The Archdiocese of St Paul and Minneapolis issued the following statement this morning from Archbishop John C. Nienstedt:
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. Thus, my decision to step down.
It has been my privilege the last seven years to serve this local Church. I have come to appreciate deeply the vitality of the 187 parishes that make up the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. I am grateful for the support I have received from priests, deacons, religious men and women and lay leaders, especially those who have collaborated with me in the oversight of this local Church.
I leave with a clear conscience knowing that my team and I have put in place solid protocols to ensure the protection of minors and vulnerable adults.
I ask for continued prayers for the well-being of this Archdiocese and its future leaders. I also ask for your continued prayers for me.
Ramsey County, Minnesota Attorney John Choi welcomed the Vatican's decision to accept the resignation of St. Paul/Minneapolis Archbishop Nienstedt as a "positive development," but he said, "The pending criminal action and civil petition and the ongoing investigation will continue." On June 5 Choi's office charged the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis with failing to protect children and contributing to the harm done to three child sex abuse victims of former priest Curtis Wehmeyer.
"As we have said, the goals of our actions are to hold the archdiocese accountable, seek justice for the victims and our community and to take appropriate steps to ensure that what we have alleged and intend to prove about the past conduct of church officials will never be repeated. Today’s resignations do not directly accomplish those goals, but I believe that it is an affirmative step toward a new beginning and much needed reconciliation."
Choi added, "We remain committed to finishing what we started 20 months ago, which is to allow the facts to lead the way, do only what the law allows and to do what justice requires without fear or favor."