Newspaper article MinnPost.com

Nienstedt Resigns; New Jersey Bishop Named Interim Head of Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

Newspaper article MinnPost.com

Nienstedt Resigns; New Jersey Bishop Named Interim Head of Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

Article excerpt

Archbishop John Nienstedt has resigned in the wake of criminal charges against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis for its "role in failing to protect children and contribution to the unspeakable harm" experienced by victims in priest sex-abuse cases.

Nienstedt says he leaves "with a clear conscience."

The archdiocese has been rocked with priest sex-abuse cases. In early June, criminal charges were filed against the archdiocese, but no individuals, for allegedly covering up the crimes.

Also resigning is Nienstedt's deputy, Auxiliary Bishop Lee Anthony Piche.

The Vatican says Pope Francis has accepted the resignations. News reports from Rome say they "resigned under the code of canon law that allows bishops to resign before they retire because of illness or some other 'grave' reason that makes them unfit for office."

Officials say the Rev. Bernard Hebda, the Coadjutor Archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, has been named temporary administrator of the archdiocese.

At an archdiocese press briefing at 11:30 a.m., Auxiliary Bishop Cozzens announced the resignations but did not take questions from reporters. He said the archdiocese will continue to work to protect children, and the changes will help the church move forward with the healing process.

The archdiocese first announced the resignations in statements about 5 a.m. today. Nienstedt said:

In order to give the Archdiocese a new beginning amidst the many challenges we face, I have submitted my resignation as Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis to our Holy Father, Pope Francis, and I have just received word that he has accepted it. The Catholic Church is not our Church, but Christ's Church, and we are merely stewards for a time. My leadership has unfortunately drawn attention away from the good works of His Church and those who perform them. …

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