Tom Lyden grills Archbishop Nienstedt on his sexuality and anti-gay views [VIDEO]

Categories: GLBT, Religion
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Lyden interviews Archbishop Nienstedt as one of his handlers looks on.
Last week, embattled Archbishop John Nienstedt did the media rounds, granting one-on-one interviews to most local outlets. (Our invitation must've gotten lost in the mail...)

Fox 9 reporter/anchor Tom Lyden's interview with the archbishop was especially noteworthy. Lyden, who's married to a man he's been in a relationship with for more than two decades, grilled Nienstedt about his own sexuality and anti-gay views. The line of questioning culminated in the archbishop acknowledging that his beliefs about the sinfulness of same-sex sexual relations don't seemingly make much sense at all.

See also:
Archbishop John Nienstedt steps aside amid allegation he touched boy's buttocks


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Archbishop John Nienstedt refuses to step down despite mounting pressure

Categories: Religion
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Scene from a deposition
Archbishop John Nienstedt is digging his heels in the ground.

Despite growing evidence that he downplayed or ignored signs of sexual abuse within the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, he's decided not to resign from his post. Instead, he promised Wednesday to lead the region's Catholics to "a new and better day."

See also:
New York Times criticizes Archbishop John Nienstedt for handling of sex abuse cases



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Bob Schwiderski releases map of accused Christian clerics in Minnesota

Categories: Religion
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Artwork by Martin Ontiveros
For decades, Bob Schwiderski has been a voice for victims of clerical abuse. He's blanketed the neighborhoods of accused priests with fliers and held press conferences to encourage others to speak out.

This week, Schwiderski kicked up his crusade. He released an updated version of a map he created showing where each of the allegations of sexual misconduct that he's recorded over the years occurred and by whom. There's 250 names total, and they include not only Catholic priests and monks, but Episcopal and Protestant pastors and their staff. You'll also find four nuns.

See also:
Jennifer Haselberger was ignored, bullied before blowing whistle on archdiocese



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Michael Kolar, former priest, tells of the sexual abuse he gave and received in new documents

Categories: Religion
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Artwork by Martin Ontiveros
"What began so innocently has ended in a Holocaust, and I have learned more in 3 years than one possibly learns in 90."

So wrote a young woman in a 1979 letter that is perhaps the most haunting piece of evidence yet against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

See also:
Jennifer Haselberger was ignored, bullied before blowing whistle on archdiocese, records show



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New York Times criticizes Archbishop John Nienstedt for handling of sex abuse cases

Categories: Religion
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YouTube screen grab of taped deposition
The chorus of John Nienstedt's critics got a lot bigger last week with the addition of the New York Times.

The editorial board of the nation's paper of record stopped short of calling for the archbishop's resignation, but said, "[T]he archdiocese has made a mockery of accountability."

See also:
Kevin McDonough, former vicar general, refused to cooperate with police investigations


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Jennifer Haselberger was ignored, bullied before blowing whistle on archdiocese, records show

Categories: Religion
catholicguilt_cover.jpg
Artwork by Martin Ontiveros
-- Update at bottom with a statement from archdiocese --

In 2002, American Catholic bishops began making new demands on local dioceses: no more moving offenders to less public positions, and no more harboring of information.

It was a nice sentiment. But as Vicar General Kevin McDonough would later explain to his colleagues in private conference, it wasn't the way things worked in St. Paul.

See also:
Kevin McDonough, former vicar general, refused to cooperate with police investigations


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Former priest Joseph Wajda groomed young boys for years, church records show

Categories: Religion

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From YouTube video taken in 2009 by MN SNAP
Joseph Wajda's house is a mess. Even from the front doorway, I can see stacks of yellow newspapers, unopened mail, and fast-food ketchup packets -- trash on top of trash that's accumulated in the kitchen and rotted over the years.

It's March and I'm working on a profile of another former priest who studied under Wajda back in the '90s. He's 67 now, and mumbles a lot, but eventually invites me inside for an interview. I remove my boots and freeze, having just stepped on soaking wet carpet.


See also:
Former priest Jerome Kern says fondling was confused for "Italian wrestling"


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Archbishop John Nienstedt under investigation for new sexual misconduct claims

Categories: Religion
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Still taken from deposition
The latest allegations of clerical sexual misconduct go all the way to the top of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, falling on the head of Archbishop John Nienstedt.

News broke Tuesday when former top canon lawyer Jennifer Haselberger was quoted in Commonweal, a Catholic lay magazine, saying that she had been questioned by investigators with the Minneapolis firm Greene Espel. It left her with the impression that there "about ten sworn statements alleging sexual impropriety" against the archbishop, spanning his years spent in Detroit, New Ulm, and St. Paul, and involving seminarians, priests, and other men.

See also:
Archbishop John Nienstedt withheld info on sexually abusive priests



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Kevin McDonough, former vicar general, compelled again to testify about sex abuses cases

Categories: Crime, Religion
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YouTube screen grab
On Wednesday, a Ramsey County judge ordered Kevin McDonough, a former vicar general of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, to undergo another 150 minutes of sworn testimony related his handling of sex abuse cases.

McDonough is the closest thing the church has had to a detective, and for many years he sat at the center of church internal affairs. His testimony is being taken as part of a lawsuit against the archdiocese and the Diocese of Winona, claiming that together these institutions posed a threat to the entire Twin Cities region by protecting priests like Thomas Adamson, an admitted child abuser.

See also: Kevin McDonough, former vicar general, refused to cooperate with police investigations

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Former priest Jerome Kern says fondling was confused for "Italian wrestling"

Categories: Crime, Religion
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Deposition footage of Jerome Kern
In the summer of 1969, word spread back to Father Jerome Kern that the parents of two boys who attended the Church of St. Mark in St. Paul were upset with him. The parishioners claimed that Kern had been rough-housing during a trip to Lake Nokomis Beach and slid his hand repeatedly into their kids' cut-off jeans.

The priest's response would later be described by church officials as "brazen," even downright "insensitive." Kern told the parents that he had merely engaged in a little game he picked overseas known as "Italian wrestling." The rules were simple and sound like something straight out of Satyricon: each man jostles while attempting to grasp at the other's genitals.

See also:
Thomas Adamson coldly confesses to sexually abusing children as a priest


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