Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

12/19/2013 (4 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Readers of Catholic Online know of my deep admiration for Archbishop John C. Nienstedt.

Please, prayerfully follow this serious matter with the sober evaluation it requires,looking only to reliable sources. Do not be dragged into any effort to jump to any conclusions. Rather, pray for the young man who has made this allegation against the Archbishop. Pray for the Archbishop. Pray for the Church. Pray for our Nation. Now, I conclude with my personal opinion. I believe that this good Archbishop will be completely exonerated. I also believe that his behavior in voluntarily stepping out of public ministry and fully cooperating in this process simply confirm the mettle of this man.

Archbishop John Nienstedt

Archbishop John Nienstedt

Article Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

12/19/2013 (4 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Archbishop John C. Nienstedt, sexual abuse allegation, crisis, clergy crisis, defense of marriage, gay, homosexual, Catholic Church, Saint Paul and Minneapolis, Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - Like millions of other people, I received the recent news with shock and disbelief, Archbishop John Nienstedt of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis voluntarily stepped aside from public ministry while an investigation unfolds concerning an allegation made against him. The Archdiocese issued this statement

*****
The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis today announced that an allegation has been brought by a mandated reporter within the Church to the St. Paul Police of inappropriate touching of a minor male on the buttocks by Archbishop John Nienstedt. The single incident is alleged to have occurred in 2009 during a group photography session with the archbishop following a confirmation ceremony. Archbishop Nienstedt emphatically denies the allegation. Upon learning of the allegation last week, the archdiocese instructed the mandated reporter to make the matter known to the police. The archbishop and the archdiocese stand ready to cooperate fully with the St. Paul Police.

After consultation with the Holy Father's ambassador to the United States (the papal nuncio), the archbishop will voluntarily step aside from all public ministry while this matter is being investigated, effective immediately. Auxiliary Bishop Lee Piché, in his role as a vicar general, will cover all of the archbishop's public duties during this time. Father Charles Lachowitzer continues in his position as a vicar general and moderator of the curia.

The archdiocese is mindful of the due process concerns of those involved. There must be justice and due consideration of the rights and dignity of every human person, both the individual involved and the archbishop. This is not only the bedrock of our beliefs as Catholics, but also of the justice system of our country.

The steps taken in response to the allegation against the archbishop demonstrate and reaffirm the archdiocese's commitment to disclosure. These steps further confirm that all within the archdiocese will be subject to the internal policies we have established. This is the position of the archdiocese and the archbishop himself. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the individual involved and the archbishop as justice is pursued and all may move forward on a path toward healing.

The first priority of the archdiocese is to create and maintain safe environments where the Gospel of Jesus Christ can flourish. This starts with creating an environment for and implementing productive steps to promote a healthy clergy. It also means ensuring that clergy, employees, volunteers, and the young are aware of healthy boundaries and the societal problem of sexual abuse.


*****
The Archbishop completely and thoroughly denied the allegation as absolutely and entirely false.

He released the following letter which is also available on the Diocese website:

*****

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This is a difficult letter for me to write to you. This past weekend I learned of an allegation from a young man whom I anointed in the Sacrament of Confirmation who alleged that he believes I inappropriately touched his buttocks during a public photo session following the ceremony.

Please allow me to say that I normally stand for those photos with one hand on my crozier (staff) and the other either on the right shoulder of the newly confirmed or on my pallium (the short stole), which hangs from my chest. I do that deliberately and there are hundreds of photographs to verify that fact.

I do not know the individual involved; he has not been made known to me. I presume he is sincere in believing what he claims, but I must say that this allegation is absolutely and entirely false. I have never once engaged in any inappropriate contact with a minor and I have tried to the very best of my ability to serve this Archdiocese and the church faithfully, with honor and due regard for the rights of all, even those with whom I disagree.

I have taken strong stands on the moral teachings of the Church and been criticized for it. I would not have done so if I did not believe those teachings and was personally bound to living up to them in practice.

True, I am a sinner, but my sins do not include any kind of abuse of minors. I have met victims and I know the lasting damage that such abuse causes.

The psalms from the Liturgy of the Hours have had a special echo in my heart these past weeks as I pray for those in distress. "But God does hear the cries of the poor. Blessed be the Lord."
I hope that the investigations can be thorough but quick. I already long to be back in public ministry-to be able to serve as the Lord has called me to serve.

