New bishop says Catholic Church has learned from the past

Rapid City Journal

May 23, 2020

By Kevin Woster

A Minnesota priest selected to be the new bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Rapid City comes from a diocese that concluded bankruptcy proceedings last year agreeing to pay tens of millions of dollars to victims of child sexual abuse.

Father Peter Muhich, 59, said addressing the abuse of victims was “obviously a very difficult process” for the church and especially for the victims themselves.

“Of all things, when our priests violate the trust of a child it’s just a terrible thing,” Muhich said. “We just emerged from bankruptcy in the Diocese of Duluth having to account for that.”

It was a painful, expensive accounting that affects the financial resources available for other needs in the diocese. But it was appropriate and instructive accounting, too, Muhich said.

“We’ve learned through the bankruptcy that we can live more simply,” he said. “I think it’s absolutely fitting. The church is always most credible as a litmus when it leads a humble and simple life, like the Lord himself.”

Muhich, who expects to be ordained as bishop and begin his duties here by mid- to late summer, noted that Pope Francis has led the way in promoting clerical humility in the Catholic Church. The pope has focused on outreach to the edges of society, making biblically meaningful gestures such as washing the feet of prison inmates, the poor, migrants, the elderly and the disabled.

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