Knoxville Bishop Resigns or Retires; SNAP responds
Knoxville Bishop Stika, according to reports, is stepping down, after the diocese has been besieged by scandals, primarily of his own creating, for more than a year. We hope that this departure will result in genuine reform in this area, rather than just a people change.
For the past year plus, Stika has faced scandal after scandal, from his involvement in lawsuits, to his alleged victim intimidation, to priests with grave concerns of Stika’s leadership. We can’t help but wonder if there was anything sincere accomplished. The diocese is currently without an episcopal nominee. His bad performance as a church leader, in our opinion, caused or perpetuated an avalanche in the Diocese of Knoxville. Sitka has insulted parishioners' wisdom.
We hope that when the administrator for Knoxville is chosen, he will be a prelate who learns from Bishop Stika. That is, we hope that this new bishop will do the opposite of his predecessor at every chance, will be truly transparent rather than secretive, and will embrace the truth rather than try to stifle it. Knoxville parishioners deserve no less.
Our local SNAP Leader, Susan Vance, has dedicated years of work in exposing Bishop Stika. Statement by Susan Vance, Tennessee leader of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP):
‘Bishop Richard Stika is gone in disgrace from East Tennessee and the 50+ Catholic parishes of the Diocese of Knoxville. It is an outrage that Stika would disguise his departure as a retirement when it is clear that he was asked to resign following Vatican investigations of cover-up of clergy sexual abuse and other misconduct. It is imperative that all the truth now be told to the whole world. Pope Francis read the reports about Stika and basically fired him. Do not let this lie of Stika’s stand. We will be lied to no longer.’
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 35 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)