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Whoa! Archbishop Nienstedt Steps Aside After Accusation

Archbishop Nienstedt of MSP has stepped down from public ministry, handing all of his duties to the auxiliary Bishop following an accusation, that the Archbishop denies, of inappropriate touching of a minor male on the buttocks during post confirmation picture taking.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.

The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis today announced that an allegation has been brought by a mandated reporter within the Church to the St. Paul Police of inappropriate touching of a minor male on the buttocks by Archbishop John Nienstedt. The single incident is alleged to have occurred in 2009 during a group photography session with the archbishop following a confirmation ceremony. Archbishop Nienstedt emphatically denies the allegation. Upon learning of the allegation last week, the archdiocese instructed the mandated reporter to make the matter known to the police. The archbishop and the archdiocese stand ready to cooperate fully with the St. Paul Police.

After consultation with the Holy Father’s ambassador to the United States (the papal nuncio), the archbishop will voluntarily step aside from all public ministry while this matter is being investigated, effective immediately. Auxiliary Bishop Lee Piché, in his role as a vicar general, will cover all of the archbishop’s public duties during this time. Father Charles Lachowitzer continues in his position as a vicar general and moderator of the curia.

The archdiocese is mindful of the due process concerns of those involved. There must be justice and due consideration of the rights and dignity of every human person, both the individual involved and the archbishop. This is not only the bedrock of our beliefs as Catholics, but also of the justice system of our country.

The steps taken in response to the allegation against the archbishop demonstrate and reaffirm the archdiocese’s commitment to disclosure. These steps further confirm that all within the archdiocese will be subject to the internal policies we have established. This is the position of the archdiocese and the archbishop himself. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the individual involved and the archbishop as justice is pursued and all may move forward on a path toward healing.

The first priority of the archdiocese is to create and maintain safe environments where the Gospel of Jesus Christ can flourish. This starts with creating an environment for and implementing productive steps to promote a healthy clergy. It also means ensuring that clergy, employees, volunteers, and the young are aware of healthy boundaries and the societal problem of sexual abuse.
While you certainly never know for sure these days, it seems very strange that an Archbishop would inappropriately touch a person's buttocks with a whole group of people in observance and camera's snapping away and the take 4 years to come to light.

But like I said, you never know.

ht Deacon's Bench

*subhead*What the...*subhead*

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Tony de New York said...

I will pray for the bishop and the accuser.

Mack Hall, HSG said...

If innocent, the bishop should have stood in front, not aside.

Charles said...

I would bet the farm that these allegations are false. There's a bit of a witch-hunt going on here currently in the archdiocese of Minneapolis/St. Paul. This all began with the last election cycle when Archbishop Nienstedt fought vociferously for the amendment to define traditional marriage. The pro-gay-marriage movement and media have had it out for him ever since, even after so-called "gay marriage" was made the law of the land here earlier this year.

Late this past summer, a couple of sex abuse scandals came to light and the involved priests have stepped down. The Arch-diocese was then forced to release the names of priests accused of sexual abuse over the last several decades. There was blood in the water, so the media and several liberal priests have been calling for the Archbishop to resign (despite the fact that the released cover-ups happened before his time). And now, this current accusation coincidentally arises, and the details seem quite dubious.

Capt. Morgan said...

Typical New Church witch hunt. Had he been Cardinal Wuerl, or Mahoney, not so much as a squeak.

Nan said...

All I want for Christmas is my Bishop back. Thank you for your prayers for Abp. and his accuser. Please also pray for Archdiocese; this whole thing has been traumatic for priests and laity alike.

Margaret said...

Praying for a Daniel to catch the accuser in his fine lie.

Katalina said...

I repeat what I said yesterday about this kind of news wait until the facts are in he is innocent in the eyes of the law until proven guilty remember this also happened to Joseph Bernadine and Father Gordon McRae who has the site These Stone Walls. He is serving a 70 hear sentence for a crime he did not do. I myself also doubt he is guilty because he has denied it. Pray for him.

ANNE said...

In order to stop ALL FALSE allegations, any liars should be sued for defamation of character and any other charges permitted by law.

Take them for all they are worth to teach a lesson to them and to others.

MaryW said...

I'm with Charles on this. Sounds very fishy. In the meantime until this is sorted out, my prayers for the Archbishop and the Archdiocese.

Matt Swaim said...

Do you have any idea how many butts I've touched inadvertently in group photos? Some are just plain old impossible to avoid. Just saying.

Maureen said...

somebody smells money... deep church pockets. I support the Archbishop. This claim is the most outrageous ever. I agree the accuser should be sued.

Chris said...

I live on the border between the Diocese of Winona and the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, both of which have recently released the names of "credibly accused priests". All of them were removed from ministry and many are already deceased. Archbishop Nienstedt has made several statements to the faithful (I got a letter from him yesterday!) reiterating his commitment to safety, trust, and healing these wounds. To have the shepherd himself now standing accused is just sickening. Satan is hard at work in our local Church. Please pray for the Minnesota faithful and our leaders!

Lynn said...

I've been goosed more than once in group photos in church. It never once occurred to me to get a priest to step down because of it. My first thought was that you're talking about a group of high schoolers who are probably feeling relieved and a bit silly now that it's all over but the photo op, and one of them may have pinched somebody's butt and then played innocent.

Lynda said...

To publicise such an allegation before investigation is clearly unjust, and damages a reputation even though innocence may be later found. His natural and constitutional rights have been breached by publication of an unsubstantiated, easily-made allegation. There is a denial of due process - he doesn't even know who his accuser is! The Church should not accept such tyrannical policies. One must be presumed innocent till proven guilty. Where is the criminal procedure?? This should not have been published. It is extremely prejudicial. The Church is supposed to uphold the natural moral law in its formal actions and policies; by flagrantly breaching the natural rights of a person they are bringing the Church into disrepute and endangering souls.

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