From the NY Times (large/ bold type emphasis mine - DG) a year ago February:
The above appears to be a detailed indictment of the church as macrocosm that also fits perfectly the church here in Minnesota as microcosm.
U.N. Panel Criticizes the Vatican Over Sexual AbuseIn a hard-hitting report applauded by victims as a landmark in the Roman Catholic Church’s clerical sexual-abuse scandal, a United Nations committee on Wednesday called on the Vatican to remove all child abusers from its ranks, report them to law enforcement and open the church’s archives so that bishops and other officials who concealed crimes could be held accountable.The report, issued by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, is likely to put pressure on Pope Francis to make concrete changes in the way the church handles abuse cases and put some muscle into the commission on abuse that he announced in December, whose members and mission have not yet been specified.The Vatican responded on Wednesday that it had already made many of the changes called for in the report, and that the report’s conclusions were out of date.
The report, however, was sharply critical of the church’s current practices, not just those of the past. “The committee is gravely concerned that the Holy See has not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed, has not taken the necessary measures to address cases of child sexual abuse and to protect children, and has adopted policies and practices which have led to the continuation of the abuse by and the impunity of the perpetrators,” the report concluded.The criticism came from a panel that examined the Vatican’s compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, an international agreement signed by 140 sovereign entities, including the Vatican. The panel held a hearing on the issue last month, the first time the Vatican faced public examination by an international body of its record on sexual abuse,
But the Vatican press office said in a statement that it regretted to see the United Nations committee “attempt to interfere” with Catholic teaching and the church’s “exercise of religious freedom.”
On the many pressing problems related to child welfare, the report recommended specific steps it said the Vatican should take: stop obstructing efforts by victims’ advocates in some countries to extend statutes of limitations, which now allow most abusers to escape prosecution; stop insisting that victims sign confidentiality agreements swearing them to silence as a condition for receiving compensation; help birth parents locate children who were taken from them for adoption out of Catholic institutions like the Magdalene Laundries in Ireland; and identify, count and financially support children fathered by Catholic priests without imposing confidentiality agreements on the mothers.Kirsten Sandberg, the chairwoman of the United Nations panel, said Wednesday at a news conference in Geneva that tens of thousands of children around the world had suffered abuse by priests. “We think it is a horrible thing that is being kept silent both by the Holy See itself and in the different local parishes,” she said.The panel rejected the church’s key contention that the Vatican has no jurisdiction over its bishops and priests around the world, and is responsible for putting in effect the Convention on the Rights of the Child only within the tiny territory of Vatican City. By ratifying the convention, the panel said, the Vatican took responsibility for making sure it was respected by individuals and institutions under the Holy See’s authority around the world.“It is wonderful that the U.N. has spoken so clearly about what the Vatican has done — and what it has failed to do,” said Ms. Dorris, who is based in St. Louis. “To us, it is a call for the civil authorities to step in. Church officials have proved they cannot police themselves.”
Nienstedt's apologies have, in my opinion, presented at best a shallow and superficial concern for others, and instead focused on his own experience, representing himself as the victim, not the person who is responsible for contributing to the ongoing pattern of abuse. This has seemed to me to be his chronic message, especially in his so-called apologies. To paraphrase what I see and hear from Nienstedt:
"Poor me, that these priest-abused children are complicating my life and obstructing my desire to advance. Doing my job badly and then being held accountable for it when I don't want to be accountable is painful to me. Shame on those victims for attacking the church after being harmed. We clergy, especially me, are above the law and consequences."Nothing could be a better demonstration of the serious intentions to better of the larger Roman Catholic church than if Nienstedt is the first in the dock, prosecuted in the new Vatican tribunal, in addition to the criminal charges here in Minnesota.
I will pray for Nienstedt, that he truly sees the error of his ways and that he receives actual justice.