Archbishop Hebda removes former Maplewood pastor from ministry

| October 20, 2015 | 16 Comments

Father Mark Huberty, a former pastor of Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Maplewood, was removed from ministry Oct. 20, according to a statement from Archbishop Bernard Hebda, apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. In 2013, the priest was arrested and charged with two counts of sexual misconduct with an adult woman.

A Ramsey County jury acquitted him of the charges in December 2014. The archdiocese’s Office of Ministerial Standards investigated further, and the Ministerial Review Board “found that there was sufficient evidence to suggest [Father] Huberty may have committed a serious offense under canon law,” according to the statement.

The board recommended the case “be resolved through a canonical process so that the truth of the matter may be determined and an appropriate penalty, if any, may be imposed.”

During the canonical process, Father Huberty is prohibited from priestly ministry or presenting himself publicly as a priest.

“Removing a priest from ministry, even temporarily, is gravely serious to me and to the Church,” Archbishop Hebda said. “Imposition of these precautionary measures reflects the seriousness of this matter, but should not be viewed as a presumption of guilt.  [Father] Huberty is to be accorded the presumption of innocence during this time.”

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  • Padre Catacombs

    OK. The priest is found not guilty by a jury of his peers after evidence is presented. Yet “The Church” knows more than a police department with Crime Scene Investigation unit, and experienced prosecutors. Hmmmm?!?

    • DebraBrunsberg

      He may not have been guilty of a crime, but his behavior and sexual encounters with this woman kind of go against the behavior one expects from a priest. He admitted his actions, that was never in question, it was whether or not they violated the Minnesota law against sexual relations with someone you were providing spiritual aid or comfort to in a private place. But, I guess you know more about canon law than “The Church.” Hmmmmm?

      • Padre Catacombs

        What you are speaking of is called “sin”, something my pastor hears from me in confession on a regular basis. I’m not saying what he did was OK, it’s reprehensible, we both agree on that, but I always thought Christ came for us sinners and not drag them through the mud. Unless of course mud doesn’t stick to you.

        • DebraBrunsberg

          Well ya know, I work for the government and if I did something against all HR policy, something reprehensible, bordering on criminal and I was charged and found not guilty of the criminal deed, I would most likely still be facing suspension or possible termination because my employer has their own “laws.” That would be for my employers to decide. This is kind of the same thing. Everyone has to answer for their behavior on the job. So, why not let his Superiors do their job instead of automatically trashing the Church? You may not know as much as you think you do.

          • Padre Catacombs

            You need to take your pastor out to breakfast more often, especially if he is a church lawyer. Oh well! Huberty MUST pay for legal representation out his own pocket. “The Church” has a slew of church attorneys on staff and have resources to consult more if necessary. Hmmmmm!?! The good Archbishop is a regular lawyer and a church lawyer, and the Archdiocese with the aforementioned resources versus Huberty. Hmmmmm?!? Who do you think has the advantage? Certainly, NOT Huberty!! Unless of course you’re a government worker many of whom have union representation, bureaucratic buffering and union attorneys, something Huberty DOES NOT have on his side. “The Church” indeed does publicly run the priest through the mud of his sin, reprehensible as it is, where Justice [sic] is stacked against him. Would you like your sins publicly adjudicated? I’ll stick with confession! If you work for the government you make enough money to take your pastor to breakfast.

          • Nan Koenig Ahlgren

            The statement and news reports I read were mere announcements of a process.

            It seemed an effort in Transparency.

            The party was the subject of news stories for months. The Archdiocese released a statement saying the Church would begin its required investigation since criminal investigation, Court trial and appeals process was now complete. Presumably the investigatory details are now “public record” and can be requested by the Church to aide in their investigation. The delineation of every document and detail was not provided and there seemed to be no ‘dragging through the mud’ of the priest.

          • Padre Catacombs

            You all are not getting the picture. In civil court if Huberty cannot afford an attorney, the court must appoint one, by law. However, under church proceedings, if Huberty cannot afford a church attorney, he hasn’t ANY LEGAL REPRESENTATION! None! Zero! Zippo! The Church with Her cadre of attorneys civil & church law will steamroll him into the pavement. Where’s the Justice?

          • DebraBrunsberg

            Maybe you could some more conclusions why you are at it. My goodness.

          • DebraBrunsberg

            You did get the part where he already admitted his behavior right? You know, maybe you should use your real name. I bet there is a good story behind that.

  • cyndy419

    to Padre Catacombs: Our Archbishop knows why he has had to make this decision-not easy by any means.

  • Roger Goerke

    Brothers and sisters:
    Every high priest is taken from among men
    and made their representative before God,
    to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.
    He is able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring,
    for he himself is beset by weakness
    and so, for this reason, must make sin offerings for himself
    as well as for the people.
    No one takes this honor upon himself
    but only when called by God,
    just as Aaron was.
    In the same way,
    it was not Christ who glorified himself in becoming high priest,
    but rather the one who said to him:
    You are my son:
    this day I have begotten you;
    just as he says in another place:
    You are a priest forever
    according to the order of Melchizedek.

    • fellow presentation

      What does that mean to you? Innocence because he is a priest?

      • Roger Goerke

        No it does not mean he is innocent, however he is presumed innocent until proven guilty and it means that his sins should be confidential between him and his confessor as all Christians should expect.

        • fellow presentation

          So if he is guilty, there is no consequences here only after life. And then he is free to hurt others as a priest in this world?

          • Roger Goerke

            As far as consequences go, it is not for me to decide, but it appears to me that there have been many adverse consequences in this life for Fr. Huberty (loss of position and perhaps career, public denouncement and now removal from public ministry). He has suffered greatly for his sins and for the sins of others. In that way he has been a true image of Jesus as a priest should be.

          • fellow presentation

            If he is guilty, which isn’t known,I understand what you mean. If he is not guilty he has been through the winger. But what about the people hurt? As has been said, he never denied it happened in court. He fought with he was not a spiritual advisor at that time not that it did not happen. That is not a “true image of Jesus as a priest should be.”