My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
I was deeply saddened to learn of the arrest last Thursday of Father Christopher Wenthe, a priest of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, on allegations of criminal sexual conduct between Father Wenthe and an adult woman more than five years ago. Independent of the charge of criminal conduct, which will now be answered by a court of law, promises were broken and lives were deeply wounded by the actions of a priest of this Archdiocese.
This moment of profound pain and humiliation for the local church, not to mention those directly involved, provides us all, clergy and laity alike, with the opportunity to commit ourselves anew to that holiness of life that is the vocation of every Christian. To this end, let it be remembered that we are called to be a people of mercy and forgiveness even as we promote justice and steadfastly serve the protection of all God’s holy people.
Let us pray that this most recent trial will lead, with the providence of God who can make all things new, to a strengthening of our local Church.
May God bless you and all those within this local church.
Cordially yours in Christ,
The Most Reverend John C. Nienstedt
Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis