Chaos in Memphis’ Catholic community as an investigation by the Vatican is underway.
The Pope himself sent down the order to investigate problems in Memphis after hundreds of complaints by clergy and church members about how the new Bishop for the diocese of Memphis is handling affairs.
At the Diocese of Memphis, no one is commenting, but the investigation has to do with what Bishop Martin Holley did or didn’t do. Holley was installed as bishop in 2016.
Since taking over, he reassigned the majority of the active priests in the diocese’s 42 parishes. It was a move that angered many parishioners across our area.
The result? Many parishioners left their home churches and moved to others, or just left. Donations are down.
“We’re not supposed to follow our priests. The old Catholic people, you stay in your parish you go to church there. No matter what happens you stay where you are planted,” said June Taylor. Taylor is a member at Immaculate Conception in Midtown.
According to the churches bulletins, donations at the church are down thousands of dollars every week since the former priest was moved. Many parishioners followed the priest to his new assignment.
Taylor says it seems like on a Sunday service, there are about 25% fewer attendees.
“It’s sad that people have left because of the transfers of priests.” said Taylor.
Taylor doesn’t know what the outcome of this investigation will be, but when it comes frustrated parishioners and Bishop Holley, she says, “I do believe many people don’t know the bishop. He is new. They haven’t given him a chance.”
The Archbishops’ report of their findings and recommendations eventually will be sent to the Vatican.