Earlier today, the National Catholic Reporter posted a series of amusing tweets about Archbishop Nienstedt's use of the word 'trouble' in his column introducing last week's disastrous financial report for the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.
Specifically, NCR picked up on the Archbishop's unfortunate decision to place the word in quotation marks, a grammatical device generally used to indicate irony. This choice leaves the reader wondering if the Archbishop truly understands how serious the situation is, or if he instead views the present state of the Archdiocese as really no problem at all.

It would appear that at least one person on the staff of the NCR (reporter Brian Roewe) is both an astute reader and a fan of The Music Man, and he playfully suggested a tweet riffing on the song 'Ya Got Trouble'
to introduce his article on the financial report: 'Trouble with a capital T and that rhymes with B and that stands for...bankruptcy?'. You can read his article here: http://ncronline.org/news/accountability/finance-report-shows-trouble-twin-cities.

I am not sure how far the NCR intended to take the comparison between the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis and the plot of The Music Man, or perhaps between the Archbishop and Harold Hill. Unlike the con artist Harold, who is the 'Music Man' of the book, play, and movie, Nienstedt does have a legitimate talent for music. However, some would argue, especially as we wait for the release of the investigation into his conduct by Green Espel, that Nienstedt is a man who entered town under false pretenses, as did Harold Hill. And, like Harold, Nienstedt also did his share of fear-mongering, attempting to sell a solution which the people of this Archdiocese, like the victims of Hill's scams, will never see materialize. Take it one step further and you can see the similarity between Nienstedt's refusal to resign and Harold's decision not to skip town.

Of course, at the end of The Music Man Harold is both arrested and pardoned, while Archbishop Nienstedt's fate is still uncertain.

Then again, perhaps the NCR meant to go no further than to suggest that the Archbishop's use of the word 'trouble' in quotation marks suggests the same kind of willful blindness of which Harold sings in 'Ya Got Trouble'.

    'Well, either you're closing your eyes
    To a situation you do not wish to acknowledge
    Or you are not aware of the caliber of disaster indicated...'

If only the Archdiocese's 'troubles' were limited to the presence of a pool table.



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    Jennifer Haselberger is a canon lawyer who served as the Chancellor for Canonical Affairs in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis until April of 2013, when she resigned in protest of the Archdiocese's handling of sexual misconduct by clergy.

    To receive notice when a new post is added, follow @jmhaselberger.


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