‘We are just really a hot mess,’ said Susan Vance, a leader of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests in Tennessee.By Brian Fraga, National Catholic Reporter
“Some priests in the Diocese of Knoxville have retired early or left active ministry. Others are considering leaving the priesthood. Groups of lay Catholics in the East Tennessee area say they are demoralized and frustrated.
“‘We are just really a hot mess,’ said Susan Vance, a leader of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests in Tennessee.
“Vance and other local Catholics blame Bishop Richard Stika, who became the diocese’s third bishop in 2009, for the turmoil in their local church. In two lawsuits, the diocese is accused of allegedly obstructing investigations into clergy sex abuse and intimidating people who reported they were abused. An apostolic visitation is investigating concerns about Stika’s leadership raised by laity and clergy.
“‘This man is not a leader. A leader looks after his people,’ said Marcy Meldahl, a Knoxville resident who served for 10 years as the diocese’s human resources director until she resigned in 2014. Meldahl told NCR she left her job amid her concerns that the diocese refused to make improvements to its pension financial reporting procedures, and added that she was being frozen out of meetings toward the end of her tenure.”
By Brian Fraga, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …