Response to Investigation of Archbishop Nienstedt

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An Open Letter by Carl Nelson


Earlier this week Archbishop John Nienstedt stepped aside from public ministry while an investigation is concluded into an allegation that he inappropriately touched someone’s buttocks during a public photo session in 2009.

Having interacted with Archbishop Nienstedt and worked with his colleagues, I have every reason to trust his character and moral credibility. I believe and hope that the Archbishop will be proven innocent.

While his decision to step aside during the investigation must certainly be painful and embarrassing, I nonetheless commend the Archbishop for his sacrificial action in order that the nature of this allegation can quickly be determined without hint of impropriety.

I pray that the allegation is untrue and that as a result of this testing by fire the integrity of this man and the Archdiocese will be raised to a new level.

The published details of this allegation, and the context in which it is purported to have occurred, would appear to be an unlikely occurrence of abuse. While we rightly hold public figures to higher standards, it is also appropriate that we should be cautious to condemn public figures, especially when we the public have such sparse information.

Archbishop Neinstedt has taken a noble action to allow an investigation to proceed unimpeded. I commend him for that. Likewise I caution the public – and especially the media which seems so eager to castigate the Catholic church – to withhold judgement. This is an investigation for proper authorities and not for a vigilante media.

We are all scarred by sin, and we all suffer the affects of the sins of others. Just this past Sunday Archbishop Nienstedt acknowledged and apologized for the sins and past abuses of other priests in this diocese. I observe Archbishop Neinstedt to be a man of good repute and moral character and I am willing to maintain confidence in him until proven otherwise.

Carl Nelson, president

Transform Minnesota: the evangelical network