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After a string of controversies over his mismanagement of sexual abuse cases, Abp. Nienstedt will be leaving the archdiocese after seven years of service. His resignation follows the prosecution of the archdiocese, the first time an entire archdiocese has ever been criminally charged.
In his statement, the archbishop explains that he has a "clear conscience" after spending much of his time the last several years putting into place "solid protocols" that will aim to protect children and the vulnerable from sexual abuse.
In order to give the Archdiocese a new beginning amidst the many challenges we face, I have submitted my resignation as Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis to our Holy Father, Pope Francis, and I have just received word that he has accepted it. The Catholic Church is not our Church, but Christ's Church, and we are merely stewards for a time. My leadership has unfortunately drawn attention away from the good works of His Church and those who perform them. Thus, my decision to step down. It has been my privilege the last seven years to serve this local Church. I have come to appreciate deeply the vitality of the 187 parishes that make up the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. I am grateful for the support I have received from priests, deacons, religious men and women and lay leaders, especially those who have collaborated with me in the oversight of this local Church. I leave with a clear conscience knowing that my team and I have put in place solid protocols to ensure the protection of minors and vulnerable adults. I ask for continued prayers for the well-being of this Archdiocese and its future leaders. I also ask for your continued prayers for me.
In Abp. Nienstedt's absence, Abp. Bernard Hebda has been appointed Apostolic Administrator.
Archbishop Hebda will work closely with Auxiliary Bishop Andrew Cozzens until a new archbishop is appointed.