Michael L. Seidel—Assignment Record

Summary of Case: Not publicly identified as an accused priest until the St. Louis archdiocese announced his laicization on 11/3/06, citing a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor. The number of allegations and the nature of the abuse are not clear from the archdiocese's announcement. Seidel was not indexed in the 1996 Official Catholic Directory, and given his 2006 laicization, it is possible that his departure from Sts. Joachim and Ann's parish in 1995 and the archdiocese's failure to list him in the 1996 Directory were connected with an abuse allegation. The 1995-96 gap in Seidel's work history in the Directory is not reflected in the list of assignments released by the archdiocese on 11/3/06. Seidel was put on leave in 1997 and on medical leave in 1999. It is possible that these leaves are connected with an allegation of sexual abuse. Although he was still a priest in 1999-2006, he is not listed in the Directories for those years. His whereabouts in 1995-96 and 1997-2006 are not stated in the Directory or in the 11/3/06 archdiocesan list of his assignments.

: 1987
Incardinated: St. Louis archdiocese
Suspended: 1998
Laicized: 2006


Start Stop Parish Town State Position Notes
1987 1991

Holy Family

St. Louis MO 2/3. Priests were Very Rev. Paul A. Zipfel, Seidel, and Rev. Robert J. Matichek C.PP.S. Deacon Michael Coppage was also assigned here. Zipfel was the dean of the South St. Louis deanery. Rev. John C. Fleming replaced Zipfel as pastor in 1988. (Zipfel became auxiliary bishop and vicar general in 1989; moderator of the curia in 1995; and bishop of Bismarck ND in 1996.) Matichek left the parish in 1989.

St. Louis archdiocese, where John L. May was archbishop.

Parish school was run by 5 Sisters of the Most Precious Blood with 12 lay teachers and had 353 students in 1987-88.

This parish was closed in 2005.

1991 1995

Sts. Joachim and Ann

St. Charles MO 3/3. Priests were Revs. Robert G. Leibrecht, James L. Gahan, and Seidel. Deacon Charles E. Drayton came in 1992. Rev. Dennis J. Doyle replaced Leibrecht as pastor in 1993.

St. Louis archdiocese, where May resigned in 1992 and Justin F. Rigali became archbishop in 1994.

Parish school had 2 sisters and 23 lay teachers, and had 644 students in 1991-92. Principal was Sr. Barbara Siderewicz OSF.

            Not indexed in the 1996 Directory.
1996 1997

Basilica of St. Louis, the King, the "Old Cathedral"

St. Louis MO 2/3. Priests were Msgr. Bernard H. Sandheinrich, Seidel, and Rev. Richard J. Quirk. Sandheinrich was director of the archdiocesan Society for the Propagation of the Faith, the Holy Childhood, Pontifical Association, the Latin American Apostolate, and Pan y Amor. Quirk was executive director of the Catholic Commission on Housing.

St. Louis archdiocese, where Rigali was archbishop.

Listed here in the 1997-98 Directories, but the 11/3/06 archdiocesan list of assignments states that Seidel took a leave of absence in 1997. He must have been put on leave in late 1997, after data was collected in Fall 1997 for the 1998 Directory.

1997 1999 Leave of Absence      

St. Louis archdiocese, where Rigali was archbishop.

Incorrectly listed in the 1999-2002 Directories as Rev. Michael J. Seidel, but the 1987 ordination date in these listings shows that this is the same priest as Rev. Michael L. Seidel.

1998   Suspended       See 11/3/06 press release.
1999 2002 On Medical Leave       St. Louis archdiocese, where Rigali was archbishop.

Not indexed in the 2003-2005 Directories.

Raymond L. Burke became archbishop in 2003 when Rigali was moved to Philadelphia.

2006   Laicized. See 11/3/06 press release and article.        

: Official Catholic Directory (New York: Kenedy & Sons, 1988-2005); Four Formally Dismissed from Clerical State, Press Release, Archdiocese of St. Louis (November 3, 2006); Four Suspended Priests Are Laicized, St. Louis Review (November 3, 2006).

Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Seidel's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with the allegation as it is reported in an archdiocesan press release. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation we report. We remind our readers that in the U.S. judicial system, a person is considered innocent until proven guilty.

A Note on Nomenclature: We use the term "assignment record," instead of the more common "service record," because "service" is not an appropriate word for the activities of an abusive priest. Dioceses are often less than forthcoming about the activities of retired priests, but when we can determine those activities, we list them in these assignment records, particularly if they involve ministry. Retired priests remain under obedience to their bishop, and even the activities of laicized priests should be a concern to the diocese.

This assignment record was last updated on 11/4/06.