Catholic group asks Archbishop Nienstedt to step down

12:55 PM, Nov 10, 2013   |    comments
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ST. PAUL, Minn. - Protesters marched in front of the Cathedral of St. Paul on Saturday demanding change from the top.

The public call on was for the resignation of the Twin Cities Archbishop. The push comes in the wake of the ongoing priest sex abuse scandal.

Protestors claim Archbishop John Nienstedt is not the right man to lead the church as it deals with multiple allegations of clergy sex abuse.

This is the first time the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform has actually asked for Nienstedt's resignation. 

While they still have their faith in God, they said they have lost faith in church leadership.

"This is not a pleasant or enjoyable experience for old, lifetime Catholics like me," said Paula Ruddy with the CCCR. "We love our church, and we respect the office of bishop. So what we hope is Archbishop Nienstadt would realize that he does not have the authority to lead anymore, and we would pray for him that he would be able to step down graciously."

Ruddy was one of more than 100 people with the CCCR who marched outside the Cathedral of St. Paul and front of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis headquarters on Saturday. 

"He sows division among Catholics and the public by excluding LGBT's, women, victims and critics," said Bob Beutel, with the CCCR.

Saying he was abused by a priest as a child, Shawn Plocher believes church leadership needs to change.

"I don't think they have a full or even the public has a full understanding of how many lives have been absolutely destroyed. My life has been turned upside down," he said.

Nienstedt was out of town Saturday, but he issued a statement in response to Saturday's protest.

"It is my most sincere hope that the commitments and actions that my leadership team and I are taking, and will continue to take, will restore trust with our communities. We take these matters very seriously and will continue to share more information in the coming weeks regarding our actions to create and maintain safe environments. Nothing is more important."

Still, those marching at the rally want more say in which their church leaders are. 

Because the Vatican chooses church leaders, those at the rally were handing out cards asking people to write the U.S. Papal Nuncio in Washington D.C. about the qualities they want in a bishop.

The protesters said they'd also like the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis to create a pastoral council so lay people's voices are heard.

(Copyright 2013 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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