Pope Francis forced the resignation of the bishop of Memphis Wednesday after an investigation into his alleged church law violations and mishandling of diocesan finances.
The Vatican announced Wednesday that Francis had “relieved (Holley) from the pastoral governance” and temporarily replaced Monsignor Martin Holley with Louisville Archbishop Joseph Kurtz. The Vatican did not list the reason for Holley’s firing, but the language used in its announcement usually indicates that the pontiff forcibly removed a bishop who refused to resign. (RELATED: DOJ Opens Investigation Into Roman Catholic Church Sex Abuse Investigation)
Tuesday reports from WMC5 and Church Militant also broke the news of Holley’s then-impending firing before the Vatican announced it and claimed that a source within the church confirmed that Francis planned to fire Holley for reasons of “pastoral governance” and that Holley had in fact refused to resign.
The Vatican sent two archbishops to the diocese to investigate Holley’s tenure as bishop. Holley served as an auxiliary bishop in Washington, D.C. for 12 years and was appointed as bishop of Memphis, Tennessee in 2016. Upon assuming his role as Bishop of Memphis, he reportedly transferred 40 priests within the diocese, sparking the initial complaints from parishioners who had to travel farther to attend services with their preferred priests.
The Vatican has not publicized the results of the archbishops’ investigation.
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