Hebda Named Archbishop of Archdiocese of St. Paul/mpls.
March 24, 2016
Hebda has been serving as Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese since June of 2015, since former Archbishiop John Nienstadt stepped down in the midst of a clergy sex abuse scandal. The appointment was intended to be temporary as Hebda has also been serving the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, as Coadjutor Archbishop, and was scheduled to replace Archbishop John J. Myers when he is expected to retire in July. The Vatican apparently believes Hebda is the man to lead the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis long-term instead.
In a news release from the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, Hebda said he was “humbled by this expression of Pop Francis’ confidence and honored to serve this Archdiocese with its rich history and its long tradition of extraordinary priests, zealous Religious and empowered laity, all working to put their faith into action.”
Archbishop Hebda’s Installation Mass is scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday, May 13 at the Cathedral of St. Paul.
Hebda has also served as Bishop of the Diocese of Gaylord, Mich., and parishes in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pa.
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) issued a statement condemning the appointment calling Hebda "a glad-handing milquetoast who tows the party line". The statement said it was "a disappointing choice for an archdiocese that deserves better from a pope who knows better."
University of Saint Thomas Theology Professor Massimo Faggilio disagreed.
"I have never seen SNAP being happy with a bishop appointment lately," said Faggilio. "He may have done something that was not perfect from the point of view of the victims, but I do not agree with that blasting of the appointment."
Hebda addressed the issue head on when announcing his appointment in the Cathedral of Saint Paul Thursday morning.
"Will I be more actively involved in the clergy abuse issue?" said Hebda. "I do not know how I could be, in the sense that that has been so much of a focus of the nine months that i have been here."