Basilica priest to archdiocese: release Nienstedt probe details

Star Tribune

By Jean Hopfensperger Star Tribune JUNE 26, 2015

A prominent Catholic cleric has asked the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis to release details of two investigations into alleged sexual misconduct by former Archbishop John Nienstedt.

The Rev. John Bauer, pastor of the Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis, said refusing to share the archdiocese-commissioned investigations suggests that “the Archdiocese has not been transparent, honest and forthcoming in the information it is has shared with the faithful. …”

“I realize objections will be raised in regard to the release of this material,” Bauer wrote in an open letter Thursday to Archbishop Bernard Hebda, Bishop Andrew Cozzens and Vicar General Charles Lachowitzer.

“Given the fact that Archdiocesan funds were used, however, I firmly believe that the right of the faithful to this information outweighs any objections. More importantly, I believe that in order for our Archdiocese to rebuild the trust needed for the healing process to begin, full disclosure is essential.”

The archdiocese did not respond Friday to a request for comment.

The letter marks the first time a member of the Twin Cities clergy has publicly solicited the results of the investigations, which the archdiocese commissioned last year after receiving anonymous allegations about misconduct in Nienstedt’s personal life.

It was written by a well-known Twin Cities priest who has not publicly criticized Nienstedt in the past, and it reflects the difficult financial and ethical questions confronting many religious and lay leaders taken aback by Nienstedt’s resignation. Bauer declined to comment further.

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