This week marks one year since Bishop Steven Raica unceremoniously was transferred from the Diocese of Gaylord to the Diocese of Birmingham, AL. The reasons for his transfer may ultimately never be known, but certainly the events over the year prior to Bishop Raica’s move to Alabama make the move understandable. The handling of Father Matthew Cowan’s abuse accusations against disgraced Father Dennis Stilwell was filled with problems. The ministry of a known sexual abuser, Jim Holtz, under the guidance of Stilwell, was for many a major finding to discredit Bishop Raica. His leaving thus ended a scandal-ridden tenure as Bishop of the Gaylord Diocese.
It is now a year since this Diocese has had a permanent Bishop. The current administrator, Bishop Walter Hurley, has proved to be controversial and concerning. Just a few examples:
- He has been an ardent supporter of the corrupted Catholic Relief Services and Catholic Campaign for Human Development as part of the Catholic Services Appeal.
- He has also mysteriously moved priests in the Diocese for unknown reasons.
- He has repeatedly refused to meet with members of Gaylord Diocesan Watch as well as others in the Diocese when they had concerns.
In an institution so large and with plenty of candidates, the lack of a Bishop confuses many faithful. This is inexplicable during the events of the past year, including the ongoing COVID-19 chaos and the upheaval caused by the change in the political landscape of the United States and Michigan. The dwindling diocesan vocation numbers to the priesthood reflects, in part, instability due to the absence of a permanent hierarchy and administration for the Diocese. Could it be that the process is taking so long because there are so few good men to be bishops? Could the presence of Gaylord Diocesan Watch be a factor in making questionable candidates take a pause in coming to be permanent administrators of a corporation called the Gaylord Diocese?
Please pray for a holy, strong man to be the Bishop of this Diocese. God knows we need one!