped forward as a whistleblower, it would have been deemed an act of betrayal. How morally and legally skewed is that? There is something bizarre and inhuman about a clerical culture that confuses heroism with betrayal.

    Ms. Haselberger is a hero and saint yet you can be sure that the Twin Cities’ clerics do not acknowledge it.

    Like these guys are fit to teach us something on Sunday. Really?

    1. It takes a hell of a lot of courage and conviction.
      We had one here in Australia who was treated as a leper by his fellow clergy and ecclesiaticals, I may have mentioned him before < Morrie Crocker, who committed his Spirit to God by his own hand now vindicated through the several inquiries and Royal Commission, showing to what extent the church went to protect it's image and it's financial pyramid.

  2. Rumor has it that there will be a guest delivering the sermon at the Cathedral in MInneapolis-St. Paul this coming Sunday…….HER name is Jennifer M. Haselberger.

    Hey, now that would pack the churches for sure……………….do you think that Nienstedt is up to that challenge?

  3. This is certainly good news. Someone from inside the Church has blown the whistle on the nonchalant attitude displayed by those in power in the Minneapolis-St. Paul diocese in Minnesota.I applaud Jennifer Haselberger. Finally someone who has taken that sense of moral indignation and used it against those who have lost all sense of morality. Jeff Anderson,also has been instrumental as a lawyer representing those abused by the Catholic clergy across the country. I believe that in the beginning Mr. Anderson just saw the dollar signs. Somewhere along the way he has himself become a hero for victims of clergy abuse By seeing first hand the horrible way that the Church Hierarchy has treated victims, Mr. Anderson is fighting for those of us who were abused. Money has become secondary. .

  4. Last summer, I read an editorial in the New York Times on whistleblowers. It said that liberals tend to be whistleblowers because they value fairness and justice over loyalty. Conservatives, however, value loyalty over fairness and justice. Conservatives, commonly, are not whistleblowers.

    The idea is interesting.

    In the Twin Cities archdiocese, cover ups, willful ignorance, lies, mistreatment of victims, and a cavalier attitude toward the safety of children was the culture. The culture was plain WRONG by every conceivable religious, moral, social, and legal standard. Yet, the Times editorial seemed to say that liberals and conservatives process “wrong” differently, not necessarily in terms of perceiving “wrong” differently but, rather, in terms of “telling” about it. Liberal and conservative values influence whether a person “tells” or not.

    The effect “wrongs” have on human beings is detestable, therefore, “telling” is our moral duty for the mere sake of minimizing or altogether preventing them. How, then, did “telling” or not spiral into depending on our liberal and conservative values?

    When I see myself as a liberal, a democrat, a professor, a woman, a mother, a member of the American Association of University Women, a citizen of the U.S., etc., I run the risk of evaluating “telling” based on the values inherent to and in my labels, associations, and affiliations. Through them, I search for the correctness of “telling.”

    But when I see myself as a human being, alone, minus all of my labels, associations, and affiliations, minus all of my “tell” or not “search engines,” the utter detestableness of “wrongs,” alone, tell me to “tell.”

    1. It’s an interesting idea. However, as a life-long conservative Republican, I agree with your last sentence. Telling should be a reflexive component of our humanity. What person wishes to be loyal to evil?

      1. A life-long conservative Republican, your conversations with your uncle must be interesting!

      2. Susan, thank you for making my point much better than I did.

        Today, we seem to be addicted to our titles, associations, and affiliations. When they drive or skew our reflexive response to evil, we fail ourselves and each other.

  5. They certainly are! Ha. He is also my God father. We’ve had several discussions on clergy sex abuse and faith. As different as our thinking is on government, we see eye to eye on this.

