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Controversial ex-Twin Cities archbishop gets new role in Michigan

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Former Archbishop John Nienstedt, who left the Twin Cities archdiocese after its scandal over clergy sex abuse, has taken a new post in Michigan.

The St. Philip Roman Catholic Church in Battle Creek, Michigan, announced in a bulletin posted on Sunday that Nienstedt will serve as an assistant priest for the parish, in the Diocese of Kalamazoo.

It says he will fill in for the parish's head priest while he undergoes medical treatment, and will join in celebrating "some of the weekend and weekday Masses, visit the sick in the hospital, visit the sick and homebound, and celebrate Mass for the nursing home and assisted living facilities."

As MPR reports, Nienstedt resigned as the Archbishop of the St. Paul/Minneapolis Archdiocese after it was charged by Ramsey County with failing to protect children from a predatory priest.

The news organization notes Nienstedt served eight years as the Twin Cities' archbishop.

Following his reignation last Junethere were allegations that he derailed an investigation by a law firm he'd hired to "clear his name" after claims emerged that he had made inappropriate sexual advances toward at least two priests.

His new position has not been met well by SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, with national director David Clohessy telling the Star Tribune: "This is an outrage. We call on Pope Francis to reverse it and all of Minnesota’s and Michigan’s bishops to denounce it."

"Shame on Kalamazoo Bishop Paul Bradley, Twin Cities Archbishop Bernard Hebda and on every single Catholic priest, employee and parishioner who silently approves or accepts this dangerous decision without protest."

WCCO reports that while no longer an archbishop, Nienstedt is still a bishop and is able to perform masses and other sacraments.

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