This morning it was announced that Father Anthony M. Criscitelli, currently pastor of Saint Bridget in Minneapolis, has been charged in Pennsylvania with endangering the welfare of children and criminal conspiracy for his actions while serving as minister provincial of the Franciscan Friars, Third Order Regulars.

Father Giles Schinelli, who served at St Gerard in Brooklyn Park until2010, was also charged.


For a report on the charges and the reasons for them, please follow this link.
 
 
On March 9, 2016, the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis announced that Archbishop Hebda has decided that Reverend Paul Moudry could be returned to ministry. Apparently, Archbishop Hebda is currently considering an assignment for him (see below, or here).

I am truly speechless. If you are wondering why, please refer to my affidavit in the Doe 1 case.

Statement on Return to Ministry of Rev. Paul Moudry

Date: Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Source: Tom Halden, Director of Communications

From Archbishop Bernard Hebda

Rev. Paul Moudry was ordained in 1987. In November 2013, he took a voluntary leave of absence from priestly ministry.

While Father Moudry was on leave, an investigation of an anonymous allegation of misconduct was conducted.  During the investigation, Father Moudry self-reported that he engaged in inappropriate conduct with adults in the 1970s and 1980s. That conduct did not involve minors and was not illegal. Father Moudry cooperated during the investigation and the subsequent review process.

After examining Father’s file, reviewing the investigation and interviewing Father Moudry, the Ministerial Review Board recommended that Father Moudry be permitted to return to ministry. The Director of Ministerial Standards concurred with the board’s recommendation. I accepted those recommendations and am now considering an assignment.


 
 
 
 
The following announcement should come as no shock to regular readers of this blog. As was predicted here, the Archdiocese is planning to move its Central Corporation to the old 3M site on Saint Paul's East Side. However, there is no word yet about where the future Archbishop will reside (the current Residence is attached to the Chancery building at 226 Summit).
 
 
Mid-February, the attached email was sent to parish representatives by the attorney representing the parish group. I received it via a circuitous route which I will not outline here. My reason for posting it is because it provides the clearest demonstration of the attitude with which the recently announced settlement has been received, as well as an important heads up regarding what to expect as the civil window opened by the Minnesota Child Victims Act expires. See the highlighted text below.
 
 
While there is still no news about the appointment of a new Archbishop, other changes have been quietly taking place at the Archdiocese. In an email to priests yesterday the Chancery announced several staff changes (see below). In addition, there are rumors that the Archdiocese is planning to move its Central Corporation to a building on the old 3M manufacturing site on Saint Paul's East Side. Perhaps most importantly, the criminal charges are still pending, and the first review of the civil settlement should soon be added to the court schedule. It is certain to be an interesting Lent and spring.
 
 
This morning, the following letter was sent by the pastor of Saint Philip of Battle Creek, Reverend John Fleckenstein, and reprinted by the Battle Creek Enquirer. Many will no doubt see this as a victory, but I am less sanguine. First, because it raises the question of where he will go next (most likely back to Saint Paul), and also because there is a certain inconsistency in terms of our expectations. We object vociferously to Nienstedt being given a new appointment in the Church, but he was far from the only Church employee, or even the only priest, to be soundly criticized in the Ramsey County petition and charging documents. Yet, with the exception of Bishop Piche, most of those individuals are still in their jobs, with little concern expressed about their fitness or the danger they pose to children. This situation deserves our attention as well.
 
 
The Battle Creek Enquirer is reporting that Archbishop Nienstedt spoke with parishioners of St Philip parish in Battle Creek this weekend about the concerns over his appointment.

According to the January 17, 2016, article, Nienstedt blamed the furor over his appointment on critics who dislike his stance on same-sex marriage. In addition, he said that his resignation was not the result of anything that he had done wrong. The Enquirer reports that Nienstedt stated,
"I resigned as archbishop in order for the local church to have a new beginning as they come out of bankruptcy and not because of something I had done wrong."

Unfortunately, this is probably true. Archbishop Nienstedt would be the only person who would truly know what motivated his resignation. However, the reason that it was accepted by Pope Francis could be entirely different, which again demonstrates the point of why these resignations, as opposed to punitive actions, are insufficient.
 
 
In response to the intense media interest in Archbishop Nienstedt's temporary gig at St Philip Parish in Battle Creek, Michigan, the Diocese of Kalamazoo sent the following letter to parents of children attending the school where Nienstedt is currently residing (https://www.scribd.com/fullscreen/295728468?access_key=key-dXm2TYYtIvg9SzzG2Lhe&allow_share=true&escape=false&view_mode=scroll).
If the Diocese hoped this would calm the furor or assuage concerns, it would appear it was mistaken. I found this response, published in the Battle Creek Enquirer, particularly on point.

Finally, I am intrigued by the 'additional assurances' received by the Diocese regarding Archbishop Nienstedt's fitness for ministry. Of most interest in this regard would be, of course, the report or reports of Greene and Espel. However, the Archdiocese has strenuously upheld (in court and elsewhere) that any work product of that investigation is privileged communication. If those reports were shared with the Diocese of Kalamazoo, that privilege may effectively have been waived.
 
 
According to the January 10, 2016 bulletin of Saint Philip Roman Catholic Church in Battle Creek, Michigan, Archbishop Nienstedt has found a job serving as an assistant priest at the parish, which is located in the Diocese of Kalamazoo.

Per the Pastor's Column (see below, page two), Nienstedt will have an office at the parish center, but will be living at the neighboring Church of Saint Joseph. His duties will include covering masses in the absence of the pastor, visiting the sick and homebound, and assisting with 'various pastoral ministries'. TH

Apropos of my previous column suggesting some reasons for releasing the Greene Espel report, the article notes that Archbishop Nienstedt's connection with the pastor dates back to when he (Nienstedt) was assigned to the Shrine of the Little Flower. This time period was of particular interest to the G&E investigators, as at least one of the complaints uncovered dated to this period.
 

    Author

    Jennifer Haselberger is a canon lawyer who served as the Chancellor for Canonical Affairs in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis until April of 2013, when she resigned in protest of the Archdiocese's handling of sexual misconduct by clergy.

    To receive notice when a new post is added, follow @jmhaselberger.

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