    1. Susan: The older I get, the more I realize that the labels we attach to ourselves and others are often the biggest stumbling blocks when it comes to accomplishing anything. The reasons our government has come to a standstill and where compromise is next to impossible, is we see each other as liberal or conservative, black or white etc.etc. etc.We have become polarized when it comes to just about any subject. When you talk about you and your uncle Chris, I can’t help but think of James Carville and his wife. Perhaps we need to concentrate on what we have in common, rather than our differences.

      1. Jim, I agree and I am registered Independent after being raised in a Conservative environment and educated in a Liberal environment. It seems to me that the far ends of the right and left have opposing views but similar personalities 😉 I think Beth’s post below hits the nail on the head in many ways. Also it is about how much people buy into the thought that going against a clergy member would be going against is a scary thought process when it involves child safety

  6. Call me jaded but in the end its not conservative or liberal I think that in the case of “professional catholics” its about their jobs, the food on the table and the roof over their heads. “They” would like to retire in TN, MD or Florida and not have a care in the world. I mean why rock the boat. Jesus already rocked the boat thousands of years ago why ruin a good thing now? But the answer is millions of kids and future families are suffering from this rather lazy cowardly and inhuman approach to clergy sexual abuse of children. I do agree that in the past and even now the clergy abused their positions to gain the loyalty of the lay people but less and less lay people now attend church or follow church teachings so what is left is slowly crumbling away………. P.S. You want to solve the abuse problem take away their power and money then only the humble and poor who really want to serve Christ will be left…..AD salaries should be looked at among other things…… brought up on this site frequently…….I really think all clergy should take vows of poverty……money and power corrupt but also the already corrupted men relish the opportunites at power and money the present church can supply them….

  7. From a NYT article concerning the Minneapolis-St. Paul debacle, we have the following statement from Dr. Cesareo:

    Francesco C. Cesareo, the president of Assumption College, in Massachusetts, and chairman of the United States bishops’ national review board on child abuse, said that the board “doesn’t delve into local matters,” but that in general bishops should be following a policy of zero tolerance: “The Charter is very clear that once a credible allegation has been established that the cleric is to be permanently removed from ministry.”

    My response to Assumption College President and Chairman of the USCCB Review Board follows:

    Dr. Cesareo:

    Francesco C. Cesareo, the president of Assumption College, in Massachusetts, and chairman of the United States bishops’ national review board on child abuse, said that the board “doesn’t delve into local matters,” but that in general bishops should be following a policy of zero tolerance.

    When, oh when, will someone take action relative to the evidence, facts, depositions, etc. in the archdiocesan debacle under Nienstedt which shows definitively that “leadership” has failed in numerous instances and ways to protect the Catholic children and young adults under their supervision for many, many years? The Board ” doesn’t delve into local matters “????

    These are our children……there are NO restrictions or limitations when it comes to our action, advocacy, intervention on behalf of those most innocent and vulnerable in our Churches and in our society. Sir, you are a parent, father and is it appropriate that any single one of us, any parent, father, mother, in the Catholic Church, locally, nationally or globally, fail to take action and advocate for protection each and every day for those that have been abused and those that are in danger of being abused BECAUSE OF FAILED LEADERSHIP?

    Regarding the protection of our children, there is no middle ground………one is either part of the problem or part of the solution. Any objective, impartial and thorough review of what has been uncovered in the Minneapolis-St. Paul fiasco indicates that the past and current leadership are either incapable, unwilling or refuse to put the children, their safety and protection FIRST above all else.

    Our Catholic faith has been the foundation of our 39-year marriage and without it, our life is meaningless. It is our Catholic faith, background, education and training that has been the source of inspiration and guidance and Our Lord has blessed us beyond measure. The greatest sorrow is that our young Catholic children and young adults, to a great extent, will choose not to participate in this same tradition because they are witnessing the duplicity, hypocrisy, hubris and insincerity of Church leaders with respect to the protection of our children (and other matters as well).

    Sir, both you and I are trained in the Jesuit tradition and there is no more important legacy or principle than “men for others.” Of course, in this case, it is most assuredly “men for children.” I thank God every day that I took 10 theology courses during my undergraduate education at St. Joseph’s College (now University) in Philadelphia.

