The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Wednesday, October 28, 2009
New Joliet bishop named; SNAP responds
Statement by Barbara Blaine, SNAP President, 312 299 4747
Every time a Catholic official steps down, especially one from a scandal-ridden diocese like Joliet, it's a cause for hope. We can only hope that Siegel will show more courage and compassion toward the vulnerable and the wounded than other Joliet Catholic officials have. We especially hope he will publicly expose and condemn actions by the church hierarchy that are reckless, callous and deceitful.
We would feel more reassured had the Pope elevated a new bishop from a diocese with a less troubling track record on clergy sex crimes and cover ups, one who might have brought a greater commitment to openness.
But regardless of who’s in the hierarchy of a particular diocese, it’s crucial that victims, witnesses and whistleblowers continue to come forward and share what they know about predator priests if kids are truly to be safer within the church.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around since 1988 and have more than 9,000 members across the country. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home), Peter Isely (414-429-7259) Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314 503 0003)
HOLY FATHER APPOINTS REVEREND JOSEPH SIEGEL AS NEW AUXILIARY BISHOP FOR THE DIOCESE OF JOLIET
His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, today named Fr. Joseph Siegel as a new auxiliary Bishop for the Diocese of Joliet.
In making the announcement Bishop J. Peter Sartain said: “I was delighted to learn that Pope Benedict had named Fr. Joseph Siegel as Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Joliet. Fr. Siegel is a native son with deep roots in the city of Joliet and the entire diocese, and he has served a number of parishes with great love since his ordination to the priesthood in 1988. He is deeply respected by his parishioners and brother priests, and he will bring many gifts to this new ministry. I personally look forward to working in collaboration with him in the pastoral care of our people. I express my gratitude to Pope Benedict for this appointment and to Fr. Siegel for accepting with generosity and humility a surprising call from God once again.”
He will be ordained Bishop on Tuesday, January 19, 2010 at 2:00 p.m. at the Cathedral of St. Raymond in Joliet.
Bishop-Elect Siegel will hold the title of auxiliary bishop, meaning he will assist Bishop Sartain in the pastoral administration of the Diocese of Joliet. He will receive the office of teaching, governing and sanctifying as a bishop. He will exercise his ministry in union with the Pope and his fellow bishops throughout the world. An auxiliary bishop is also given a “titular see” since he is not a diocesan bishop. The “titular see” is usually the name of a diocese somewhere in the world that has been suppressed at some time in the past (i.e., absorbed into another diocese.) It is an honorary title given to the Bishop to remember in prayer those who have gone before us. Bishop Siegel's titular diocese will be Pupiana, northern Africa, in modern-day Tunisia, near the ancient city of Carthage.
Bishop-elect Siegel commented: “I was both humbled and honored when I received the unexpected news that Pope Benedict had named me to serve as auxiliary bishop of Joliet. I am deeply grateful to our Holy Father and Bishop Sartain and I pray that I will be worthy of the trust they have placed in me as I strive to be a faithful shepherd after the heart of Jesus. I ask for the prayers of our clergy, religious and laity that I may serve the people of this Diocese with love, wisdom and courage.”
Fr. Siegel, 46, was born in Joliet, Illinois and was raised on a farm in Lockport Township. He was baptized at the Cathedral of St. Raymond Nonnatus and attended the parish grammar school. He attended St. Charles Borromeo High School Seminary in Romeoville from 1977-1980 and continued his studies at St. Meinrad Seminary College in Indiana, where he graduated magna cum laude with a degree in history in 1984. He completed his seminary formation at the Pontifical North American College in Rome from 1984-1988, where he earned his Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology (STB) cum laude from the Pontifical Gregorian University in 1987, and continued his theological studies at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas. He was ordained to the diaconate by William Cardinal Baum at the Basilica of St. Peter in Vatican City on April 14, 1988. Fr. Siegel returned home to be ordained to the priesthood on June 4, 1988 by the Most Rev. Joseph Imesch at the Cathedral of St. Raymond Nonnatus in Joliet. After ordination, Fr. Siegel completed his studies in systematic theology at the University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein, IL, earning a Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL) in 1990.
Fr. Siegel was assigned as parochial vicar at St. Isidore Parish, Bloomingdale, St. Mary Immaculate Parish, Plainfield, St. Mary Nativity Parish, Joliet and the Cathedral of St. Raymond Nonnatus, where he also served as diocesan master of ceremonies. He has been pastor at Visitation Parish in Elmhurst since 2004.
In addition to his parish ministry, Fr. Siegel has also served the diocese in many capacities. He has been a member of the Presbyteral Council for nine years, including three years as chairman and was appointed to the Diocesan Board of Consultors. He has been Director of Continuing Formation for Priests, a member of the Diocesan Vocation Board, the Priest Personnel Board and served as the Dean of Eastern Will County. With the Catholic Conference of Illinois, he served on the Executive Committee as a priest representative and was chairman of the Catholics for Life Department. Father is currently chair of the Steering Committee for the Joliet Diocesan Year of the Eucharist and Eucharistic Congress and is a member of the Bishop’s Respect Life Advisory Board. He is a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus and a member of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre.
In his spare time, Fr. Siegel enjoys playing the piano and organ, reading, classical music and Chicago Cubs baseball.
Fr. Siegel is the youngest of nine children. His parents, Francis and Marie Siegel, are deceased. His aunt, Sr. M. Clotine Siegel, OSF, was a Joliet Franciscan
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests