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Tegeder has been a vocal critic of Nienstedt, most recently during the archbishop’s strong financial and personal support for the effort to block same-sex marriage.
Lyons said he has grown increasingly frustrated as Nienstedt and other church leaders plunged the archdiocese into controversy by protecting those he called sexual predators. The ongoing scandal, Lyons said, taints the honorable work of the many fine priests and nuns he adored as a child.
“He doesn’t want to admit he is at the top of the stinky, messy administration,” Lyons said. “What else can I do? I wrote to the archbishop and got nothing. I am angry. I am not protesting, I haven’t quit my job to protest at the chancery. There’s no person I can go to, so I started the petition.”
Nienstedt has gained wide praise for steering the faithful toward a stricter adherence to Catholic orthodoxy. He has strong support among Catholics who prefer a smaller, more devoted following to a larger, more diverse church with more visible dissension. He has gained critics and fans for his strong opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion, bedrock beliefs that some Catholics feel has been muddied in modern society.
The latest sex abuse scandals have opened up a new area of criticism for Nienstedt, one that has downed Catholic leaders in other states.
“I realize that they are dramatic and bold steps,” Deziel wrote. “Short of these, the good faith and credibility of the archdiocese will be considered suspect, or downright bankrupt for years.”
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