Reader's View: Bishop's failure of leadership fails Duluth
The May 2 story, "Diocese to pay victims $40M," revealed the failure of Duluth Bishop Paul Sirba to lead.
When Sirba received notice of a lawsuit filed against Fr. William Graham, he put Graham on administrative leave, with little explanation, and for the next three years did little to support Graham or his St. Michael's parish. He seemed to have no plan. Did he seek guidance from the county attorney's office? (Had he done so, I believe this travesty of justice would be resolved.) He seemed to simply retreat. How could Bishop Sirba, an appointed shepherd of the Catholic Church, have acted in such a way?
The recent settlement agreement stated the diocese must release secret files. Graham has no secrets. On the first day of his three-day trial, the diocese's attorneys said Sirba would not be available to testify and would not release files.
After the verdict awarding damages to Graham, opposing attorneys held a news conference touting a split verdict. But it wasn't a split verdict. Graham's accuser, T.J. Davis, said, "I'd like to ask the bishop to come clean ... (and) please release Graham's file along with the other files he's sitting on." Would this not have been a good time for Sirba to release those files and make public the truth for the good of the diocese and Graham? This failure in leadership defied transparency, truth, and justice.
Pope Francis speaks of transparency and open communication as we Catholics make our way through this crisis. The Diocese of Duluth, under Sirba's leadership, seems content to stumble in the dark — a darkness of its own making.