Archdiocese needs restructuring

Jasper Johnson

A United States bankruptcy court recently granted the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis an extension for its bankruptcy restructuring, postponing the deadline until Nov. 30. Most of the discourse regarding this bankruptcy, which the archdiocese filed because of numerous sexual abuse lawsuits, focuses purely on finances.
 
In my mind, this detracts from the root cause that no one likes to address — sexual abuse. The church needs massive organizational restructuring, and finances are only a small part of the solution. 
 
The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has a sordid record as far as sexual abuse goes. The current Archbishop John Nienstedt and his two predecessors, Harry Flynn and John Roach, were involved in cover-ups of sexual abuse. 
 
Flynn and Roach were both members of the Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse by Priests, whose goal was to address sexual abuse problems. However, the archbishops went on enabling monstrosities. Empty promises of reform are insufficient and do nothing to address the chronic, underlying problem that led to the church being swamped by legal payouts. 
 
Major shakeups are necessary in the church’s leadership and structure. The archdiocese needs to turn over a new leaf, starting with more legal transparency and total repudiation of those associated with sexual abuse.
 
Moreover, Minnesota needs to put legal pressure on the church not just to come up with a plan to pay off legal settlements, but also to ensure punishment for those responsible for — and those who overlooked — such shameful crimes.