Demonstrators said Nienstedt should resign over how he's handled alleged sexual misconduct by priests, his support for a failed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and the decision by church leaders to make extra payments to priests who have sexually abused children.
A task force created to address the clergy sexual abuse crisis in the Twin Cities' Catholic Church will only have access to information provided by the Rev. Reginald Whitt, the church official appointed to oversee it, according to a letter he wrote to Twin Cities clergy last week. The move appears to contradict the archdiocese's earlier assertions that the task force would remain independent.
Writing in his weekly column, Nienstedt said he ordered the review after reading recent media reports and hearing from "so many Catholic faithful" that there is "real fear that some priests in ministry today constitute a danger to children."
Two priests in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis have suggested a change in leadership at the local church is necessary in light of recent revelations of clergy misconduct. Today, Archbishop John Nienstedt said he accepts responsibility for the church's handling of the situation and said he regrets that a growing number of parishioners and priests have "lost confidence" in him.
Recent reports about clergy misconduct in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis threaten to put new financial pressure on an institution already under some financial strain.
A priest representing a North St. Paul parish is calling for change in leadership in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis saying "sometimes a fresh start is needed for all involved."
Spokesman Jim Accurso said a final decision on the capital campaign "has been put on pause with the intention of revisiting it again in January."
In a letter to then-vicar general Kevin McDonough, parishioner Kate Ternus described her concerns about the contents of the Rev. Jon Shelley's computer. Her family received Shelley's used computer in 2004, and the archdiocese later determined it contained "borderline illegal" pornography. The letter dated Sept. 17, 2004 mentions a local Catholic high school and could indicate for the first time that Shelley's behavior may have gone beyond pornography.
The call was prompted by an ongoing criminal investigation, said Police Commander Mary Nash of the department's family and sexual violence unit. She declined to provide any details.
The former accounting director of the Twin Cities archdiocese said recently that several accused priests receive pension payments higher than normal. Another former church official discovered them, too, over the past few years and had them stopped. The archdiocese says church law requires that offending priests must have 'financial, therapeutic and spiritual support.' The Rev. Robert Kapoun is one of them.
The department had recently closed the case looking into allegations of child pornography found on computer files once belonging to the Rev. Jonathan Shelley for lack of evidence.
A Saturday letter from the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis asked priests to tell parishioners during Mass this weekend about Archbishop John Nienstedt's formation of a lay task force that will review the handling of clergy sexual misconduct.
The archdiocese urged priests to announce at mass this weekend that Archbishop John Nienstedt has appointed the Rev. Reginald Whitt, a Dominican priest and University of St. Thomas law professor, to lead the creation of a task force to review all issues related to clergy misconduct.
Joe Ternus of Hugo says he reached out to St. Paul police today to tell them that he made a copy of a large part of the Rev. Jonathan Shelley's computer hard drive before he turned over the laptop to the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Ternus said he had forgotten he had made a copy of Shelley's hard drive until MPR News contacted him earlier this week.
Catholics who gathered for the annual Candlelight Rosary Procession in St. Paul Friday night reacted to recent news about the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, including an MPR News report that found the archdiocese knew about a priests's sexual misconduct but failed to remove him from ministry.