News

Top US priest accused of sexual misconduct

Top US priest accused of sexual misconduct

CATHOLIC Archbishop John Nienstedt has the reputation of being one of America’s most outspoken opponents of gays and same sex marriage.

According to this report, late in 2007 he declared:

Those who actively encourage or promote homosexual acts … formally cooperate in a grave evil and, if they do so knowingly and willingly, are guilty of mortal sin.

That echoed a column he wrote the year before – while bishop of New Ulm – cautioning Catholics against watching Brokeback Mountain, a film about two married cowboys who fall for one another. He wondered whether Hollywood knew just how dangerous their “agenda” was:

Surely they must be aware that they have turned their backs on God and the standards of God in their quest to make evil look so attractive.

Now Archbishop Nienstedt of St Paul and Minneapolis is being investigated by his own diocese is for sexual misconduct with other men, including priests and seminarians, having received ten signed and sworn letters of accusation.

Nienstedt has a long and dark history of not only opposing marriage equality, but of actively investing a reported $650,000 of the Roman Catholic Church’s funds to prevent same-sex couples from marrying.

The 67-year old also went as far as to spam 400,000 Minnesota homes with unrequested anti-gay DVDs in a failed attempt to get voters to ban same-sex marriage. Not only did his efforts fail, but lawmakers actually later ushered in marriage equality.

Undeterred, last year Nienstedt claimed that “Satan” is “the source” of same-sex marriage. He also told the mother of a gay man she could go to hell if she did not embrace the Church’s teachings on homosexuality.

Nienstedt denies the allegations, claiming:

I have never engaged in sexual misconduct and certainly have not made any sexual advances toward anyone.

He also artfully spun the charges in a statement, according to the Atlantic Wire.

The allegations do not involve minors or lay members of the faithful, and they do not implicate any kind of illegal or criminal behavior.

The Commonweal Magazine offers some background on Nienstedt.

Nienstedt was named an auxiliary bishop of Detroit in 1996, and became bishop of New Ulm, Minnesota, in 2001. Just six years later he was appointed coadjutor of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. He was installed as archbishop in 2008. Before long, Nienstedt had established one of the signature issues of his episcopate: homosexuality. His statements on that issue add controversy to the investigation of his own behavior.

In 2009, Nienstedt temporarily stepped down from his post after being caused of inappropriate contact with a young boy in 2009. He was not charged in the case.

Nienstedt’s statement on the allegations  ends with this sentence:

Let us pray that the truth will come out as a result of the investigation.

Former Cardinal Keith O'Brien

Former Cardinal Keith O’Brien

The Nienstedt investigation bears an uncanny resemblance to one that took place in the UK, where an investigation was conducted into the “inappropriate sexual behaviour” of Scottish Catholic leader Cardinal Keith O’Brien. It ended with him having to resign in 2013.

O’Brien’s homophobia earned him a Bigot of the Year award in 2012.

Stonewall, the organisation that bestowed that award, came in for considerable flak from the Church and politicians but was unrepentant, saying its 10,000 members had voted “decisively” to give the title to O’Brien after he described gay marriage as a “grotesque subversion” of the traditions of marriage and likened it to slavery. The cardinal called it an “aberration” and claimed it might clear the way for polygamous marriages and would cause:

Further degeneration of society into immorality.

13 responses to “Top US priest accused of sexual misconduct”

  1. AgentCormac says:

    He also told the mother of a gay man she could go to hell if she did not embrace the Church’s teachings on homosexuality.

    Think what I tell you to think or you’ll end up some place that doesn’t exist.Not much of a threat, is it – unless you’ve already had your brain wiped as a child and then pumped full of irrationality instead.

  2. Broga says:

    The psychology of Nienstedt, and others like him, is puzzling. He rages, and threatens with hell fire, the sexual drives that hold him in thrall. Is this an attempt at subterfuge so that he can sexually indulge himself. Or does it reveal a self hatred and contempt for his sexual drives that he projects on to others.

    What is clear is that he is a poseur, living s sham life, and emotionally twisted and overwrought underneath the socially polished exterior. His church keeps him in this misery, insisting on a denial of normal sexual drives, and opting for a lying façade common to all priests.

    When you look at these priests, however high the rank, you can with near 100 per cent certainty conclude, “You’ve got big problems, they torture you daily and you are not fooling us.”

  3. andrewm031 says:

    The irony is that ,if he’d got the society he wanted, he’d now be being accused of criminal offences, rather than just being a shameless hypocrite.

  4. barriejohn says:

    We must all pray for him.

  5. Trevor Blake says:

    Of sexual misconduct, innocent until proven guilty. Of foolishness and cruelty, guilty. Sentence: derision and irrelevancy.

  6. Stephen Mynett says:

    It is disgusting that she has to go through all of this, hopefully, as her lawyer in this report suggests, the case will be thrown out: http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=66872

    It is hard to comprehend how vindictive and warped those trying to stop her are.

  7. Canada Dave says:

    Spot on Broga very well written.

  8. AgentCormac says:

    Any news on when Disqus is going to be back up and running, Barry?

  9. charlie says:

    I must be getting hard to shock as this “priest” and his own homosexual tendencies while making vile statements against ALL gay people does not even get a mild surprise from me. So typical of these damn hypocrites.
    My first reaction was, what else is new? He is not the first nor will he be the last anti-gay cleric who is found to be secretly a practicing homosexual.
    In a way, I almost sort of feel sorry for him. He is in a bind, but one of his own making. He made the choice to be a priest, I doubt he was forced into that job. How he must live a highly tormented life.
    Well, he made is bed, now he can lay in it. Harsh of me to say this? Perhaps, BUT, he didn’t have to choose to be a priest did he?

  10. Barry Duke says:

    Juggling with a million things at once, AC. I’m just drawing up a list of things that need doing to get this new site working to my liking, and it’s growing by the day. Disqus is at the top of the list. I disabled it last week because it went beyond buggering up previous comments, it eliminated the whole bloody lot! This is one for the experts, not ignorant amateurs like me.

  11. AgentCormac says:

    Thanks for update,Barry.

  12. gilhcan says:

    Like most religious extremists, Nienstedt shows that he knows little more than what he has memorized of the Catechism of the Catholic Church since it was published by John Paul II. He’s just a touch more expansive than the question-and-answer style of the old Baltimore Catechism Catholics of his age and older were forced to memorize. And that was called “religion.”

    Niensted has shown over and over that he is no thinker, that he has little grasp of anything but memorized dogma. He is typical of the bishops appointed by John Paul II and Benedict, super-conservative line towers, not at all original thinkers or genuine practitioners of the Gospels.

    The growing pains the Catholic Church is displaying again in people like Nienstedt is the tug-of-war between between thinkers and those satisfied with the false comforts of never being challenged, never thinking, always presuming that they fully understand the mind of their created God. They really think God can be contained between the covers of a book, or even library full of them.

    Hence, Niensted, like so many of the clergy who have been exposed in the sex scandal, continues to pretend to live the impossible life of denying sexuality. That really trashes the idea of marriage that Nienstedt’s church hypocritically calls a sacrament.

    The challenge in the Catholic Church now, just as resulted after Vatican II, is the challenge between thinkers and non-thinkers. Non-thinkers really believe that God is known and fully understood. In other words, they are equal to God. Just read the Catechism. Then go through the rituals, think no more, and you will live again and go to heaven.