When Bishop Rick Stika resigned from the Diocese of Knoxville in June, he said in a statement that he hoped to find “relief” from the responsibilities he experienced as a diocesan bishop.
But while Stika may now have found “relief,” many Catholics in the Knoxville diocese — including many of its priests — are still processing the circumstances of Stika’s departure, and the multiple allegations of misconduct filed against him.
The diocese is now waiting for the appointment of a new bishop. But shortly after Stika resigned, The Pillar talked with Fr. Brent Shelton, a senior Knoxville priest who took a leave of absence from active ministry this spring, after alleging that Stika had become retributive toward him and toward several other priests, whom the bishop reportedly blamed for the allegations against him.
Shelton reflected on what the situation in the Diocese of Knoxville can teach the Church about her efforts toward reform, accountability, and transparency.
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