Crookston Bishop Michael Hoeppner
News: ‘Vos estis lux mundi’
More than 15 months into the first U.S. investigation of a bishop under norms approved by Pope Francis, the Diocese of Crookston, Minnesota, says it has no update on the progress of the case.
The Crookston man who claims his bishop forced him to recant an abuse claim says that while he trusts the American investigators overseeing the process, he is not confident the Vatican will resolve the case justly.
“Let’s just say I trust the local guys, I don’t trust the big guys,” Ron Vasek told The Pillar Jan. 14.
“They can do all the investigating they want here, but the Vatican’s track record on dealing with this is really terrible. Guys that should be in jail are still in ministry,” Vasek said.
Vasek is a crucial witness in the investigation of, Crookston’s Bishop Michael Hoeppner, who in September 2019 became the first U.S. bishop to be investigated under the aegis of Vos estis lux mundi, a set of norms approved by Pope Francis earlier that year.
The norms set a process by which metropolitans – regional archbishops – can be called upon to investigate charges of abuse, misconduct, or negligence on the part of nearby diocesan bishops.
Sources in the Crookston diocese tell The Pillarthat the investigation into Hoeppner has become a far-reaching probe into several abuse and misconduct cases handled by the bishop, and that the probe is widely expected in Crookston to lead to Hoeppner’s ouster.