Bishop tended Catholic flock quietly for 23 years

Commercial Appeal

David Waters

J. Terry Steib, a former missionary, was introduced as the new Catholic bishop of Memphis on the 23rd day of March in 1993.

He was the fourth bishop — and first African-American bishop — in the 23-year history of the Catholic Diocese of Memphis.

Last week, Steib officially retired on the 23rd day of August, having led the diocese for 23 years. …

Steib’s critics say he didn’t do enough to keep predators away from the flock — especially clergy sex abusers.

“Bishop Steib disclosed information on predator priests only when forced to do so by external forces,” said David Clohessy, a former Memphian and national director of SNAP — Survivor’s Network of Those Abused by Priests.

“He didn’t discipline a single church employee for ignoring or concealing clergy sex crimes.”

In court depositions, Steib admitted he made mistakes that put children at risk. But he said the church “responded according to what it knew and believed at the time.”

Some say Steib was too quiet about a lot of things.

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