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At Edina Mass, Archbishop Apologizes That He 'Overlooked' Sex Abuse

Not all Edina residents were accepting of Archbishop John Nienstedt's Our Lady of Grace apology. "This type of Nixonian cover-up can't be replicated in the Catholic Church," one resident said.

YouTube screenshot.
YouTube screenshot.
Apologizing for having "overlooked" issues of sexual abuse by Minnesota priests, Archbishop John Nienstedt said mass Sunday at Edina's Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church, where three former priests were included on a list of clergy “credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors."

After the mass, Nienstedt told a group of parishioners and reporters that he believed the issue of clergy sex abuse to have been resolved when he became archbishop in 2007, according to Minnesota Public Radio.

"Unfortunately I believed that and so my biggest apology today, and I did this last week at two other parishes, is to say I overlooked this. I should have investigated it more than I did," he said.

In a homily delivered to parishioners, he apologized "for the indignation that you justifiably feel," adding, "You deserve better." 

"The negative news reports about past incidents of clerical sexual abuse in this local Church have rightly been met with shame, embarrassment and outrage that such heinous acts could be perpetrated by men who had taken priestly vows as well as bishops who failed to remove them from ministry," he wrote in the homily, according to MPR.

Edina residents had mixed reactions to the archbishop's remarks.

Terry Colleran of Edina told MPR he thought the homily was a "deep-felt apology."

"He would like to reconcile with those offended," he said. "I wish the people offended would come forward with the same spirit and reconcile. We're all sorry. We know they've been offended. We're angry and we're embarrassed."

Others, such as Troy Selzer, said Nienstedt's primary concern was protecting his image and that he should have disclosed information sooner.

"This type of Nixonian cover-up can't be replicated in the Catholic Church. We have turned off way too many congregants," Selzer said.

Mike B. December 16, 2013 at 08:13 PM
There was no "Nixonian-type cover up," as the alleged Catholic parishioner claimed above. Archbishop Nienstedt has cleaned up the pedophile/homosexual problems in the Catholic clergy, and is to be commended. The person claiming the "Nixonian cover-up" should frankly be barred from entering the church, period.
R Wagner December 22, 2013 at 07:28 AM
@ Mike B...This is the exact attitude that has made church membership plummet
Sue December 22, 2013 at 07:58 AM
I have heard the term "we are only as sick as our secrets". The Catholic Church as alot of work to do. The trust of the leadership will be challenged for some time. Revealing the truth, the names of the offenders, etc will be the first step to healing the church. Once Priests know they will not be protected, the church will attract healthier men to become priests. My heart goes out to the lives that have been changed because of the abuse, but also for the priests that have withheld their oath to the Church. The abusers are sick men, they would of been abusers if they weren't priests - they just chose a convenient profession to protect them. They need our prayers, as well. Some of the priests who have been identified are still denying/covering up. That is helping no one - the priest, the church, the victim. The truth shall set you free.
Ken Barrett December 23, 2013 at 09:16 AM
You are right on the mark Sue and it starts at the TOP. Unfortunately, this is not going away anytime soon.

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