I regret this will be my last column until the present investigations are complete. These days will give me the time to pray for you and the individual involved. I ask that you pray for me too.

With every good wish, I remain

Cordially Yours in Christ,
The Most Reverend John C. Nienstedt
Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis


*****
Readers of Catholic Online know of my deep admiration for Archbishop John C. Nienstedt. I have written numerous articles over the last few years concerning his courageous defense of marriage - and the family and society founded upon it. He is a man of deep and profound Catholic Christian faith, humility and courage.

He has shown his courage in properly exposing and opposing the social corruption unleashed by sexual immorality, in all of its manifestations. He has faced intense opposition for his prophetic  stands on issues which are now considered 'controversial' in some circles - such as defending the normative nature of two parent, opposite sex, heterosexual marriage. As a result, he has been pilloried in much of the media which has decided to be used by propagandists of a new Cuktural Revolution in the West.

In his apostolic exhortation on the Eucharist, the Sacrament of Charity, Pope Emeritus Benedict summarized the duty of Bishops, other Clergy and all of the faithful when confronted with the current cultural assault on authentic marriage:  "Marriage and the family are institutions that must be promoted and defended from every possible misrepresentation of their true nature, since whatever is injurious to them is injurious to society itself."

In 2012, Archbishop Nienstedt was pilloried for his heroic effort to stem the assault on marriage in his own home State. This past summer, following a brilliant talk he gave at the NAP Institute entitled Family as the Foundation of Culture at the NAPA Institute Conference for Catholic Leaders, he faced an unrelenting assault in the Media.

The Archbishop gave a talk which clearly presented the teaching of the Catholic Church, as rooted in the Natural Moral Law. It was well researched and footnoted, in its written form. This was not an extemporaneous speech or some kind of rant as so many of the press reports tried to depict it. It can be read in its entirety and downloaded here.

The assault on the Archbishop by some in the media was brutal. They attempted to depict him as some kind of fringe demagogue. To the contrary, Archbishop Nienstedt offered a well reasoned defense of marriage, a blueprint which I maintain should be taken up and used on many fronts in our effort to defend marriage. You can view the entire presentation here.

In a part his address dealing with what he called the "two views of marriage", he made the following observation:

If indeed marriage is the foundation of the family and the family is the cornerstone of society, then it is essential to the progress of any civilization that the consequences of choosing between a conjugal view or a revisionist view of marriage be weighed carefully and thoughtfully, especially in regard to the other negative forces that are impinging on the social reality of family life.

Today, many evil forces have set their sights on the dissolution of marriage and the debasing of family life.  Sodomy, abortion, contraception, pornography, the redefinition of marriage, and the denial of objective truth are just some of the forces threatening the stability of our civilization.  The source of these machinations is none other than the Father of Lies.  Satan knows all too well the value that the family contributes to the fabric of a good solid society, as well as the future of God's work on earth.


Archbishop John Nienstedt has been heroic in his defense of marriage and the family. He also understands his vocation as a teacher. I will not underestimate the fury of hell which may have been unleashed by his courageous defense of the truth.

I also wrote about him back in 2010, when along with his brother Bishops in Minnesota, he engaged in a six week catechetical campaign to do all that he could to ensure that the faithful understood the truth about marriage and the family and society founded upon it.

A DVD entitled Preserving Marriage in Minnesota was sent to all Catholics to help them properly inform their conscience and engage in political participation based upon the truth concerning Marriage as revealed in the Natural Law, confirmed by Revelation and consistently taught by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. It was well done. It also caused an uproar among those who openly oppose the truth about marriage and hold a hostile view of the Church.

Please, prayerfully follow this serious matter with the sober evaluation it requires,looking only to reliable sources. Do not be dragged into any effort to jump to any conclusions.

Rather, pray for the young man who has made this allegation against the Archbishop. Pray for the Archbishop. Pray for the Church. Pray for our Nation.

Now, I conclude with my personal opinion. I believe that this good Archbishop will be completely exonerated. I also believe that his behavior in voluntarily stepping out of public ministry and fully cooperating in this process simply confirm the mettle of this man.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for April 2014
Ecology and Justice:
That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick: That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.



