- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 16, 2015

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The New Jersey-based archbishop appointed to serve as a temporary caretaker for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is an Ivy League-educated attorney with working-class Rust Belt roots.

Archbishop Bernard Hebda was appointed as apostolic administrator of the Twin Cities archdiocese by Pope Francis. Hebda has served since 2013 as coadjutor bishop in the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey.

The Vatican announced Monday that the pope had accepted the resignations of Archbishop John Nienstedt and Auxiliary Bishop Lee Piche following a controversy over their handling of clergy sexual abuse allegations. The resignations came just 10 days after charges were filed against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis for “failing to protect children and contribution to the unspeakable harm” done to the sexual abuse victims of Curtis Wehmeyer, a former St. Paul priest who is serving a five-year prison sentence for molesting two boys and is facing prosecution involving a third in Wisconsin.

Hebda said in a letter to Twin Cities clergy that his role in Minnesota would be part-time and temporary. “(I)t is my intention to be as available as possible, while still fulfilling my responsibilities as the coadjutor archbishop of Newark,” he wrote.

Church law requires an archdiocese to operate with a leader.



Hebda will take on all the responsibilities of leading an archdiocese as apostolic administrator, and will fill the role until the pope appoints a new, permanent archbishop for the Twin Cities. But it’s unclear how long Hebda will serve as the temporary caretaker, or when he’s expected to arrive in St. Paul.

Some who know Hebda say he’s the perfect candidate to hold the archdiocese together in a time of transition, Minnesota Public Radio News (https://bit.ly/1Gc0apL ) reported.

“He will pour his heart out for the people of the Twin Cities and try to help the healing, try to help the transition, try to help set things up for whomever is going to be your permanent shepherd there,” said the Rev. Louis Vallone, a canon law expert and parish priest in Hebda’s hometown Diocese of Pittsburgh, “and then he will just move on as he always has, to whatever the church asks him to do next.”

Hebda graduated from Harvard University and received a civil law degree from Columbia University. He was ordained as a priest in 1989 after working for a high-profile law firm in Pittsburgh.

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Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, https://www.mprnews.org

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