Archbishop Nienstedt hires firm for external review

3:52 AM, Oct 25, 2013   |    comments
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ST. PAUL, Minn. - Archbishop John Nienstedt has hired an outside firm to examine whether any priests in ministry pose a danger to children.

Writing in his weekly column, Nienstedt said he ordered the review after reading recent media reports and hearing from "so many Catholic faithful" that there is "real fear that some priests in ministry today constitute a danger to children."

He said would never knowingly allow such a situation and decided to order a review of all clergy files by an outside firm.

The announcement comes after intense scrutiny over how Nienstedt has handled clergy misconduct in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. An MPR News investigation has found that church officials disregarded concerns over priest misconduct over the past ten years.

"The first thing that must be acknowledged is that over the last decade some serious mistakes have been made," Nienstedt wrote Thursday. "There is reason to question whether or not the policies and procedures were uniformly followed. There is also a question as to the prudence of the judgments that have been made."

Nienstedt didn't identify the outside firm that would review clergy files. A spokesman for the archdiocese did not immediately respond to a request for that information.

Nienstedt also said insights from psychology, sociology and forensic sciences need to play a role in the church's response to clergy abuse. "We must learn from what has gone wrong in the past and avoid any repeat of that in the future," he said.

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