Posts Tagged Archbishop John Nienstedt

Twin Cities’ Hebda: Archdiocese’s response to abuse allegations was a failure not a crime / National Catholic Reporter

In the wake of the dismissal of criminal charges, the head of the St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese is maintaining its legal innocence in its response to abuse allegations concerning former priest Curtis Wehmeyer, drawing a distinct line between a failure and a crime.

“In addition, Archbishop Bernard Hebda stated he will not release the investigative report into sexual misconduct allegations raised against his predecessor Archbishop John Nienstedt, calling it ‘unwise’ at this point.

“Hebda made the comments Tuesday (Aug. 2) in a column and interview published in the archdiocesan newspaper. They came nearly two weeks after the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office ended its criminal case against the archdiocese after it agreed to include an admission of wrongdoing into an earlier civil settlement along with several additional provisions.

“The criminal case, brought last summer and soon followed by the resignations of Nienstedt and Auxiliary Bishop Lee Piché, alleged that the archdiocese failed to protect children in relation to three minors sexually abused by Wehmeyer, a priest in the Twin Cities before he was laicized in March 2015. He is currently in prison in Wisconsin.

“‘To be clear, the archdiocese failed the victims of Curtis Wehmeyer and their family — and for that we are deeply sorry,’ Hebda said in the column published in The Catholic Spirit.

“He continued: ‘A failure, however, isn’t the same as a crime. That is a legal question, not a moral question … Committing a crime implies a criminal intent and is something altogether different from failing.'”

By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Archbishop controversy shows blind spots remain in Catholic hierarchy / MLive.com

What were they thinking?

“Did the officials in Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo really see it as no big deal to bring in John Nienstedt, the former St. Paul and Minneapolis archbishop, as a visiting priest at St. Philip parish in Battle Creek?

“They truly didn’t anticipate this would blow up into a big controversy, one likely to end badly?

“Nobody considered whether this would underscore — once again — the inexplicable obtuseness of Church officials in regards to issues around clergy sex abuse?”

By Julie Mack, MLive.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Catholics, community react to priest’s arrival amid sex abuse backdrop / Kalamazoo Gazette/MCLive.com

” … When Archbishop John Nienstedt celebrated three Masses at St. Philip Catholic Church this weekend (Jan. 17), he was merely helping out his old friend Fr. John Fleckenstein, who is ill. He plans to continue to help as needed for about a six months …

“Nienstedt may have passed muster with church leaders. But many parents, community members and former victims of sexual abuse are angered by the arrival of the archbishop who is embroiled in one of the ugliest clergy sex scandals in the country, at the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.”

By Rosemary Parker, Kalamazoo Gazette on MLive.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Archbishop Nienstedt, Bishop Robert Finn have new homes outside former dioceses / National Catholic Reporter

Two U.S. bishops who prematurely resigned their posts amid clergy sexual abuse scandals each have found new landing spots outside their previous dioceses.

“A southern Michigan parish announced over the weekend that Archbishop John Nienstedt, formerly head of the St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese, will help out temporarily in the coming months, while Bishop Robert Finn, former head of the Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo. diocese, began last month as chaplain for a Nebraska community of women religious.

“Within the span of two months last spring, Finn, 62, and Nienstedt, 68, stepped down — years before the traditional age of 75 when bishops must submit their resignations to Rome — as shepherds of their respective dioceses, both of which teemed with anger and anguish for their church’s handling of child sexual abuse allegations.”

By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Legal strategy focusing on need to warn public about child abusers gaining ground in Minnesota

St. Cloud Diocese to undergo unprecedented abuse investigation

The St. Cloud Diocese faces the prospect of making unprecedented disclosures about priests accused of sexual misconduct, under a ruling filed Monday (June 29) in Stearns County court that builds on a series of legal victories for Minnesotans claiming clergy abuse.

“Judge Kris Davick-Halfen ruled that lawyers can proceed with a ‘public nuisance’ claim against the diocese by an alleged victim of priest sex abuse — a move that allows attorneys to investigate the diocese’s records and documents on all priests who have been accused of misconduct over decades.

“Four of Minnesota’s six dioceses now face similar court-ordered scrutiny. Judges have made similar rulings on the public nuisance claim in the dioceses of Winona and New Ulm as well as the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. The motion is under advisement in a case against a priest from the Diocese of Duluth …

“’This is a novel strategy that is particularly valuable because it focuses on the need of the public to be warned about potential child predators, said (Marci) Hamilton a law professor at Yeshiva University in New York and a national expert on clergy abuse litigation).”

By Jean Hopfensperger, Star Tribune — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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An isolated Nienstedt tried to limit investigation into himself / Minnesota Public Radio

On April 10, 2014 — seven months into the clergy sex abuse scandal — Archbishop John Nienstedt’s top advisers gathered for a private meeting. They had just received several affidavits from an internal investigation of Nienstedt that had been authorized by the archbishop himself to address damaging rumors.

“The sworn statements accused Nienstedt of inappropriate behavior, according to people who read them, including sexual advances toward at least two priests …

“Nienstedt had authorized the investigation with the expectation that it would clear his name. Instead, it threatened to ruin it. At the meeting last spring, the advisers went around the room. Each said Nienstedt should resign.”

By Madeleine Baran, Minnesota Public Radio — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Voice of the Faithful hopes Nienstedt resignation is a signal for the Church

Voice of the Faithful Statement, June 15, 2015

The Roman Catholic Church reform movement Voice of the Faithful hopes the resignation today of St. Paul-Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt signals the Church is continuing to turn the corner on holding bishops accountable for covering up clergy sexual abuse.

His resignation comes just 10 days after St. Paul-Minneapolis prosecutors brought criminal charges against the archdiocese for failing to protect children; five days after Pope Francis set up a Vatican tribunal to judge allegations against bishops involved in the clergy sexual abuse; less than two months after the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri, who was convicted of covering up abuse; and the same day the Vatican announced former papal nuncio Jozef Wesolowski would stand trial at the Vatican for sexual abuse of children.

Pope Francis already has accepted Nienstedt’s resignation and the resignation of Auxiliary Bishop Lee Piche and appointed another archbishop there to administer the diocese.

VOTF has long called for accountability for bishops who have covered up abuse, and for Nienstedt in particular, given longstanding revelations of his mishandling local clergy sexual abuse.

We only wish Nienstedt would have admitted his wrongdoing instead of standing by his previous actions, but his resignation no doubt is for the good of the Church and the faithful of his diocese, which he said in his statement was the reason for his resignation.

Voice of the Faithful®: Voice of the Faithful® is a worldwide movement of faithful Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity and increase the laity’s role in the governance and guidance of the Church. More information is at www.votf.org.

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