Archbishop Hebda's Letter to Priests about Settlement
December 18, 2015
[The letter from Archbishop Bernard Hebda]
I wanted to reach out directly to you regarding the Settlement Agreement the Archdiocese and the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office announced this morning.
When I first arrived here in June two weeks after the charges were filed the Archdiocese was already engaged in dialogue with Ramsey County Attorney, John Choi, and his staff. It was quickly recognized that we shared one major goal: making sure children are safe in our churches, schools and communities. It should be no surprise that we have diligently been working together since then to find the best ways to make the achievement of that shared goal a reality.
In the course of our conversations with the Ramsey County Attorney’s office last October and November, it began to become apparent that there existed a potential for a negotiated Settlement in the civil action that had been brought against us. Those representing the Archdiocese in the sensitive discussions that ensued recognized that it would be important to get broader input, not only from our Corporate Board and Archdiocesan Finance Council but also from our clergy. I am very grateful to Fr. Mike Tix (formerly the head of the Presbyteral Council) and Fr. Don DeGrood (presently the Vicar for Clergy), who invested countless hours in recent weeks pouring over the various proposals for moving forward.
With today’s court appearance looming large, the terms of an Agreement solidified last weekend and it became possible and desirable to engage in a more formal and even broader consultation. This past Wednesday, I sought the advice of the College of Consultors and the Archdiocesan Finance Council and I asked for a resolution of the Corporate Board of Directors that would authorize me to execute the Agreement, given that the suit had been brought against the Corporation. The recently-formed Ministerial Review Board was also consulted. I am grateful to all who participated in those efforts.