MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Archbishop John Nienstedt, who resigned from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis after it was charged with failing to protect children from a priest convicted of child sex abuse, is moving out of Minnesota.
In a bulletin posted by the St. Philip Roman Catholic Church in Battle Creek, Michigan on Jan. 10, church officials say Nienstedt will be serving as an assistant priest at the parish – located in the Diocese of Kalamazoo.
The church says Nienstedt volunteered to temporarily assist the pastor of the parish in light of the pastor’s serious health challenges. Nienstedt took up a temporary residence in Battle Creek on Jan. 6, 2016.
“The Diocese of Kalamazoo is committed to providing safe environments for all people,” the church said. “As is the case for any priest or bishop ministering in the Diocese, Archbishop Emeritus Nienstedt begins his temporary ministry at St. Philip Parish as a priest in good standing, having met the Church’s stringent standards required to attain that status. As such he is welcome in the Diocese of Kalamazoo for the several months that he will be available to offer supplemental sacramental ministry to the people of St. Philip Parish.”
The director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those abused by Priests, responded to the news and called it a “stunningly reckless and callous move.”
“A Minnesota Catholic official accused of committing sexual misconduct and concealing child sex crimes will start working in the Kalamazoo diocese,” SNAP director David Clohessy said. “This is an outrage. Kalamazoo church officials are putting young people in harm’s way. It’s just that simple. Shame on Kalamazoo Bishop Paul Bradley, Twin Cities Archbishop Bernard Hebda and on every single Catholic priest, employee and parishioner who silently approves or accepts this dangerous decision without protest.”
While he is no longer Archbishop of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Nienstedt is still a bishop and able to perform masses and celebrate sacraments.