Comments


More U.S.

Alabama Supreme Court Recognizes Child in the Womb Has Fundamental Rights

Image of The Alabama Supreme Court

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Because a human life with a full genetic endowment comes into existence at the moment of conception, the self-evident truth that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights encompasses the moment of conception. Legal ... continue reading


'COME AND TAKE IT' Texas AG blasts BLM scheming to seize state land, threatens fight Watch

Image of Texans are rallying against the federal government and its habitual overreach.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A major land war between the Bureau of Land Management and the state of Texas is brewing as Texas lawmakers push back against the feds plan to seize 90,000 acres of land along the Texas/Oklahoma border. AUSTIN, TEXAS (Catholic Online) - The Bureau of Land Management ... continue reading


SHOCKING NEW TWIST: Autistic boy defends teenage girls who filmed his sexual assault Watch

Image of The parents of the victim are insistent that they want their son's abuser, 17-year-old Lauren A. Bush to be tried as an adult.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Abused beyond belief by two teenage girls, who filmed their despicable activities with their cellphones, a 16-year-old autistic boy now says he doesn't want to press charges against them - concerned that it would damage their - "friendship?" LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Their Eyes Were Opened: Walk With Jesus on the Road to Emmaus Watch

Image of On the Road to Emmaus: In the light of the encounter with the Lord in the breaking of the bread, their eyes were opened. So it is meant to be with each one of us. The Holy Eucharist is more than a commemoration; it is an invitation into communion with the Living God - right now because Jesus Christ is Risen from the dead and walks with us on the road of life.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We are those disciples on the road to Emmaus, living our lives in the real world, walking along with Jesus who is always there accompanying us on the road, whether we recognize Him or not. He listens to us, and understands us, because he became like us, in "all ... continue reading


Made for Beauty: Liturgy and Music

Image of

By Deal W. Hudson

Some might flinch at my use of the word "satisfying" to describe a liturgy, but I used it deliberately because I want to think aloud about the fact that we were made for beauty as much as we were made for goodness and truth.  To be satisfied by the shape, ... continue reading


Time to Live the Easter Way of Life Watch

Image of Easter is more than a Day; it is a way of living our lives in Jesus Christ. Darkness has been scattered by the Light which broke forth from that empty tomb. That Light is meant to infuse our daily lives with the radiance of Resurrected love.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The early Christians lived their lives in the Lord, for the sake of the world. They exhibited a holy boldness; because they internalized the faith they professed and allowed it to transform every aspect of their lives. They experienced the transforming power of ... continue reading


50,000-strong OK Militia declares they will resist federal takeover attempts Watch

Image of The Oklahoma Militia is ready to defend property against unlawful federal seizure.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An Oklahoma militia which claims the allegiance of 50,000 members has sided with Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy in his recent clash against the feds. Although the standoff appears to be over, and is not likely to resume, the militia says it is ready to defend the rights ... continue reading


BLOODY EASTER WEEKEND IN CHICAGO: Six children shot in widespread violence Watch

Image of Five of the six children wounded, aged from 11 to 15 years, were shot during a drive-by shooting Sunday night.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With 36 people wounded, and nine people dead, it was one of the most violent Easter weekends in Chicago within recent memory. Far more shocking was the fact that six young children were among those injured. Gang violence remains prevalent on Chicago's windy ... continue reading


Militant atheist organization seeks to ban schools from reciting the Pledge of Allegiance Watch

Image of The AHA says that the line

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An organization of militant atheists is suing a New Jersey school district of discrimination, on the behalf of a family who take offense to the line "Under God," within the Pledge of Allegiance. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The lawsuit against the ... continue reading


CONGRATULATIONS! Your job just became temporary Watch

Image of Demand for temporary workers is rapidly increasing in the US job market.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With full time employment remaining a scarcity since the 2008 recession, more and more Americans are turning away from the employment model of their parents, instead seeking part time employment. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The booming demand for temporary ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 3:1-10
1 Once, when Peter and John were going up to the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 105:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9
1 Alleluia! Give thanks to Yahweh, call on his name, ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 24:13-35
13 Now that very same day, two of them were on their ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 23rd, 2014 Image

St. George
April 23: Pictures of St. George usually show him killing a dragon to ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter