Memphis, Tenn., Jun 30, 2018 / 05:00 am America/Denver (CNA).
Last week, the Vatican sent two representatives to the Diocese of Memphis for an apostolic visitation. According to reports from local media, the visitation was to address concerns regarding major changes made by Bishop Martin D. Holley, including the reassignment of up to two-thirds of the 60 active priests in the diocese.
Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta and Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda of St. Paul-Minneapolis were assigned as the apostolic visitors, and were sent to Memphis for three days of “fact-finding,” which included interviewing Memphis-area clergy and laypeople, according to Memphis newspaper The Commercial Appeal.
The Vatican’s Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith defines an apostolic visitation as “an exceptional initiative of the Holy See which involves sending a Visitor or Visitors to evaluate an ecclesiastical institute such as a seminary, diocese, or religious institute. Apostolic Visitations are intended to assist the institute in question to improve the way in which it carries out its function in the life of the Church.”
In a letter to his priests issued last week, reported on by The Commercial Appeal, Holley said: "Many of you may have read, seen or heard news this week that an apostolic visitation was made to our diocese."
"We are respectful of the confidentiality of the Apostolic Nunciature’s process and are thankful that some of you were invited to participate in that process," he said. "The purpose of an apostolic visitation is to assist the local diocese and improve the local Church’s ability to minister to the people it serves. My hope is that we continue that mission here together in our diocese. The goal continues to be for the common good of our local Church and the people entrusted to our care."