Priests of the Knoxville diocese asked a papal representative last year for “merciful relief” from the leadership of Bishop Rick Stika. More than six months later, they have received no response to their request, and there has not been any conclusion to a Vatican investigation into Stika’s leadership.
“Our experience of our appointed bishop varies among us, but the undersigned do share a common awareness that the past twelve years of service under Bishop Stika have been, on the whole, detrimental to priestly fraternity and even to our personal well-being.”
“While we acknowledge the reality of suffering that comes with bearing our daily crosses, our appointed bishop seems determined to increase that suffering for his own purposes, purposes which seem unrelated to the demands of the Gospel,” wrote 11 Knoxville priests in a Sept. 29 letter to Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
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