83 year old Walter Hurley has been called out of retirement to be the administrator of the Gaylord Diocese until a permanent bishop is appointed. A copy of this announcement can be found in the Document Library of this website. Bishop Hurley served as Bishop of Grand Rapids. Most recently, he served as administrator of the Saginaw Diocese after Bishop Cistone unexpectedly passed away. His stint there was notable for the mothballing of a young, energetic orthodox priest (Father Edwyn Dwyer) after a sermon preached by Fr. Dwyer that called for a return of timeless Catholic liturgical practices and devotions. Fr. Dwyer was transferred to a rectory in one of the most dangerous parts of Saginaw with no active parish responsibilities. (https://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/saginaw-bishop-removes-priest-for-promoting-traditional-liturgy) Basically, he was suspended indefinitely like Father Matthew Cowan. Fortunately, Fr. Dwyer has returned to active ministry under the current Saginaw Diocese leadership of Bishop Robert Gruss.
In order to further educate our readers about Bishop Hurley’s past, Gaylord Diocesan Watch contacted Jay McNally, former editor of the Michigan Catholic newspaper, and asked him to discuss his experiences and knowledge of Bishop Hurley:
“If you ever wondered how and why the Catholic Church kept known pedophile priests in action even after victims complained that these priests sodomized them dozens of times annually for years, let me introduce you to Bishop Walter Hurley, one of the most disgusting men I had the misfortune of ever meeting.
I became editor of the Michigan Catholic in 1990. My eyes were opened when the sexual abuse crisis became apparent during that time. Hurley was in charge of the priest misconduct board for the Detroit Archdiocese. Fr. Gerald Shirilla was on the faculty of Sacred Heart Seminary and was removed from ministry due to sexual misconduct. The diocese refused to state what that misconduct was. It turns out he was a pedophile dating back to at least the 1970’s. He was also connected to a seminarian that committed suicide. He was removed in 1993 only to return to ministry in 2002. He was transferred to the Gaylord Diocese. Fr. Hurley transferred Shirilla – this occurred while Hurley was the misconduct officer in 2002. He then was permanently removed later in 2002.”
Mr. McNally also discussed another pedophile coverup priest during Hurley’s years heading the priest misconduct board, ie, Father Robert Burkholder. McNally goes on to say the following:
“The appointment of Hurley to an administrative position for the second time represents the moral bancruptcy of the episcopacy in Michigan. They have no regard for any sense of common decency regarding the molestation of children. I don’t think Hurley has ever apologized for protecting or transferring pedophile priests.”
We will be watching this situation closely. If you have any information regarding Bishop Hurley, please do not hesitate to contact us.