A War of Words?

Canonical Consultation


Jennifer Haselberger

Thank you to the many of you who have emailed me or commented publicly about the bulletin column written by Father Patrick Kennedy. As I said in an earlier post, I think Father Kennedy gets some things right. However, where it comes to me and my situation, his errors extend beyond his misspelling of my name.

For instance, I too was surprised to see his statement that I had ‘ruined’ the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. Yet, what I really took issue with was his assertion that what I am engaged in is ‘a war of words’. When I think of a war of words, I think of a protracted argument or dispute over a debatable topic- the sort of back and forth politicians might engage in. I have no interest in engaging in a prolonged dispute with the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, or our Archbishop. My interests are and always have been to ensure the safety of children and vulnerable adults in our parishes and schools, and to see that we act with justice towards those who have been harmed. Regrettably, I am not yet convinced that these interests are shared by those working in the Chancery. And so, until I am convinced otherwise, I will continue to point out those areas in which this Archdiocese is still deficient.

My post on the Stolzman file from earlier this week should be an indication of why I remain concerned, but I wouldn’t expect the parishioners of Father Kennedy’s parish to need such a reminder. Surely they would recall the Archbishop’s statements from October and November of 2013 pledging ‘zero tolerance’ and ensuring the faithful ‘there are no offending priests in active ministry in our archdiocese.’ The same parishioners would just as likely recall that less than two months later it was ‘discovered’ that an offending priest was still in ministry, and at their parish! And, the parish of Saint Olaf did not just play host to one offending priest, Reverend Kenneth LaVan. In my affidavit for the Doe 1 case I referred to a situation where a ‘pimp’ was contacting the Chancery to try and get payment for services provided by one of his prostitutes to a priest of the Archdiocese. Prior to contacting the Chancery, the ‘pimp’ had tried to get payment from the priest himself- as he was leaving Saint Olaf after having celebrated daily Mass (Affidavit, pp. 52-53).

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