A group of Catholics plan to hold a rally outside the Cathedral of St. Paul on Saturday to ask Archbishop John Nienstedt to step aside.

The Catholic Coalition for Church Reform is holding the event in the wake of mounting criticism of the way the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has handled a new wave of clergy sexual misconduct allegations.

“We can’t heal until the divisive figure is gone, and Archbishop Nienstedt is the divisive figure himself,” Paula Ruddy, party of Catholic Coalition for Church Reform. "Until then, we have no hope."

The archbishop told the Star Tribune on Wednesday night he is staying in his position, taking responsibility and implementing numerous concrete steps to restore faith and confidence in church leadership.

The Catholic group has rallied outside the Cathedral before, concerned about Nienstedt’s public statements and deep spending to block same-sex marriage. But members have never before called for him to step down.

Ruddy said the group tried to reach out to Nienstedt since 2009, believing that an open dialog would relieve their concerns. They have not been successful getting time with Nienstedt.

The hourlong event begins at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in front of the cathedral, near downtown St. Paul. A previous rally by the group drew about 350 people.

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