“I sometimes feel that the abbey has used us who were notorious offenders as scapegoats for the sexual dysfunction that was more widespread in the community. I am willing to take responsibility for my actions but I am not the entire cause of monastic sexual dysfunction and its … reputation.” – Anonymous Monk from Saint John’s Abbey
[Webmaster’s Note: This email was sent to Br. Paul-Vincent Niebauer in response to his participation and his quotes in an article [ Link ] which appeared in the May 6, 2011 issue of The Record. ]
While I appreciate the abbey’s need for a positive public relations article (link below) in the wake of the truths published in the previous issue of The Record, your comments regarding transparency and “past cases” are misleading and patronizing.
The abbey has not been transparent. I know it. You certainly know it.
When you tell the men coming in about past cases, how long do you spend on the topic? Do you tell the stories of your brother offenders? From what perspective? All of them or just the ones who have been caught? Do you tell the men coming in about the dozens of victims who have come forward, the hundreds of victims who have remained silent?
Do you share the insight of the offending monk who wrote, “I sometimes feel that the abbey has used us who were notorious offenders as scapegoats for the sexual dysfunction that was more widespread in the community. I am willing to take responsibility for my actions but I am not the entire cause of monastic sexual dysfunction and its … reputation.”
Do you tell the men coming in that new cases will come forward because the abbey has not been transparent, because victims are waiting for their proud parents to pass, and because sometimes, victims need time? Do you tell them that former members of the community left because of men like Dan Ward and Jerome Tupa? Do you tell them that they can touch a minor inappropriately, even send love letters to a minor, and still become prior… like Fr. Tom Andert?
I am requesting that you (1) request that Abbot John Klassen actually adopt a “transparency is the best policy” approach, and that he actually do so, before you pretend to, and (2) you not misinform the public, or those interested in joining the community, by minimizing (through ignorance or intended omission) the scope of the problem.
St. John’s will not survive if it continues to deceive and continues to cover-up the crimes of members of the community.
It’s not called being “blindsided” when you know it’s coming.
More is coming.
May 11, 2011
“The first thing I tell the men coming in is the information about the past cases,” Niebauer said. “I don’t want them to be blind-sided or to present something that is other than what it is. They appreciate that, and I think that transparency is the best policy.” – Br. Paul-Vincent Niebauer