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Nienstedt will apologize in Sunday homily for failure to remove priests

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The leader of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis plans to be at a church in Edina on Sunday to apologize to the community in response to the clergy abuse scandal.

Archbishop John Nienstedt will give the homily on Sunday at Our Lady of Grace Church in Edina, according to a report in the Star Tribune. The newspaper obtained an advance copy of Nienstedt's remarks.

The Star Tribune reports that he plans to tell parishioners: "I am here to apologize for the indignation that you justifiably feel. You deserve better."

Catholics in the Twin Cities have been facing waves of allegations in recent months of priest sexual misconduct. Some of those allegations have accused Catholic leaders of ignoring warnings.

Pressure has even been on Nienstedt himself. In November it was announced that he and others in the archdiocese were the subject of a criminal investigation and there has been pressure in the church for him to resign as archbishop.

"The negative news reports about past incidents of clerical sexual abuse in this local church have rightly been met with shame, embarrassment and outrage that such heinous acts could be perpetrated by men who had taken priestly vows as well as bishops who failed to remove them from ministry," Nienstedt wrote in the homily.

MPR News reports in the homily Nienstedt will say most of the abuse took place years ago. "Again, that is not to excuse those actions or diminish the harm done to their victims. But it does indicate that progress is being made in reducing the incidence of such terrible misconduct," Nienstedt writes.

Some of Nienstedt's critics though are not satisfied with his planned apology.

Rev. Mike Tegeder of St. Francis Cabrini Church in Minneapolis told the Star Tribune, "I wasn't too impressed by it; he has to talk about his own actions. I thought his homily wasn't to the point. I think he owes us an explanation."

After a ruling by a Ramsey County judge the Archdiocese released the names of 34 priests accused of abusing children.

About a third of the priests on the list are dead.

The Diocese of Winona is preparing to release its list of credibly accused priests on Monday and a lawsuit filed this week is asking the Diocese of New Ulm do the same.

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