Pope grants change in status for former vicar general

| March 17, 2017 | 2 Comments

Peter Laird

Archbishop Bernard Hebda communicated in a March 10 statement that Pope Francis has granted the request of Peter Laird, former vicar general and moderator of the curia for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, to be released from the obligations he had undertaken at his priestly ordination, a process colloquially described as “laicization.”

The archbishop explained that Laird had been dispensed “from all the obligations of the clerical state, including that of clerical celibacy” and in the future “will live as a lay person and will not be able to return to ordinary public ministry without permission of the Holy Father.”

Laird made his request of Pope Francis in January 2014 after resigning his position in October 2013 as vicar general and moderator of the curia, as the archdiocese faced criticism that allegations of clerical sexual abuse had been mishandled. He also withdrew from public ministry at that time.

“I am hopeful my decision to step aside at this time, along with the formation of a new task force, can help repair the trust of many, especially the victims of abuse,” Father Laird said in a statement at the time of his resignation. “I know the leadership, the dedicated staff and my fellow priests in the archdiocese are sincerely committed to proactively addressing these difficult issues.”

Laird was ordained a priest in May 1997. Prior to his 2009 appointment as vicar general and moderator of the curia, Laird had served at St. Olaf in Minneapolis and then as a faculty member and vice rector of the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity in St. Paul.

“While his priestly ministry will be missed by many,” Archbishop Hebda wrote, “I am hopeful that Pope Francis’ decision will allow Peter to serve out his baptismal calling in new ways.”

Tags: , , ,

Category: Local News