Reports of possible cover-ups and extra payments to clergy suspected of sexual misconduct have put the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis under intense scrutiny in recent weeks.
On Sunday, only one of about 30 churches we contacted -- St. Francis Cabrini Church in Minneapolis -- allowed MPR News to speak with parishioners about their reaction to the news. The Archdiocese also granted permission to speak with parishioners at the Cathedral of St. Paul. Here's what some of them had to say:
Vicki Deutsch, of St Paul: "I like a lot of the things that the new pope stands for. I wish the archbishop here would change some of his thinking more in that direction. And I personally would like to see the archbishop out of office."
David Schnell, of St Paul: "I respect the sovereignty of the Holy See as far as it goes, but we're in the United States of America. and this is a free country. It's a democracy, when stuff gets out, and the answers are wanted desperately."
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Nick Coenen, of Cottage Grove: "I see the archdiocese, rather than acknowledging what appears to be some very troubling concerns or accusations, is spending it's time and energy in deflecting criticism and entrenching themselves in a position that is very defensive and is in no way addressing the situation."
Beverly Dumas, of St. Paul: "I feel very, very sad for the church because when these things happen, all the people who are good people in the church get overshadowed by this horrible thing and yet it needed to be exposed because it was the only way that this could ever change."
Steve Rice, of St Paul: "I think the archdiocese is at a point where it's got to make some major adjustments to regain the confidence particularly of the women of the entire Upper Midwest region. By the dozens, the women that I know, they're dropping out of the church because of their disgust with the church."
Ursula Kuhrmeyer, North Oaks: "It sounds like the church is taking the appropriate steps to put the right people in place. Hopefully this will clear out and flush out any corruption that's going on within the archdiocese and that there'll be measures in place to -- to stop that in the future."
Patrick Schmidt, of West St. Paul: "So the task force that's been formed -- those who are on it will be effective. And I'm looking forward to them handling things independently. And it's a challenge. It's a challenge. So what we have done as an archdiocese is, things are getting better. God takes care of his church. And with the challenges on Friday, we found out about our new auxiliary bishop -- who's bishop-elect Andrew Cozzens, and he is a great blessing. And amid what we have as challenges, we also have hope, and he's one of the great rays of hope, so we're looking forward to that as well."
John Schoenfelder, of Burnsville: "It just seems like the one -- the two cases that are even in the news is one from 10 years ago that was completely hashed out in the public, we all knew about it. And then the other one's about a public case where a priest went to jail from a year ago. I honestly don't understand what the big to-do is about it now. That's not a new scandal it's rehashing old scandals. It's just like picking on an old wound just to throw salt on it. That's what it feels like to me. It feels like the media's chance to throw salt on an old wounds to remind us that we're all sinners. And that to me is not news."