Archbishop John Nienstedt resigned today as head of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. His announcement comes nearly two years into a clergy sex abuse scandal and after criminal charges against the organization for failure to protect children.
The Vatican moves very deliberately for a reason, said John Thavis, former Vatican bureau chief for the Catholic News Service on MPR News with Tom Weber:
"When problems erupt in a diocese they don't want to be seen as yanking a guy out before he's had a chance to resolve them," Thavis said. "I think they gave Archbishop Nienstedt really almost two years to resolve these problems and it was clear 10 days ago when the prosecutor announced charges would be brought against the archdiocese that the problems were not resolved and in fact they would continue for some time to come."
After Pope Francis announced a new process to evaluate and judge bishops before a Vatican tribunal for similar cases, Thavis said people suggested Nienstedt be the first to go through the process. But it became clear it could take months or years to set up the procedure.
"Pope Francis has reached a point where he has to show he is serious about holding bishops to account for their mistakes," he said.