“In order to give the Archdiocese a new beginning amidst the many challenges we face, I have submitted my resignation as Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis to our Holy Father, Pope Francis, and I have just received word that he has accepted it. The Catholic Church is not our Church, but Christ’s Church, and we are merely stewards for a time. My leadership has unfortunately drawn attention away from the good works of His Church and those who perform them. Thus, my decision to step down. I leave with a clear conscience knowing that my team and I have put in place solid protocols to ensure the protection of minors and vulnerable adults. I ask for continued prayers for the well-being of this Archdiocese and its future leaders. I also ask for your continued prayers for me.” – Archbishop John Nienstedt, in a press release issued this morning.
From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:
The Vatican said Pope Francis accepted the resignations of Archbishop John Nienstedt and Auxiliary Bishop Lee Anthony Piche. They resigned under the code of canon law that allows bishops to resign before they retire because of illness or some other “grave” reason that makes them unfit for office. Earlier this month, prosecutors charged the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis as a corporation of having “turned a blind eye” to repeated reports of inappropriate behavior by a priest who was later convicted of molesting two boys. No individual was named in the indictment. The resignations came just days after Pope Francis approved the creation of a new tribunal inside the Vatican to hear cases of bishops who failed to protect children from sexually abusive priests. Francis’ decision followed years of criticism that the Vatican had never held bishops accountable for having ignored warnings about abusive priests and simply moved them from parish to parish rather than report them to police or remove them from ministry.
PREVIOUSLY ON JMG: The Archdiocese declared bankruptcy in January 2015. Last summer Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt was accused of “sexual impropriety” with priests and other men. Nienstedt then denied allegations that he is gay to a local newspaper. Niedstedt was later grilled by a different local paper about his sexuality. In January 2012, Nienstedt ordered all of Minnesota’s priests to remain silent
if they opposed the coming referendum on same-sex marriage. Later in
2012, it was Nienstedt’s ugly anti-gay public letter that launched NFL
player Chris Kluwe into the spotlight after Kluwe penned a blistering response in a local newspaper. In September of that year Nienstedt declared that Satan loves sodomy. Also in September 2012, Nienstedt was accused of shielding a pedophile priest who is currently in prison. In 2010 Nienstedt ordered that communion be denied to openly gay students. Also in 2010, Nienstedt’s archdiocese sent out 400,000 DVDs to Minnesota voters urging that they support anti-gay gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer.