Vatican punishes acquitted archbishop

A Vatican investigation into alleged misconduct by former Archbishop John Nienstedt, 76, of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, USA, has cleared him of any canonical crime.

The result was announced on 5 January. "Accordingly, the allegations against Archbishop Nienstedt were found to be unfounded".

Archbishop Nienstedt belonged to the Catholic wing (appointed: 2008). He has always denied any wrongdoing. In 2015 he resigned amid allegations of mismanagement of homosexual abuse cases.

The main case involved a homosexual priest who abused three underage men and was sentenced to five years in prison.

Monsignor Nienstedt was also accused of personal misconduct. He is alleged to have asked two boys to undress in front of him in a hotel room at World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany, in order to dry their wet clothes.

Prosecutors investigated Nienstedt and his archdiocese in 2015, but dropped all charges in 2016.

However, the archbishop is still being punished by the Vatican. The investigation claimed that there had been certain "imprudent" actions. As a result, Nienstedt cannot exercise any public ministry and cannot reside in his former archdiocese.

Nienstedt responded in a statement on 5 January that he had asked the Vatican "to clarify the 'imprudent' actions I allegedly committed while in Minnesota".