Thursday, December 19, 2013

Catholic League Supports Archbishop Nienstedt, Seeks Information

Following Archbishop Nienstedt's decision yesterday to step down from his post as Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis during an investigation into a scurrilous allegation of sexual impropriety, Bill Donohue at the Catholic League has published a statement praising the Archbishop, and asking for anyone with information about the case to contact him personally.

Here is the full statement.

December 18, 2013


Bill Donohue comments on the decision by Saint Paul and Minneapolis Archbishop John C. Nienstedt to temporarily step down:

Archbishop Nienstedt has been the subject of a non-stop crusade orchestrated by ex-Catholics, and Catholics in rebellion against the Church, simply because he stands for everything they are not: he is a loyal son of the Catholic Church.

Now—out of the blue—comes an unidentified male who claims he was touched on his buttocks in 2009 by the archbishop while posing for a group photo. Nienstedt denies the charge, adding that he has never inappropriately touched anyone. Moreover, he has not been told the identity of his accuser.

The Catholic League is asking those who were there to share with us any information they have. Specifically, we are interested in obtaining a tape recording, or set of photos, of any Confirmation ceremony in 2009 where Archbishop Nienstedt was present; presumably, the alleged victim was standing next to the archbishop. Also, we are asking anyone who knows anything about the accuser (someone knows who he is) to come forward.  Please email us at .

I know of no other leader, religious or secular, who would step down pending an investigation because some guy says he was touched on his behind four years ago in a group photo. It's time the bishops revised their "zero tolerance" policy. Too often, it means zero justice for the accused, thus undermining the legal principle of innocent until proven guilty.

When it comes to "zero tolerance" in the schools, every teachers union, as well as the New York Times, has counseled against it. With good reason: it does not allow for the nuances that color so many cases. The bishops ought to follow suit and junk this policy before it becomes the weapon of choice against them.

The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights
450 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10123
Phone: 212-371-3191
Fax: 212-371-3394


  1. My son is a priest... a good priest, like many others, who has given everything to the church. He and other good priests live in mortal fear of being accused because even when innocent, the accusation will almost always destroy the priest. Just the accusation results in their removal from ministry. Can an accused priest who is removed from ministry support himself? Can he afford the psychiatrist and canon lawyers to defend him? Very sad for the good priests.

    1. I don't know, something doesn't sit well with me with the idea that "good priests" are living in mortal fear of being accused. It seems to me that if a "good priest" as you say is striving to live a holy life as we are all called to do, he wouldn't be living in fear at all. He would be going about his life living out his vocation focused on doing his daily work. Anyone can be falsely accused of something. And yes a priest who is removed from ministry can most certainly support himself. Just as anyone else who is able bodied can support themselves with work.