Twin Cities archdiocese delays $160M capital campaign

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is suspending a final decision over a fundraising campaign that was slated to start next summer.

Church leaders informed parish priests as recently as September that they were moving forward with a $160 million capital campaign over the next four years.

On Tuesday, though, archdiocese spokesman Jim Accurso said a final decision on the campaign "has been put on pause with the intention of revisiting it again in January."

Accurso did not give a reason for the delay.

The decision comes as the archdiocese faces increasing criticism over how it has handled cases of clergy abuse. MPR News has found that church leaders disregarded warning signs over several priests.

Full coverage: Twin Cities Archdiocese under scrutiny

In one instance, they ignored warning signs a priest was engaged in sexual misconduct. He later sexually abused two boys. In another report, church leaders, including Archbishop John Nienstedt, debated whether a priest's computer contained child pornography. They never notified police despite an internal report that suggested some of the images were "borderline illegal" because they depicted youthful looking males.

St. Paul police have an open investigation into that case. Former archbishop Harry Flynn and former Vicar General Kevin McDonough also resigned from the board of directors at the University of St. Thomas amid concerns over how they handled clergy misconduct when they were in power at the archdiocese.