Expert: Minnesota archdiocese issues likely not on pope's radar


Despite a growing scandal inside the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis over accusations of a coverup of sexual misconduct, an expert believes the pope will not soon get involved.

Minnesota Public Radio reports that former Vatican bureau chief of The Catholic News Service, John Thavis, believes things will have to get worse before Minneapolis-St. Paul pops up on the radar.

While appearing on The Daily Circuit, Thavis said, "It may take a long time to come to the pope's attention. People don't necessarily like to bring the pope bad news."

Calls have grown this week for Archbishop John Nienstedt to resign, and some of the other top officials already have. But Nienstedt Wednesday said that he will not resign, and Thursday ordered an outside group to investigate whether any acting clergy pose a threat to children.

Nienstedt wrote, "The first thing that must be acknowledged is that over the last decade some serious mistakes have been made. There is reason to question whether or not the policies and procedures were uniformly followed. There is also a question as to the prudence of the judgments that have been made."

The Star Tribune reports that the archdiocese has recently retained legal counsel to start the process. Nienstedt is also interviewing several national firms with expertise in clergy file review.

Thavis, who has covered this issue for 12 years at the Vatican, said the situation is disheartening. He said the whole narrative from the Vatican's side was, "We're on a learning curve."

Thavis said U.S. bishops came up with norms, they were approved and later strengthened by the Vatican. According to Thavis, implementation of the norms though is up to the bishops to enforce. He added that when scandals come to light, there is a feeling even among church officials that some people haven't learned a thing.

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