Posts Tagged Diocese of Crookston
“The disclosure that the pope had ‘asked for’ the bishop’s resignation, appearing in a statement from the Diocese of Crookston, marked a significant advance in the long effort to hold prelates accountable for concealing clergy sexual abuse.”Commonweal
“When Msgr. Roger Grundhaus wanted to baptize his niece’s baby in the cathedral of a nearby diocese, there was the simple matter of getting a letter from his bishop affirming that he was a priest in good standing.
“Bishop Michael J. Hoeppner of Crookston in northwest Minnesota obliged the retired priest, a former vicar general of his diocese. ‘He is a person of good moral character and reputation,’ he wrote in 2012. ‘I am unaware of anything in his background which would render him unsuitable to work with minor children.’
“But contrary to that blanket statement, Hoeppner had already heard allegations directly from a diaconate candidate, Ron Vasek, that Grundhaus had molested him in the early 1970s. And so, attorney Jeff Anderson confronted the bishop with the letter during a deposition: ‘That’s a lie, isn’t it?’
“‘Counsel, can you rephrase in a non-argumentative way?’ the diocesan lawyer interjected, and there was no admission from the bishop in settling the lawsuit.
“This letter was part of a trail of evidence leading to the announcement that Pope Francis had asked for and received Hoeppner’s resignation as bishop, a first in the United States under the 2019 Vatican regulations designed to prevent cover-ups of clergy sexual abuse. The disclosure that the pope had ‘asked for’ the bishop’s resignation, appearing in a statement from the Diocese of Crookston, marked a significant advance in the long effort to hold prelates accountable for concealing clergy sexual abuse.”
By Paul Moses, Commonweal — Read more …
Hoeppner was the first bishop known to be investigated by the Vatican under a 2019 law that Francis approved laying out the procedures to conduct preliminary investigations against bishops accused of sex abuse or cover-up.Associated Press
“Pope Francis asked a bishop in the U.S. state of Minnesota to resign after he was investigated by the Vatican for allegedly interfering with past investigations into clergy sexual abuse, officials said Tuesday.
“The Vatican said Francis accepted the resignation of Crookston Bishop Michael Hoeppner on Tuesday (Apr. 13) and named a temporary replacement to run the diocese. Hoeppner is 71, four years shy of the normal retirement age for bishops.
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Crookston said in a statement that the pontiff asked Hoeppner to resign following the Vatican probe, which it said arose from reports that the bishop ‘had at times failed to observe applicable norms when presented with allegations of sexual abuse involving clergy.’
“The Vatican had tasked St. Paul-Minneapolis Archbishop Bernard Hebda with conducting a preliminary investigation. Last year, Hebda’s office announced that the Holy See had authorized a more in-depth probe.”
By Associated Press — Read more …
Considering convicted priest’s reinstatement and Pope Francis’ pronouncements, what does zero tolerance of clergy sexual abuse really mean?
On the heels of complaints that the Curia is blocking child protection policy reforms already approved by Pope Francis comes word that a priest convicted of child sexual abuse has been reinstated in India and that new bishops have been told they are not required to report child sex abuse to civil authorities. Neither situation conforms to the declarations Pope Francis has made that there must be zero tolerance for child sex abuse.
VOTF is left to wonder, as many Catholics do, whether Pope Francis is simply declaring a zero tolerance policy while allowing the Vatican Curia to block any meaningful child protection reforms.
In the India case, despite the so-called zero tolerance policy, The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith reportedly told Bishop Arulappan Amalraj of the Ootacamund Diocese in India that he could return Rev. Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul to ministry, which he did. Jeyapaul pleaded guilty and was convicted in 2012 of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in the Diocese of Crookston, Minnesota. Allegations involving a second teen were dropped in a plea deal.
In the bishops’ case, the Vatican allowed a priest to tell new bishops that reporting child sex abuse was not required, that it was a choice they had. The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, created and supported by Pope Francis, fired back this week with a press release stating that reporting abuse not only is a requirement, it’s also a bishop’s moral and ethical responsibility to do so. The statement went out over the signature of Cardinal Sean O’Malley, chair of the Pontifical Commission. The Commission had prepared a module for teaching bishops how to handle reported abuse—yet none of the commissioners, the proper leaders on the issue, was asked to deliver that message.
VOTF thus asks again, is Pope Francis promulgating recommendations of his own Pontifical Commission “for show” or is he, and the Church, serious enough about zero tolerance to actually enforce it? Seeing bishops who have covered up abuse brought before the new tribunal for bishops would be a step in the right direction. It would at least demonstrate that people who reinstate convicted abusers or tell new bishops to ignore zero tolerance will be held accountable.
Voice of the Faithful®: Voice of the Faithful® is a worldwide movement of faithful Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity and increase the laity’s role in the governance and guidance of the Church. More information is at www.votf.org.