Twin Cities Priest calls for resignation of Nienstedt

Rev. Patrick Kennedy of St. Olaf Catholic Church has called for the resignation of Archbishop John Nienstedt, saying that it would create a “collective sigh of relief” from Catholics in the area. In the church newsletter this past Sunday, Kennedy stated that he reached the conclusion after returning to Minneapolis following two years away. It was then that he realized the “full effect” of the clergy sex abuse scandal on Catholics in the area that the archbishop was heavily involved in recently.

“There appears to be a pall over the Archdiocese that is affecting the ministry we are trying to be about,” Kennedy wrote. “People are leaving our parishes. Some have stopped giving money. Others have stayed but carry a heavy heart. … ”.

Conversations with family members, friends, parishioners and others indicate that there is no hope that the archbishop can lead the church out of the mess, Kennedy soberingly stated. Catholics are “troubled and angry by what has happened and how the situation is handled,” he wrote in the bulletin.

Aggravating the situation is that Nienstedt has not been able to forge a personal connection with the people he serves, he said. “While it is difficult for any of us in ministry to admit to a lack of bonding with those we serve, it is sometimes a fact. When it is, a reassignment is necessary for the good of the church.”

The resignation of Nienstadt “could prove to be the catalyst to begin the healing people long for as well as create a possible way forward,” he concluded.

He is among a half-dozen priests who have criticized the archbishops handling of abuse and called for his resignation. Following reports of the scandal initially last fall, resignation calls came from priests around the archdoicese.

Nienstedt said that the only way he would ever resign is if the papal nuncio, the representative to the pope in the United States, “took action” and ordered him to step down.