Priest leaves Mich. diocese after presence causes stir

Detroit News staff and wire reports

Battle Creek — A priest is leaving a Battle Creek parish as some members of the southwestern Michigan diocese became angered to learn that he led a Minnesota archdiocese during a clergy sex abuse scandal.

Pastor John Fleckenstein wrote in a letter Thursday to members of St. Philip Catholic Church that Archbishop John Nienstedt decided to discontinue his work there “in light of the unintended discord that his presence was causing.”

He stepped in at St. Philip earlier this month while his friend Fleckenstein recovered from an illness.

Nienstedt resigned from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in June after charges were filed claiming the church failed to protect children from clergy sex abuse. Nienstedt has not been charged.

Nienstedt was once pastor at the Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak and rector of the Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit. He was born in Detroit in 1947.