The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis has been embroiled in a firestorm of controversy over its handling of allegations of improper and criminal sexual abuse by its clergy, in which offenders remained in positions of leadership. Archbishop John Nienstedt, also the subject of a church investigation into non-criminal sexual misconduct, has so far insisted that he won’t relinquish his post and will seek to heal the harm done.
“Hundreds of American priests have been forced from service because of pedophile crimes, but the parallel need for accountability among those who covered up the scandal has been shamefully avoided. In promising closer attention to this issue, the pope should not overlook the church’s leadership disarray in the Twin Cities.” –New York Times op-ed, July 17
“For the sake of one of this state’s most valued institutions and the Minnesotans whose lives it touches, Nienstedt’s service at the archdiocese should end now.” –Star Tribune op-ed, July 26
“I wonder if you would also have been on the top of the list asking Peter to resign as head of the church? I am also sure that your choice to replace our Archbishop would be infinitely better than Christ’s.” –from a reader’s response to Pioneer Press columnist Ruben Rosario’s call for Nienstedt’s resignation or removal
“I know we have a long way to go in regaining the trust of our clergy and Catholic faithful. But I do see signs that our actions are slowly setting us on the right course. It is a new day in terms of how we are doing things. I believe we are headed in the right direction.” –Archbishop Nienstedt, The Catholic Spirit, August 28
“I believe Archbishop Nienstedt should ask for another assignment…if his love for us is to be believed, it may be time for him make a sacrifice and reconsider his decision to stay for the good of this Archdiocese.” –Fr. Patrick Kennedy, St. Olaf Catholic Church bulletin, August 31
“For a host of very public reasons, the trust between Nienstedt and much of the Catholic and civic community in St. Paul-Minneapolis has collapsed.” –National Catholic Reporter editorial, September 5