    I thank you for allowing me to share these concerns and issues with you as Chairman of the US Catholic Bishops National Review Board on Child Abuse and look forward to any response or remarks you care to share with this writer.


    Michael Skiendzielewski
    Captain (retired)
    Philadelphia Police Dept

    P.S…….Despite emails to a host of professionals on the National Review Board and Trustees at Assumption College, not a single response.

  8. Hello friends,

    I wanted to write to all of you and let you know how things are going.

    It has been tuff at times and it is hard work I will not shy away from saying that. I see my therapist three times a week and I am so devoted to change. To rid a personality that a man who I thought I could trust created inside me. The one thing for me that I learned was I need help, and each and everytime I thought I could handle my abuse by myself I was only kidding myself. I had to admit to myself I was not that tuff guy who I thought I was.

    A very important event will take place for me today and I know it will bring tears to my eyes while feeling great joy inside, and although it is not everything I am hoping for it is a start.

    I can only contribute to where I am today compared to a month and a half ago to the power of prayer. From my own, from complete strangers, AND FROM MY FRIENDS HERE AT C4C.

    I will not make this long. I am still asking all of you for your prayers, as all of you are in my heart and prayers


    s something one has to be

    devoted to doing. If you look back only a

    1. Thank you Dennis, You are in my prayers and a few prayer lines. They are also praying for all who support the survivors in this crises.

    2. Dennis, Continue to move forward my friend; (Carpe diem- “seize the day”), and be assured that you are in my prayers.

  9. Thank you Dennis, you are in our prayers and on a few prayer lines praying for you, your family and all who support the survivors.

  10. Dennis, I think about you every day. Your devotion to change comes through loud and clear. Praying for your continued courage and strength.

    1. Ed: one of the comments was about victims waiting too long to come forward. At a recent family function, one of my siblings also commented about why victims wait so long to come forward. He attended Bishop McDevitt when Fr. Paul was teaching there I think many people see victims after they have reached adulthood. They don’t see the victim as that frightened, hurt, scared boy or girl that simply has no frame of reference when it comes to sexual abuse.I believe part of that can be blamed on the lack of sex education in Catholic Schools. I was molested by the local assistant pastor when I was twelve. The following year the same priest gave all the boys in class the only sex education that I remembered ever having.Back then, families didn’t talk about sex. The subject was taboo. Sex equals sin. Hopefully that has changed in Catholic schools. I know there are various things that keep victims silent. Perhaps others would like to comment on this subject..

      1. Jim, remembered being between an abuser and his victim in grade school in the 60’s. Both of us where aware of sexual violence but he didn’t realize his abuser was released so I saw his reaction as well as those I deal with later in life. How could anyone not look into their hearts and see the pain. How could anyone not understand the power a priest who suppose to be Jesus Christ and ask why did they wait so long. I see Jesus in each one of you as you struggle . Because of rapes, I had to discuss the same with my own kids in grade school. Because of trust issues, I can’t discuss this further, but except for knowing the kids, my kids were not involved.

        I went to Northeast public in the 60’s and they had the same taboos about sex. Just can’t fathom what went through that girls mind as a “man of God” put his hand on her leg.

        I still remember a priest saying the a person who was raped should not get married. Judging by the number of raised hands in that Pre Cana class he hit a nerve. He had to leave the area until we – hundreds of couples- calmed down. That was the early 80’s. Only a few parents fought to have sex education in the 60’s – my parents were one of them.

        Interesting discussion for Survivors. You are in my prayers and Though my hands are in pain so typing is a chore, I make sure that others, including those in AA groups and others are aware of the concerns mentioned on this blog. Thanks for educating us with your struggles.

        I hope someone does test the new PA laws and pursues the above case either criminally or with a civil suit.

        Ed Gunn

Leave a Reply