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Archbishop Nienstedt leaves Michigan parish after protests

January 21, 2016

Archbishop John Nienstedt has left the parish in Battle Creek, Michigan, where he had been working, because of opposition from some parishioners.

Archbishop Nienstedt, who resigned last June from his post as Archbishop of St. Paul-Minneapolis after a Minnesota prosecutor filed criminal charges for failure to report sex-abuse complaints, had been helping out at St. Philip’s church, functioning as an ordinary parish priest (although he retains the status of an archbishop). But his presence apparently prompted complaints, and the archbishop made the decision to leave rather than provoke antagonisms.

In a related story, an advocacy group for sex-abuse victims has criticized the pastoral work of another bishop who retired after a criminal conviction related to his handling of sex-abuse complaints. Bishop Robert Finn, who once headed the Diocese of Kansas City, Missouri, is now acting as chaplain of a convent in Nebraska. SNAP—the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests—protested that even in this assignment the bishop “may well again have the chance to report or conceal child sex crimes and repeat his offense.”

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  • Posted by: Bernadette - Jan. 26, 2016 4:52 AM ET USA

    How cruel people can be! I find this absolutely disgusting and my heart goes out to Archbishop Nienstadt who desires to continue to be of service to God's people. Shame on you people! Maybe our good Bishop would welcome him into our diocese. We have a desperate need of priests with many parishes having only one priest to serve 900 - 1,000+. What has happened to the virtue of forgiveness? When we repent, we are forgiven. The archbp surely is also. We know not the whole story media uproar

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Jan. 23, 2016 5:40 PM ET USA

    "Who am I to judge?" These prelates were already judged in the public forum. The Church disciplined them. There is no doubt they have performed the penance assigned them by their confessor priest. Are the protesters again judging the past failings of these prelates, or are they by their actions condemning these bishops to hell? Where are the sharp correctives of Pope Francis in this situation? Now is the time for a statement from the Papacy instructing the protesters about how to judge rightly.

  • Posted by: jacquebquique5708 - Jan. 22, 2016 10:37 AM ET USA

    I would say that it took a lot of humility for both men who exercised the authority of a bishop to work in such a simple capacity. SNAP is well beyond despicable. The agenda is not the protection of children. The goal is the destruction of the Catholic Church. I am sorry that David Clohesy was abused himself. However, his agenda of "revenge and retribution toward those in authority is getting a little old. He strikes fear and is working with the National Catholic Reporter as his Gospel.

  • Posted by: feedback - Jan. 21, 2016 10:40 PM ET USA

    It is very sad, indeed. My prayers are with Archbishop Nienstedt and Bishop Finn.

  • Posted by: james-w-anderson8230 - Jan. 21, 2016 7:36 PM ET USA

    Archbishop Nienstedt was convicted of a misdemeanor, a technicality, and he is being persecuted by so called catholics for no valid reason. I don't recall the details of Bishop Finn, but I believe it was a minor matter. Neither one of them were convicted of sex abuse or moving around and concealing sex abusers.

  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - Jan. 21, 2016 6:22 PM ET USA

    Very sad news, especially if Archbishop Nienstedt's detractors are liars.