Rome--Victims urge Pope to block move of accused MN archbishop

For immediate release: Wednesday, Jan. 13

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those abused by Priests (314 566 9790, [email protected])

An archbishop accused of committing sexual misconduct and concealing child sex crimes will start working in a Michigan parish. We call on Pope Francis to reverse this stunningly reckless and callous move. And we call on all of Michigan’s bishops to denounce it.    

Last year, Archbishop John Nienstedt resigned his post as head of the Twin Cities archdiocese after his archdiocese became “the nation's first (to be) charged with failure to protect children,” according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Nienstedt also allegedly sexually abused several seminarians.

And he’s accused of interfering with a church investigation into clergy sexual misconduct.

But now, church officials say Nienstedt will soon work at St. Philip Roman Catholic Church in Battle Creek and live at the nearly Church of Saint Joseph.

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.

This is a key reason clergy sex crimes, misdeeds and cover ups continue in the church: because those who commit these heinous acts are still usually protected – and sometimes promoted – regardless of how much harm they cause.

We urge Kalamazoo Catholics and citizens to learn about Nienstedt’s deceitful handling of the abuse and cover up crisis, especially the case of Fr. Curtis Wehmeyer, at

Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston, like Nienstedt, resigned because of the abuse crisis. Pope John Paul later put Law back into a church. Pope Francis is allowing the same irresponsible move here. Arguably, this is worse. Law was never personally accused of sexually abusing or exploiting anyone.

Catholics who believe their church hierarchy has “reformed” and now handles abuse cases “better” should take note. This decision shows that Catholic officials still put the wishes and needs of their brother bishops ahead of nearly every other consideration, including the safety of the flock.

Again, Pope Francis should stop this reckless and hurtful move.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected], [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]), Frank Meuers of Plymouth MN, SNAP director Southern Minnesota (952-334-5180, [email protected]), Verne Wagner of Duluth, SNAP director Northern Minnesota (218-340-1277, [email protected])   

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