A reader from Mpls/St. Paul writes:

Please keep Archbishop Nienstedt and the Catholic Church in Minnesota in your prayers. Today Archbishop Nienstedt was accused of inappropriately touching a teenaged boy during a confirmation group photo in 2009. I have met and spoken with Archbishop Nienstedt on several occasions and I think the accusation is bogus and am increasingly wondering if there is a smear campaign going on against the Catholic Church up here in Minnesota. Is there anything we lay Catholics up here can do to defend the Church and our shepherd in these troubled times?

When things like this happen, I am always reminded of Tom Kreitzberg’s little analytic for how we deal with tales and accusations against people:

It may well be that the whole thing is bogus.  Clearly the presumption of  the law, if not the media, is that this is the case.  However, as somebody who does not know the people involved in this from Adam, I think the smart money is not on “defending” the Archbishop but on allowing the facts of the case to come to light and the chips fall where they may.  No small part of the way we got to where we are with everybody from Maciel to Corapi was by starting with the assumption that it was our job to defend the accused instead of investigate the facts, all under the serene assurance that only conceivable explanation was that the accusers were part of a smear campaign.  An innocent man has nothing to fear from the truth.  So pray for the truth to be revealed and for the Church to be healed.

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