Famous Last Words?

Canonical Consultation


Jennifer Haselberger

As I wrote yesterday, on Thursday the Chrism Mass of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis was held at the Cathedral of Saint Paul. However, it has not been easy for me to find a priest who was there, or at least is willing to admit he was. Reports from others in attendance suggest that the presbyteral turnout was noticeably low, although an exact number is not available. The rarely reliable Catholic Spirit claims that ‘scores of priests’ renewed the promises made at their ordination (alas, dear Spirit editors, diocesan priests do not take vows, they make promises). This is itself interesting, considering that the total presbyterate at any given moment should be around 400, and a ‘score’ is only twenty.

The Catholic Spirit goes on to report that Archbishop John Nienstedt made a point of addressing the ongoing sexual abuse crisis and consequent bankruptcy in his homily, stating

‘I fear a certain fragmentation and fracturing has been created between Catholic institutions and even parishes and the office of the archbishop. This division can be summed up in the saying, ‘I’ll support my parish but I will not support the archdiocese’.

Actually, I am pretty sure it can be summed up by saying, ‘I’ll support my parish, but I will not support this Archbishop’, but I appreciate that at least the Archbishop is finally acknowledging that things aren’t all rosy. This is a contrast to his statements last July, for instance, in which he claimed to ‘want to be that bridge between people and God, and I don’t want to have anything interfere with that,’ and ‘I think the people that know me well know I’ve got their best interests at heart’.

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