First look at Bishop Nienstedt

First look at Bishop Nienstedt

What can the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis expect from its new coadjutor Archbishop John Nienstedt when he formally takes the helm next year? He provided a few clues in his first press conference, as recorded by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

If a bishop dares to be orthodox and actually stand by the Church’s teachings—and expects his priests and people to do so—he’s considered a “micromanager” in “lockstep” with the Vatican.

For one thing, I have to wonder at the newspaper’s characterization of Archbishop Flynn’s tenure: “Observers said it’s too early to tell whether the newcomer will shift direction at the archdiocese, which has been relatively free of controversy under Flynn’s moderate leadership.” Free of controversy? Obviously, the newspaper doesn’t find controversy in the same things the majority of orthodox Catholics might. Certainly the big and years-long flap over the Rainbow Sash Movement’s annual Pentecost protests at the cathedral were controversial, although less so as Flynn took a harder line recently. Then there was the kerfuffle over Fr. Robert Altier’s silencing, which was related to his comments about the Talking about Touching “safe environment” program in that archdiocese. Then there was the open revolt by a number of priests on the issue of same-sex marriage or the fact that people in prominent positions in archdiocesan ministries and offices also openly belong to blatantly heterodox organizations, and are even national officers in some cases. That’s not even bringing up the notoriously heterodox and nationally infamous St. Joan of Arc parish.

But perhaps the Star-Tribune was only saying that Flynn didn’t rock the boat too much over those issues the newspaper cares to notice like refusing Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians.

(I don’t want to ignore the good that Archbishop Flynn has done in the Twin Cities. I know several Catholics in the archdiocese who have good things to say about Flynn. Just recently he was very clear with the heterodox pro-gay New Ways Ministries about not being allowed to celebrate a Mass at their event because of their heretical theology.)

A “Hard-liner” and “conservative”

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1 comment
  • Thomas Szyszkiewicz always has cool stuff to pass on…

    In the Twin Cities there is quite a bit of consternation over this appointment.  However, the right people are pleased and the expected dissenters are upset.  We observe around here that a “micro-manager” just means that the Bishop gives a clear directive and provides accountability.  A bishop who expects fidelity and commitment to the truth taught by the Catholic Church will be great.  However, we have to be vocal in support of Catholicity.  Cards and letters will be a big encouragement.

    Too often the faithful fail in supporting the good things done by Church leaders.  That leaves the Bishops open to only hearing the orchestrated propaganda of an organized group of liberals who gain influence by repetition and manipulation.  The faithful need to actively and happily voice support and fidelity to the Church.  If enough of us did this, those who would refashion the Church into the image of contemporary worldliness would have a much diminished influence. 

    I am writing my letter tonight…