Catholic League speaks out for wrongly accused clerics
Spokesman claims a deliberate attempt was made to vilify a US bishop
Archbishop John Neinstedt (picture: Youtube)
- Judy Roberts for National Catholic Register
- United States
- April 4, 2014
A decision last month not to charge Archbishop John Nienstedt in connection with an allegation that he inappropriately touched a boy during a group photo was good news for a Church battered by scandal in recent years.
The determination by the Ramsey County Attorney's Office in Minnesota that there was insufficient evidence to support a charge against the archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis was announced March 11, days before another priest, Father Eugene Boland of Northern Ireland, returned to ministry after his acquittal on sexual assault charges involving a teenage girl.
Both cases raise questions about the nature of such charges and how the process for resolving them affects those who are accused, particularly when they are found to be innocent or when the allegations lack sound evidence.
Even before Archbishop Nienstedt was cleared, the Catholic League's president, Bill Donohue, called the allegation involving an unidentified male into question, saying the archbishop had been “the subject of a nonstop 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.”
Archbishop Nienstedt has consistently defended the Church’s moral teaching and had taken a strong stand against so-called same-sex marriage, which was legalized by Minnesota in 2013, after voters rejected a constitutional amendment that would effectively ban the practice. He also has been outspoken against abortion and, according to LifeSiteNews.com, has withheld the Eucharist from activists wearing pro-homosexual buttons and sashes.
Once the decision not to bring charges against Archbishop Nienstedt was announced, Donohue said in a March 12 news release that he believed that what happened to the archbishop reflected a deeper problem. “We are living in a culture of hate — hatred of all matters Catholic — led by those whose goal it is to take down a bishop. Every bishop is a potential target, but none more than those who are seen as being inimical to the ‘progressive’ agenda.”
Since the decision not to charge the archbishop, the Ramsey County Attorney's Office has asked police in St. Paul to reopen the investigation, not because of any new evidence, but to prevent reports from being made public so that other elements that have nothing to do with the archbishop can be examined.
Source: National Catholic Register