Pope Francis removes Bishop Holley as head of Memphis diocese

Vatican City, Oct 24, 2018 / 04:31 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis Wednesday removed Bishop Martin D. Holley from the pastoral government of the Diocese of Memphis and appointed Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville to oversee the diocese until further notice.

The Vatican announced Oct. 24 that Pope Francis “has relieved” Bishop Holley “from the pastoral government of the diocese of Memphis” and appointed Archbishop Kurtz temporary  apostolic administrator “ad nutum Sanctae Sedis,” meaning “at the disposition of the Holy See.”

The removal follows a Vatican investigation into the Diocese of Memphis in June to address concerns about major changes Bishop Holley, 63, had made. Among these was the reassignment of up to two-thirds of the 60 active priests in the diocese, according to local media reports.

The apostolic visitation, as it is called, was carried out by Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta and Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda of St. Paul-Minneapolis. They spent three days “fact-finding” in the diocese, including conducting interviews with Memphis-area clergy and laypeople, according to Memphis newspaper The Commercial Appeal.

The outcome of the apostolic visitation has not been made public.

In a letter to his priests in June, reported on by The Commercial Appeal, Holley said: “Many of you may have read, seen or heard news this week that an apostolic visitation was made to our diocese.”

“We are respectful of the confidentiality of the Apostolic Nunciature’s process and are thankful that some of you were invited to participate in that process,” he said.

Holley was installed as bishop of Memphis Oct. 19, 2016, after serving as auxiliary bishop of Washington, D.C. for 12 years.

In July, he was one of three Tennessee bishops who issued a letter to the state's governor encouraging him to halt the then-pending execution of Billy Irick, who died by lethal injection August 9.  

The bishops emphasized the value of all human life, even that of those convicted of horrendous crimes, offering themselves a resource to the governor for any questions regarding Catholic teaching on the subject.

While in Washington, Bishop Holley had served on multiple committees for Cultural Diversity, as well as subcommittees for Africa; African-American Catholics; Laity, Women, Children and Youth; and Migration.

He had also been a member of the International Catholic Foundation for the Service of Deaf People and been on a number of committees for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, including the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth; Pro-Life Activities; and the Subcommittee for Hispanic Affairs.

Holley was born Dec. 31, 1954, in Pensacola, Fl., and ordained a priest for the diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee in 1987.


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1 Comment

  1. It’s amazing to me the number of media and private sites that day after day publish both positive and negative news of Catholic’s actions around the world. I, at least at this point in time, have yet to fathom the pros/cons of a ceaseless line relative to the on-going sex scandals and removal of Pope Francis, which of course is a mute point. However, this morning’s reading at Mass should be a forewarning to all; depending on your current disposition within the eyes of Jesus, that no one knows the time except the Father. If you’ve joined the clergy for reasons other than to honor the Holy Trinity then you probably don’t believe. Well we as Catholics do believe & strongly that Jesus is the light; the way; & our final salvation. Even then we still don’t know the time. How many different times & different ways this warning has been placed before Catholics; yet, some who call themselves Catholic just don’t get it. The time and place is not just for eternity; it also points to your own mortality and unless your on a life support system or the like, death will sneak upon you in the night before you have time to express your contrition.

    So the whole point here is simple; BE READY. I know true and devoted Catholics will be, however, reading all of the news, blogs, & comments on the sex scandals do others really believe & if not than I pray for them. Their time may be today; it might be tomorrow; it might be next week! I feel sorry for all that fit that bill for they will not get to see the Face of God but instead will meet the Prince of the World. I pray that I, for one, see God’s Face. I know that most of you out there feel the same way; its to bad we’re all caught up in these on-going issues.

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