Archbishop Nienstedt Under Investigation for Same-Sex Relationship

Archbishop Nienstedt Under Investigation

Archbishop John Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis is being investigated for ‘multiple allegations’ of inappropriate sexual conduct with seminarians, priests, and other men, according to the archbishop’s former top canon lawyer, Jennifer Haselberger. The investigation is being conducted by a law firm hired by the archdiocese. Nienstedt denies the allegations.” By grant Gallico, Commonweal — Click here to tread the rest of this story.

Minnesota Archbishop Nienstedt Under Scrutiny for Same-Sex Relationship

A Catholic archbishop in Minnesota who has been one of the hierarchy’s most vocal opponents of gay rights is himself the target of an investigation into allegations that he had a series of sexual relationships with priests, seminarians and other men, it was reported Tuesday (July 1). The investigation of Twin Cities Archbishop John Nienstedt is being conducted by a prominent Minneapolis law firm hired by the archdiocese after church officials received numerous allegations against Nienstedt.” By David Gibson, Religion News Service, in National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Revelations spark calls for cardinal to step down / Irish Independent

Revelations concerning Cardinal Sean Brady’s involvement in a 1975 canonical inquiry into Fr Brendan Smyth’s abuse of Brendan Boland have sparked fresh calls for the Catholic Church’s most senior churchman to stand down. Marie Kane, who was one of six survivors who met Pope Francis two weeks ago in the Vatican, has threatened to write again to the Pope if Dr Brady does not offer his resignation.”

By Sarah MacDonald, Irish Independent — Click here to read the rest of this story

Also regarding this story, “Priests tried to ‘blame and shame me’ at meeting in front of Brady, claims abuse victim,” By John Spain, Irish Independent, and “Calls for Cardinal Brady’s resignation over cover-up,” By Sarah MacDonald, The Tablet

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Vatican revising canon law on abuse penalties, cardinal says / Catholic News Service

Church law has procedures and penalties for effectively dealing with allegations of clerical sexual abuse, but the Vatican is working to revise a section of the Code of Canon Law to make those norms and procedures clearer and, therefore, more effective, said the president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.

“‘We want to make this delicate material more accessible, more understandable and easier for bishops to apply,’ Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, council president, told the Vatican newspaper …

“If a bishop does not react by imposing a punishment on a priest guilty of the crime of sexual abuse, he said, ‘in some way that would be, or would seem to be, consenting to the evil committed. A negative act necessarily must be condemned; it requires a reaction.’”

By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Judge rejects archdiocese plea to drop clergy abuse case / Star Tribune

Charges of church negligence in handling of sexually abusive priests will be heard by a jury this fall.

The clergy sex abuse lawsuit against the Twin Cities archdiocese will move to a jury trial, a Ramsey County district judge ruled Monday.

“Attorneys for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Winona had asked the court for a summary judgment that would dismiss the case.

“But Judge John Van de North said a jury trial would proceed, now set for Sept. 22.

“‘This case needs to be tried,’ said Van de North. The alleged victim ‘deserves a day in court, at least on the negligence claims.’”

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

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Holding Church Shepherds Accountable / The New York Times

When Pope Francis met earlier this month with victims of rape and sexual abuse by priests, he vowed to hold bishops accountable for covering up the scandal instead of confronting it.

“A good place to start is with the St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese, where calls are mounting for the resignation of Archbishop John Nienstedt, a warrior against same-sex marriage who, it turns out, is facing accusations that he indulged in improper sexual conduct in the past with priests, seminarians and other men.

“The archbishop has denied the accusations as ‘entirely false,’ saying they date back over 10 years and do not involve minors or criminal conduct. But he felt obliged to hire a law firm to investigate them.

“Meanwhile, his handling of the pedophilia scandal is under fire from all sides. This week (week of July 14), an affidavit from Jennifer Haselberger, the former canon law chancellor for the archdiocese, accused the archbishop and his ranking prelates of systematically ignoring warnings about abusers in a five-year period, while failing to inform civil authorities of possible criminal acts.”

Editorial by The New York Times — Click here to read the rest of this editorial.

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Catholic diocese upends custom on homilies / Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

For the better part of 40 years in churches across the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester, clergy ceded the floor to laypeople for the delivery of the homily — the sermon that follows the reading of the Gospel at Mass.

“The practice, which dated to the mid-1970s and was simultaneously derided by the faithful for running afoul of church law and praised for its inclusiveness, has come to an end.”

By David Andreatta, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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MPR series ‘Betrayed by Silence: an investigation in four chapters’ is available at website

Voice of the Faithful® posted a link here several days ago to Minnesota Public Radio’s documentary Betrayed by Silence. The station’s expanded story about the Catholic clergy child sexual abuse and cover-up scandal in Minnesota’s Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is available now in four chapters on its website. Click on the titles below for individual chapters in the Betrayed by Silence story.

Betrayed by Silence
For decades, leaders of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis have been reassigning, excusing and overlooking sexually abusive priests among their ranks. Some received additional retirement benefits. In August, a top church lawyer, shocked at what she saw, brought the story to MPR News. What happened next is still unfolding.

It all began in Lafayette
After clergy sex abuse rocks a Louisiana diocese, a newly appointed bishop develops the tactics he’ll later use in Minnesota.

The church protects its own
With the abuse scandal threatening to spread beyond control, an archbishop and a victims’ attorney become adversaries.

Archbishop makes vow, breaks it
Harry Flynn helps craft the U.S. church’s tough-sounding response to the abuse crisis, but then he disregards it at home.

Cover-up unravels from the inside
A new archbishop’s top adviser wants no part of the decades-long effort to protect abusive priests and keep their crimes secret.

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Time for +Nienstedt to go / National Catholic Reporter

It is time for Archbishop John Nienstedt to go.

Reading the affidavit of Jennifer Haselberger, the former chancellor of the Archdiocese of St. Paul, is grim. Caveat: A lawyer friend told me that a good defense attorney could drive several trucks through the document and that may be true. But, even if a quarter of what is asserted in that document is true, it is obvious that the Archdiocese of St. Paul has failed to live up to the bishops’ own requirements regarding the protection of children. Instances of suspected child abuse were not reported to the civil authorities. Clergy were not removed from active ministry as required by the Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children. Almost every page of Haselberger’s affidavit illustrates a clerical culture that, when confronted with evidence of proven or potential sexual abuse of a minor, instinctively reacted with the thought, ‘poor Father.”’

By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this commentary.

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