N. St. Paul priest: 'Fresh start is needed' at archdiocese

A priest representing a North St. Paul parish is calling for change in leadership in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis saying "sometimes a fresh start is needed for all involved."

The Rev. Bill Deziel, pastor at The Church of St. Peter, wrote in the parish bulletin dated Oct. 20 that he's troubled by reports that the archdiocese disregarded alleged clergy misconduct.

"Things can't seem to be more twisted and out of hand," Deziel wrote. "It leaves us all crying foul and I share the frustration and outrage that many of you have expressed."

Full coverage: Twin Cities Archdiocese under scrutiny

Create a More Connected Minnesota

MPR News is your trusted resource for the news you need. With your support, MPR News brings accessible, courageous journalism and authentic conversation to everyone - free of paywalls and barriers. Your gift makes a difference.

Deziel wrote that he believes three things need to change as a result of the scandal including "a do-over with our archdiocesan leadership."

Deziel also called for the archdiocese to release the names of 33 priests who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children. The archdiocese has released the names in court but a judge placed those names under seal.

In a third point, Deziel said the archdiocese should allow law enforcement to examine the parish files to determine if any criminal behavior occurred.

"All of the files should be examined by competent independent authorities who can make decisions as to which files contain potentially criminal behavior and which do not," Deziel wrote. "The findings of this investigation should be made public and charges filed if necessary.

Deziel declined to comment on his statement.

Though he did not mention Archbishop John Nienstedt by name, Deziel is the second parish priest to publicly criticize church leadership.

The Rev. Michael Tegeder of Minneapolis called for Niensted to resign last year after the archdiocese spent $650,000 on a failed campaign to ban same-sex marriage in Minnesota.

A spokesman for the archdiocese did not comment on Deziel's statement.