Request to Vatican to investigate Archbishop Nienstedt in limbo

Star Tribune

March 24, 2020

By Jean Hopfensperger

Clergy abuse ombudsman sees it as a test case of new Vatican rules to discipline bishops.

Tom Johnson, the clergy abuse ombudsman for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, submitted a formal request to the Vatican last July to investigate possible misconduct by former Archbishop John Nienstedt.

He’s still awaiting a response.

The Vatican announced new protocols in May for holding bishops, not just priests, accountable for clergy abuse. Johnson, a former Hennepin County attorney, said he still doesn’t know why the Vatican isn’t adhering to its own standard of responding within 30 days.

“It’s a huge problem when the church is trying to restore trust,” said Johnson, who called it a “test case” of the Vatican’s much-touted protocols.

The Vatican’s representative in Washington, D.C., did not respond to questions about the Nienstedt case.

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