Archbishop, Under Fire Over Abuse, Apologizes but Says He Won’t Resign

The New York Times

JULY 30, 2014

The Roman Catholic archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, under fire for the way his diocese has dealt with sexually abusive priests, apologized Wednesday for his conduct but rejected calls for his resignation.

The archbishop, John C. Nienstedt, acknowledged errors in his diocese’s response to abuse allegations, writing in a column for the diocesan newspaper that “it is very clear that we did not handle all complaints the way we should have in the past” and that he had only recently removed from ministry several priests accused of abuse.

The American bishops agreed 12 years ago that all clergy members facing credible accusations of abuse would be permanently removed from ministry.

“I have never knowingly covered up clergy sexual abuse,” Archbishop Nienstedt wrote. “I have, however, been too trusting of our internal process and not as hands-on as I could have been in matters of priest misconduct.”

He did not directly address accusations that he himself had had inappropriate sexual relationships with adult men, other than to say that he commissioned an investigation “because I had nothing to hide and wanted to be vindicated from false allegations, as anyone would.”

“I have no doubt that my administrative and personal style, with its strong point of view, may have offended some,” he wrote. “I apologize to those I have hurt. The last year has helped me realize I need to change my administrative style, soften my words, and get out from behind the desk to spend more time with the faithful.”

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.