National Catholic Reporter
Brian Roewe | Jul. 31, 2014
On the same day St. Paul-Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt doubled down on his commitment to remain leader of his apostolic see, Catholics elsewhere in the region discussed his possible successor.
The Catholic Coalition for Church Reform announced Wednesday they had identified seven nominees believed to have the ability to lead the archdiocese into its future and likely out of the current clergy abuse scandal ensnaring the archdiocese since September.
While calls for Neinstedt to be replaced have rung louder in recent weeks, including in editorials in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and The New York Times, Nienstedt on Wednesday fortified his resolve to remain archbishop “as long as the Holy Father has appointed me here,” he wrote in a column in his archdiocesan newspaper.
In the past, Nienstedt cautioned local Catholics from interacting with the coalition, which includes local chapters of DignityUSA, Call to Action, and Roman Catholic Women Priests.
The group reached its seven candidates after whittling down an original list first from 55 priests, then from 23. They are Fr. J. Michael Byron, Fr. Paul Feela, Fr. Paul Jaroszeski, Fr. Phillip Rask, Fr. Timothy Wozniak, current moderator of the curia and vicar general Fr. Charles Lachowitzer, and Auxiliary Bishop Lee Piché.
In the fall, the committee plans to hold “know the nominees” workshops. During the first half of November, an “election-like process” will produce the three names they will send to Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the apostolic nuncio to the United States. Per canon law, the nuncio provides the pope three people for consideration when a bishop’s see opens.
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